Flemington Race 7 4:22pm
Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m)
The lay of the land
It depends a little on the wind but the track should play reasonably. The rail is out 3m: the last two times in that position it’s suited those up on the pace, so expect that again.
The speed story
Top Me Up is the clear leader here, and will be in front from Airalign and Lord Aspen. Nothing else will challenge those three up front.
In the mix
Lord Aspen (Huxtable / Nolen) comes out of the Standish, which was a slowly run race that didn’t suit him. He won over this course on the last day of the Cup Carnival, so must be respected here.
Divine Mr Artie (McCarthy / Dee) likewise, he just wasn’t suited to the slow pace in the Standish. He won well first up though, and does have a good record at 1400m, but I don’t like that he’s lost Craig Williams here.
Grande Rosso (Hayes & Dabernig / R Bayliss) looks to be a real chance here, and seems to have been targeted for this. He’s had four starts for Hayes for two wins, absolutely flying on Pakenham Cup day and returning well off a decent break in the Christmas Handicap.
Airalign (Cowan / Thompson) is like a new horse this prep, winning two from two including a very convincing performance at Sandown on Christmas Eve. Gets the run of the race here too so will be right there.
Sold for Song (Kemp / Newitt) has definite ability, having run very well in a Group 3 in Sydney in the spring, but this looks a bit awkward for mine: he’s drawn gate 1 and misses the start, so will be back on the fence.
Zebrinz (Corstens / Baster) has had two pretty reasonable jump-outs, but this is his first start for a while and he needs some racing. He’s better over a mile too.
I like Top Me Up (Hawkes / Moloney) and am hoping it can hold it’s form here. It flew last start at Sandown, finding the front, leading all the way and finishing very strongly.
Zupacharged (Vella / Parish) ran second in this race last year, but this is stronger than that and he hasn’t got the class. He’s second up off a very long spell too.
Tonopah (Weir / Yendall) ran pretty well first up – it was the quickest last 600, 400 and 200 of the day, hitting the line really hard. His best form is over the mile however, and I have a bit of a query on him here.
Put a line through…
Hell On Earth (Mathrick / Beriman) had no luck at all last week, but is in a different class here and simply isn’t up to it. Neither is Tuff Host (Scott / Currie).
Top Me Up for me… his last start was just so impressive, I can’t go past him.
Trevor Lawson is a full-time professional punter with a highly successful record over 15 years. His Melbourne Ratings package gives you access to his early bets, assessed prices, speed map comments and betting strategies for all metro Melbourne meetings.