The Follow Files: Swats That flashes into Newmarket contention

HorseBetting blackbook tips

Group 1 racing continued in Melbourne on Saturday with the running of the Lightning Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight, and while Home Affairs and Nature Strip stole the show, there was an eye-catching run in behind the Chris Waller duo. Find out who the team at The Follow Files are putting in their blackbook and backing at their next starts.

Rosehill Gardens | Track: Soft 6 | Rail: True Entire Course

Race 6: Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1100m) | Time: 1:04.69

  • Horse to follow: Magic (2nd)

There were plenty of eyes on the Team Hawkes-trained MAGIC over the weekend, and for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he is hard to miss – a flashy chestnut with white socks and a white strip on his face is always going to standout – but when a horse of that nature comes with a $2.5 million price tag and is a full-brother to a Group 1 winner, it’s hard to dodge the spotlight. In saying that, Magic still started as an $18 chance in this race, but his fast-finishing performance saw his price slashed for the Golden Slipper Stakes, with the colt now a $13 chance for the $5 million Rosehill feature. He got a long way back under William Pike, but a vintage Pike ride saw Magic slice his way through the pack at a rate of knots, charging into second behind the leader and winner, Best Of Bordeaux.

When to bet: Obviously with these high-priced two-year-olds, all eyes are on the Golden Slipper for trainers and connections, so that is where he will head. In saying that, Magic could be better suited over a bit further, possibly in a race like the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) during The Championships.

Race 7: Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) | Time: 1:58:30

  • Horse to follow: NO COMPROMISE (2nd)

We aren’t going to go into too much detail here, because NO COMPROMISE has already featured in The Follow Files after his first-up run in the Carrington Stakes in January. But, if you missed that, here’s your chance to put the Chris Waller-trained stayer into your blackbook and get on him to win the Sydney Cup. For those of you who have followed along from the start, hopefully you got the $26 for this galloper in that race, because he is now a $12 chance after another super performance. He was back last on Saturday, had a wall of horses in front of him, and by the time he got clear air, the race was all over. It’s not too late to get on board.

When to bet: Sydney Cup!

Flemington | Track: Good 4 | Rail: True Entire Course

Race 7: Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) | Time: 56.64

  • Horse to follow: SWATS THAT (4th)

Naturally in these Group 1 races, flashing light runs aren’t missed, but when a horse like SWATS THAT hits the line like she did, people can be quick to dismiss it. The Leon & Troy Corstens-trained mare won three of her first five starts across her first two campaigns, but she now hasn’t won a race since October 2020 when a dominant Group 3 winner. Since then, Swats That ran second in the Coolmore Stud Stakes and third in the Lightning 12 months ago, while she also finished second to Nature Strip in the VRC Sprint Classic on November 6 last year. She hit the line stylishly on Saturday to go down by 1.7 lengths in her first-up run for the year, showing enough to want to be with her at her next start.

When to bet: Swats That’s best form is definitely down the Flemington straight, so we expect to see her target the Newmarket Handicap in March – a race that she ran fifth in 12 months ago. She is a $15 chance for that race, which doesn’t look to be a bad bet.

Race 8: Listed Elms Handicap (1400m) | Time: 1:21.87

  • Horse to follow: JUNIPAL (6th)

Cast your mind back to the spring of 2019; JUNIPAL was one of the big names of that era, going into the Group 1 Epsom Handicap as a $26 chance, before starting as a $3.60 favourite in the Cup Day Plate at Flemington. He had a decent break after that and resumed with a few consecutive wins in September 2020, which saw him start $4 in the Toorak Handicap at Group 1 level and then win the Group 3 Sandown Stakes at his next start. The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained six-year-old was first-up in 11 months on Saturday and he really caught our eye, charging home in restricted room along the inside running rail behind Corner Pocket and Morvada.

When to bet: Whether or not this gelding’s trainers are going to aim as high with him as they once did remains to be seen, but he does hold a nomination for the Doncaster Mile ($201). He can win a similar race to what he contested on Saturday, with something like the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 5 a potential target for him.

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