1. CHAUTAUQUA – T Berry (11)
Won this race last year after finishing second in the G1 Newmarket his previous start. The 5yo finished third (1 length) in this year’s Newmarket Handicap three weeks ago but gave all his competitors weight under the handicap conditions. Back to WFA here suits – has won four of his last six under these conditions, handles give out of the track and will be steaming home.
2. FLAMBERGE – D Lane (8)
He recorded his third Group 1 victory last Friday with a narrow victory over Holler in the William Reid Stakes (1000m). That followed a tough win in the Oakleigh Plate and the 6yo has never raced in better style. Has been overlooked past couple, where he started double-figures on both occasions, but surely not to be underestimated here – has faultless form.
3. DELECTATION – J Bowman (2)
Niggled out a long way out first up in the Lightning Stakes when fifth (2 lengths) behind Chautauqua, before never figuring in the Newmarket Handicap finishing last of nine. Given a soft trial under Bowman earlier in the week but just haven’t seen enough from him this time in to think he’d be a winning chance here.
4. TERRAVISTA – B Avdulla (7)
Unlucky not to win the G1 Lightning Stakes first up when nosed out on the line by Chautauqua, before a four week and return to Sydney where he lined up the favourite for the G1 Galaxy Stakes. Settled four back the fence in the Galaxy and found enough room in the straight to finish better than the ninth placing he finally did – 4.5 lengths from winner Griante. Not the performance you want to see heading into a WFA G1 and regular rider Hugh Bowman is now aboard Delectation.
5. OUR BOY MALACHI – D Dunn (6)
Great return of an extended break to defeat Solicit in the Expressway Stakes back in late January but his only run since – the G1 Canterbury Stakes, resulted in a disappointing fifth behind Holler. Slowly away and ridden not in usual free-wheeling manner which we should see him return to here. Dunn takes the reins for the first time, he’s four from four on soft tracks and if similar conditions prevail on Saturday, surely his current price of $21 trims up?
6. REBEL DANE – D Oliver (15)
Had his chance and finished just behind the place-getters and with two lengths of the winner in each of his first three runs back from a spell this time in – before finding the second to widest gate in the G1 Galaxy last fortnight, too much of a challenge, finishing tenth. No luck again at the barrier draw coming up with widest gate here at for him to be winning at this level, needs it all to go according to plan which from out there, it’s highly unlikely to.
7. DOTHRAKI – M Zahra (5)
Good effort first up in the Oakleigh Plate for mine given he was jumping form the widest gate in a capacity field and proved it was with a solid third in the G1 Galaxy at his only start since. Drawn to get a lovely run here from five and whilst he is in form, the WFA conditions, which he tackels for the first time, is a new level to meet.
8. FAMOUS SEAMUS – G Schofield (3)
Drawn wide in each of his two runs back from a spell, firstly in the G3 Liverpool City Cup where he pushed forward, and secondly in the The Galaxy where he settled back. Finished eleventh in both races and has been well accounted for when trying this grade in the past. We needed to be seeing stronger performances from his recently to consider him a genuine hope here.
9. SHIRAZ – B Prebble (9)
Took all before him last preparation, graduating from Benchmark races to Group 2 company and appears to having continued on that trajectory over his summer break judging by his runs in the G2 Challenge Stakes and last fortnight’s G1 Galaxy. Settled midfield in the running line last start before hooking wide and finishing strongly, claiming second behind Griante. Tackles WFA for the first time however, given the way he’s improving and has meet other challenges, not writing him off from doing well here.
10. FAST ‘N’ ROCKING – N Hall (13)
Found his fair share of traffic top of the straight first up in the Oakleigh Plate and finished tenth (3.2 lengths) behind Flamberge, before getting much closer to the same horse last Friday in the William Reid Stakes – fourth (0.9 lengths). Not the first time he has earned a prize-money cheque in a WFA G1, but facts remains, his still yet to win one and would think the challenge for him from a wide great, that this would be his first.
11. KNOYDART – S Clipperton (12)
Hasn’t raced since October and has had two recent trials in readiness for his return. Ran a great third behind Chautauqua first up last prep in the Gilgai Stakes, continuing his solid form during the Winter which saw him second in the G1 BTC Cup to Hot Snitzel. Set a tough task here first up – even more so given he’ll be giving them a start, and whilst you can expect him to finishing off well, think he’ll be at his peak for a return trip to QLD.
12. BOSS LANE – T Clark (4)
5yo from Ron Quinton’s yard is racing well and after running second to English in the G2 Challenge Stakes (1000m), produced an honest effort in the Galaxy, running seventh and finishing four lengths from the winner Griante. Jumps up 6kgs in weight carried compared to last start and although he’ll get his chance from a favourable inside draw, will find this company just too hot.
13. FELL SWOOP – Z Purton (10)
Something beaten first up behind Flamberge in the Oakleigh Plate and then had every chance in the G1 Galaxy last start when fourth (1.5 lengths). Another who rises sharply in weights under the WFA conditions but is going very well at the minute and with top jock Zac Purton aboard, he might just be able to sneak some cover midfield in the run. For those looking for a value runner in the multiples, think this guy could fit the bill.
14. EXOSPHERE – J McDonald (4)
Went to the inside of the straight Flemington track first up in the G1 Lightning but was on his lonesome, and his effort to finish fourth (1.7 lengths) behind the likes of Chautauqua and Terravista, wasn’t bad. Very smart 3yo who looks to have all the credentials to make it this ground – top jock, good gate, very smart barrier trial win since the Lightning – there’s a lot to like about his chances.
15. ENGLISH – B Shinn (14)
Great win in the G2 Challenge Stakes first up from a spell, seeing her jump favourite for the G1 Galaxy Stakes at her next and most recent start. She drew the widest gate in the Galaxy (14) – as he has done here as well – and was a clear last turning for home, before running home along the fence evenly to claim sixth spot. Can’t be giving a field of this quality that kind of start and expecting to run them down.