DESERT LASHES - Speedy mare that was crunched into favouritism in a much stronger Group III race just last week before uncharacteristically finding early trouble when on-face value appearing disappointing. Goes enormous here at both track/distance and suggest has a class edge on all of her rivals in this, yet only still only has to contend with 56kg after the claim of Georgina Cartwright (this young apprentice won on this mare two starts back). Quick back-up also a big positive - rates big overs at current $4.80! Stragun ($18) best roughie in the race.
KENTUCKY BREEZE - He’s a lightly raced Pierro gelding that’s won two from five starts. Had a tough run first up this time in at Flemington in the CS Hayes behind Grunt then had 60kg when beaten five lengths by Scarecrow at Flemington. He resumed here after an eight-week break when down the track behind William Thomas, forget he went around. From the 600m he didn’t get much galloping room and looked as though he had something to offer. In the spring he won the Hilton Stakes at Flemington on Emirates day over 1400m defeating Muraaqeb in smart time. Let’s have a throw at the stumps as he has blinkers first time and the speed map suggests he gets a good run. Beware of Wayanka he also has blinkers first time, and is a must for exotics.
EXCELTARA - Only one win from nine starts but he had the flashing light on him here last start. He was the sectional star when he came from last at the 500m to run seventh to William Thomas beaten 3-1/2 lengths. He’s never far away, the biggest margin he has been defeated is five lengths by Leicester, the favourite for the SA Derby, that was at Terang in January. He meets Wassergeist a kilo better for being beaten a half head at Pakenham two starts back, that horse is a $8 chance in this and is a danger. Liam Riordan rode him last start and he will be more attuned to his tardiness at the start as he tends to be lazy early.
NOUMEA - His last two starts have resulted in thirds, both time here at Caulfield, to Jaameh and Magic Consol. This will be his fourth run this time in. Before coming here in England he ran second fourth up as a two-year-old at Newmarket over 1400m and then as a three-year-old he ran second also at Newmarket over 2414m. Jake Noonan got a feel of him here last start and he should be fully fit and give this a big shake. Blinkers first time looks a bonus and I will be playing Patch Adams in exotics with him.
MAIN STAGE - Last time in at his second racing campaign he won a maiden at Kilmore, ran second at Flemington to Tavistock Abbey (1800m), he then won at Flemington (1800m) beating Cliffs Edge, was third at Caulfield in the Group III Caulfield Classic to Cliffs Edge before being dictated to in the Victorian Derby by his wide gate when fifth to Ace High. He was an eye-catcher first-up at Flemington when fourth to Grunt and Cliffs Edge. He was ordinary in the Australian and Rosehill Guineas before his last start fifth in the Australian Derby behind Levendi and Ace High after being ridden outside his comfort zone. In that race he was caught wide strode forward and raced on the speed, led on the turn and held on determinedly. Speed on here with Runaway and Box On Collins going hard. Damian Oliver has his first ride on him, let’s hope he has some luck from a tricky draw.