VIC Blackbookers and Horses to Follow

  • Blackbookers to catch the eye in Victoria
  • Our latest horses to follow from Melbourne racing
VIC horses to follow Latest Blackbookers

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:



Cherry Tortoni
Arcadia Queen
Russian Camelot

Race 2 – Listed Exford Plate – Three-Year-Olds (1400 METRES) – CHERRY TORTONI 📓
Race 2 of the day was for the three-year-olds over the 1400m and it was Crosshaven that accounted for Bartley with those two runners settling up front and slowing them up in the middle stages before kicking clear in the straight. The best of the back markers was Cherry Tortoni, who showed that he is up to the mark with a fast finishing 3rd behind the winner. The Patrick Payne-trained gelding was coming off a three start winter campaign that saw him win all three races, including the Listed Gibson Carmichael (1600m) on Finals Day at Flemington in early June. He attracted support in the betting and started as a $5.50 chance before settling back in the run, producing the fastest last 600m and 400m when finishing two lengths from the winner.

Race 3 – Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes – Mares (1400 METRES) – ARCADIA QUEEN 📓
It was Savatiano and Arcadia Queen that dominated markets heading into the Lets Elope Stakes for the mares and while Savatiano failed to fire, it was good to see the injury-plagued Arcadia Queen return to some sort of form in the same race. The Perth mare had to settle for 2nd behind $21 winner Pretty Brazen, but her work in the straight was excellent, ripping home in 21.96 seconds for her last 400m. She may still have a part to play at the top level this spring after it looked like persistent hoof issues may derail her campaign earlier on.

Race 7 – Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600 METRES) – RUSSIAN CAMELOT 📓
One of the big talking points out of the Flemington meeting was the performance of Russian Camelot who was unlucky not to claim the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes in his return to racing. After being passed to run following some last minute barrier antics, the South Australian Derby (2500m) winner from the autumn was posted four wide facing the breeze for the entire trip, while the winner, Fierce Impact, enjoyed the charmed run and kicked strongly on the inside to score in narrow fashion. It was great performance first up by Russian Camelot to only narrowly go down to a genuine Group 1 miler. Danny O’Brien has said that he is likely to go on an Underwood Stakes (1800m), Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Cox Plate (2040m) path, while he is a $9.50 second favourite behind Surprise Baby for the Melbourne Cup (3200m).



Saracen Knight
Grand Promenade

Race 1 – BenchMark 84 Fillies & Mares (1200 METRES) – PARMIE 📓
The fillies and mares featured in the opener, which was taken out by How Womantic, who held on in a blanket finish. I didn’t mind the run of Parmie, who was a narrow runner-up. The Ellerton/Zahra galloper was posted out wide for much of the 1200m and had a tendency to lay in over the last 200m, which may have cost her the prize in the end. She was second up on Saturday and can improve off that run.

Race 2 – BenchMark 78 (1600 METRES) – SARACEN KNIGHT & GRAND PROMENADE 📓
The exciting Shandy was too good in Race 2 of the day and is one to follow in her own right. A couple that finished further back can make their mark over longer trips, including Saracen Knight and Grand Promenade. The Williams import, Saracen Knight, was tackling his first race start in two years. He settled towards the rear over the 1600m and was doing his best work late, when running on for 7th behind the promising Shandy. He ran the second fastest last 400m of the race, bettered only by Grand Promenade. The latter was held up by Saracen Knight while making that run and was first up after a summer and autumn campaign that yielded four straight wins. Both should be pretty solid as they step up in trip this spring.

Race 5 – LISTED Chandler McLeod Stakes (1200 METRES) – SHOWMANSHIP 📓
While he is a most obvious horse to follow I just have to include Showmanship in this week’s list. The West Australian made it two from two in Melbourne and seven from eight starts overall, running the quickest last 400m and last 200m of the entire meeting, en route to taking out the Listed Chandler McLeod Stakes. The question is where does he head now. Original plans were for him to tackle the Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and that Group 1 looks well within his grasp. The Grant & Alana Williams stable have a few options and it will be interesting to see what they decide with the exciting five-year-old.

Race 6 – GROUP 2 McEwen Stakes (1000 METRES) – HANSEATIC 📓
The sprinters tackled the 1000m and on face value, Hanseatic was a fraction disappointing at his first run back. But the Godolphin youngster didn’t enjoy the best time of it throughout. He settled last from the wide barrier and was forced to come out very wide on the bend. Despite this, he clocked the best last 600m of the entire meeting and I wouldn’t be giving up on the three-year-old just yet.

Race 9 – 5:20PM Lockdown Legends Handicap (2040 METRES)- DABIYR 📓
It was a bit of a tough watch for those that backed Dabiyr in the last race of the day with the Waller galloper firming in from $4 to $2.70. The six-year-old looked to be doing it comfortably as they rounded the bend but wobbled out in the straight, giving the saloon passage to Creedence and Sound, who were both able to get up along the inside. I’m not completely sold by the form out of the race by Dabiyr was seven weeks in between runs and did produce a couple of solid performances back in the autumn, including a runner-up performance behind King Of. Leogrance at Listed level over the 2600m at Flemington.




Race 2 – BenchMark 78 (1100 METRES) – WINDSTORM 📓
While Windstorm couldn’t quite look after punters as a $4.20 favourite in Race 2 of the day, it would be a harsh punter to pot him after his effort to run on for 4th behind Express Pass. It was always going to be a bit of a task for the Grant & Alana Williams-trained galloper with the 60kg from barrier 10 and he was easy in the betting, drifting from $3.20 to $4.20 when they jumped. He settled towards the rear in the field of 14 and his cause wasn’t helped when they went slow up front in the early to middle stages. He ran on in the closing stages, running the best last 400m and last 200m of the race, as well as the second best last 200m of the entire meeting. Given the success of the stable with their runners in Melbourne in the last few weeks, he is worth sticking with.

Race 4 – Open Handicap (1400 METRES) – NONCONFORMIST 📓
Some promising types lined up over the 1400m in Race 4 of the day and the improver should be Nonconformist, who was first up after an autumn campaign that saw him take out the Group 2 Alistair Clark (2040m) at Moonee Valley. The Grahame Begg-trained four-year-old settled 10th in the field of 12 and was another whose cause wasn’t helped by a slow tempo up front as the race turned into a bit of a sit sprint. He was by far the best of the back markers, running the quickest last 200m of the race and looks set for a solid spring. At his last campaign he improved to win three of four when getting out to 1600m and beyond and if he can pick up his rating then a start in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) isn’t out of the question.

Race 7 – Three-Year-Olds Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200 METRES) – TAGALOA & CROSSHAVEN 📓
The new season three-year-olds feature in the McNeil Stakes, which is always a key lead up race towards the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and the unlucky runner was Crosshaven, who looked to be in contention with 100m to go before running into a brick wall. The Hayes/Dabernig galloper headed into the race from two wins from as many starts but had to settle for 6th, beaten a length by Immortal Love, while Flying Award was runner-up. Tagaloa was the 3rd horse past the post and did all the work out three-wide and without cover for the majority of the trip. He was taken on a long way out in the straight and looked the winner but went down in the shadows by a narrow margin. The Blue Diamond (1200m) winner will no doubt benefit from the run.



Coming Around
Miami Bound

Race 1 – Open (1523 METRES) – MIAMI BOUND 📓
Miami Bound featured in the opener at Moonee Valley in the race that was taken out by Alsvin. At this stage of the day the track was a Heavy 8 and would later be abandoned after Race 5 due to the surface water on the track. Alsvin was the first of four winners that led and didn’t give much of his rivals a chance. While Coming Around was a bit costly to punters at the $2.40, he can be forgiven as he settled towards the rear in the field of seven before coming around them very wide on the turn and working home well behind the winner.

Miami Bound just about looked like she was ready for the breeding barn rather than the winning post and was six lengths behind the second last horse at the turn, struggling to stay in touch. However, the VRC Oaks (2500m) winner was able to find her feet and made plenty of ground along the inside late in the piece to finish on the heels of the placegetters in 4th position.

Race 2 – BenchMark 84 (1200 METRES) – TAILLEUR 📓
Tailleur made it four wins from five career starts when she romped to a six-length win in Race 2 of the day, relishing the Heavy 9 conditions. While she did get the favours, finding the lead early and enjoying a soft tempo, her performance over the last 600m would suggest that she can progress from BenchMark 84 level to a black-type race in the spring. She went almost 15 lengths quicker than benchmark and while the sample size is small it is worth noting that she produced the best late spilts and sectionals of the day.



The Closer
Kings Will Dream

Race 2 – BenchMark 78 (1000 METRES) – THE CLOSER 📓
Race 2 of the day was over the 1000m and Propelle finally broke through for a win. The Closer was the forgive runner in the field of eight and didn’t see much daylight at all in the last half of the race, en route to finishing 6th, beaten just over two lengths. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace mare was first up after a summer and autumn campaign that yielded two wins from five starts and went to the line untested. She tends to be at her best over the 1400m and might be a bit of a value runner at her next assignment this campaign.

Race 6 – Group 3 Quezette Stakes – Three-Year-Old Filles (1100m) – AGREEABLE 📓
Some promising types lined up in the Quezette Stakes, a race that has always been a good pointer for things to come for the three-year-old fillies. Bella Nipotina broke her Maiden status in devastating fashion but the one to follow out of the race might be Agreeable. The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained galloper was stepping up from a Geelong Maiden win and attracted a heap of support in the betting, starting as a $5.50 chance. However, she was slow to begin and settled back in the field of 14 but was very solid in the last part of the race, running the quickest last 200m and the third fastest for that section on the day, behind only Showmanship and Kings Will Dream.

Race 8 – Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400 METRES) – KINGS WILL DREAM 📓
The Lawrence Stakes was a bit of a preview towards the spring with some big names resuming, including the All Star Mile (1600m) winner, Regal Power, and Mystic Journey. While those two failed to fire, it was hard not to be impressed by the run of Kings Will Dream, who closed off steadily into 3rd position. The Turnbull Stakes (2000m) winner from last year was lining up for his first run since a four start autumn campaign that saw him run 5th in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) before battling on the Heavy in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m). He settled just worse than midfield and produced the best last 200m of the race, finishing within two lengths of the winner. Look for him at his next few starts and over further ground.


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MORE HORSES TO FOLLOW: Our latest blackbookers from New South Wales and the latest horses to follow from Queensland.

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