Runners to watch: Caulfield, February 4th

Race 1: Ian Miller Handicap (1600m)

Note – this race was over after 400m as Hot Ruby landed in a perfect spot, always travelled well and broke clear when let go early in the straight. Tessabelle stuck on well after sitting outside the lead and Gingie ran an improved race to grab third. Be a little forgiving of the favourite Zasorceress, didn’t jump the best and had to be negatively ridden and she also pulled up sore.

Race 2: Robert Hunter Handicap (2000m)

Note – A blanket finish with lightly raced import Goodwill under pressure for most of the race but he kept going to deny Dodging Bullets, who tried to lead all the way, while Post D’France ran his best race in a while finishing a close third. The winner may have some upside but it’s hard to get keen on them.

Race 3: Mal Seccull Handicap (2400m)

Note – An all the way win to Chance To Dance, who benefited from Big Memory having a look at the winning post and deciding he didn’t like the look of it. Big Memory was first-up for seven weeks at 2400m but he had the race won and let it go. Oncidium Ruler was in the right spot at the post the first time but drifted back and while he loomed he didn’t have the turn of foot to pick up the two in front.

Race 4: Inglis Premier (1200m)

Coppergate (2nd): gave away race experience and a start but attacked the line nicely on debut. Only trialled five days earlier and has plenty of upside.

Note – Jukebox ran right up to his impressive debut with a comfortable win after taking an inside run on the turn. He held them safely beating Coppergate with Perast, who wobbled on the bend after being in or near the lead throughout. The others weren’t in the same class.

Race 5: Chairman’s Stakes (1000m)

Time Awaits (2nd): measured up to a much stronger event than her SA debut and she did it after over racing in the middle stages. Well held by the winner, who is smart, but she was first-up and can be placed to advantage.

Note – Formality is a genuine Blue Diamond contender, she showed pace early then settled well when taken on in front. Stretched out with purpose late for a dominant win over Time Awaits while Spoils stayed on for third. Aspect was under pressure a long way out and didn’t make an impact.

Race 6: John Moule Handicap (1100m)

Turbo Miss (3rd): sat wide, with a bit of cover at times, and finished her race off very nicely in a promising first-up effort. That’s especially considering she won at her second run last time in.

Note – Glenrowan Prince rode the speed and surged to the front 300m out before holding off a game Kievann, giving away 3.5kg, and Turbo Miss running on late. Danuki didn’t show any fight at all.

Race 7: Manfred Stakes (1200m)

Morton’s Fork (5th): not really a 1200m horse at this level but his first-up effort was more than pleasing. Drifted well back, made some ground along the inside and finished his work off in good style. He’ll improve sharply.

Note – another race dominated by those on the speed and Legless Veuve sat outside the leader Into Orbit and proved too strong for him getting away late. Hey Doc and Derryn were behind that pair most of the way, the former will improve while the latter didn’t run up to his trial.

Race 8: WJ Adams Stakes (1000m)

Note – Thermal Current has found a new lease on life and recorded back-to-back wins running on from worse than midfield on the fence to down Shakespearean Lass, game as usual, and Sunday Escape who ran an honest race. Bizarre ride on Faatinah, staying well off the fence unnecessarily but that said he was quite plain late in the race.

Race 9: Darren Gauci Farewell (1400m)

Adirondack (3rd): settled midfield and outsprinted just before the turn as the winner pushed out from inside him but he wound up nicely late. Has a solid second and third-up record so he will improve off this return.

Try Four (5th): staying/jumping type who attacked the line like a horse that is in for a good preparation. He could pick up a race around 2000m-2400m before he goes jumping.

Note – an overdue win for Duke Of Brunswick who enjoyed the run of the race and finally put a race away. A couple of anxious moments as Smart Dart sprinted to the lead ahead of him and gave a kick but he was too strong with Adirondack running into third.