Runners to watch: Flemington, May 20th

Ray Hickson reviews Saturday's Flemington meeting and highlights some horses to follow.

Race 1: Saintly Trophy (1400m)

Grunt (3rd): eye-catching debut from a spring Derby prospect. Slowly out, made ground behind a wall at the top of the straight and when pulled wide he took a while to wind up but charged at them late. Promising.

Indernile (4th): no luck at all from barrier one, he was bailed away for most of the straight and only able to balance up and run on from the 100m. Should have finished a lot closer and is bursting to win race.

Note – A strong Australian debut win by ex-Kiwi filly Aloisia, who had a nice run just off the pace and found a gap in the straight and held off Salsamor and the fast-finishing Grunt.

Race 2: Light Fingers Trophy (1200m)

Miss Siska (4th): rode the speed and was always niggled a little to stay there. While she didn’t hit the front at any stage she was entitled to drop out but stayed on to be beaten a couple of lengths first-up. Clearly beat all but the placegetters and is eligible for easier.

Note – Overstep had been threatening to win a race of late and finally got the job done, coming from behind the short priced favourite Divine Quality, who had beaten her four lengths a couple of weeks earlier, to win well with the consistent Motown Lil running into second. No excuses Divine Quality.

Race 3: John Miller Trophy (1800m)

Note – massive upset with 100/1 shot Northern Journey tracking New Graduate and running him down to score an easy, though unpredictable, win. Shoreham, on his return to Victoria, ran on into third and the favourites never had a look in. Gallic Chieftain looked very flat and never threatened.

Race 4: Winx Trophy (1600m)

Tell The Truth (4th): might have been a bit stiff not to win. Three back on the fence too the turn then strung up when looking to get clear. Went sideways for 100m and had to change course when cut out of a run in the closing stages. Narrowly missed a place. Fresh off a synthetic maiden win and measured up well.

Note – Another upset result in a tight finish with Guangzhou just lasting to down Bettyrae Ruby who ran on from near last and Atlantic Express who loomed in his best effort in a long time. Spanner Head and Greviste appeared to have their chances, the latter probably had enough this prep.

Race 5: Lloyd Williams Trophy (1400m)

Tucanchoo (3rd): promising return from a handy middle distance performer, making steady ground from the second half into third. He tends to run well second-up so at the right trip he can be very competitive, but looks in for a good prep.

Note – in a fast run race, Sovereign Nation came from midfield with a well timed run and proved far too good first-up for Well Sprung, who had every chance but ran well, and Tucanchoo. Leader Charmed Harmony was softened up and compounded while the import Radipole had a hard run on the pace as well.

Race 6: Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m)

Note – Flemington specialist De Little Engine enhanced his record beyond 2500m with a very dominant staying performance. He always travelled like the winner around midfield and he put the race away 400m out. Mujadale held on well for second after leading and Like A Carousel scrambled into the minor placing.

Race 7: Straight Six (1200m)

Demonstrate (6th): drifted a long way back closer to the outside fence and was held up at a vital stage when trying to get clear. Once a run opened he made up plenty of ground but the race was all over. Improved showing and perhaps one more chance up to 1400m.

Note – Yet another long priced winner with Tashbeeh sitting just off the pace and taking over about 200m out, proving too strong for Yesterday’s Songs who worked home well and Tried And Tired showing a glimpse of form just head of Oak Door who was fair fresh.

Race 8: Archer Trophy (2000m)

Ventura Storm (5th): cheeky first-up run from this import. He tracked a solid speed and loomed to hit the front inside the 300m before weakening a bit late to just miss a place. Will be better for the run and doesn’t have to improve much.

Note – a milestone win for longshot Extra Zero, saluting at his 100th start. He was well back in a strung out field and got runs through, bursting between horses like a three-year-old at the 100m to beat Haradfull who was in front of him on the turn but went wide and Self Sense worked home into third.

Race 9: Carbine Club Handicap (1600m)

Note – one more outsider to round out a tricky day with Zourkhan coming from a midfield position on the fence and sprinting from the 300m to run out quite an easy first-up winner over Portion Control running on from well back ahead of Fastnet Latina who had every chance.