PB Lawrence Stakes, PB Lawrence Stakes preview
  • The PB Lawrence Stakes highlights a high-quality day of racing at Caulfield
  • Superstar Mystic Journey returns to the track for the spring

Our Melbourne pro punter Trevor Lawson has put together his full PB Lawrence Stakes preview… make sure you read this before you bet!

Field

Speed Map

Cliff’s Edge will probably lead from out wide, and Fifty Stars, Hartnell and probably Trap For Fools may go forward. Mystic Journey should be able to sit one off the fence midfield, then the stayers will largely go back. Once they settle down it shouldn’t be too quickly run.

The Race

This is generally a lead-off race for those headed for bigger things in spring, but with it being 1400m they all must have some sort of fitness or they’ll be knocked around for the rest of the spring.

The superstar Mystic Journey (11) is unbeaten in two starts at this distance. Last time we saw her was the All-Star Mile, when she sat wide and beat Hartnell – as a three-year-old filly.

On my numbers she was the best three-year-old filly last season, improving with every run, and I don’t think she’s tapped out yet.

She meets Hartnell worse at the weights here but will have grown and filled out naturally. I think she can possie-up the running line and will be the one to beat, just needing clear running from the 400-metres.

It’s great to see her back… with natural progression she’ll be an elite mare I think. You are trying to judge where she’s at, but she beat Alizee in the All-Star Mile sitting wide the whole way, and then Alizee won first-up last Saturday in Sydney. I’ve rated her slightly down on that performance but not by much, as she’ll have some natural weight-for-age improvement

And most importantly: she’s a winner. She gets the job done. What an exciting horse.

This is the third time that Hartnell (1) has resumed in this race. He won it in 2017 and ran second to Showtime last year, where he didn’t have much luck. He’s basically had the same prep the last three years.  He maps to roll forward in a race with not a lot of pace. Clear second pick and is definitely a chance, rest assured. I’ve got the two of them well clear of the rest.

Kenedna (9) is a terrific mare resuming. She’ll be set for further, probably the Caulfield Cup. She’ll run on but a few others will be too zippy I think.

Fifty Stars (5) resumes as well. He has a good record this trip and looks a 1400m – 1600m horse, so should be forward enough. He’s not really a Group 1 horse but will be thereabouts.

Cliff’s Edge (4) was well beaten for speed first-up over 1200m. He’s second up here, where he generally goes well. He’s the leader in a race where a lot of them will be looking for further, but doesn’t have the class of the rest here.

My market falls right away after that. Harlem (2) is a stayer resuming who I wouldn’t be interested in until his third run in. Likewise for Sikandarabad (6) and Trap For Fools (3), who hasn’t run over this distance in Melbourne.

Neufbosc (7) is a French galloper and hasn’t raced for ten months. He worked home okay in a trial at Cranbourne but won’t be in this.

Mr Marathon Man (8) ran well at Sandown and then poorly at Flemington before being given six weeks off. He looks a handicapper well out of grade. Finally, Semari (10) is an honest mare but way out of her class here.

Verdict

The top two here look well ahead and this is a race that tends to be won by those well in the market. So many of the stayers just don’t have the figures at the distance to get in the race. It’ll only be bad luck that results in one of them not winning. Mystic Journey is still a bit short for mine. At the price there’s a bit of value with Hartnell, but do you really want to be betting against her? Probably not.

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