Flemington hosts its first Group 1 meeting of 2022 with the running of Lightning Stakes over 1000 metres.
Nature Strip is our current favourite as we get set for the exclusive BetDeluxe runner-by-runner preview of the nine-race card from headquarters.
The track should play quite fairly with the outside fence likely to be the best place in the straight races.
flemington race 1
#7 red kelly
Red Kelly is an Irish import for the Peter Moody stable who showed enough on debut in Australia to suggest he can run a big race here.
He was part of a race over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley that had a heap of early speed and he lacked the race fitness to deal with the way the race was run.
Really liked the way he found the line when he flattened out in the straight and he ran on well from the rear half of the field.
Getting up to 2000 metres should be see him land closer to the leaders and, while he might be a run or two short of peak fitness, the odds are too good to refuse.
Suggested Bet: Red Kelly each-way at $9 the win and $2.9 the place.
Confidence Rating: 6/10
flemington race 2
Could be a genuine group horse based off what he did at Warrnambool when resuming from a spell.
He showed his usual customary early dash to lead and crush his opposition.
Has to take a step up in grade to city level and he does rise 2.5kgs for staying in the same benchmark grade, but that will be offset by his elevating fitness levels.
He is a big, strong, striding horse who makes his own luck out in front.
Jarrod Fry is a very good front-running rider and should be able to rate this gelding perfectly in the lead.
Suggested Bet: Tuvalu win at $2.05
Confidence Rating: 8/10
flemington race 3
#7 groovy kinda love
Her run at Caulfield last start was much better than it looked to the eye.
She got way too far back for a horse who was coming off a nine-week let up and had to deal with a big mid-race acceleration and squeeze that brought her undone.
She sustained her run bravely and it will only bring on her for this race at Flemington.
Getting up in distance to a more slowly run race is going to suit her and gun jockey Brett Prebble takes the ride.
Suggested Bet: Groovy Kinda Love each-way at $6 the win and $2.15 the place.
Confidence Rating: 7.5/10
flemington race 4
This is the toughest race of the day with a host of raced horses and unraced horses.
Going with I’mLovin’ya who started shortest in the Blue Diamond Preview for the fillies.
She got way too far back and was making good ground late in the race over 1000 metres at Caulfield.
The race-day experience should surely see her elevate her performance and running in straight line might just see her at her best.
Damian Lane hopping on is a green tick.
Suggested Bet: I’mlovin’ya each-way at $5.5 the win and $2.15 the place.
Confidence Rating: 3/10
flemington race 5
#5 barb raider
Kept elevating to a higher level in her first campaign.
The spell seems to have done her a world of good after running bravely in the Thousand Guineas and Wakeful Stakes.
She looks to have come back a better race horse from what we have seen at the jump outs and can make it a winning return.
Will either lead or the take the trailing run a pair behind the leaders if it gets too fast out in front.
Either way, she is a big winning chance and looks weighted superbly for a horse with Group 1 form on her resume.
Suggested Bet: Barb Raider win at $4.2
Confidence Rating: 7.5/10
flemington race 6
He is fast, he is strong and he is a winner.
Pinstriped is the new stable star for Enver Jusufovic and put his hand up as a new star prospect in the juvenile ranks after a sensational win at Moonee Valley.
He paraded like a horse who needed the run first-up, but he put his opposition away with ease.
Scary to think he will only get better as he continues to race.
He sprinted really sharply when resuming and the extra and that is going to come in handy against horses in this race who look much more dour than him.
Suggested Bet: Pinstriped win at $3.2
Confidence Rating: 7/10
flemington race 7
#1 nature strip
The best sprinter in the world and the reigning Lightning Stakes champion.
Does his best racing up the straight with six wins from eight starts.
Weight-for-age conditions suit him perfectly and he maps to lead this from start to finish.
He will bust this field open with his brilliant acceleration and heart-stopping turn of foot.
Should be far too quick for this field despite it being full of genuine Group 1 talent.
Suggested Bet: Nature Strip win at $2.5
Confidence Rating: 9/10
flemington race 8
#12 corner pocket
No reason to stay away from winning machine Corner Pocket.
He went undefeated through five runs last campaign and can easily make it career win number eight at start number ten.
It would be a waste for Declan Bates not to hunt up and probe through on the rail to hold out the rest of the field.
He will lead them up and try to break their hearts with his sustained speed.
Suggested Bet: Corner Pocket win at $3.80
Confidence Rating: 8.5/10
flemington race 9
#9 pioneer river
Pioneer River returns to the track he loves.
His last two starts at Flemington have seen him bolt in both times despite those races being in lower grade than he is in here.
He seemed to wobble around the Moonee Valley circuit last start and seems to be a horse who appreciates running in a straight line.
Draws a barrier where he can blend into the race and saved for one finishing burst up the middle.
Suggested Bet: Pioneer River each-way at $5.5 the win and $2.15 the place.
Confidence Rating: 5/10