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Melbourne Autumn Carnival Tips - 10 horses to follow for the autumn carnival

  • 10 horses to follow in the Melbourne autumn carnival 
Mystic Journey can take the next step in the autumn.

The Melbourne autumn carnival is almost upon us and with plenty of great racing on the horizon, we take a look at 10 horses to follow for the autumn carnival and look at their main target races. 

Mystic Journey

Autumn target: Australian Guineas (1600m)/All-Star Mile (1600m)
My number one horse to follow for the autumn Carnival is the three-year-old filly from Tasmania, Mystic Journey. Trained by Adam Trinder, the daughter of Needs Further showed that her dominant victory at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day was no fluke, running tremendous time to win first-up at Launceston. She ran some amazing closing sectionals, running her last 600m in 32.66s, and her last 200m in 10.62s. Adam Trinder has spoken about her autumn goals, saying that the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 2 is the primary target before a possible start in the All-Star Mile a fortnight later if the public vote her in. With The Autumn Sun likely to bypass the Melbourne autumn and be aimed at the Randwick Guineas, I’m confident that Mystic Journey starts favourite and will prove very hard to beat. 
Australian Guineas odds: $6.00 (TAB
All-Star Mile odds: $17.00 (Beteasy)

Nature Strip

Autumn target: Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m)
This would hardly be a list without the boom sprinter Nature Strip. The four-year-old Nicconi gelding is a tremendous talent but is still without a Group one victory after finishing down the track in the Moir Stakes in the Spring. Following a recent Camperdown jumpout, it appears that master trainer Darren Weir has been teaching him to settle and it has worked well. Weir has said he is fit and will and we be aimed at the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) on February 16. He will  come into that race second-up, with a likely first-up target the $140,000 Listed W.J. Adams Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on February 2 against Blue Diamond winner Written By. I’m expecting to see a more mature horse this preparation and he should be breaking through for his first group one victory. 
Black Caviar Lightning Stakes odds: $3.20 (Ladbrokes)

Night’s Watch 

Autumn target: Australian Cup (2000m)
The Darren Weir-trained five-year-old Night’s Watch started his spring preparation in a handicap race at Flemington and made it all the way to the Caulfield Cup. He kept on improving last preparation and if we see similar improvement in the autumn, there’s no reason why he couldn’t be a Group One winner. Weir has said he is on an Australian Cup path on March 9 and 2000m looks his best distance. He looks the forgotten horse in the betting and looks over the odds in the early markets. He is definitely a horse to follow in the autumn. 
Australian Cup odds: $21.00 (Sportsbet

Land Of Plenty

Autumn target: All-Star Mile (1600m)
The son of Stratum Land Of Plenty is an exceptional horse and looks well-placed for more group one success over the autumn carnival. I was taken with his two jumpouts before his first-up assignment and he ran up to those pieces of work, running a slashing third behind stablemate Whispering Brook in the Australia Stakes (1200m). We saw his peak performances in the spring, winning the Toorak Handicap (1600m) in devastating fashion and getting so close to Jungle Cat in the Sir Rupert Clarke (1400m). Weir has is autumn preparation mapped out, going to the C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) before his main target, the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16. 
C.F Orr Stakes odds: $4.20 (Beteasy)
Futurity Stakes odds: $9.00 (Ladbrokes)
All-Star Mile odds: $13.00 (Ladbrokes)

Brave Smash 

Autumn target: C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m)/Futurity Stakes (1400m)
Another Darren Weir-trained runner in our top ten, it’s the multiple group one winner Brave Smash. He was impressive winning the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) in the Spring. Don’t be deterred by his first-up ninth in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley. He finished second-last in the same race last autumn and went onto finish third (beaten by a head) in the C.F. Orr before winning the Futurity, defeating Tosen Stardom. He was completely underdone coming into the Australia Stakes this year, with Darren Weir making a last minute decision to run him, as a barrier trial more than anything else. He looks on target for another group one over the autumn. 
C.F. Orr Stakes odds: $11.00 (Ladbrokes
Futurity Stakes odds: $9.00 (Beteasy)


Autumn target: All-Star Mile (1600m)
If I could own any horse that is nominated for the All-Star Mile, it would be Alizee. The daughter of Sepoy won the Queen Of The Turf (1600m) in the autumn last year and unfortunately suffered a bleeding attack in the lead-up to the spring and had a forced three months on the sidelines. She returned in December, showing her class first-up over 1200m in the Christmas Stakes, powering home to beat Husson Eagle and Fell Swoop, who ran so well in the Australia Stakes at his next start. Alizee is likely to run in the G2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) on Saturday February 2 as she progresses to the $5 million All-Star Mile on March 16 at Flemington. 
All-Star Mile odds: $8.00 (Sportsbet


Autumn target: Australian Guineas (1600m) 
In his one preparation with Darren Weir, Ringerdingding has proven himself as a bonafide group one talent. Following his poor performance in the listed Gothic Stakes, Weir said that the horse wasn’t trying and he had changed some training techniques and it did the trick. He charged home against the bias on Cox Plate Day and backed that up with a stunning victory in the Listed Hilton Stakes (1400m) on Derby Day. He appreciated the step up to a mile and beat Group one winner Seabrook, winning the Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m). He will only improve with another preparation under his belt and could be anything in the autumn. He and Mystic Journey look clearly the two horses to beat in the Australian Guineas at this stage. 
Australian Guineas odds: $7.50 (Bet365


Autumn target: Rosehill Guineas (2000m)/Australian Derby (2400m) 
Although Chapada technically isn’t a Melbourne horse to follow, as his autumn targets are in Sydney, I’m cheating slightly as he has done all his racing in Melbourne and will kick off his autumn campaign in the C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 16. He was oh so unlucky in the Victoria Derby (2500m), running into trouble for the majority of the straight before finally getting clear and flashing home into third. He probably should’ve won that race and beat Extra Brut who went so close to winning the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) seven days later. He has been a forgotten horse in my opinion and will be hard to beat in any staying race over the autumn carnival. 
Rosehill Guineas odds: $15.00 (Sportsbet
Australian Derby odds: $11.00 (Sportsbet)


Autumn target: Undecided
Amphitrite is another horse that kept going through the grades for Darren Weir in the spring. She won the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) and was luckless in the Myer Classic before coming to the end of her prep in the VRC Oaks. Although she is another horse that is likely to go towards the Australian Guineas, that’s unlikely to be her main autumn target as Weir said she could go to the Guineas second-up. He told Grace Ramage of "We’re a little bit up in the air where we’ll end up. I don’t think 2000 metres is a problem. I think the (VRC) Oaks was a forget run so at some stage stage, we’ll get her out to 10 furlongs (2000m)." I wouldn’t rule an Australian Cup (2000m) run for her or possibly a trip to Sydney for the Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m). 

Redkirk Warrior 

Autumn target: All-Star Mile (1600m) 
Following a failed campaign to England and a poor run in the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), you’d be forgiven for dropping off the former star sprinter Redkirk Warrior. I’ll give you a tip, don’t. His jumpout at Flemington before his first-up run was electric and although the Lindsay Park team said he would be underdone going into the Australia Stakes (1200m) he still ran remarkably well. The eight-year-old flew home for fifth, running the fastest 400m-200m split of the meeting and the second-fastest 600m-400m split of the meeting. I think targeting the All-Star Mile with him is a bit ambitious but nevertheless, I want to follow him through his autumn campaign. 
All-Star Mile odds: $51.00 (Ladbrokes

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Melbourne Autumn Carnival Tips - 10 horses to follow for the autumn carnival

The Melbourne autumn carnival is almost upon us and with plenty of great racing on the horizon, we take a look at 10 horses to follow for the autumn carnival and look at their main target races.

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