CAULFIELD hosts a nine-race card this Saturday, including the big, exciting field competing for the Bel Esprit Stakes.
Named in honour of the stallion that sired Black Cavier, the Bel Esprit Stakes has a full field of 18 runners and it looks the best betting race of the day.
Former Perth galloper Sheidel is the current bookmakers’ favourite, but punters are gathering around the Robert Smerdon-trained Under The Louvre in the feature event. There are great odds available on most runners this Saturday so sign up to Sportsbet.com.au and get involved.
The day starts with The Cove Hotel 2YO where the Ciaron Maher-trained Decoco looks to remain unbeaten.
Race 1 – The Cove Hotel 2YO (1100m)
Decoco was an easy winner at Bendigo on debut when winning by 2.75 lengths. The Ciaron Maher-trained filly ran 1000m in a quick time and the inside draw will give it every chance to win this. It opened at $6 in the betting and has firmed into $4.80 on the back of solid support. Looks a strong chance.
Giroux didn’t get the same luck in the barrier draw. The two-year-old filly has received barrier 15 and it will likely try lead from there. The daughter of Sepoy has good form leading into this with back-to-back placings at Moonee Valley. It finished second behind Rampage and then second behind subsequent midweek winner Highland Beat. Needs luck, but it has talent at $5.50.
Merriest is on debut for Danny O’Brien and it has been very well backed. The daughter of Denman opened up at $6 and has stayed steady at that price throughout the week. Follow any positive moves for this runner.
Race 1 tip: Decoco to win ($4.80) at Crownbet.com.au
Race 2 – The Grand Hotel Frankston R78 (1000m)
Pilly’s Wish is twice a winner fresh up and it gets a valuable 3kg claimer in the saddle. The Mick Price-trained sprinter had a solid campaign last time in without winning, but it goes best at Caulfield and the 1000m is its best distance. With some luck in the running it can get the win at $7.
Grey Street is a talented filly which has won three from nine. The John McArdle-trained three-year-old finished only a length behind Petis Filou last start and although that form didn’t hold up in Sydney, it does hold well in Melbourne. It ran a slick 1000m time four starts back at Sandown and it should progress through the grades nicely. Current favourite at $2.90.
Bella Capri is a consistent mare which has won or placed at its last three. The daughter of Bel Esprit is having its sixth consecutive run at this distance and that experience should see it go close. Damien Oliver takes over the riding from Brad Rawiller and that can only be seen as a positive. $6 with bookmakers.
Race 2 tip: Grey Street to win ($2.90) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 3 – Selangor Turf Club R78 (1800m)
Raw Impulse made a good impression in its Australian debut at Moonee Valley. The European import beat a similar field by 1.25 lengths and it should only strengthen up over more ground this campaign. The son of Makfi looks a potential Melbourne spring horse and bookies are keeping it safe at $1.90.
Fellow import Morning Mix is having its first Australian start for Robert Hickmott. The Irish four-year-old won a maiden handicap at Curragh by 7.5 lengths three starts back, but it was held in check in two stakes runs since. This might be a touch short for the son of Teofilo, but it has been kept safe in the market at $7.50.
Stablemate to Morning Mix is another import from Ireland. Bantry Bay has had four starts for a win and a placing, and it best effort came on debut when it finished second behind Bondi Beach. Its next two starts came in tough grades and it gets a nice weight in this. Looks one for later in the carnival and the $10 looks about right.
Race 3 tip: Raw Impulse to win ($1.90) at Bet365.com.au
Race 4 – Wellington R.C R84 (1400m)
Beluga Caviar is paying a good value price considering it defeated Harbour Grey ($4.80) by almost a length last start. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained horse has won three from eight, including its last two and it is bred to continue winning. It’s rising in grade which is the concern, but the weight of 54kg helps. $9.50 is a good price and the $3.10 for the place looks even better.
Harbour Grey is a capable type which had to carry 60.5kg against Beluga Caviar last start and now it drops down to 54kg. That’s a huge relief and it showed it can handle this class by winning at Flemington by two lengths in January. Plenty of money on this runner throughout the week and it currently stands at $4.80.
Tonopah gets a 3kg claimer in the saddle and it brings the best form line into the race. The Darren Weir-trained gelding finished sixth behind Thermal Current in the Hareeba Stakes last start which is good enough to take this out. The inside draw might force it to settle closer which should see it come into contention at $6.50.
Race 4 tip: Beluga Caviar to place ($3.10) at WilliamHill.com.au
Race 5 – Hyderabad R.C R84 (1400m)
Telopea has been the best-backed runner throughout the week. The Darren Weir-trained mare opened at $4.40 and is currently paying $3.90 after running fourth behind race-rival She’s Miss Devine last start. Its form form comes at this distance where it is unbeaten in three runs and punters are expecting a top effort in this. Just needs a touch of luck from the barrier.
She’s Miss Devine beat a nice field in a higher grade last start and despite rising in weight, it looks tough to beat in this. The Chris Waller-trained mare opened at $2.60 and has drifted to $2.70, but its form on good tracks is demanding and we’re expecting punters to back it into a short quote.
Mefnooda is a professional mare which has won four from eight. The Mick Price-trained four-year-old comes into this after dead-heating for first last start and its run prior came in the Summoned Stakes behind Solicit. That’s good form for this and it looks well placed at $4.60.
Race 5 tip: Mefnooda to win ($4.60) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 6 – JRA R70 Handicap (1400m)
Lyuba hasn’t done much in wrong in remaining unbeaten from three starts. The three-year-old filly won by six lengths on debut before putting in two game performances to hold off the competition at Sandown. It keeps getting punished in the weights, but Ben Allen takes 3kg off its back here. Tough field, but it looks a strong chance at $5.50.
Abbey Marie was a smart winner from in front at Sandown on debut and it’s bred to continue winning. The daughter of Redoute’s Choice will enjoy stepping up over more ground this campaign and it looked to have a fair amount of ability. $7.50 looks like good value.
Backstreet Lover has won twice from three starts and it should have benefit from its most recent outing. The three-year-old is nicely bred by Street Cry and even though carrying 59kg won’t be an easy first up assignment, bookmakers have kept it safe at $6.50.
Race 6 tip: Lyuba to win ($5.50) at Crownbet.com.au
Race 7 – Sandown Park R78 Handicap (1100m)
Fleur Fatale was a super impressive winner on debut in a Vobis Gold race at Caulfield and only the wide barrier draw is of concern. The Commands filly has drawn barrier 16 in a tough field which means it will have to drop back, but it has talent and should be considered at $8.50.
Invincible Heart gets the other side of the coin with an inside barrier. The Mick Price-trained filly has drawn barrier one for its return after a four-month spell. It goes well fresh up with a win and a placing, and its only bad efforts came in the Thoroughbred Breeders’ and the Inglis Sprint. Expect a big run at $5 after opening at $5.50.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Stoker has won only once from 16 starts, but it has been knocking on the door this season. It finished third behind Lady Sniper in the Inglis Sprint and fifth behind the well-performed Stellar Collision at Moonee Valley. Yet to finish in the money in four starts on this track so keep that in mind when taking the short quote of $5.
Race 7 tip: Invincible Heart to win ($5) at Bet365.com.au
Race 8 – Sheen Group Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m)
Team Hayes/Dabernig line up former Perth mare Sheidel which has yet to win in Melbourne. The four-year-old won 11 from 15 in Perth before putting in two good efforts of late which came with their fair share of bad luck. It almost fell last start and was good enough to recover to run fourth. Damien Oliver is a nice addition and carrying 54kg will help. Current favourite at $4.80.
Under The Louvre is fresh up after a consistent campaign which featured a placing behind Stratum Star in the Rupert Clarke Stakes. The Robert Smerdon-trained horse loves Caulfield, but has yet to win at this distance in three attempts. It likes to get back in the running before storming home and the outside draw will help with that. Might just need further.
Beau Rada hasn’t done much wrong this campaign which included a stellar win at Moonee Valley. The four-year-old has a nice career record of seven wins from 22 starts and it can win on any surface. It ran 3.15 lengths behind Malaguerra three back which is great form and it only narrowly missed last start. Looks one for value at $7.50.
Race 8 tip: Sheidel to win ($4.80) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 9 – Beck Property Group Plate (2000m)
Real Love has opened as the favourite after running a game third in the Adelaide Cup last start. The Roy Higgins Quality winner is dropping back from the two-mile distance for this, but it has placed at the 2000m and jockey Ben Allen’s claim comes in handy. Finds a relatively easy field for this and the $2.70 looks about right.
Kareeming turned its form around with a second placing at Mornington last start. The Pat Carey-trained stayer has a good record at this distance with one win and five placings, and although it struggles to win races, they were encouraging signs last start. Include in place bets at $2.50 for a top three finish.
Digitalism is also coming off a last start placing and could add some value to multiples. Gets a 2kg claimer in the saddle and the $10 for the win looks like a nice price.
Race 9 tip: Real Love to win ($2.70) at Crownbet.com.au