We’re back to Caulfield on Saturday for Melbourne’s major metropolitan card.
The Neds Handicap headlines another quality nine-race program that has attracted plenty of above-average gallopers.
I’m not usually one to dive into a debut runner, but the appropriately named Out Of Isolation looked terrific at the trials and I think that he can hit the ground running and win. The two-year-old son of Squamosa showed ability beyond his years and even from out wide, I’ll be happy to have something small on this week.
This is easily the most open race on Saturday’s Caulfield card and at publish, we’re faced with $6 the field. Given I’m somewhat going out on a limb in backing a debutant in Race 1, I’m more than happy to stay away from this dartboard.
Oasis Girl returned something of a flat effort last time out, but she’ll have stripped fitter for the run and this race looks well and truly within her means. The Ellerton & Zahra-trained mare was a terrific horse for the stable last time in and her win over 1400m here at Caulfield two back suggested that she’s returned in similarly pleasing condition. I like that Jamie Kah has been booked to ride and I think that the horse can bounce back.
This is another pretty open contest and I thought that the David Brideoake-trained Kings Brook had claims at around the $8 mark. Kings Brook hasn’t won in four starts back from a spell, but she has returned some competitive efforts, including finishing less than a length from the winner at Flemington last time out. She gets relief in the weights with Lewis German’s claim and can go straight to the lead from barrier 6.
It’s Kind Of Magic hasn’t been seen at the races since Magic Millions Day, but she was outstanding during her debut prep and can make a winning return in this race. So far, the daughter of So You Think has recorded two wins and a minor from only five career starts and ended her run in the 3YO Guineas on the Gold Coast, albeit comfortably beaten by Alligator Blood. This is obviously a big drop in class and she can return to the track a winner.
So Si Bon returned to the winner’s stall after a long dry spell and I can’t find a reason why he won’t be able to make it two in a row on Saturday. The enigmatic son of So You Think has teased punters plenty of times throughout his last few preparations and continued to improve with each start back from a spell this time, culminating in a lovely win in the VOBIS Gold Mile here a couple of weeks ago. He’s rock-hard fit and appears to have suitable conditions again.
We think that there is no doubt that Saturday’s Caulfield card will hit a peak when a capacity field steps out at 3:35pm for the Neds Handicap.
So is the quality of the field, that there is value to be found around literally every running and I have landed on the third-up Grinzinger Star ($8 at publish). Grinzinger Star needed the run when seventh behind Buffalo River here first-up, but responded with a close-up second over a mile at Bendigo and will only improve for that effort. The small rise in trip suits, Damien Oliver rides and the horse is more than up to the class.
Rich Itch hasn’t been seen at the races since November, but he was a strong and consistent performer for Shawn Mathrick last time in and I think he can run a cheeky race here, at an enormous price ($19 at publish). The Danerich gelding won the Listed Paris Lane Stakes most notably in spring but did return the stable plenty of thrills and terrific results. This is another classy and open field, but I’m happy to chance the arm at what looks big overs.
Certainly not the easiest way to end the card, but Absolute Flirt is capable of a big performance under the right conditions and I think that she’ll get those at Caulfield on Saturday. The Stratum filly flew home and only just miss at Listed level when fresh, but she was last seen finishing sixth in a weaker race here at Caulfield. Fitter third-up and from the good draw with Willo aboard, she looks ready to do something.