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Flemington: Stakes Day Group 1 Previews & Tips

TWO exciting Group 1s round out the 2017 Flemington Carnival, with an exciting crop of horses tackling the Darley Classic and Emirates Stakes.

Here is how our we’ve analysed both races – you can get set on both via GOAT Top +5%, Australia’s best tote product, or fixed odds at TopBetta.

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GROUP 1 DARLEY CLASSIC (1200M)

A field of equal quality to that which contested The Everest lines up down the straight for the Darley and a compelling case could be made for a number of runners to win.

The Everest winner REDZEL ($4.20) is the deserved early favourite and at first glance appears to have a number of factors in his favour. He’s a front-running sprinter who has drawn a wide gate, giving him first access to what may be the coveted outside fence come this stage of the carnival. He’s also a previous Flemington straight track winner and is gunning for his sixth consecutive victory. It is hard to knock him, but he has also been kept very safe in early betting.

On the second line comes VEGA MAGIC ($4.60), the hard luck story of The Everest. He rattled home for second there after being given a negative ride, before suffering a little misfortune in the Manikato. He’s an unknown down the straight but his quality is undoubtable.

The Grey Flash CHAUTAUQUA ($6.50) also rates a strong chance on his excellent Flemington form, which includes four wins and four minors from eight starts. He was a fast-finishing fourth in The Everest before being scratched at the gates in the Manikato and barring any mishaps here should be storming home down the outside.

IN HER TIME ($8.00) and IMPENDING ($9.00) finished one-two in the Everest consolation event at Randwick. The mare was a short-priced favourite that day and saluted in quicker time than Redzel in the main event, before running a close second in the Manikato. If the inside is on fire she’s a huge chance. Impending will be saved for one last sprint past the outside division and will likely need to be in front of Chautauqua in the run to beat him home.

Of the others, perhaps MALAGUERRA ($14.00) presents as the best double figure hope. He’s third up here off a barnstorming Manikato placing, maps to tail Redzel down the outside and has an excellent record at Flemington. If the outside is the place to be, he could easily start in single figures.

The remaining runners look to have key factors against them which convince us they’re worth risking here. REDKIRK WARRIOR ($13.00) has twice won down the straight when controlling a moderate tempo – he’s unlikely to do that here. CLEARLY INNOCENT ($21.00) has been going okay this prep but is perhaps better around a turn. The others look to lack the class of the fancied runners.

THE VERDICT

With all of this in mind, it is hard to ignore the strong form emanating from The Everest. While we have total respect for the winner Redzel, SP profiling suggests that Vega Magic and Chautauqua look better bets. With his superior record down the straight, CHAUTAUQUA is a great play at the price. MALAGUERRA is also a strong each-way play – drawn the outside, he’ll track the speed nicely and should have every chance off a huge Manikato performance.

1 CHAUTAUQUA

2 MALAGUERRA

3 REDZEL

4 VEGA MAGIC

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GROUP 1 EMIRATES STAKES (2000M)

The Emirates Stakes, better known to some as the old Mackinnon, doesn’t quite carry the same quality as the Darley but does look an intriguing affair all the same.

FOLKSWOOD ($5.00) holds narrow early favouritism off a Cox Plate placing. He was soundly beaten by the first two but that is no knock. The concern for him here is where he gets to in the run – to win he will need to go forward, but finding a slot from barrier 15 may be tricky. At this stage we’d have to let him go around without our support.

GINGERNUTS and CLIFF’S EDGE (both $6.00) share the second line of early betting – but only one could possibly be considered a betting prospect. The former arrives here off an aborted Caulfield and Melbourne Cup preparation, through no fault of his own, and looks primed to do something. Interestingly, his best runs have come on his clockwise leg though, not anticlockwise. The lone three-year-old of the field Cliff’s Edge looks major unders early – he was soundly beaten by Aloisia last start, who was then soundly beaten in the Oaks. It is hard to have him against proven Weight For Age horses, but he will provide a nice tempo-setter out front.

Also from the Cox Plate comes GAILO CHOP and HAPPY CLAPPER (both $7.50). The former won this very race two years ago and was also a good winner of the Caulfield Stakes over this trip two runs back, beating the Melbourne Cup runner up. He looks a nice enough price to have a bet, but Happy Clapper does not. The Cox Plate set up was always against him but he did go down at long odds on the start before. It looks as though his Epsom win may have been his peak run this prep.

All of that said, the horse that we’re really interested in is TOSEN STARDOM ($10.00). Two back he relished a strong tempo to win the Toorak over a mile, before being caught in the worst part of the track and being unsuited under handicap conditions on Derby Day. At Weight For Age here, with a cosy inside draw that will allow him to stalk a genuine tempo, he looks an outstanding each-way play.

Of the rest, it is hard to dive in to TOM MELBOURNE ($12.00) once again, neither of IT’S SOMEWHAT ($19.00) or HARLEM ($23.00) are going as well as they’d need to in order to win and the remainder look out-classed. That said, if there was to be one real smokey for the exotics it would have to be SENSE OF OCCASION ($41.00) who was too far back over the mile but has produced strong 2000m performances in the past 12 months.

THE VERDICT

We’re going out on a limb and putting the double figure chance TOSEN STARDOM on top – with the right breaks in the run he could produce the superior finish. GAILO CHOP and GINGERNUTS go in for the minors, with strong 2000m performers who should enjoy the conditions. SENSE OF OCCASION adds value to the multiples for fourth, while we concede the favourite FOLKSWOOD is a leading contender with luck in transit.

1 TOSEN STARDOM

2 GAILO CHOP

3 GINGERNUTS

4 SENSE OF OCCASION

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