Early markets are cautious around Caulfield’s feature race this weekend, the P B Lawrence Stakes, with six of the nine runners returning from winter spells including Dibayani who will make his Australian debut. The son of Shamardal has placings behind Able Friend, Designs On Rome and Blazing Speed on his CV from Hong Kong but since May of last year, has only had the one race. He was one of five runners at a single figure price when the market first opened on Wednesday and at $4.00, was on the second line of betting behind Smokin’ Joey. Smokin’ Joey ($3.60) is the early favourite off of his win in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes a fortnight ago and if successful Saturday, will emulate Shoot Out who also claimed the race double in consecutive starts back in 2010.
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1. SMOKIN’ JOEY – C Parnham (3)
Six weeks after claiming the Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m), the Wez Hunter trained galloper made it consecutive wins, and three from his last seven, with a strong win in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m). He rounded the field up with a big finish down the centre of the track last start and hard to see him no taking further improvement from it. That victory mean he has won two G3’s and finished second to Suavito in the G1 Futurity Stakes at his past three visits to Caulfield and no reason he won’t add to that record here.
2. THE CLEANER – N Callow (6)
One of if, if not the most, popular horse racing in Australia at the present time was a spelled after a short autumn campaign which culminated in him running fifth (2.5 lengths) in the G3 Easter Cup (2000m) here at Caulfield back in April. Each of his four Melbourne victories have been recorded at Moonee Valley where his bold front-running tactics are best suited but they’ll also be well suited to Caulfield over the 1400m, especially when the speed map for the race suggests he’ll be able to set a tempo to suit from the jump.
3. MOURINHO – V Duric (1)
Surprised most by winning the G2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) first up last prep, his only start to date under1400m, and backed that up with a head second to Dissident in the G1 Orr Stakes at his following start. Two wins and a close second his past three fresh runs, goes well at Caulfield, proven at WFA and although now in the yard of Darryl Blackshaw, it’s hard to see him not running a good race.
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4. DIBAYANI – D Lane (8)
European galloper who has spent the last year in Hong Kong, where he recorded three placings at Group 1 level from his six starts, now resides with David Hayes/Tom Dabernig team. The lightly raced 6yo, this will be only his fourteenth start, hasn’t competed since October of last year. He has only finished worse than fifth once however, given the length of the lay-off, combined with the fact that he hasn’t been seen at any public trials and has drawn wide, would be happy to see how he performs when asked to current price ($4).
5. BIG MEMORY – D Oliver (4)
Whilst outclassed in his two attempts at G1 level last prep – the Sydney Cup (3200m) and Australia Cup (2000m), the son of Duke Of Marmalade wasn’t far away in his other events and placed in Listed Mornington Cup. This will be his first start since the Sydney Cup outing back in April of this year and whilst he has produced some cheeky runs fresh, they’ve been in races of lesser quality than this one and over longer trips. He’ll need this outing.
6. TAIYOO – B Rawiller (5)
Put together a remarkable preparation last time in for trainer Darren Weir, winning seven of his final nine runs of the campaign including the G3 Lord Reims (2600m) in Adelaide. Most recent run saw him nosed out in the G2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) back in March and he’s likely to need a handful of runs and at least 2000m before we see the best of him.
7. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE – K McEvoy (7)
The former European galloper has been lightly raced since joining the Waterhouse stable at the end of 2013 and that patience was rewarded earlier this year when the now 6yo two races from as many starts, including the G3 Doncaster Prelude. He looks to have continued to acclimatise and develop in his break since, with two strong barrier trials over the past month. First go the Melbourne way and Caulfield can prove a tricky track for first-timers to conquer but will push forward from his gate and get a nice run behind The Cleaner.
8. PETROLOGY – D Dunn (9)
Tracked eventual winner Smokin’ Joey into the straight first up in the G3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) but under the 58kgs and being off a twenty week break with no trials, he couldn’t match the sprint of the winner over the final 100m and finished third (3.3 lengths). He’ll strip much fitter for that run and the extra furlong plays into his hands. His last two wins have been over a mile and 1800m and although he may need one more run, sure to be hitting the line well here.
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9. NO TRICKS – S Baster (2)
New Zealand galloper who found some of the leading 3yo races too strong for him over the Winter Carnival before a consolation win in the Gold Coat Daybreak Lover (1800m) on the Gold Coast. Since that win eight weeks ago, the son of Savabeel has travelled back to the stables of his Trainer Wayne Walters in Mt Gambier and hasn’t been seen at the trails since. Will need it longer and much easier than this given what we saw of him up in Queensland.
RACE OVERVIEW –
The Cleaner leads out with Mourinho and Excess Knowledge position up next. He’s a quality animal but think there’s enough there to avoid taking the $4.00 about Dibayani. If he’s going to be vulnerable, it’ll be first up off such a long break at a distance that he hasn’t competed for some time. Mourinho stepped up a level last start and can continue that form here with what shapes up as a sweet run. Excess Knowledge is improving all the time and now that he’s well and truly settled in and acclimatise, we could see more from him still. Recent trials suggest that’ll be the case.
2. EXCESS KNOWLEDGE
4. THE CLEANER