Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes Preview and Tips
This Saturday racing moves to Caulfield for the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes over 1400m. The track is currently rated a Good 4 and little to no rain is forecast so we will see similar conditions on race day. The rail is out 3m for the entire course and I’m expecting the track to play fair.
With the majority of these starting their Spring Carnival campaigns including the return of “The People’s Horse” The Cleaner so excitement levels will be high. With no other genuine leader in the race he won’t have any problems jumping back in to his favourite role as leader and will control the race.
Mourinho should grab The Cleaner’s back and Excess Knowledge will likely jump to sit on their outside. Taiyoo, Big Memory and No Tricks will be your next three in running with Smokin’ Joey, Dibayani and Petrology settling towards the tail.
Smokin’ Joey is coming off two wins on the trot after his impressive victory in the Bletchingly Stakes last month where he sat in the three-wide line and burst away in the straight to win by two lengths. The race tempo in the Bletchingly was solid and the race was set up for backmarkers. That doesn’t look the case today so the eight-year-old Group 1 winner may find this tougher.
The Cleaner faces his hardest first-up task to date. Looks like he will be unchallenged in the lead but his best runs have been over longer and usually mid-prep. He will be in front over the concluding stages but I think there will be a few that will get past him late.
Mourinho has drawn barrier 1 and will have the perfect run in transit. His last first-up effort he took out the G2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley earlier this year. He doesn’t boast a great career 1400m record but he has just become a different horse in his latter years. He will get all the favours from barrier 1 and I see him as the one to beat.
Dibiyana has his first go on an Aussie track after a successful Hong Kong stint and begins his campaign tracking towards a Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate tilt. In just six Hong Kong starts he amounted a total of HK$4,864,000 which is the equivalent of almost $850,000 AU. The concern is he has only had the one run since May 2014 and will take a few runs to get back to peak fitness. He has almost knocked off Able Friend so if he does back to his early 2014 form he will be extremely competitive later in the spring.
Big Memory and Taiyoo should also get a cushy runs off the speed. They are both tracking towards the cups and will likely find the 1400m a touch too short but have minor claims.
Excess Knowledge is a horse that usually takes a sit however sat outside the leader in the Doncaster prelude at Rosehill at his last start in March. From his wide-ish draw and lack of early tempo on paper I expect McEvoy to do the same today. He scored at both starts last campaign and should be ready to win today off two trials.
Petrology got home well in the Bletchingly but was no match for Smokin’ Joey and I can’t see him turning the tables on that run.
No Tricks is coming back off a two-month freshen up after scoring her first win in Australia in the Listed Daybreak Lover at the Gold Coast in June. From barrier 2 she will have a nice run throughout but is looking for further. The Caulfield Cup is her target this spring.
My P.B. Lawrence Stakes Tips
The early money has been for Smokin’ Joey
off his Bletchingly Stakes win and is now into $3.60 after his $4.20 opening quote. Mourinho
has also had some backing and has moved from $7.50 into $6.50
is second favourite behind Smokin’ Joey
but I just couldn’t justify being on after not racing for almost ten months and having issues at his last start.