I’m happier than a butcher’s dog. Why, I hear you ask? It’s not because The Bachelor is back on TV (although, let’s be honest, we’re all fans... and Lisa is an absolute certainty, by the way) - no, it’s due to the fact that a whiff of spring is in the air. Caulfield on Saturday will play host to the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes, and the field is pretty darn good. The headline act is former world’s best sprinter, five-time G1 winner Lankan Rupee, while the support cast includes rising star Supido - an effortless winner of the G3 Sir John Monash Stakes a fortnight ago, as well as talented Queensland filly Savanna Amour. In Sydney, the feature race is the $150,000 Listed Winter Challenge, the Listed Lightning Stakes will be run and won in the City of Churches, while over in the west, there’s $100,000 on the table in the Listed H.G. Bolton Sprint.
Revolving Door (Caulfield, Race 7 No.3)
If you backed this gelding last start, you’ve probably spent the past two weeks seeing a psychologist (and drinking heavily). He was a good thing licked, in my opinion. Senior jockey Mark Zahra, who won on him three starts ago, goes back on, and he should get a lovely run from gate 2. We can expect around $3, which is a fair price. I reckon he just wins.
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE
Kiwia (Caulfield, Race 2 No.8)
He’s a progressive off-season stayer, this guy, and not much went right for him last start when beaten as favourite. Gun hoop Damian Lane takes over from apprentice Brandon Stockdale, and he’s clearly the horse with the most upside. I’m happy to take the $2.50.
CLASS SHOULD PREVAIL
First Among Equals (Belmont, Race 7 No.1)
I really like this guy. He’s won 11 of 27 and more than $650,000 in stakes. He carried the grandstand when resuming from a spell, finishing a narrow second behind It’s It, who he meets 1.5kg better here. He’s the best horse in the race by a minute (two starts ago, he was four lengths off Vega Magic in the G1 Goodwood Handicap) and with a run under his belt he’ll be fitter for this.
WORTH A THROW AT THE STUMPS
Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Rosehill Race8, No.1)
In what is an extremely tough race (with many plodders), the $21 on offer for this veteran sprinter appeals. Two starts ago, he ran second to Boss Lane, who won in town last week, and at his most recent outing he was beaten just 2.2 lengths by Calanda, who then came out and won the Listed Ramornie Handicap at Grafton. Talented apprentice Courtney Van Der Werf takes 3kg off, so he gets in well with 57.5kg.
Bollinger Rose (Gosford Race 6, No.6)
By brilliant sire More Than Ready, from the Dehere mare Bollinger, who was a star filly back in the early 2000s, winning five of eight starts, including the Coolmore in 2003, and $680,000 in earnings. Bollinger has already thrown a G2 winner in the States, Friesan Fire, who took out the Louisiana Derby in 2009. Bollinger Rose has trialled well and should make her presence felt on debut here.