VIC Blackbookers and Horses to Follow
- Blackbookers to catch the eye in Victoria
- Our latest horses to follow from Melbourne racing
Looking for VIC horses to follow each Saturday? We pick out the best blackbookers each week from the metropolitan meeting in Victoria.
From winners of feature races to unlucky loses and first up gallopers outrunning expectations, we select three or four horses each week to add to your blackbook from Melbourne’s Saturday racing.
Here are some horses to put in your blackbook:
Horses to follow from Caulfield on June 30
TRACK RATING: Good 4
Race 1 2YO HCP (1100m) KAHAYLAAN 📓
The two-year-olds stepped out in the opener at Caulfield, which was taken out by Valaquenta. Kahaylaan might be the one to back at its next start and was one of the luckless runners out of the beaten brigade. The Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained galloper stepped out as an easing $15 chance and settled back in the field. As the runs came in the straight, the son of Pride Of Dubai was held up for a significant time but still managed to finish within a length of the winner at what was his first career start. He was the only debutant in that race on the weekend and will be much better for the run.
Race 2 3YOF BM78 (1100m) ABSOLUTE FLIRT 📓
With a decent northerly wind at Caulfield on Saturday it was never going to be easy for those that settled without cover and that was precisely what happened to Absolute Flirt in Race 2 for the sprinters over the 1200m. The Danny O’Brien-trained filly was stuck out for most of the trip but stuck on very well to fly go down to Broadwayandfourth, who enjoyed the perfect cart into the race from the back of the field. The consistent filly has not won for over a year now but has gone close in some strong races and should have an off-season win or two in her.
Race 7 BM84 (1600m) BARTHOLOMEU DIAS 📓
There were a handful of imports that made their Australian debuts on the Caulfield programme. While I am not quite convinced about the form out of Race 7 as they did go pretty slow, the pick of those that appeared for the first time might be Bartholomeu Dias, who was a solid 4th behind All Too Huiying over the 1600. The new addition to the Maher/Eustace stable had performed well over longer distances in the UK and looked to be right in contention at the 300m mark before just fading on his run in the dying stages. He was entitled to tire a little at his first run in over eight months and as with most imports he should be better as he progresses further this campaign.
Horses to follow from FLemington on May 23
GREAT AGAIN 📓
Great Again was one of the better winners at Flemington and produced the best benchmark figures of the day, running 10.3 lengths quicker than benchmark. The Lindsey Smith-trained galloper was having his first run since coming over from Western Australia and relished the wet conditions, holding out Rich Charm and Home Of The Brave. A winner of 10 from 22 starts, including six of nine of Soft tracks or worse, the lightly raced seven-year-old can add to his collection this campaign, particularly if the tracks remain on the wet side in the next couple of months.
DJANGO FREEMAN 📓
Race 8 of the day was taken out by Reykjavik from Shot Of Irish and while the the 1600m affair didn’t rate through the roof in terms of benchmark figures, it will be interesting to see how the German import, DJANGO FREEMAN fares at his next couple of starts. Sent out an easing $11 chance, the Freedman galloper settled just off what was a reasonable speed early on and stuck on well in the run home, almost overhauling Shot Of Irish for the runner-up slot. In his former homeland, his notable performances came over further ground and he was runner-up in the German Derby (2400m) last year before coming over. He is set to tackle a 2040m race at Moonee Valley next month, before a spring campaign is mapped out.
I didn’t mind the run of LOMBARDO in the final event of the day. The Mick Price-trained galloper snuck into the field as an emergency, stepping up from a 3rd placing in a BenchMark 64 at Werribee to close off very well, running 4th to Roccabascarena. The son of I Am Invincible settled at the tail of the field and produced the third fastest last 200m of the day, en route to finishing three lengths from the winner. With just the three career runs under his belt, he can continue to improve and add to his solitary win, which was a Maiden on debut at Bendigo back in February.
Horses to follow from Flemington on May 16
Will the form out of the Andrew Ramsden (2800m) stack up later in the year? While it might be drawing a long bow to say that Oceanex is a threat in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) after gaining a guaranteed ticket into the race, she shouldn’t be forgotten and can measure up, especially considering that a number of internationals may not be able to come over due to Covid restrictions. After the Ramsden was changed last year from 3200m to 2800m and to a ballot exempt race, it was taken out by Steel Prince from Surprise Baby. Those two went 15 lengths quicker than benchmark that day. Later, Steel Prince was competitive in the Cup, while Surprise Baby produced the run of the race, finishing 5th. He gained entry into the race by taking out the Bart Cummings (2520m) in October. Oceanex ran 13 lengths quicker than benchmark on Saturday, just two lengths slower than the 2019 edition and she has been getting better as she steps up in trip, while she has a fantastic record at Flemington, taking out the Matriarch Stakes (2000m) last year.
KING OF HASTINGS
Peak benchmark figures from the day came out of Race 5, which was taken out by Prezado, who backed up his performance to hold out The Inevitable at his start prior. The improver out of the race should be King Of Hastings, who just missed out behind the eventual winner. The Anthony Freedman-trained galloper was resuming after running 5th to Alligator Blood in the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m). He showed talent in the spring by finishing runner-up to Super Seth in the McNeil Stakes (1200m). In his run at Flemington he hit a bit of a flat spot between the 600 and the 400m but ran the quickest last 200m of the day.
Not giving up on Achernar Star just yet after coming runner-up for the second time in a row, this time to Iconoclasm. On a day in which the backmarkers fared extremely well, the Lindsey Smith-trained galloper settled in a forward position alongside Sirius Suspect and just went down in the dying stages. Fourth-up last time he was a narrow 4th to Regal Power in the Railway Stakes (1600m) and as he stretches out to the mile, he should be hard to beat.
King Of Hastings
HORSES TO FOLLOW FROM caulfield ON MAY 9
SUPRE & ARCTIC SHOCK
Hard to go past the winner out of Race 4 at Caulfield and that was Supre, while I will not be giving up on Arctic Shock just yet. Supre settled just worse than midfield and seemed to relish the Heavy going, reeling off the fastest last 600m to win running away from Pure Scot. Arctic Shock was backed into $5 favouritism and did well to finish as close as she did after racing wide without cover throughout. She looked to be a winning chance at the 200m mark but the tough run told in the end and had to settle for 3rd.
AUSSIE NUGGET & NOBU
Keep an eye on the form out of Race 7 of the day. The winner, Shot Of Irish, raised the bar again, running 14.9 lengths quicker than benchmark, the quickest out of the day. The form out of some of his races this campaign has yielded plenty of winners. Aussie Nugget closed off steadily and may be looking for further. Nobu was the luckless galloper and didn’t enjoy a clear passage in the straight. He has been up for a while now but if he can strike a firmer and bigger track, he can register his first win in over a year.
Really liked the run of The Astrologist in the last event of the day at his first run back after a long layoff. The son of Zoustar stepped out for the McEvoy stable for the first time and ran home from last at the 400m to finish just one length behind the winner, Hi Stranger. The went very slow in the early stages and while the race didn’t rate highly in terms of benchmark figures, his effort was pretty good nonetheless. Prior to the break he was runner-up to Rubisaki so the talent is there and he was strong when second up at his last prep so keep him in mind.
HORSES TO FOLLOW FROM SANDOWN ON MAY 2
DIALA & WEBOGAM
The opening race at Sandown was for the two-year-old fillies and the winner, Diala, is one to follow, while out of the beaten brigade, Webogam certainly had a few excuses. The Leon and Troy Corstens-trained galloper was a bit slow out of the blocks in the six-horse field and then managed to get held up at a couple of stages in the straight. Despite this, she managed to get home in 23.16 in the last 400m, the second fastest of the day behind Diala. Not sure how far the pair can go but the winner looks to be one for the wet tracks in Melbourne, sticking to 1200m and below.
TOO GOOD TOO HARD
Too Good Too Hard attracted plenty of support in the betting but after being slow to begin the Philip Stokes trained galloper had to settle much further back than anticipated and was never really in the hunt off the slow tempo. However, her performance in the concluding stages of Race 4 behind Atlantica was solid. She produced the fastest last 400m of the race and the best closing splits. It should be noted that she wasn’t far away behind the likes of Toffane and Pippie at a similar stage of her spring campaign and I wouldn’t be writing her off yet.
BUFFALO RIVER & HARBOUR VIEWS
The best performed horse from a ratings point of view on the day was Buffalo River, who ran 12 lengths quicker than benchmark. Unfortunately for fans of the Mike Moroney galloper, we will have to wait until the spring to see him again as the stable have opted to spell the four-year-old. Harbour Views lost no admirers with his first up performance, running home from just worse than midfield to grab 3rd in what was a nice return. A winner of five of his seven starts, the lightly raced five-year-old will have his next start in the Group 3 R A Lee Stakes (1600m) on the final day of the Adelaide carnival.
Too Good Too Hard
Horses to follow from FLEMINGTON on April 25
FLYING AWARD & INDICTMENT
The opening race at Flemington on April 25 was the Anzac Day Stakes for the two-year-olds and it was hard to not be impressed by the performance of Flying Award. The Danny O’Brien-trained galloper overcame a slow start and had to settle back but ran some click closing sectionals to score. He looks to be a possible spring contender for the stable. There were a handful that were a bit unlucky further back, including Indictment, who was posted wide throughout and had no option to go for home early before being swamped, eventually running 3rd. The Ken Keys-trained galloper was lining up at just his second start and is another to keep an eye on out of the race.
If you haven’t seen vision of the run of Beehunter out of Race 3 it is well worth a look. The John Sadler-trained galloper was held up in the early parts of the straight before shifting out and rocketing home behind Kuramae. My only knock on this guy is that he always tends to get too far back in his runs but it was hard not to be impressed by his closing effort. There should be some good race wins in store for the son of Toronado.
The Inevitable lined up in Race 7 of the day at Flemington and produced a real eye catcher at just his second run for the autumn and his first since being transferred to the Patrick Payne stable. Last year’s Silver Eagle (1400m) winner was coming off an 8th placing in the Newmarket and had been allocated the hefty weight of 62kg (60kg after the claim for Tahlia Hope). He settled well back in the early stages before the apprentice hoop switched to the inside. Not sure if that was the best going on the day but the four-year-old was able to find his rhythm and rocketed home, running his last 400m in 21.3 seconds. He produced the fastest sectionals of the day before narrowly missing out behind Prezado. He is likely to tackle the Goodwood (1200m) at his next start and can really serve it up to the likes of Gytrash in Adelaide.
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