Although he was never going to win The Heath at his first Australian start a fortnight ago, I thought ex-Japanese sprinter/miler Kemono put in an encouraging effort; he held his position late out wide despite clearly running out of gas the last part of the race.
Although Kemono technically goes up in class here, I'd strongly argue it's a field of lesser quality that he takes on. And he goes from set weights and penalty conditions to a handicap, and finds himself on the limit. He looks extremely well in to me.
He'd been sprouted a little as an Everest wildcard, personally I'm not convinced he's ready for that; but he's a lightly-raced galloper with good upside, and this isn't an Everest-class set of rivals he's taking on.
If he copes with the straight, I'm very confident he wins this.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Winx is a legend, a freak, an unparalleled racehorse that is impossible to tip against, and her younger stablemate Unforgotten is quickly on her way to being the second best galloper in the nation. She'll prove that by running a bottler against Winx in the George Main, and I think she'll go on to win the Epsom in a few weeks as well.
Her last start win in the Chelmsford was stunning. Once Hugh Bowman found her the gap in the straight, she sprinted that quickly through he could hardly hold on and she put the race beyond doubt in three strides. She'll be leading the pack behind the great one here and the almost 2-1 quote for her to do it seems extremely attractive.
Plenty wanted to pot Miss Fabulass after her last-start sixth in Tea Rose Stakes, but I think there was much more merit in Miss Fabulass' performance than she was given credit for. Kris Lees, whilst learning plenty about the blue-blooded filly, would still feel confident she's a huge Flight Stakes chance.
Connections admitted after the race that they erred in having her so close in the run, which was only to be truly known afterwards, as she was one-paced late. But if you look closely, she really rallied again the last 50m and through the line, hinting that she wants further, and most likely, wants to be ridden quietly. You have to bear in mind this is a filly just learning her craft; she was only having start number three there, against some of the best in the land at that trip.
Now to the seven furlongs, they'll be able to place her wherever they want from the good draw, probably midfield or slightly better. I've got no doubt that will give her the chance to show her best, because I reckon if she does the right things during the run, she will be absolutely explosive late.
No matter the circumstances for punters, a $1.60 pop getting beat translates to the horse in question being disappointing. In the overall scheme of things, that's a fair enough statement.
But you have to take the circumstances of each individual case into account and although Multaja was there to win last start and keep her unbeaten record intact, there were a few genuine excuses I believe. She can quickly make amends for that effort by winning on Saturday.
A couple of things they probably learned from that defeat; firstly the daughter of Medaglia D'Oro is a sprinter, there is no way she's winning a Thousand Guineas this campaign. And I think they have realised that; bringing her back to the 1100 metres here is a smart move. Secondly, she's better ridden with a sit rather than forced to be on-speed, and I've got no doubt that's the way Dwayne Dunn will ride her in this.
Smart Melody is her main danger and current favourite here; she's a very talented filly, but I think Multaja is, too. With the extra run under her belt and the fact she's been in Melbourne all prep, I think that will be enough for her to win this. There'll be plenty for her to target after this as the spring wears on.
OVER THE ODDS
I had a feeling we might be going to see the best of Comin' Through this prep and it was one of the main reasons I wanted to be on him first up when he won the Tramway in Sydney. In what was a good victory, jockey Michael Walker took no prisoners and made sure that his horse, who deserved to win the race, did in fact do just that. Despite the protest against him from connections of Dixie Blossoms whom Walker shouldered out of the way on the turn, it can't be denied that Comin' Through, if everyone gets clear running in the straight, wins the race ten times out of ten.
Chris Waller has got him straight on the float to Melbourne for a crack at a winnable group one, rather than having to line up against Winx. He arrives here in stellar form and ready to make his mark as a genuine weight-for-age galloper.
Comin' Through draws to get a gun run again, probably just off what doesn't look like a breakneck speed, and Walker should have him ready to go through his gears from the top of the Flemington straight.
I'm guessing Waller now sees a spring path for Comin' Through via this, the Underwood, and the Caulfield Stakes, before deciding whether to take on Winx in the Cox Plate or perhaps target the Emirates. He's got to do the job here first, though, and I reckon he's primed to do so.
Leg 1 - 6,8
Leg 2 - 2,3,9,10
Leg 3 - 5,8
Leg 4 - 2,3,8,9,10
($100 = 125%)
Leg 1 - 2,5,6,7
Leg 2 - 1,3,6,11
Leg 3 - 2,4,6,11,12
Leg 4 - 10,15
($100 = 62.25%)