It’s a top quality double header with feature races at both Flemington and Rosehill on Saturday for the running of the Aurie’s Star Handicap and Missile Stakes.
We take a look at both races and provide the best bets to be backing in Melbourne and Sydney.
The Kevin Corstens-trained TWILIGHT RUN ($3.70 TopBetta) has serious ability and he looks well suited dropping back to Benchmark 78 grade, from open company. I thought his win two starts ago here at Flemington was outstanding, when defeating the likes of Phaistos, Howlowcanyougo and Killavalley. The raceshape was against last start at The Valley. First and second along the fence (Inverloch & Masculino) ran the quinella, while Twilight Run was forced to make a long, swooping run out wide and I thought his effort to run sixth was outstanding. He has the 2040m run under his belt, gets back to Flemington, is on the seven-day back-up, goes Beau Mertens to John Allen and maps perfectly from barrier six. There are plenty of ticks.
Race 8 – Aurie’s Star Handicap
I’m more than happy to forgive SESAR ($4.40 TopBetta) for his ‘disappointing’ run in the Bletchingly Stakes and back him again here. Although the run seemed poor on first watch, I thought it was actually full of merit. He was restrained early and overraced for the middle part of the race. He then didn’t handle the Caulfield turn, before balancing up and running the third-fastest last 200m of the race. The raceshape didn’t help his cause, as the first five horses in running at the 600m were the first five horses home. He goes from Caulfield to Flemington and strikes a weaker race than what he contested last start.
Race 4 – Missile Stakes
All the signs are ALIZEE ($1.50 TopBetta) is in for a big spring campaign. She won the autumn equivalent of this race when taking out the Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill when second-up last preparation, and she was being trained as a miler last time in but is being aimed at The Everest in 2019 and is being trained as a sprinter now. She caught the eye in her first barrier trial on July 19, but her most recent trial on July 30 was a vast improvement, and if she can similar improvement with another 11 days between runs, she’s clearly the one to beat. Le Romain is the only rival in Alizee’s league, but she beat him by two lengths in the Expressway Stakes last campaign and both have had a similar lead-up.
If Chris Waller can get us off to a good start with Haut Brion Her, I think he can back that up with the highly-talented LUCICELLO ($3.80 TopBetta). She recorded the strongest benchmark (BM) performance of the day going 10.2 lengths above BM when winning at Rosehill Gardens last start, and she ran some sizzling sectionals midrace and still finished best. She’s improving with every start and is the one they have to beat.
DRACHENFELS ($4.60 TopBetta) is on the quick back-up which may just do the trick. Trainer Bjorn Baker applied blinkers last time in the hope they would switch him on enough to deliver as he stepped up to 1400m, but after settling in last place, could just couldn’t bridge the gap on The Party Girl who was carrying 54kg while Drachenfels lumped 60kg. He now goes from BM78 grade to a BM88, but with 4.5kg less on his back, as well as being rock-hard-fit, he should be able to sustain an earlier run and keep coming with the lighter weight.