Flemington: VRC Derby Day, 3 Nov 2018
It’s one of the high profile and most prominent days on the Australian racing calendar. It’s showtime again as VRC Derby Day announces the arrival of the four-day 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
It’s a strong nine-race card, kicking off just before lunch and finishing at around about 5:30.
The day is dominated by four Group 1 races of which the centre-piece is the $2 million VRC Derby a blue riband event for the three-year-olds, plus there’s the Group 3 Hotham Handicap which is the last chance saloon for some of these runners to get a free pass into Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Flemington Race 1
Carbine Club Stakes
Race Time: 11:45 PM
Opening affairs on VRC Derby Day is the three-year-old feature for the sprinter/milers. The standout horse is RANIER who broke maiden ranks last start. WILD PLANET and YULONG JANUARY come into calculations after strong recent form. Chris Waller’s ADANA also comes into the reckoning, though he does have a wide draw to contend with.
BFF Picks: Ranier, Yulong January, Wild Planet
Value Price: Yulong January $12.00
Roughie: Yargos $17.00
Flemington Race 2
Mumm Wakeful Stakes
Race Time: 12:20 PM
Race 2 is the 2000 Wakeful Stakes, which is traditionally seen as a lead up to the VRC Oaks which will be held next Thursday. The top two chances are the two leading lights of the field, EL DORADO DREAMING and the Darren Weir filly VERRY ELLEEGANT. I can’t look past these two to be honest. The other Weir runner TYSONIC who won the other day at Ballarat also looks a likely danger. Two others in the mix include ARISTIA and SIZZLEME.
BFF Picks: Verry Elleegant, El Dorado Dreaming, Tysonic
Value Price: Tysonic $26.00
Roughie: Sealed $34.00
Flemington Race 3
Race Time: 1:00 PM
Race 3 is the TAB Stakes over 1200m, and it’s assembled a very good field of sprinters. Top chance includes the topweight OSBORNE BULLS (whose run in The Everest for third was both brave and spectacular), RUNSON who has won his last two starts, and the Queensland mare WINTER BRIDE who is unbeaten after three starts and appears to be in good shape leading into this. MISSROCK and BONS AWAY are two others that are sitting on the fringe of betting.
BFF Picks: Osborne Bulls, Runson, Winter Bride
Value Price: Casino Wizard $15.00
Roughie: Lanciato $18.00
Flemington Race 4
Race Time: 1:40 PM
Race 4 is the Hotham Handicap, previously known as the Lexus Stakes. This is an excellent lineup featured here, with many chances and some will be gunning for that free spot into the Melbourne Cup should they win this. I’m liking the Darren Weir trained SIXTIES GROOVE, who appears to be a bonafide stayer who won the Moe Cup at last start. Weir also has a number of other runners including YOGI, and GALLIC CHIEFTAIN. The Waterhouse/Bott stable is strongly represented by last start Geelong Cup winner RUNAWAY and his stablemate NORTHWEST PASSAGE, who look likely to race on the speed. Chris Waller also has two runners being PATRICK ERIN and BRIMHAM ROCKS who both featured in the Metropolitan a month ago. Lindsay Park’s JAMEEH and British visitor A PRINCE OF ARRAN are also high up in the market after encouraging runs in their respective last starts. For me, this looms as one of the more interesting races of the day. Plenty of chances, and as mentioned: it’s a showdown at the last chance saloon.
BFF Picks: Sixties Groove, Patrick Erin, Runaway
Value Price: Runaway $12.00
Roughie: Rising Red $26.00
Flemington Race 5
Coolmore Stud Stakes
Race Time: 2:25 PM
Race 5 is the 1200 m sprint race the Coolmore stud Stakes featuring the best three-year-old sprinters going around. The two obvious choices are WRITTEN BY and SUNLIGHT. ZOUSAIN, DIPLOMATICO and the straight track specialist ENCRYPTION from the Godolphin stable also loom as threatening chances to the top two mentioned earlier. However, I’m going to stick my neck out and plump for exciting Queenslander SESAR as the one to watch. His run to win the Roman Consul Stakes a few weeks back was Pakistan Star like, the way he was tailed off at the back of the field, yet still got up to win.
BFF Picks: Sesar, Encryption, Written By
Value Price: Sesar $8.00
Roughie: Lean Mean Machine $11.00
Flemington Race 6
Empire Rose Stakes
Race Time: 3:05 PM
Race 6 is the mares race over 1600m, previously called the Myer Classic but now called The Empire Rose Stakes. OOHOOD, AMPHITRITE and SHILLELAGH all appear to head the early betting, but one shouldn’t forget I AM A STAR who has won it’s last couple of races and also won this race two years ago. The other two horses that I like include INVINCIBELLA and ECKSTEIN. Both have excellent recent form. Don’t be fooled by the long odds, as these two can definitely step it up.
BFF Picks: Amphitrite, I Am A Star, Oohood
Value Price: I Am A Star $13.00
Roughie: Fundamentalist $21.00
Flemington Race 7
AAMI VRC Derby
Race Time: 3:50 PM
Race 7 is the race of the day comma being the VRC Derby. By all the pre-talk and media going on during the week you would think that this is a one-horse race. Top weight is the Waterhouse/Bott colt THINKIN’ BIG who, if a winner of this race will go into next Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup. On paper, it doesn’t appear to be a very strong field, with only a handful of other horses likely to come into the mix. These include ARAMAYO from the Godolphin yard and last start winner. STARS OF CARRUM. CHAPADA, ALESSANDRO and GRINZINGERS STAR also come into play thanks to strong staying pedigrees. Winning the VRC Derby adds prestige to all parties.
BFF Picks: Thinkin’ Big, Chapada, Stars Of Carrum
Value Price: Farooq $12.00
Roughie: Grinzingers Star $34.00
Flemington Race 8
Race Time: 4:35 PM
Race 8 is the Kennedy Mile, an open class handicap which features three really good chances. We must respect the likes of the old warhorse HARTNELL alongside last start Group 1 winner LAND OF PLENTY, and his stablemate CLIFF’S EDGE, who won last week at Moonee Valley. I think the winner will come from one of these three horses. The rest are in the betting at $10 or more and one of those may likely run a place.
BFF Picks: Land Of Plenty, Hartnell, Cliff’s Edge
Value Price: Le Romain $12.00
Roughie: Siege Of Quebec $16.00
Flemington Race 9
Race Time: 5:20 PM
Race 9, the last race on the card is the Furphy Stakes over 1100m. It’s a mares race so they’ll be going down the straight six. I AM EXCITED, SNITTY KITTY, RESIN and FROM WITHIN are the four top chances here. As an outsider, one could possibly look at PETRELLE or GREY SHADOW. All in all, this looks like a good contest to wrap up the day.
BFF Picks: From Within, I Am Excited, Petrelle
Value Price: Booker $17.00
Roughie: Showpero $51.00