• Favourite Vega Magic heads the field for the Group 3 Heath 1100 Stakes
  • Speed map, rated market and runner comments from pro punter Cameron O’Brien

The preview this week focuses on the Group 3 The Heath Stakes over 1100m at Caulfield. This race forms part of the MRC’s Everest series, and has as such attracted a high quality field for a Group 3.

Speed map

It’s only a field of nine, but I think the pace will be even to good in the race with VEGA MAGIC (4) (blinkers back on) kicking up and BALL OF MUSCLE (1) providing pressure from wider. This should mean that the run-on horses can run on, if they have the ability!

Rated market

And as you can see I have VEGA MAGIC (4) as a clear top-rater. The track is going to be dry, which he needs, he has the blinkers back on as he did in the Bletchingly first-up last year when he did a career peak 119 and he’s trialled up really well. Assuming he can jump well I think he can lead, rail away and win. BALL OF MUSCLE (1) will keep him super honest, no doubt, and if VEGA MAGIC (4) Mark II (the disappointing version he sometimes shows up as) turns up then BALL OF MUSCLE (1) would put him away. However, given the circumstances I think the real VEGA MAGIC (4) – Mark I – will turn up and win. And at $2.20 fixed, I’m willing to bet.

Runner comments

VEGA MAGIC (4) flew first-up last prep in the Bletchingly, and tactics are going to be similar here as they put the blinkers back on. He went 119 there, and if he did that here he’d bolt in. The query on him of course is which Vega Magic turns up. I’m forgiving his last two runs because he just does not handle the soft. The Everest and the TJ were both very wet. The real Vega Magic is a class above these.

Evergreen nine-year-old BALL OF MUSCLE (1) has discovered a love for the Caulfield 1100m late in his career. He first saw this track and trip in this race last year when he won, going 112, and then progressed to a career peak 116 at same track and trip later in the prep. He’s only had two runs in the Autumn, where he won first-up then failed on the wet track. He’ll get a dry track here, he’ll either lead or sit outside Vega Magic if he kicks up, and he has trialled up strongly for this.

MALAGUERRA (5) is first-up in 133 days. “Big Mal’s” best is more like 1200m but he can get the drop on the pace here. He is an eight-year-old though and I don’t think he can return the 118’s he was doing two to three years ago. I think his best now is the 114 he peaked at in the Futurity last prep over 1400m. If he’s right he’ll run on hard late.

GYTRASH (3) just turned four and I don’t think we’ve seen his top yet. He went out to a spell winning his last couple and I think there was more in the tank. I think we’ve got a 112+ coming this prep if he stays sound. He drops in a good spot just behind the pace for Williams, will be running on hard, and he has an excellent first-up record.

CRYSTAL DREAMER (7) is seven years old now and first-up for a year. He’s had some issues and it’s hard to know how he’s going. Resuming and in all likelihood he needs a new peak to win this anyway.

EVERYDAY LADY (9) is now a five-year-old mare resuming off 91 days. She got to a new top last prep in SA but she needs a lot more than that. She does have the incomparable Jamie Kah on though, and I’m never willing to rule her out!

BANDIPUR (6) has a best of 111 which is probably not going to be quite enough here, but he was in excellent form this prep before a light freshen-up. May need a little luck if he gets too many pairs back from the gate.

GLENALL (8) is six years old now and very consistent. He’s trialled OK for this but would need a new peak first-up. I won’t say he doesn’t have a new peak coming because he has a solid ratings base to find one, but it’s hard to push him up to that here without a good reason

STREETS OF AVALON (2) is a 112 horse resuming. His best is a little further than this but he can get a really good run behind the leaders from the good draw. He doesn’t have a great first-up record but he had a great prep last campaign and should be at his best now as a five-year-old.

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