Saturday racing is a little low key following the end of the Autumn Carnival.
Caulfield and Hawkesbury fly the flag in Melbourne and Sydney and there are still opportunities to find a winner or two.
We’ve picked out the best bets for your weekend.
The opening race on the program at Caulfield looks a two horse affair between William Thomas and the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained PROPELLE ($2.61 ClassicBet).With race fitness on her side, I’m keen on the latter. I thought she was good first-up at Ballarat, just being nosed out by Ben Hercules on the line. She went to Caulfield at her last start and was given a very tough run, being three-wide no cover throughout and I thought her effort to sick on for third behind Columbus Circle and Leiter was outstanding. William Thomas is the clear danger. The Nicconi gelding has plenty of talent but has been off the scene for 328 days and that might be against him.
On a tricky meeting with plenty of short priced favourites, my best bet of the program is the Scott Brunton-trained MANDELA EFFECT ($2.41 TopBetta). I loved the style of his last start victory at Bendigo, the pattern was in his favour that day but he really savaged the line. His last start here at Caulfield was over the 1400m where he defeated Streets Of Avalon, who we saw win a Group 3 over the same track and distance just seven days ago. Brunton is a master trainer and he doesn’t travel horses just for a trip away. He has had 12 runners in Victoria over the last 6 months for five winners and a profit on turnover of 198.33 percent. Brunton spoke after Mandela Effect won his last race at Bendigo, saying that this is the best horse he has ever trained and that’s good enough for me to launch into him here.
CHALMERS ($3.71 ClassicBet) always improves deeper into his preparation and I think the $500,000 Provincial Championship (1400m) just came a bit soon and he peaked late second-up over 1400m. He won his maiden when third-up, was 2nd to Gresham when third-up next campaign and last preparation he was runner-up at his fourth and fifth runs. James McDonald takes the ride from barrier 4 and the pair should be finishing strong late.
I’m extremely keen to follow ZOURKHAN ($4.81 TopBetta) into what looks like a target race. He resumed at Rosehill over 1400m on March 30 where he charged home to finish 2nd behind Star Of The Seas who has been in great form. Considering Zourkhan was first-up for 19 weeks and carried 4kg more in the run, and just peaked in the last 50m to be narrowly beaten, the run was huge. A Soft to Heavy track would be preferable but is highly unlikely with nothing but clear skies predicted until Saturday.