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Emirates Stakes Day – Flemington – Preview, Tips and Best Bets

Fri, Nov 4, 4:37pm by Bren O'Brien

Emirates Stakes Day has taken on a distinctly different feel this year with the movement of the major race from a 1600m handicap to a 2000m weight for age race, which is essentially a swap, with the old Mackinnon Stakes now a ‘weight for age’ Grand Final for the spring.

The VRC’s innovation of race scheduling should be praised as it certainly adds to a day which in terms of the quality of racing, has been improving over the past ten years since the Darley Classic established itself as the best sprint race of the spring,

As luck would have it, both the weight for age ranks and the sprinting ranks have fallen away through the spring and both races probably lack a star performer.

Having said that, both are terrific betting races, with the Emirates having three equal favourites and the Darley having six horses at $10 or shorter,

It’s been a marathon this week and while Oaks Day didn’t pan out as planned, we think there’s some good value on offer on the final day.
WATCH: Our Preview of Emirates Stakes Day

I’ve tipped Hauraki in the Emirates and The Quarterback in the Darley Classic. The best for the day comes up in Race 3, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, with No.3 Tom Melbourne, while our best value comes up in the last race, No.1 Akavaroun.

Here’s our race by race preview of Stakes Day.

Race 1 Maribyrnong Plate – 1000m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Azazel ($4.60)

2nd: 2. Wait for No One ($4.50)

3rd: 4. Aspect ($9)

4th: 15. Resin ($5)

Betting: Hasn’t been a lot of movement in this race. Azazel and Wait for No One have both had support, while the unraced Resin opened $6 and is into $5.

Summary: Only four of these have had starts, so there’s a degree of mystery here. Azazel backed up his strong trial with a good win at Moonee Valley, sweeping wide on the turn to win. He looks a real professional. Conversely Wait for No One showed speed at Caulfield and held on and that experience will be valuable here. Aspect draws well for his debut and is with a good stable. He’s the one to watch as well as the filly Resin, who comes off a trial win into her debut and is with a stable which has a 20 per cent success race with first starters this year.

Betting Confidence: On his Valley win, happy to be with Azazel, but confidence tempered by the fact that so many of his rivals are unraced.

Race 2 Starlight Foundation Hcp – 2000m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 5. Hipparchus ($3.90)

2nd: 4. Master Zephyr ($12)

3rd: 3. Shamkiyr ($21)

4th: 2. Nozomi ($15)

Betting: Hipparchus opened $4.60 and is now $3.90, while Curragh has shortened from $10 into $7.

Summary: A very even race, but Hipparchus, for Waller and Bowman, looks ready to peak at 2000m. Made a few mistakes last time, and should appreciate Flemington. Master Zephyr comes back down to his sort of class of race and back in distance. He is drawn to get a nice run. Shamkiyr hasn’t won since he was in Europe, but wary of Weir runners fourth or fifth up, with fitness under their belts. Nozomi is in good form and is nice odds.

Betting Confidence: Not much between this lot. Confident that Hipparchus is the one they must beat, but happy to take the value on Master Zephyr, who is a bit of a favourite of ours.

Race 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes –  2600m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Tom Melbourne ($2.60)

2nd: 1. Francis of Assisi ($3.60)

3rd: 2. Howard Be Thy Name ($21)

4th: 6. Second Bullet ($13)

Betting: Both favourites have drifted, with Tom Melbourne out from $2.60 to $2.40 and Francis of Assisi $3.50 out to $3.60. The only firmers have been at very long price with Sly Romance $67 into $41.

Summary: Some good quality stayers here. Think Tom Melbourne deserves a win in this. He was very brave from the front last week, only to be run down by Oceanographer. Think he’ll benefit from that and may prove too hard to catch in this. Francis of Assisi was very good in the Bendigo Cup and you’d expect him to be chasing Tom Melbourne most of the way. Howard By Thy Name hasn’t been at his best this campaign but worth noting he didn’t win until sixth-up last campaign and then won five of his next six. He’s fifth-up into this. Second Bullet was good in Bendigo Cup and warrants consideration.

Betting Confidence: Highly confident in Tom Melbourne breaking through for a deserved win in this. He’s our bet of the day.

Race 4 Hilton Stakes – 1400m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 4. Niccolance ($3.80)

2nd: 10. Dam Ready ($15)

3rd: 5. Valiano ($14)

4th: 7. Sword of Light ($26)

Betting: Punters have latched on to Niccolance here and he has been $4.40 into $3.80. Money also for Verstappen, who has been $7 into $6.50.

Summary: Niccolance is clear top pick in this having beaten Comin’ Through last time. He came out and won the Carbine Club last week, and that form looks lengths above this field. Dam Ready has been a model of consistency this campaign and gets out to 1400m with a nice barrier. He’s nice odds. Valiano was brave last time and while he’s drawn wide, could give them something to chase down, while Sword of Light will appreciate being back to her home track and back to 1400m.

Betting Confidence: If Niccolance can carry the form from his last start win, then highly confident he’ll be winning here.

Race 5 Antler Luggage Hcp – 1600m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 5. Survived ($19)

2nd: 3. Petrology ($19)

3rd: 12. Loyalty Man ($14)

4th: 8. Lucky Paddy ($6)

Betting: Punters not keen on this race (can’t blame them). Lucky Paddy is in half a point from $6.50 into $6, while Observational is $15 into $13.

Summary: Not an easy race to assess, and not sure what it is doing smack bang in the middle of a feature raceday. Survived is out top pick on value. Ran a great race over 1600m when fresh in the Golden Mile at Bendigo last time in. His first-up record is pretty strong. Petrology‘s form look suss, but he does save his best for Flemington and is suited in this class. Loyalty Man is another who likes headquarters, while Paddy’s Gem looks to building toa  win.

Betting Confidence: Looking for value, value, value here in an even race. Back any (or all) of our first three tips each way.

Race 6 7news Matriarch Stakes – 2000m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 10 Lady Le Fay ($4.40)

2nd: 8. Denmagic ($5.50)

3rd:  9. Manageress ($15)

4th: 16. Happy Hannah ($8.50)

Betting: Punters have forgiven Lady Le Fay for her last start failure and she is in from $5.50 into $4.40, while Denmagic has been $8.50 into $5.50.

Summary: Deep race this, with plenty of chances, but feel this has been Lady Le Fay’s spring target all along. The extra 400m on last start looks up her alley and there should be no track bias to combat. Last time at 2000m, she ran sixth in a G1. Denmagic has never been over 2000 before but her run in the Myer indicates it should be no major problem, Manageress loves Flemington and has a 2000m here under her belt, while Happy Hannah comes off good form in Sydney.

Betting Confidence: It’s funny taking $4.40 about a horse who was beaten by another horse in this race, who is $23 (Kaniana) but Lady Le Fay is a real 2000m horse who should improve significantly into this. Big fan of her work and think she’s a clear top pick.

Race 7 – Emirates Stakes – 2000m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Hauraki ($13)

2nd: 3. The United States ($4.20)

3rd: 5. Vadamos ($4.50)

4th: 9. Palentino ($11)

Betting:  The favourites, The United States ($4.20) and Vadamos ($4.50), have both drifted, with small support for Palentino ($12 into $11) and Good Standing ($13 into $12).

Summary: This is a very even race, with a mix of international form and local form. Feel Hauraki is good odds and a great chance in this race. Disappointed slightly in the Cox Plate, but it wasn’t much of a ride and not convinced he liked the Valley. J-Mac gets back on board and he should like Flemington a lot more. The United States two recent runs have been very good and he gets to his preferred distance range. Three runs is as two weeks is the query. Vadamos was very brave in the Cox plate and if he settles, will prove tough to run down, while Palentino had little luck last week.

Betting Confidence: Very confident that Hauraki is well above the odds in this and will give you a good run for your each-way investment.

Race 8 Darley Classic – 1200m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 3. The Quarterback ($6.50)

2nd: 5. Fell Swoop ($6.50)

3rd: 6. Our Boy Malachi ($4.60)

4th: 1. Lankan Rupee ($6.50)

Betting: Our Boy Malachi is the one the punters have come for and he’s been $6.50 into $4.60. Malaguerra has been $13 in to $9, while Sheidel has been $16 into $13.

Summary: A very even version of this race, but happy to take The Quarterback here, especially at the $6.50. He loves the Flemington straight and his last two starts here were an easy G2 win and a victory in the Newmarket. That form is better than his rivals. Fell Swoop was very good in the Manikato and is in great form. Has never run down the straight here though. Our Boy Malachi was excellent at Caulfield and he’s won 19 from 26! He won’t be far away. Lankan Rupee looked back near his best last time and does relish the straight, where he’s a two-time Group 1 winner.

Betting Confidence: Very confident in The Quarterback. There should be enough pace in this for him to do his usual thing, and get back and swoop home.

Race 9 Emirates Airlines Handicap – 1400m

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Akavoroun ($14)

2nd: 3. Ulmann ($5.50)

3rd: 8. Demonstrate ($2.70)

4th: 6. Lord Aspen ($11)

Betting: Demonstrate has been fairly solidly supported to $2.70, while Santa Ana Lane has been $8.50 into $7.50 and Akavoroun $17 to $14.

Summary: Nice race to finish off the carnival and we think we’ve got a nice winner for you. Akavoroun is ready to win this having come close five weeks back. Loves his races spaced these days and has two wins and two placings from seven starts at Flemington. Ulmann beat him last time, but meets him 2kg worse off at the weights. He’ll be thereabouts again. Demonstrate won easily here on Tuesday but the five-day back-up and step up in class is tough. Lord Aspen won well in Adelaide last week and won over this track and distance 12 months ago.

Betting Confidence: Very confident that Akavoroun is big value, while Lord Aspen is another one who could provide a blowout.

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