VRC Derby Day is the best day of racing anywhere on the planet! Find out who our experts are tipping to race into spring glory.
Flemington Race 6
#15 IN SECRET
In Secret was only nabbed late in The Group 1 Golden Rose. She went straight past the low-flying Golden Mile, who subsequently went on to win the Caulfield Guineas. I love the fact she has had a little freshen-up, and the drop back to 1200m from 1400m can allow her to burn the turf. Barrier 9 is ideal for the straight six event, and you can never underestimate the James Cummings and James McDonald combination.
Jacquinot produced a devastating finish to win The Golden Rose in the shadows. The Everest run behind Giga Kick, Private Eye, Mazu, and Nature Strip was first-class and possibly a career peak. Rarely runs poorly, but I am concerned the last two gut-busting runs may have taken their toll—the clear danger.
Coolangatta can figure here after a last-start Group 1 win in The Moir. The form since has stood up with Bella Nipotina winning The Group 1 Manikato. Chance.
Suggested Bet: In Secret @ $3.80
FLEMINGTON RACE 7
#2 BERKELEY SQUARE
Most runners are coming through last Saturday’s AMMI Vase, held at Moonee Valley, or The Spring Champions, run at Royal Randwick.
Vase winner Berkeley Square and Spring Champions winner Sharp ‘N’ Smart have drawn well in barriers 5 and 3, respectively. In contrast, Geelong Classic Winner Grand Pierro has drawn the carpark in barrier 15. The well-performed Mr Maestro has also been dealt a blow drawing barrier 17. Pericles, who looks progressive, has drawn barrier six and has obtained the services of international gun jockey William Buick.
Many experts wrote off the Caulfield Guineas form, but the form was franked last weekend with multiple winners and well-performed horses all coming through this year’s time-honoured stallion-making race. Many horses that line up in The Derby can be tied to or connected to this form line. It will be interesting to see how it stands up over 2500m.
Happy to have a small outlay on Berkeley Square, but there isn’t much separating it and Sharp ‘N’ Smart, who have opened up as equal favourites. Both have form around Elliptical, who was ultra-competitive against the low-flying and talented Golden Mile. Berkeley Square races well at Flemington (2/2) and has the perfect turn-off foot for the long Flemington straight. I can’t stop thinking about his win in The Exford Plate. He will be more suited to the soft, not heavy, conditions, and I love the fact he sat closer to the speed last Saturday to open the lungs in readiness for the 2500m. Early market support gives me confidence, as does the horses for courses principal!
If the rain bomb lands on Saturday, I would probably lean towards the Sharp ‘N’ Smart corner, while the danger to both key runners is Pericles, who will relish Flemington and 2500m. Plenty of upside.
Suggested Bet: Berkeley Square @ $3.30
FLEMINGTON Race 8
Despite the “re barrier draw” where she went from barrier 3 to barrier 16, it’s hard to go passed Hinged who was narrowly beaten in The Group 1 Epsom.
The top 3 runners gapped the rest of the field and she was only edged out by two well credentialed males. I love the fact she has had a barrier trial coming into this to keep her ticking along. She is very genuine, but she will need some luck to get the right run in transit from the draw. Brett Prebble takes the ride and she looks great eachway value despite the circumstances.
La Crique brings impressive New Zealand form. She ran time at her latest outing and the form around her stacks up. Fangirl looks over the odds, while Nimalee can run well on the quick back up.
Suggested Bet: Hinged @ $6
Flemington race 9
After being stiff and luckless at Moonee Valley, Asfoora brained them last start at Caulfield. Being up against males with a weight rise is a concern, but she does look classy. If she can jump cleanly and put herself positively in the race, she will be hard to toss.
A Very Fine Wine can go on with it after winning impressively last start. Was over the odds when winning and again looks good value. Zapateo has a win on the board over the talented Chain Of Lightning, who has since taken the next step up in grade successfully.
A complicated way to finish a sensational meeting. Many chances.
Suggested Bet: Asfoora @ $3