Last Saturday is best forgotten in many respects, and thanks to the barrage of weekday Election 07 thrills, it mostly has been.

But it’s some consolation to know I advised a modest outlay on Spectacular Saint in Bendigo in the event that any of my Caulfield selections were scratched (I’m tipping him to make the class jump in the first at the Valley tomorrow). Call me loyal, but Maldivian’s barrier accident activated the aforementioned Bendigo bet, averting an unseemly wipeout.

So here’s my Spring so far:

  • Week 1: Turnbull States day. Bet $50, return $29.30
  • Week 2: Caulfield Guineas day. Bet $29, return $10
  • Week 3: Caulfield Cup Day. Bet $56, return $19 (consisting of $13 from Spectacular Saint and money back for the Cup trifecta after the scratching of Maldivian)

Tomorrow’s card isn’t easy, but interest rates are justifiably high in the big races – I think Miss Andretti will prevail over Gold Edition in the Schweppes Stakes; the Hayes horse Kibbutz is excellent value in the AAMI Vase; and in the Cox Plate, I’m sticking with Miss Finland, but would recommend a $5 quinella on her and Devil Moon, and a box trifecta ($6) with the pair of them and Valley specialist El Segundo. With $5 straight out on all of the below, that’s a total of $61. And let’s just hope that none of my selections have worms.

TIPS:

RACE 1: (14) Spectacular Saint

RACE 2: (5) Miss Tomma Hawk

RACE 3: (9) Royal Asscher

RACE 4: (4) Miss Andretti

RACE 5: (5) Manna Miss

RACE 6: (6) Kibbutz

RACE 7: (13) Reggie

RACE 8: (11) Miss Finland

RACE 9: (8) Pinnacles

RACE 10: (12) Goldfield Ashes

Meanwhile, Jeff Wall writes:

Tomorrow’s high quality W S Cox Plate at Moonee Valley cannot come soon enough for the Victorian racing industry after a week of headlines it would have wanted to have done without.

Firstly there was the appalling and inexcusable placement of a camera fitting above the starting stall of the Caulfield Cup favourite which had disastrous consequences, and all this week the media has been fascinated by the alleged ownership of the second favourite in tomorrow week’s VRC Derby, Pillar of Hercules.

The very mention of the name “Mokbel” guarantees a headline, and that is what has happened this week with alleged drug baron, Horty Mokbel, under intense stewards questioning to determine whether he is a secret part owner of the horse. The headlines have continued right up until today – much to the chagrin of the racing establishment.

But the Cox Plate tomorrow will, and deserves to, grab the headlines back for all the right reasons. Equine flu has not been helpful to the quality of fields so far during the Spring Racing Carnival but tomorrow’s weight for age championship is all class.

The favourite, Miss Finland, is part owned by Alan Belford Jones who figures in the markets for yet another event – the race to be the coach of the Wallabies Rugby Team! During the carnival too many short priced favourites have been served up to punters – with mixed results – but the Cox plate is as open an event as the Moonee Valley Racing Club could pray for.

There are at least five serious chances – Miss Finland, Haradasun, Efficient, Devil Moon, and El Segundo – and you have to add Marasco, Zipping, Divine Madonna and last week’s other barrier mishap scratching, Eskimo Queen to the list. In a field of 13, no less than 9 of the contenders have a genuine chance of winning. It will be a bookmakers delight, and perhaps a punters nightmare.

Punters need to remember that it is a weight for age event – arguably the best weight for age contest in the world – and that is why I am going for the number one saddlecloth holder, El Segundo. Without question he is the best weight for age horse in the race, winning three group one races, and a proven contender around the tricky Monee Valley circuit. And he would have won the race last year had he not been hampered mid race – how’s that for confidence?

The second pick is a toss up. Miss Finland has been placed second at her last two starts, and was also unlucky in this race a year ago. But my second pick is Divine Madonna who comes into the race with the best current form – and a most impressive winner in the Toorak handicap at Flemington three weeks ago. My best roughie is Zipping – currently paying $26 for the win!

This should be a classic contest – worthy of an event that has grown in status over the last 20 years or so. And after tomorrow it is on to the real carnival highlight – the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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