Christmas for punters is finally here, with the best month and a half of racing in Australia kicking off last Saturday with two massive Group 1 meetings at Randwick and Flemington. We have focused this week’s Follow Files on those two meetings, where we have found some horses that produced very good runs on their way to Victoria’s top Cup races.
Flemington – Turnbull Stakes Day
Track rating: Good 4 (up to Good 3 after R5)
Rail position: +9m entire circuit
Race 2: Listed Paris Lane Stakes (1400m) | Time: 1:22.30
- Horse to follow: Character (4th)
If you want to know what a nightmare run for punters looks like, just go ahead and watch this replay of the James Cummings-trained Character. This four-year-old gelding was absolutely bolting behind a wall of horses, whilst also being held in by Riddle Me That until about the 200m mark, and when he got out the race was just about over. Who knows what this son of Teofilo would have done if he did get clear galloping room 200m earlier. However, most observers believe he would have gone very, very close and possibly even won.
When to bet: The Godolphin team has Character nominated for the Toorak Handicap over 1600m this weekend at Caulfield if they choose to back him up, but they also hold a nomination for the Golden Eagle at Rosehill Gardens on October 29 over 1500m. There is nothing saying that he couldn’t run in both of these races, but considering Character would be running twice in as many weeks, we think that he is a better bet in the Golden Eagle over 1500m, where he will be very hard to beat.
Race 6: Group 3 Bart Cummings (2510m) | Time: 2:36.67
- Horse to follow: Francesco Guardi (2nd)
Francesco Guardi could have been one of the best runs we have seen in sometime, considering this gelding nearly fell and dislodged Craig Newitt at the 900m mark as he got tightened for room. Even with that happening, this son of Frankel made his way to the very outside of the field and absolutely flew down the home straight to only go down by half a length to the eventual winner, Lunar Flare. After such a great result in his first crack at 2400m-plus in Australia, it wouldn’t surprise us if he tried his luck in one of the Cups qualifying races in the coming weeks.
When to bet: Currently the Chris Waller team only holds one nomination for Francesco Guardi – in the Five Diamonds 1800m event at Rosehill Gardens on November 5, where he would definitely be a bet on a Good track. However, if he pulls up well from the Bart Cummings run, we would expect to see Waller throwing her into a race like the Hotham Stakes on Derby Day, as a last-ditch attempt to get into the Melbourne Cup.
Randwick – Epsom Raceday
Track rating: Heavy 8
Rail position: +3m entire circuit
Race 9: Group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) | Time: 2:38.13
- Horse to follow: Realm Of Flowers (3rd)
At Randwick on Saturday they raced on a Heavy track that played pretty fair all day long. Realm Of Flowers was one of the best runs in defeat all day, as the Sam & Anthony Freedman-trained mare travelled three wide for the entire 2400m journey. Despite that, she stuck on very gamely down the straight where she looked like her run had come to an end many times. However, this daughter of So You Think was super as she went to the line in a ding-dong battle with race winner No Compromise and second-placegetter Le Don De Vie to eventually only go down by a nose on the line.
When to bet: Realm Of Flowers holds a nomination for the Melbourne Cup and currently sits at 30 in the order of entry, meaning she will need a few scratchings or she needs to win another race in order to make the 24-horse field. If she runs before the Melbourne Cup in a race over 2400m-plus on a Soft track, she is definitely a bet. However, if we get a Soft track on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington, Realm Of Flowers could be going very close with a light weight in the race that stops a nation.