The Follow Files: Group 1 hopes emerge at Caulfield, Randwick

HorseBetting blackbook tips

The first Group 1 of 2022 was run and won on the weekend, with Tofane taking out yet another 1400m race at the highest level. With racing at Caulfield, Royal Randwick and Doomben on Saturday, some of the country’s best horses stepped out for the first time this autumn, and a number of those look as though they can win some nice races during the carnival. Find out who we are adding into our blackbook out of Saturday’s racing.

Royal Randwick | Track: Soft 5 | Rail: +5m Entire Course

Race 4: BENCHMARK 72 MIDWAY HANDICAP (1000M) | TIME: 57.46

  • Horse to follow: DELEXO (3rd)

It’s not too often you see James McDonald put in a bad steer, but he did on Saturday when aboard the heavily backed DELEXO. The four-year-old is a bit of a winning machine, having won four from 10 prior to Saturday, with all of his wins coming over 1000m. As expected, he didn’t lead on Saturday given that the speedy Capital Reign was in the race, and although J-Mac found the box-seat, it turned out being the worst seat in the house – like sitting behind the big screen in a football stadium. The son of Exosphere was absolutely trucking behind the leaders and had nowhere to go, before flashing late when it was all over.

When to bet: There is no doubt that Kris Buchanan will find a similar race where this galloper can dominate. He is a speedy commodity over the 1000m trip, so look for him either on a Saturday in town, or during the week at a track like Gosford or Wyong where he will be winning.


  • Horses to follow: HERESY (5th) & STARTANTES (6th)

There’s no hiding the fact that the two fillies who were first past the post – Fangirl and Espiona – in Saturday’s Light Fingers Stakes are very, very good, but there were a couple of hidden gems in behind. Both HERESY and STARTANTES went super without a great deal of luck in behind. Heresy was given a great ride by Sam Clipperton from a low barrier, but unfortunately there wasn’t a great deal of room in the straight, so she never had a fair crack at them in her first-up assignment. While we don’t think she can turn the tables on Fangirl or Espiona, if she heads to different races or even back to Melbourne, she could be a real winning chance at decent odds. Startantes had a fairly different run in transit, sustaining a long, wide run from last to go down by just over two lengths. Startantes also had to over come barrier 13 in the 14-horse field, so there was a lot against her.

When to bet: These two fillies could potentially have another clash with a very similar field in a fortnight in the Surround Stakes, so we are likely to get big place odds about both of them again. Heresy could head back to Melbourne and win a nice race there, while Startantes is trained in Queensland, so we would imagine she has the wood on whoever she would race in Brisbane.

CAULFIELD | Track: Good 4 (Good 3 after R5) | Rail: True

RACE 2: GROUP 2 AUTUMN STAKES (1400M) | TIME: 1:24.28

  • Horse to follow: BURNING POWER (2nd)

There was no hiding the run from BURNING POWER on Saturday as she absolutely flew late to just miss in the Autumn Stakes. Prior to Saturday’s run, the filly by Sizzling had won three from five – including back-to-back successes at Moonee Valley in November – on the back of running fourth to Espiona at Flemington. Having settled near last on Saturday, the three-year-old made a wide run and motored home to just miss behind Coastwatch, who is a Group 1 performer. There wasn’t a great deal of speed in the race, as Coastwatch sat outside the leader to win, so it was a mammoth effort for her to finish off the way she did in her first-up run.

When to bet: We though we may have seen this filly back up on Saturday in the Vanity Stakes at Flemington, but Patrick Payne hasn’t rushed her with bigger targets in mind. She does hold a nomination for the Group 1 Australian Oaks, but she will need to go to another level again to beat those Sydney fillies. Next start over 1400m or 1600m can see her successful.


  • Horse to follow: ARGENTIA (1st)

We aren’t often too keen on blackbooking a horse that just won, but ARGENTIA proved on Saturday that she is a serious racehorse. The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained filly was dominant on debut down the Flemington straight as a two-year-old, which saw her open favourite for races like the Thousand Guineas and VRC Oaks, but after going lame in her first run as a three-year-old, her spring was over. She started $8 on Saturday and had panels on her rivals, despite only winning by the narrowest of margins. Like Burning Power, Argentia was back last on the turn and came down the centre of the track at a great rate of knots to win in the final bound. She can win a Group 1 this autumn.

When to bet: A battle with Espiona and Fangirl beckons for this filly in the Group 1 Surround Stakes should the stable send her to Sydney, but if she stays in Melbourne, she could be a genuine chance in the Australian Guineas against the boys.

DOOMBEN | Track: Good 4 (Soft 5 after R3) | Rail: +4.5m Entire Course


  • Horse to follow: KNIGHT MARINER (4th)

KNIGHT MARINER resumed on Saturday in what was his first run in about 18 months. The Tony Gollan-trained four-year-old had some serious form as a three-year-old, having run second in the Winx Guineas in his last start. On Saturday, he was bottled up behind the speed and never got a fair crack at them, before charging late when it was all over to go down by 1.35 lengths. It was interesting to note that Knight Mariner drifted from $4 out to $8.50 prior to the jump, so there wasn’t a great deal of stable confidence.

When to bet: If not next start, Knight Mariner will win at the start after that. He looks to have recovered from a career-threatening injury and is in the best stable in the state, so a victory beckons.

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