Runners to watch: Flemington, February 17th

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

Blackbookers: Race 7 – CLIFF’S EDGE

Race 1: The Asian Executive Stakes 2YO 1100m.

Brilliant win for PRAIRIE FIRE (1st) who had the linkers added today. The Snitzel colt was an eye-catcher at Caulfield on debut at big odds when charging home, he jumped closer today, settled at the back of the pack and although he wanted to lay-in badly in the straight, charged home for an effortless victory.

Notes: The betting told a lot with the Pierro filly on debut for T McEvoy, PIERRO BELLE (unplaced), who had opened up at about 2/1 when the markets were released on Wednesday, come race-day there was upwards of $7.50 available and it showed why. She had trialed well but simply couldn’t go, she jumped slowly and was tailed off throughout. Wait for more in the steward’s report. KHULASSA (2nd) was good in defeat, she charged through the inside but was no match for the winner, but the margin to 3rd was enormous.

Race 2: Japan Racing Association Handicap BM84 2000m.

Notes: THE MIGHTY JROD (1st) was scratched from Friday Night at the Valley for this, led, ran them along at an even tempo and never really looked threatened. The on pacers ran 1st and 2nd, MIDAS MAN (2nd) seemed to hit a flat spot in the straight but rallied and was coming again late after the winner got away. CRY IF I WANT TO (3rd) was the best of those from the back. KHUTULUN (unplaced) was badly held-up when seemingly travelling well early in the straight, but when she was given a little more room she found nothing and may not have appreciated the 7-day back-up. I wouldn’t be taking a lot from this race. STORMY SHORE (unplaced) had support at a bigger price but was always tailed off and eventually pulled up.

Race 3: TCL TV Handicap Fillies and Mares BM84 1400m.

All honours with the winner SPANISH REEF (1st) here, she had to sit three and four-wide no-cover for the journey and was still too good. She had won previously fresh and there was support for her late, she simply proved a class above and should go on to better things.

Notes: MISS ADEQUATE (2nd) led them up at a big price and stuck on well, MA JONES (3rd) ran on well from the back which may indicate it’s not the strongest form reference going forward. SHARING (unplaced) had her chance after a soft, rails run but failed to run on.

Race 4: Goodwood Racecourse Handicap BM84 1600m.

KINGS WILL DREAM (1st) continued his impressive start to his Australian career making it three wins from three starts. He sat up on the speed and the way the race was run you wanted to be on him a long way from home. Although he was easy in the betting (got out to 6/4 on the exchange), he travelled well in third before easing around the leaders at the top of the straight and was painless in putting them away.

Notes: NOTIO (2nd) was a terrific run behind the winner, the Hawkes trained gelding was last on the inside before getting wide and running on hard, he was clearly the best of the back markers. No excuses for those that were beaten up on the speed as the race was not run quickly, I think the first two across the line are the only two worth following.

Race 5: Royal Ascot Handicap BM90 1200m.

Notes: KEN’S DREAM (1st) does his best work here, settled 2nd last and once again stormed over the top of them as he did last time up the straight. He looks to be a bit difficult to ride, but once that motor winds up you can’t stop him. LUCKY LIBERTY (2nd) was actually last in the run, finished very hard down the outside also. PRIMA (3rd) ran a monster race at huge odds, upwards of 300/1 was bet, just may have been stuck in front too far from home. HANDSOME THIEF (unplaced) looked to have every chance back along the inside but didn’t come on. Hard to make a case for those on the pace when a 300/1 chance is staving them off.

Race 6: The TAB Vanity 3YO Fillies 1400m.

RIMRAAM (1st) was super, like most of these she was resuming from a Spring campaign where they were tried over further in an Oaks campaign. She looks to have come back well, didn’t go around a horse and got an inside run in the straight and was strong through the line.

Notes: BRING ME ROSES (2nd) was also good on her return, she definitely wants further whilst SHOKORA (3rd) was good from the back also. ALOISIA (unplaced) gave them a huge start, she was only doing her best work late. She was unwanted in the betting, she looks to have just needed that run. PARIS ROCK (unplaced) faced her toughest test, probably goes to the paddock now? Plenty of talent on display here!

Race 7: C.S Hayes Stakes 3YO Colts and Geldings 1400m.

Notes: What a run from CLIFF’S EDDGE (2nd). He was three-wide without cover up on the speed, definitely not the place to be around the long bend here over the 1400m. He dashed to the front in the straight but was run down late by GRUNT (1st). He was also resuming and facing his toughest test, had to come four-wide around the second horse, took a while to hit top gear but was strong through the line. He was impressive but still want to stick with the Weir runner in the Guineas. MURAAQEB (3rd) and MAIN STAGE (unplaced) were both not far away, they were clearly the best of the back markers. SCARECROW (unplaced) and CAO CAO (unplaced) were both disappointing up on the speed.

Race 8: Black Caviar Lightning WFA 1000m.

Notes: WOW! What a return from REDKIRK WARRIOR (1st). With the blinkers on for the first time, he was dead last and spotting the sprinting superstar REDZEL (2nd) a half-dozen lengths, had to be steadied round heels to get to the outside and finished all over the top of them. REDZEL (2nd) was gallant in defeat but had every chance, just looked to be all out on the line but would have traded very short before the winner jumped out of the ground. MISSROCK (3rd) and SUPIDO (unplaced) both also made nice returns to the race track. That was as good a straight race as you will see.

Race 9: York Racecourse Handicap 1400m.

Notes: Absolute peach of a ride to get COLDSTONE (1st) over the line in the last. The gelding had a couple of months off, slotted straight into the box seat before peeling three-wide, hit the front and although the margin wasn’t great, it was comfortable. RAPIDOLE (2nd), KINGSGUARD (3rd) both had their chances to run him down. MANOLO BLAHNIQ (unplaced) was well supported to win, got well back and took forever to wind-up in the straight. He sprinted well from the 250-50 but looked to peak late. Bunched finish always a ?????