The Follow Files: Winning Partner, Grand Pope both luckless

HorseBetting blackbook tips

It was a strange old day on Saturday as a number of market fancies went down at both Randwick and Flemington. We saw a few Group 1 winners return in the Missile Stakes – which was taken out by a $101 shot who hadn’t won in two years, so we are happy to ignore the form from that race – while Flemington dished up plenty of close finishes. We have found two horses to add into your blackbook from the Victorian metropolitan meeting.

Flemington | Track: Soft 6 | Rail: +10m Entire Course

Race 3: Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m) | Time: 1:03.98

  • Horse to follow: GRAND POPE (12th)

If you go back and watch the third race at Flemington on Saturday, you might think we are mad to add GRAND POPE into our blackbook. The horse never really travelled well at any stage under Damien Oliver down the straight, finishing some 8.4 lengths away in 12th. He ran the fastest split of the race between the 800m and 600m, however, and had the eighth-best final 200m of the race, with his work past the post also quite impressive. We are happy to forgive that run and take away a few positives in the hope that we get a nice price with online bookmakers next start.

When to bet: Given he had never won below 1200m, the 1100m wasn’t going to be his go on Saturday. Nick Ryan has nominated him for a 1200m race this weekend at Caulfield, but he looks unlikely to get a start in the final field. If he does, we are happy to be on him at big odds. Watch his work late in the navy jacket towards the inside part of the track.

Race 8: Open Handicap (1410m) | Time: 1:25.62

  • Horse to follow: WINNING PARTNER (2nd)

While Saturday looked to be an ideal race for WINNING PARTNER, nothing went right. The Tony & Calvin McEvoy-trained galloper missed the start, was forced wide without cover and went down by a long neck, so it was not a pretty watch for those punters who were on. In saying that, with the bad luck comes plenty of merit, because he had no right to finish where he did.

When to bet: He was stepping back from 1600m to 1410m on Saturday, so if he gets back to the mile next time, we want to be with him – especially at Flemington. He can win a similar race to what he contested here.

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