The curtain-raiser to the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes this Saturday is the G2 Bobbie Lewis Quality Stakes (1200m) with Rich Enuff the early favourite at $3.40. He was also started favourite at his last visit to Flemington, the G1 Coolmore Classic on Derby Day last year, but finished out of the money behind Brazen Beau running sixth. He comes off a much needed hit-out after a long break when finishing second to the impressive Bounding. The race also sees the return to racing of Lucky Hussler ($6.60). With a fantastic record over the past twelve months, he has been assigned top-weight of 59kgs. The highest weight carried to victory in the past decade has been 57kgs by We’re Gonna Rock and the now 7yo, will have to produce a big effort first up.
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1. LUCKY HUSSLER – G Boss (2) 59kgs
Contested there Group 1 races during a short autumn campaign and performed well in each of them, including recording a stunning victory first up from a spell in the G1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley. First up here as well and despite the inside draw, which see him require some luck in running, top weight and first go up the straight course, would still expect him to run well.
2. STERLING CITY – S Arnold (1)
A former Hong Kong galloper that will be making his first race appearance, and Australian debut, since March of this year. Looked good in a recent Cranbourne trail in finishing fourth but was place-less in eight starts over a six month period in Hong Kong and would prefer to see how he shapes up here.
3. AMORINO – C William (5)
Rounded out last prep with victory in the Listed Anniversary Vase (1400m) at Caulfield, his third win from four starts, and looks set to return to racing in similar fashion if his recent barrier trial win is any indication. Honest galloper who’ll get his chance from gate five and probably track Rich Enuff up the straight course however, not sure I can see him reeling him in with 57kgs.
4. RICH ENUFF – D Oliver (3)
Made his long-awaited return to racing in the G3 Theshark.com.au (1100m) a fortnight ago but was no match for smart mare Bounding over the final stages, running second (4 lengths). He was in much need of that run – his first for almost ten months, and will derive great benefit from it. Drawn well in three which should see him lead the field up the straight without too many concerns and give them plenty to chase down.
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5. UNDER THE LOUVRE – M Zahra (6)
Also made his comeback from a spell in the G3 Theshark.com.au Stakes but settling back in the field, was never a genuine chance of picking up Bounding who had camped on the speed and left the field standing at the 300m. He did finish well though, running fifth (5.5 lengths) and produced an outstanding run second up last campaign to claim the listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington. Hasn’t finished outside of the top five in his last eleven starts and can keep that record intact here.
6. RIZIZ – J Kah (10)
Grand campaigner from Adelaide who last start, recorded his thirteen race victory in the Open Class race over 1200m. The start prior to that he defeated Alpine Eagle – who’ll contest the Makybe Diva Stakes, over 1400m so in no better shape to have a crack at this. Missed a place his last two visits to Flemington – both in Stakes company and drawing out in ten could be of concern depending on the patter.
7. GREGERS – D Lane (8)
Posted deep from a wide draw when resuming in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley and the 6/4 favourite struggled in the straight, running seventh (3.2 lengths) behind track-specialist Le Bonsir. Only missed a place once in five second up runs and 54kgs and the likelihood of a nice run behind the speed should see her produce a sharply improved performance.
8. SETINUM – C Parnham (4)
Hasn’t enjoyed any favours in either run back from a spell in terms of barriers but that hasn’t stopped him from running well. He won the Listed Regal Roller before jumping from gate 15 before in the Memsie Stakes from where he pushed forward and settling second. From there he stuck on well, finishing eleventh but only three lengths from the winner Boban and under the conditions of this race, he drops 5.5kgs. On efforts this time, has to be given consideration.
9. JABALI – C Newitt (13)
Finally, at start number 14, the 4yo stallion who ran second in the 2014 Blue Diamond behind Earthquake, broke his maiden status with a win in the G2 Queensland Guineas (1600m). Spelled immediately after that run, which was back in June, and with no trials to go on, would be prepared to see what he can produce here first up from an awkward draw.
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10. WORTH CAUSE – J Winks (9)
Queensland galloper who after a freshen-up of ten week, bolted in when contesting a BM 85 (1350m), winning by 2.3 lengths. First time outside of Queensland but with strong performance in some of that state’s leading 3yo races during the winter carnival, he’s worthy of the trip.
11. CHURCHILL DANCER – M Dee (7)
Both runs back from an extended spell have been good. Under 58.5kgs he finished a close up second to Sunday Escape here at Flemington over a 1000m before bolting in at the Valley in a BM 90 (1200m) where he defeated Sardaaj by four lengths. No surprise after that effort for his trainers Hayes/Dabernig to have a crack at this race and given his light weight and the fact that he’s 3 from 5 this track/trip would have to come into place calculations.
12. IL CAVALLO – S Baster (11)
Racing consistently this time in and stuck on well for third (2.5 lengths) in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at his most recent outing. The Choisir stallion doesn’t venture past 1000m too often but when he has in the past, he’s been well accounted for and would think, from his wider gate, he’ll have too much to do for him to be running out a solid six furlongs.
13. KAEPERNICK – D Dunn (13)
Started favourite for the Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m) in Brisbane at his most recent start back in June, but from the back of the field, wasn’t able to reel in Excellantes and finished a neck second. Given a quite trial at Rosehill recently in preparation for his return but would think, given his previous record and this being his first look at the straight, he’d find a couple too good for him here.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Plenty of speed on from the jump here and looking for a couple to settle in behind that pace, Setinum and Under The Louvre fit the bill. Setinum was good all things considered in the much stronger Memsie Stakes last start – backing up a great first up effort, and Under The Louvre just got too far back over the 1000m first up at Caulfield. He’s much better suited here and has a good second up record to supports his chances.
2. UNDER THE LOUVRE
3. RICH ENUFF
4. LUCK HUSSLER