Punters are confident Lord Of The Sky can be consolidated for his two close seconds in Group 1 company earlier this year with his second Sir John Monash Stakes victory at Caulfield this Saturday. Lord Of The Sky won last year’s edition by an impressive 4.5 lengths when, like he will be again this weekend, coming off a seven week break and markets expect him to again register a handsome win, quoting him a $1.90 chance in opening markets on Wednesday. Mares Anatina ($9.50) and Angles Beach ($7.00) are next in betting with promising filly Wild Rain also well in contention ($9.00). The big early move in betting has been for Adelaide visitor Hear Of A Lion whose opening prince of $26.00 was quickly snapped up, seeing his price tumble in to $14.00.
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1. LORD OF THE SKY – D Oliver (11) 58.5kgs
For the second time in as many starts Robbie Laing’s 4yo stallion finished second in a Group 1 when ¾ of a length in arrears of Flamberge in the Goodwood Handicap back in May. It followed the narrowest of defeats in the TJ Smith when bloused on the line by Chautauqua. Freshened up nicely for his return and has won five from eight this track. Class runner of the race best suited to the set weights and he is sure to be in this for a long way despite the wide draw.
2. RIZIZ – C Newitt (10) 58.5kgs
Ran three consecutive seconds leading into the G1 Goodwood Handicap but the Adelaide sprinter found the elite level too slick and finished second to last. Better suited back to this grade but last three visits to Melbourne have seen him finish out of the placings, the most recent when 5.3 lengths behind Lord Of The Sky in this race last year. Will have to do too much work early from the gate to be able to hold off the challengers late.
3. SEA LORD – L Meech (6) 58.5kgs
With an apprentice claim of 3kgs, he got well down in the weights (52.5kgs) last start and on his favourite track – Moonee Valley, led all the way to record a comprehensive 2 length win over Nearest To Pin. That victory will serve has a good confidence booster and has drawn a gate that will see him take up a similar position to last start however, does rise 6kgs and is winless at eight starts here at Caulfield. He’ll need to improve again off of last start.
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4. PAGO ROCK – S Arnold (1) 58.5kgs
It’s been over a year and a dozen starts now since this 7yo last won but after draw the rails here, and the chance of some showers later in the week softening the track, he may be some of hope of breaking the drought. He was solid behind Lumosty and Le Bonsir in the Listed Straight Six (fifth, 3.1 lengths) before closing steadily for fourth (2.5 lengths) to Hard Romp last start. Might get the cheap run here from the rails draw and a value chance for the exotics.
5. OUR NKWAZI – D Adam (2) 58.5kgs
Surprised most when second up from a spell, he finished too well for his opposition at Moonee Valley and took out the BM 90 (1200m) at 50/1. He then held his mid-field position to run sixth (5.7 lengths) behind Sea Lord, who dominated from the lead position, over the same course. Last two wins have been at Moonee Valley when at a big price and at this grade, level weights, would be happy to shop around him.
6. HEART OF A LION – J Bowditch (8) 58.5kgs
He made it four wins from his last five outings when registering a 1.3 length win at Morphettville Park in a BM 90 (1000m) a fortnight ago. The 5yo gelding has going from strength to strength this campaign and the stable are never far from the money when producing their horses interstate. He’ll fire forward from gate eight but the combination of a step up in grade and weight, combined with this being his first look at Caulfield, and would mean there are few rated in front of him.
7. O’MALLEY – SCRATCHED
8. ANATINA – C Parnham (5) 56.5kgs
Given a lengthy spell after being beaten as short-priced favourite in the Listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) back in October of last year, and returned with a eighth placing (4.6 lengths) to Hard Romp in Open Company a fortnight ago. Drifted in betting for her return 7/2 out to 6/1 and was found to be lame after the race. Needs to produce something here if she’s destined to get back to her best form and should get every chance to that given she’s second up, drops 2.5kgs and has drawn ideally in five.
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9. ANGEL’S BEACH – L Nolen (9)
Caught in the shadows of the post first up from a spell when second (long neck) to Play Master at Caulfield before travelling to Sydney for the June Stakes where the Peter Moody trained galloper finished sixth (6.7 lengths). Didn’t look entirely comfortable on the wet ground in Sydney and a return to the suitable Caulfield track, plus firmer footing underneath, should see the Bel Esprit mare back to her best which is good enough for her to figure right in the mix here.
10. MINAJ – B Melham (3) 56.5kgs
As she has done at each of her previous starts this campaign, she found a few too good for her last start when fourth (3 lengths) in a BM 90 (1000m) at Moonee Valley behind Wild Rain. The Commands mare from the Freedman yard is racing in great heart and will put her best foot forward here as well from a draw that will see her take up a forward position however, at this level, just not sure she’ll have the ability to see out the last 100m or so.
11. MISS PROMISCUITY – D Dunn (13) 56.5kgs
Stuck on very well to run second to Hazard two runs back in the G3 Proud Miss Stakes (1200m) before battling into eighth spot (3.5 lengths) as the 5/2 favourite in an Open fillies and mares race at Moonee Valley behind Flash of Doubt. Soft conditions blamed for last start failure and jockey Damien Oliver didn’t punish here when under pressure. Clearly a better horse than that run would suggest but will have her work cut out for her here from the wide draw.
12. KLISHINA – K Mallyon (7) 56.5kgs
Disappointed for a run when returning from a spell with a pleasing fourth (1.6 lengths) behind Play Master and Angels Beach before backing that up with a third to Hard Romp at Flemington three weeks ago. The 5yo mare is running well in the right lead-up races and finished close up behind The Quarterback and Shamal Wind in Listed races at the end of her last campaign. Capable of running a race better than her current quote of $34.00 would suggest.
13. WILD RAIN – G Boss (4) 56kgs
Boss sticks with this 3yo filly after the pair registered an impressive 2.5 length win at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago defeating Pilly’s Wish. That made it four wins from her last seven starts and the Mark Kavanagh trained galloper is improving with rapidly with each run. Thrown into the deep end here but you have respect stable’s decision to attempt this race.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Can’t go past Lord Of The Sky who, with Group 1 form in his recent form and an outstanding record on the Caulfield track, looks ideally placed under the set weight conditions of this race. Pace will be solid from the jump here but would expect Oliver to keep him out of trouble wider out with only the one turn to negotiate and be too strong. Both Angel Beach and Miss Promiscuity are better than their respective last runs would suggest and can bounce back with strong runs here – especially on top of the ground. Wild Rain gets the right kind of run from gate four to make her first Stakes race a handy one.
1. LORD OF THE SKY
2. ANGEL BEACH
3. WILD RAIN
4. MISS PROMISCUITY.