The time-honoured Victoria Derby takes centre stage this Saturday at Flemington. ‘Derby Day’ is our oldest racing tradition, it formally starts the greatest week on the racing calendar, Melbourne Cup week, and it really is Christmas day for adults. With the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Empire Rose Stakes also featuring, all roads lead to headquarters!
Flemington Race 4
#2 Chain Of Lightning
Flemington RACE 5
Zardozi recorded a stunning last-start victory at Flemington over 1600m. The Kingman filly was a dominant winner, and she will appreciate the step out in distance. She has trialled exceptionally well since her latest appearance, and the flood of early money indicates another bold performance. The talented three-year-old is building a fantastic career record and simply looks to have more upside than her rivals. The wide barrier is her biggest obstacle.
Konasana was good without threatening last start in a hot-form race at Caulfield. The Dundeel filly is no stranger to the longer trip, and I suspect she will get the run of the race from barrier five. She has the fitness edge on the majority of her rivals, and with Jamie Kah in the saddle, she will get every chance to breakthrough. Big watch!
Suggested Bet: Zardozi @ $2.40
fLEMINGTON Race 6
#10 I Am Unstoppable
fLEMINGTON Race 7
#4 Riff Rocket
Riff Rocket can bounce back after a rare last-start defeat at Caulfield. His colours were lowered at $1.28, and punters were left fuming. His dominant win prior at Flemington was outrageous, and I suspect he is ready for the 2500m at this stage of his preparation. From barrier five, the big boy can sit in the one out one back position, and if James McDonald presses the go button at the right time, I expect him to leave his rivals jogging on the spot. The one to beat!
Verdad has been consistent all campaign. He found one too strong late at Moonee Valley, and I am unsure leading throughout was advantageous. He was a sitting duck as the field turned for home, and he did a stack of work early doors. From barrier four, he can sit in the box seat, and if he doesn’t spend his pennies too early in the run, he can make his presence felt late.
Suggested Bet: Riff Rocket @ $2.15
fLEMINGTON Race 8
Atishu was luckless last-start in the Group 1 King Charles III. She got shuffled too far back and was blocked for a run at a crucial stage. Her form prior was teasing, and I suspect she has been trained to explode fourth-up from a spell. Her record at the trip is rock-solid, and she traditionally races well at this stage of her campaign. The Savabeel mare is already a Group 1 winner, and she looks primed to again taste success at the racing’s top level.
Shuffle Dancer is over the odds. The I Am Invincible mare flew from the clouds last start, and she broke the on-course clocks in the process. She is ready to step out over the mile, I suspect this has been a long-range target for the enigmatic four-year-old. Barrier two looks tricky for the back marker, and I am unsure there will be enough tempo in the race to suit her pattern and style.
Suggested Bet: Atishu @ $5.50
fLEMINGTON Race 9
#10 Here To Shock
Here To Shock can bounce back after a below-par effort in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap. His form prior was exceptional, and he meets easier opposition here. The 54.5kg is luxurious, and he should be able to take up his favourite role as race leader jumping from an inside draw. If he can pinch some cheap sectionals throughout, it could be curtains before the field reach the clock tower.
Tamerlane was a brilliant last-start winner at the track and distance. The Golden Horn gelding has trialled brilliantly since, and he deserves his shot at this level. From the perfect inside draw, he can sit in the box seat, and if the gaps appear at the right time, he will figure in the finish. This is his acid test.
Suggested Bet: Here To Shock @ $9.00