The Group 3 Standish Handicap is the feature on this Saturday’s nine-race card at Flemington.
Our best bets for the entire meeting can be found below.
Tricky race to begin the program with all but two facing the starter for the first time.
Jamara won his maiden two back at Bendigo and was a clear second to impressive debutant Jacquinot at Caulfield on Boxing Day.
All in all though, I’m happy to watch this lot go around.
Umgawa was strong to the line over 1400m at Caulfield last year where he made up a stack of ground from the wide gate to run second in the Vobis Gold Ingot.
He resumed last month to second to Saturday’s rival Squid Game where he was again seen doing his best work late.
The son of Shamus Award meets his rival better off at the weights this time, and we’re getting a nice price for a horse that won his maiden second-up last prep.
Pancho is having his second run back and should appreciate getting out over further now.
As expected, he finished down the straight first-up in the Chester Manifold over 1400m, a trip that really doesn’t suit him.
The Chris Waller-trained five-year-old has wins to his name over further and is a two-time winner second-up, while he’s also found the money here at Flemington twice in the past.
Fitter, and with Damien Oliver retaining the ride, he’s one of the top chances.
Like the setup here for Bring the Stars back out to 2000m after making up good ground late last time out over the mile at The Valley.
The Sebring three-year-old was a clear second over 2000m the start prior, and also won his maiden over the same distance at Donald in November.
He’s rock hard fit at this stage of his prep, and although this is a tougher assignment, he should run well with some weight relief.
Not To Be Mist has been up for a while, but he’s held his form nicely to score a win and a place in his last two starts.
The six-year-old gelding by Danehill Express won narrowly over 1200m two back at Flemington and was only 1.5L off smart horse Lighthouse in the Chester Manifold last time out.
He knows how to cash a cheque over this journey with five wins to his name, and he’s drawn to be working home late under Fred Kersley.
Probably the toughest race of the day with a case to be made for plenty.
I’m willing to give Eluding another chance after finishing well down the straight behind Excelida on Boxing Day at Caulfield,
He had an awkward gate to contend with that day and was caught four-wide the trip, but this does look a nice bounce-back race for him if he can offset another tricky gate.
The McEvoy five-year-old won back-to-back starts at Warrnambool and Sandown to open his prep before running second over the mile here at Flemington, so his recent form is certainly good enough.
The Astrologist ticks all the boxes in the feature.
The Zoustar gelding is back on the scene following a very successful winter prep that saw him win three-from-seven and also place at Group 2 level in the Bobbie Lewis over the track and trip.
The Corstens-trained five-year-old is a four-time winner over this distance and has missed a place only once from eight starts at Flemington.
This is Olly’s first ride on him, but I can’t find a reason why the pair won’t be winning.
Another open race that is sure to be full of surprises.
That said, Convict Sam does look a nice price as the co-favourite after racing over the track and trip here two weeks ago.
The Fiorente gelding was a back-to-back winner at Sandown coming into that race, and although he finished three lengths off the winner Unique Artist, I thought he showed enough in the final stages to warrant another look.
He won’t want to find himself too far back this time, but with Josh Richards in the irons again from an ideal gate, he goes on top.
Trusting Jamie Kah to get the job done in the last aboard Danny O’Brien’s mare Stay Gold.
The pair combined to win over 1400m here on New Year’s Day where they just got up in a photo over Saturday’s rival Mrs Sippy.
Despite how close it was, I thought she had plenty left in the tank through the line, and she should handle this trip with a win over 1550m to her name.
Wet track form is also a plus if there’s any rain about.