It looks to be an exciting day’s racing ahead with plenty of promising gallopers nominated in what will be the second leg of the Flemington triple-header this Saturday.
Home Affairs is the early race-favourite with online bookmakers to take out this year’s running of the Newmarket Handicap.
The Chris Waller-trained colt is coming off a first-up victory in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) where he narrowly beat his star stablemate Nature Strip.
The three-year-old will need to carry 55.5kg to win the race. This is 5kg more than the next highest weighted three-year-old nominated for the race, which is the Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained Artorius.
The John O’Shea-trained Lost and Running will be looking to take his place in the event after beating subsequent Flemington winner Overpass when first-up in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last start.
Lost And Running is set to race at Flemington for the first time on Saturday, but he did have a look at the straight during a jump-out last week. The jump-out included stablemate Quantico and the New Zealand mare Roch ‘N’ Horse, who are both expected to run in the Newmarket.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes training team will be hoping that the step up in trip will see their fast-finishing galloper Masked Crusader taste victory down the straight after a midfield effort in the Lightning Stakes last start. The gelding has had seven starts over the 1200m journey, for five wins and two second placings.
Connections will be hoping mare Swats That can produce another terrific straight track performance after her close-up fourth when first-up in the Lightning Stakes at big odds last start.
The Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) looks to be an intriguing race with the early race-favourite being the much-improved Kerry Parker-trained Think It Over. The gelding is set to make his first appearance in Melbourne for the weight-for-age event.
The Peter Moody-trained Spanish Mission is another of the major nominations for the event. The imported entire will be looking for his first win on Australian soil after running into a place first-up in the Group 3 T.S. Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield last start. Part-owner Brae Sokolski has declared that he will “give up” if his galloper doesn’t run in the top two on Saturday.
Three-year-old colt Forgot You is another interesting nomination. The New Zealand-bred galloper will have to back-up after working home like a horse who will appreciate further when finishing fourth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas last Saturday.
Other notable nominations for the day include Argentia in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1600m). The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained filly may have to take on the well bred Arktika, a galloper out of Makybe Diva’s half-sister Valkyrie Diva. She has shown good promise winning both of her starts to-date.
The impressive debut victory by two-year-old colt Zamborghini has resulted in a nomination for the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m). Zamborghini is joined in the nominations by Let’srollthedice, a Dundeel colt from the Danny O’Brien yard who was well backed on debut when scoring nicely over 1100m.
Sir Bailey will be looking to emulate his dam Jameka by winning the two-year-old event. The nomination comes after the colt was able to win nicely as an odds-on favourite at Sandown last start.
The talented mare Turaath will be looking for her first win this preparation after finishing just outside the placings in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last start. She is nominated for both the Group 3 Matron Stakes (1600m) against the mares and the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) against the boys.