Brown's plays for Flemington's carnival
TwinSpires’ Louisville-based Australian, Andrew 'the Wizard of Oz' Brown, previews a huge night of racing action from Down Under on Friday night.
The four-day carnival at Melbourne’s premier track, Flemington, kicks off on Friday night U.S. time.
Flemington Derby Day
Day 1 is Derby Day, or otherwise known as Christmas for adults! That’s because the quality of races and horse flesh on Derby Day is second to none. The best horses from Australia and around the world descend upon Australia’s biggest city, Melbourne, to earn their share of more than $7 million (USD $5 million) in prize money shared across nine races on the day, including four Group 1 events. TwinSpires players can get up to $20 back if the horse you bet to win finishes 2nd on all races from Flemington on Derby Day.
Melbourne Cup Day
Day 2 of the Flemington carnival on Monday night U.S. time features the ‘race that stops the nation’, the $8 million (USD $5.6 million) Melbourne Cup (G1). An incredibly deep field of local and international runners, including English Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, will contest the 2-mile race. Oaks Day and Stakes Day wrap up on the carnival next Wednesday night and next Friday night respectively.
Flemington Opening Day Plays
Here’s my thoughts on the four Group 1 races at Flemington on the opening day (or night in the U.S) of the carnival!
Flemington Race 5 – The Empire Rose (G1) – 11:20 p.m. ET
The Empire Rose sees some of the country’s best fillies and mares battle in weight-for-age conditions over the Flemington mile.
#12 Odeum, one of the 3-year-olds in the race, looks very hard to beat for local trainer Mick Price. She’s won three of her last four starts including a superb last out victory in the Thousand Guineas (G1) where she was extremely strong to the line over the mile.
She gets in at that ultra-light weight of 49 kilograms (108 pounds) and 3-year-olds have a solid record in the race.
For exotic players, #1 Mystic Journey must be included and #5 Vanna Girl wouldn’t surprise at big odds.
Flemington Race 6 – Coolmore Stud Stakes (G1) – 12 a.m. ET
This is a superb field of 3-year-olds who will contest 6 furlongs up the Flemington straight.
#1 Farnan won Australia’s richest race for 2-year-olds, the Golden Slipper, earlier this year and looks to be the best horse in the race. He’ll be ridden by Glen Boss, or “Bossy” as he’s known Down Under. The jockey always makes an impact around carnival time and is coming off victory in last Saturday’s Cox Plate (G1) on Sir Dragonet. Farnan has had just the one run as a 3-year-old and there were excuses. I expect him to bounce back and be too good.
Hardest to beat will be #2 Wild Ruler and #14 September Run.
Flemington Race 7 – Victoria Derby (G1) – 12:45 a.m. ET
This is the feature race on the program, contested by 3-year-olds over 2500m (1 mile 4 ½ furlongs), and is worth $2 million (USD $1.4 million).
Admittedly, it’s not the strongest Victory Derby field I’ve seen, but it sure is competitive!
#4 Let’s Karaka Deal has been racing well without winning at his last two starts, but he gets his chance to make amends tonight. He probably should have won two starts back at Flemington but never got a clear run up the stretch, and last time out was a solid second in the Caulfield Classic (G3). He’s drawn to do no work from the inside post position and should relish the extra distance. At around 9-1 on the morning line, he looks great value.
For second, I like #8 Redwood Shadow, a 13-1 morning line hope who has plenty of scope for improvement after hitting the line strongly for 4th last time out in the Caulfield Classic.
The two favorites, #1 Cherry Tortoni and #5 Young Werther, should be included in your exotic bets. Young Werther has only had the two starts for trainer Danny O’Brien, but he looks like he could be something very special!
Flemington Race 8 – Kennedy Cantala (G1) – 1:30 a.m. ET
I like #13 Buffalo River in the final Group 1 of the day.
The 5-year-old gelding from the barn of Mike Moroney has plenty of scope for improvement in his 3rd run this campaign. His two runs back from a layoff have both been full of merit, including a gutsy last start 2nd in the Toorak Handicap (G1) when only beaten by half a length.
#9 Rock is another that will go around at decent odds who can feature. Look out for him running home strongly late. While Mr. Quickie, who beat Buffalo River home in the Toorak last time out, will have to overcome a wide post position, but can certainly feature in the finish.
It’s going to be a tremendous night of racing from Down Under. Find yourself a nice spot on the couch, crack a Fosters, and enjoy!