Before we head to Flemington for Melbourne Cup week, the Bendigo Cup takes centre stage this Wednesday! With competitive Benchmark racing also featuring on the bumper program, find out who our experts are expecting to take home the cash from the nursery of champions.
Bendigo Race 6
#2 Rich Fortune
Rich Fortune looks poised to strike fresh! The Rich Enuff mare races well first-up, and I am confident 1100m is her best distance. The lightly raced four-year-old will appreciate the significant drop in grade, and her public jump-outs leading into this assignment have been first-class. The flood of early money has been significant, and I expect it to continue until the barriers open. Hard to toss!
Stormbolt was good first-up at Flemington in a hot-form race. The Foxwedge gelding strips fitter and he is undefeated second-up. He finds a winnable assignment, and I suspect he will pilot the field if he can show his customary toe out of the gates. The drop back to 1100m is advantageous, and I expect him to look the winner at the top of the final furlong.
Bellinger is knocking on the door. All runs this preparation have been great without winning, and I expect him to produce a peak performance for the spell on Wednesday. The Zoustar gelding should get the gun run from the inside draw, and the apprentice claim could prove the winning difference. Too consistent to dismiss!
Suggested Bet: Rich Fortune @ $3.40
Bendigo RACE 7
Muramasa is flying! The Deep Impact gelding has recorded back-to-back wins this preparation, and he looks well placed to continue on his winning ways. The step out in distance is ideal at this stage of the campaign, and he traditionally runs well at this stage of his spell. His last-start win at Caulfield is still fresh in the memory bank, and I suspect he still has further natural improvement to come. The wide gate is the primary concern.
Interpretation can bounce back after a luckless last-start performance at Flemington. The Galileo gelding was blocked for a run at a crucial stage, and he should have finished closer to the winner. The Group 3 competitive five-year-old will get his chance to threaten from a good gate, and he has surprisingly come in well at the weights. His recent winning record is the biggest deterrent.
Brayden Star is ultra-consistent. The talented four-year-old has recorded some impressive victories throughout 2023 and looks to have a long and successful career in front of him. From barrier two, he will save every inch of ground, and if the gaps appear as the field turns for home, he can figure in the finish. His racing pattern and style will always require an element of luck.
Suggested Bet: Muramasa @ $4.60
Bendigo Race 8
Jimmysstar is the most intriguing runner of the meeting. The Per Incanto gelding makes his Australian debut for the Maher and Eustace camp, and his best form from New Zealand reads incredibly well for this event. The lightly raced four-year-old oozes class, and I suspect he has plenty of natural improvement to come. It may pay dividends to watch for any significant market moves. The stable must get sick of training winners!
The Prodigal Son looks ready for the step out to 1300m. The Fighting Sun gelding hit the line hard at his latest outing at Benalla, and he was honest in the start prior at Moonee Valley. I suspect the tough four-year-old gelding has the fitness edge on the majority of his rivals, and he should get all the favours in the run with Damien ‘The Goat’ Oliver in the saddle. His recent winning record is the primary concern.
Treporti was good without winning fresh at Caulfield. The I Am Invincible gelding always performs well second-up, and he has previously tasted success over 1300m. From barrier four, he can sit in the one out one back position, and if Ben Allen presents him with his run at the right time, he can greet the judge before his rivals. The allocated grandstand weight is the biggest obstacle.
Suggested Bet: Jimmysstar @ $2.60
Bendigo Race 9
#14 Is It Me
Is It Me was fantastic first-up without winning. He chased home the smart Skybird, and he never shirked the task despite being beaten a long way from home. The Iffraaj gelding has won previously second-up, and he drops 7kg on his previous outing. From barrier one, he can camp behind the speed, and if he finds clear air before the whips are cracking, he will make his presence felt late. The class rise is the primary concern.
Deekay was an impressive winner first-up at Benalla. He faded late in a hot form race second-up at Caulfield, and I suspect he is ready to explode third-up on Wednesday. The Hellbent gelding oozes class, and he is building a very consistent career record. From barrier two, he will roll forward and lead the field a merry dance, and if he can pinch some cheap sectionals throughout, he will look at the winner at the top of the home straight. The last 100m will be the acid test!
Belthil was a narrow last-start winner at Caulfield. The Telperion gelding snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and he meets similar opposition in this assignment. The 1400m is in his wheelhouse, and with even luck in transit, I expect him to figure in the finish. Watch for the big boy late!
Suggested Bet: Is It Me @ $3.70