The month of July will no doubt provide plenty of racing highlights – the running of the Emirates Singapore Derby and the Magic Millions Juvenile Championship later in the month will ensure that – but race nine today shapes as an intriguing affair and one not to be missed.
And while the Open Benchmark 83 over 1200m may not have feature status, the clash between the exciting DRAGON SPIRIT and the Pat Shaw-trained VALEVOLE looks as good as it gets on paper.
DRAGON SPIRIT – looking for four wins straight and his fifth from just 12 career starts – probably holds the aces as far as punters are concerned after romping home at his last two starts.
As you would expect, the DUE SASSO 3YO has pace to burn and regular hoop Danny Beasley will no doubt use his early speed to try to lead from gate four, dictate terms and hope he is on the best horse when ‘push comes to shove’ late.
And the horse that should be doing most of the ‘pushing’ is VALEVOLE.
The Brazilian-bred 3YO might not have the hype surrounding DRAGON SPIRIT around the betting shops, but is fast putting together a CV every bit as impressive.
In fact his last start win was his fourth from just eight career starts and like DRAGON SPIRIT, all his wins have been on the Polytrack.
And his most recent win was equally as impressive as DRAGON SPIRITS and given the quality of horses the pair left in their respective wakes, the two could have an out-and-out battle today and carry this rivalry for many races to come.
But what makes this race something special is the small field is quality and the pair will have to respect the likes of MOONLITE SHOWER – gunning for his sixth win from his 12th career start- and EMBLESSED who is shooting for his fourth win in a row.
Throw in RAPIDO STAR in what looks a very suitable affair and the race will live up to all expectations.
The five races on the card are all on the Polytrack.
Best Bets; NICEONE (race 7, win), CHINESE TYCOON (race 8, each-way) and DRAGON SPIRIT/VALEVOLE (race 9, swinger/forecast).
Bankers for Jackpots: Race 8 (1, 2, 7, 8, 9 and 10), race 9 (2 and 3), race 10 (field) and race 11 (2, 3, 7 and 13)
.Race cards and Larry Foley’s synopsis follows and for updates on all runners go to www.kranjiracing.com
Please note the odds listed are “reference odds” only.
Selections; 5 NICEONE – 4 SQUALL LINE – 2 VELLFIRE – 1 VIVA PANATA
The owners of NICEONE look to have named the 3YO very well. The ISHIGURU gelding has looked super impressive winning three from five at his first campaign and looks perfectly placed to continue that golden run today. Gate one and a field with not a lot of strong recent form suggests the stable backs NICEONE off the boards but he should be good enough to win. But those looking for value and perhaps horses that have form in this grade previously might want to have a good long looks at the likes of SQUALL LINE (in solid form and gets a great chance from gate two), VELLFIRE (late Wallinger and has winning first up form) and VIVA PANATA who will start to show his best in this company sooner than later. PRIMERA ESPADA, CHATEAUNEUF DUPAPE and ARADEA also in the exotic mix but NICEONE easily the top pick.
1 VIVA PANATA ** Did it tough last start and effort late OK so worth a look from OK gate and claim. 20
2 VELLFIRE ** Late WALLINGER. Resuming after ordinary run of form but goes very well first up and pay to keep very safe. 33
3 PRIMERA ESPADA ** Last start OK from bad gate and worth some thought although awkwardly drawn again. 20
4 SQUALL LINE ** In form and just needs a result for the efforts – goes close from gate two. 5.00
5 NICEONE *** Resuming after running into MR BIG last start. That effort, previous wins and recent smart trial has him winning this. 1.40
6 SELIGI ** Resuming after solid campaign that included a Class 4 win. Can place first up. 20
7 BE A MAN * Will work home OK but might need Class 4 for a result. 33
8 CHATEAUNEUF DUPAPE ** Resuming after disappointing run and happy to consider in exotics fresh with upgrade to blinkers. 12
9 BENJI’S EMPIRE ** Has pace and will give a bold site from the gate with 2kg claim. 20
10 ARADEA ** Showed why has to respected in this type of race last start and a must for exotics. 33
11 BIG FORTUNE * Competitive last start but like to see in something easier. 100
Selections; 9 CHINESE TYCOON – 1 GATEAWAY – 2 HILARY – 8 ZAC IMPERIAL
Likely favourite GATEAWAY certainly looks the horse to beat in this after finding near his best form in a similar affair at his last start. And the fact the SHAMARDAL gelding’s only two wins have been over this trip suggests he wins again very soon in this company. But while GATEAWAY will be hard to beat, I think CHINESE TYCOON very much appreciates this company and happy to have him in an upset. He ‘sneaks’ into Class 5 for the first time with just 54kg and given he has showed promise in this type of race in maiden company previously, he might just be ready to show his best and can breakthrough with an upgrade to blinkers from winkers in his favour. Hopefully he gets under a few punters guards and is each-way value which would be handy in a race like this. HILARY also has a chance to show her best back in her winning grade. Her form reads very badly but the obvious fact she won the last time she went around in this company suggests she has admirers. Throw in ZAC IMPERIAL with a senior rider in his favour, APACHE JUNCTION first up and MIDLIFE CRISIS who looks to be back in form.
1 GATEAWAY *** Showed something near his best when second at his previous run and the one to beat from gate one. 3.00
2 HILARY *** Form reads badly but has been crying out for this company – in this a long way. 6.00
3 SIR RUMBLE ** Resuming and goes OK in the grade but might need a tad longer/turf to show his best. 33
4 HIS MY IDOL ** Some recent runs OK and appreciates nice gate – a must for exotics. 16
5 SINATRA * Hard to have on last couple of runs. 50
6 WIN LOTS ** Never involved last start and goes OK on his day so keep safe with blinkers downgraded to winkers. 8.00
7 APACHE JUNCTION *** Hasn’t raced for six months but has had several trials. Won over this trip back in September and could show up fresh with upgrade to blinkers. 8.00
8 ZAC IMPERIAL *** A tad disappointing since win three start back but senior hoop could make a difference. Watch. 10
9 CHINESE TYCOON *** Form reads badly but should appreciate Class 5 and upgrade to blinkers – bold run expected. 8.00
10 MIDLIFE CRISIS *** Hampered last start and ran on well to be beaten less than a length. Previous effort good will make his presence felt late. 10
11 OH YES OH NOE ** Resuming after bleeding attacked. Chance on best form – watch market. 30
12 MAHA VEERAN ** Super disappointing with Moreira support last time out and have to take on trust. 12
13 TOP ASIA * No. 100
14 WINNING DAN ** Should be doing better and the type to keep safe. 33
Selections; 3 VALEVOLE – 2 DRAGON SPIRIT – 1 MOONLITE SHOWER – 4 RAPIDO STAR
One of the more intriguing races seen for a long time with two horses coming off outstanding Poly wins in DRAGON SPIRIT and VALEVOLE and a support cast that includes some serious horses including EMBLESSED gunning for four wins-in-a-row. And the fact EMBLESSED doesn’t even get a look in for the top four picks suggests this small field is elite and a race not to missed. But the clash between DRAGON SPIRIT and VALEVOLE is what punters will be warming to and it looks a two-horse battle royale. DRAGON SPIRIT – also gunning for four-straight – probably starts favourite and rightly so after dominating a good field last start. The DUE SASSO 3YO has won four and been placed another five times from just 11 career starts and the fact all his wins have been on this surface suggests he is a star in the making. But VALEVOLE has also won four – all on the Poly – and his last start win was equally as impressive. In fact when you consider that VALEVOLE beat MASTHEAD into fourth and DRAGON SPIRIT beat a Class 5 conveyance in SMITTEN KITTEN into fourth, we might lean towards VALEVOLE. Or a very strong 1-2? But don’t forget MOONLITE SHOWER – five wins and four places from 11 starts – and RAPIDO STAR who looks very well suited back in distance. Obviously EMBLESSED can upset the applecart but VALEVOLE v DRAGON SPIRIT for me.
1 MOONLITE SHOWER ** Had a few issues at first run back and returned not striding but appreciates the effort and goes close on best form. 7.00
2 DRAGON SPIRIT *** Spanked them last start for a hat-trick on wins. Loves the Poly and hard to beat on that super effort. 2.00
3 VALEVOLE *** Another Poly specialist who is coming off a very strong win and certainly holds his own here. 2.80
4 RAPIDO STAR ** Drops back to a more suitable trip after finding the mile a tad out of reach last start. Keeps them honest. 12
5 EMBLESSED ** Hard to fault form winning four from last five and expect another strong showing. 6.00
6 GETREEL * Struggling of late and while better than what he has shown others make more appeal here. 100
7 SLITHER ** First up run very nice and worth following this campaign. 33
8 MODEL CITIZEN * Resuming and needs it easier than this. 100
Selections; 3 DOUBLE RANSOM – 5 SPINNING SUCCESS – 2 PHANTOM KNIGHT – 4 JOYLUCK
A tough race with plenty of horses that can win. In fact most can win without surprising so something has to give in the value stakes. But two horses that are ready to win and look the most solid options are DOUBLE RANSOM and SPINNING SUCCESS. DOUBLE RANSOM was in fine form in similar affairs last campaign and his excellent first up run over 1200m suggests he is back in perhaps better form and can win. He has drawn nicely in gate five for Alan Munro which is also in his favour. SPINNING SUCCESS is also ready to win and the fact he has run second to a couple of nice enough types of late (and a solid fourth behind GUIDED LIGHT) suggests he goes mighty close. He will need help from the awkward draw but with any luck he goes close. PHANTOM KNIGHT will win soon – but when? He finds excuses in running and that is obliviously a concern but easily good enough to win with luck for E Aslam. As mentioned, plenty of others to choose from and JOYLUCK is a big show and might sneak out to a nice price (watch) with ITISWHATITIS, MONEY BEE, LOOK AT ME and WINNING SUCCESS all in the winning mix.
1 BAY OF ISLAND ** Will need to work from wide gate early but in form and happy to consider each way at value. 20
2 PHANTOM KNIGHT *** Coincidentally a year since his last win – with same hoop – and while disappointing of late he is always a hope and goes close. 8.00
3 DOUBLE RANSOM *** Returned to racing in fine form and step up in distance in his favour – hard to beat. 3.50
4 JOYLUCK *** In form and another who steps up to winning preferred trip – goes mighty close. 5.00
5 SPINNING SUCCESS *** Been in and around some nice types of late and holding his own so worth serious though here. 5.00
6 ITISWHATITIS *** Showed last start he has the form to follow and this race – with gate one a factor – looks ideal. 12
7 TAKIS ** Appreciates a nice gate today and worth some though on good effort two starts back. 33
8 MONEY BEE *** Last start better than it looks in the book and step up to the mile has him playing a part at odds. KEEP SAFE. 33
9 GLIMMERING ** Not a lot last start and drawn badly switch back to Poly a good move. 33
10 LOOK AT ME *** Stiff not to win last start and gets back and runs on so wide gate not a concern – big show. 8.00
11 WINNING SUCCESS *** Steps up in Class after well deserved win and happy to follow as winning form holds up in these types of races. 10
12 IRO OTOKO ** Wide gate an issue but honest enough to include in skinny end of exotics. 33
13 FIFTH DAN ** Solid and pay to include somewhere if he gets a start. 33
14 EIGHTH WONDER ** Been good since stepping up in Class two starts back – another to include in exotics. 33
Selections; 2 SOLITAIRE – 7 IRISH LIGHTNING – 3 BENJI’S RULE – 13 SCANDAL
This race has little depth so the horses with form – especially winning form – look the ones to follow. SOLITAIRE has drawn wide but that won’t be an issue as he showed at his last two from the ‘car park’ he can get back and storm home. He probably has more strings to his bow than that but with two wins and four places from just six starts, he is a horse to follow through the grades and distances. IRISH LIGHTNING didn’t win last start but the fact he worked well to the line over 1000m suggests he might be ready to show his best over 1200m. The ROCK OF GIBRALTAR 3YO has struggled over the trip previously but worth a look in what is just a fair Class 4 field. BENJI’S RULE won last start and seems to enjoy this surface so is certainly in the winning mix again. The form falls away after the top three but it will pay to keep the emergency, SCANDAL, very safe as this looks a winnable race for the lightly raced 4Y0.
1 RIMSKY ** Significant drop back to winning Class and while form is ordinary and perhaps better over longer, he will improve. 20
2 SOLITAIRE *** Wide gate not an issue and will get back. In form and hard to beat. 3.00
3 BENJI’S RULE *** Showed last start why he is a serious threat on this surface. Follow. 4.00
4 DREAMCATCHER ** Each way hope this type of race and need appropriate odds. 12
5 MOVIE GOER *** Never involved last start but the ace draw suggests a more forward showing so keep safe. 12
6 STANZOUT ** Excuses for poor run last time out (respiratory) and obviously a hope on winning form two runs back. 20
7 IRISH LIGHTNING *** Best from over shorter but home OK over the 1000m last start suggests he might get the trip. Follow. 3.60
8 SKY PROTEGE * Form good but is over longer so happy to ignore. 33
9 STAR OF BRAZIL * Appreciates first run back but no. 100
10 FAT BOBO ** Form tapering but drop back in distance might see an improvement. 50
11 MSIXTEEN ** Resuming and always some hope at his best in this grade – tote a good guide. 33
12 SAVILHRO ** Up in grade after nice win but form competitive in this Class previously so pay to keep safe. 12
13 SCANDAL *** Going along in good order and will knock in a win in this company – follow. 8.00
14 DARING SPLENDOUR * Needs longer. 100