Runners to watch: Flemington, December 22nd

Luke Krahe race reviews, notes and blackbookers from Saturday's Melbourne metro meeting at Flemington.

Blackbookers: Race 2 – POISED TO STRIKE.

Race 1: 3YO Fillies BM70 Handicap 1400m.

Notes: The first three across the line look the three to follow out of the race, co-incidentally they were the top three in the market. MY PENDANT (1st) was mid-field in the run, got to the outside and ran on hard to score. A nice effort to lump the 60kg’s. NOTATION (2nd) did it from the other end, she led them up and she may have won the race had she not run around in the straight. The jockey Fred Kersley had to straighten her on a couple of occasions. QUEEN LA DIVA (3rd) ran on well also from the back and there was almost 2 lengths back to the 4th horse. VIVI VALENTINA (unplaced) was very disappointing after having the run of the race. COVERT MISS (unplaced) was officially last put did have a slow recovery when pulling up so there must be an issue there.

Race 2: 3YO BM70 Handicap 1200m.

POISED TO STRIKE (1st) looks to have come back impressively on what we saw up the straight here. The Hayes/Hayes/Dabernig team have a talented gelding, he travelled well in the run before cruising up to them at the furlong and went straight by for a soft win. He looks to have a big one in him in the Autumn.

Notes: O’TAUTO (2nd) was a little bit further back in the run, made ground back towards the inside as they came up the middle of the track, just no match for the winner. WILD VITALITY (3rd) was good from the back after not really getting a crack at them until the last couple of furlongs, he did follow the winner in the run but just couldn’t match the acceleration. He will win his maiden soon no doubt. HAWKSHOT (unplaced) was resuming as a gelding but had every possible chance, PHAISTOS (unplaced) was well in the market, just didn’t respond when asked and was very one paced.

Race 3: Fillies and Mares BM84 Handicap 1600m.

Notes: What a win by PENNY TO SELL (1st). She settled down last, made a lightning quick move when they quickened out very wide and at first look, she probably hit the front too early, but she was so brave and stuck on well. There are two ways to look at the run of SUPRE (2nd). Sure, she was only beaten 0.2 lengths and had the run of the race, but she was held-up at a vital stage and had very little room to work with. TEODORA (3rd) and TEA FOR CHOUX (unplaced) both ran on well from the back, FRENCH GIRL (unplaced) wasn’t beaten far but bled post-race. SHOKORA (unplaced) may have been the run of the race away from the winner after being set a task three-wide throughout and only beaten 1.2 lengths. Often they say, that when they are grouped like this, only 1.3 lengths between the first 7 horses, it won’t be a good form line, but I loved the run of the winner.

Race 4: Handicap 2500m.

No use spending much time on this, ETYMOLOGY (1st) has absolutely brained them! He had been consistent this time in without winning, but importantly was getting out past 2000m for the first time. He had the perfect run, was under a grip to the turn and when he couldn’t get the run, Melham got him back inside and when he accelerated through the gap, it was a case of times and margins. Impressive is an understatement!

Race 5: BM64 Handicap 1400m.

Notes: Once again we see the four that looked like battling it out on paper and in the betting, the first four across the line. FALLEN EMPIRE (1st) was given a peach of a ride by Williams and ran over the top of them from mid-field. CASH AFFAIR (2nd) was good but hit a flat spot early in the straight, she responded though to the riding of John Allen and kept coming. CINCINATTI RED (3rd) was a real eye-catcher, her style is to get back and run-on but she came from an impossible position, weaved a passage through the field over the last furlong and was finishing better than anything. RENEGADE (unplaced) was perfectly ridden by Zahra but was no match over the concluding stags after settling a lot closer than his main rivals. He was resuming off a long break and the tempo was better than average, he will win again soon. KRONOS (unplaced) stuck on ok on the speed at big odds also in a race where that wasn’t necessarily the place to be.

Race 6: BM84 Handicap 1000m.

Notes: ORDER OF COMMAND (1st) looked the most likely after a super win here at the back-end of the carnival, he was given six weeks off and looked well in this grade with the 57kg’s. Olly had him mid-field with cover before encouraging him to pick-up, it took him a few strides to do so but he was super over the last 100m. Too good for these, bigger races in store for him.

Dangers: DEMOLITION (2nd) looked the main danger on paper, he ran his usual honest race form the back and was solid through the line. GWENNETH (3rd) ran a huge race at bolters odds trying to lead all the way, only tiring inside the last 75m. GIBBON (unplaced) ran on well back towards the inside. All honours with the winner, too classy.

Race 7: BM84 Handicap 1400m.

Notes: MR MONEY BAGS (1st) settled wide without cover, the 1400m here at Flemington could be one of the worst tracks in the world to be stuck in that spot. A short run to the first turn, long sweeping bend and the painfully long straight, he had to do all the work and was still too strong. KAZIO (2nd) had every chance, HAUNTED (3rd) over-raced a little up on the speed but you wouldn’t say it caused him to lose. KING’S COMMAND (unplaced) almost unseated the apprentice shortly after the start, losing all chance. He tacked on well and ran on hard, have to forgive him that run after what happened early on.

Race 8: BM78 Handicap 2000m.

Tahlia Hope probably had the ride of the day here on LAMBORGINI (1st). She had the Patrick Payne gelding well back on the rail and she had eyes for only one thing, the paint. She stuck hard up against the rail, didn’t go around a runner and got all the runs and was way too strong.

Notes: NOTHIN’ LIKE HARRY (2nd) was probably the run of the race, he had to chase the leader throughout and once he got the better of him, he was a sitting shot. TOP OF THE RANGE (3rd) had every chance, ran on well but just wasn’t good enough and was entitled to at least get into second. CREEDENCE (unplaced) SP’d the favourite, it was one of those Craig Williams rides at Flemington where he either looks like a genius or just a slaughter. Forget it went around and don’t put it into the sack file after that.

Race 9: BM78 Handicap 1200m.

Notes: Up the straight to finish the day with the traditional “straight six”…. and it has been a while since we have seen one win like that up the famous stretch. USAIN BOWLER (1st) sat back in the huge field, Melham got him into the clear at the 400m mark and what about the acceleration! The official margin was 2.75 lengths but it was a lot more impressive than that. It was amazing to come from where he did and go from well back to in front, in a few strides it seems! They must have flown along early though, according to the results page, of the first seven across the line, no of them were closer than 11th at the 800m mark. Hard to say without seeing the sectionals, but it certainly looked as though the back-markers were favoured. RED CHOUX’S (3rd) was resuming since late August, he may be the one to follow out of the race (besides the obvious one that bolted in) after running on well.