There’s plenty of action to get stuck into this Saturday with the Group 1 Memsie Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield the highlight while Rosehill, Belmont Park, Eagle Farm, Morphetville Parks and Fannie Bay also host metropolitan meetings.
The Caulfield feature looks a relatively open affair with the market likely to be headed by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Alligator Blood.
The son of All Too Hard has returned to form in 2022 following up a close second in a competitive Group 3 event over 1300m at Eagle Farm at the end of May with a length victory at the highest level in the 1400m Stradbroke Handicap at the same venue the following month.
Carried a low weight in the Stradbroke but competes off level weights here and while the six-year-old is well drawn having been freshened up since that victory he has yet to prove he handles the forecast heavy ground and looks opposable despite his impressive record at the distance.
Danny O’Brien’s Western Empire takes the eye here having demonstrated good form in 2021 including when winning the Group 1 Railway Stakes over 1600m at Ascot by four lengths in November. Performed well when runner-up in the Group 1 Kingston Town over 200m further at the same venue the following month.
Another unproven on the forecast heavy going he hails from a stable who can boast a 36% strike-rate (5/14) in the last month and is taken to defy a wide draw with Damian Lane taking the ride.
Three-year-old sprinters take centre stage in the penultimate race on the Rosehill card, the 1100m Group 3 San Domenico Stakes.
Kacy Fogden saddles Golden Slipper runner-up Best Of Bordeaux in the feature race and having won twice in Group company when making all prior to that second place finish he looks likely to play a leading role.
The Snitzel colt delivered two course and distance victories prior to that Group 1 second including in the Group 2 Silver Slipper on a soft 6 track in February. Similar underfoot conditions are expected here and while James McDonald’s mount has been drawn wide here he rates a worthy favourite.
Nettuno is taken to get the better of Best Of Bordeaux here however with Tony Gollan’s galloper defending an unbeaten record dropping in distance.
The pick delivered a first Group race success when triumphant by a narrow margin on a heavy 8 track in the Group 3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic over 1200m at Gold Coast in May.
The form of that race is working out well with the runner-up scoring since and the third home Sheeza Belter winning twice subsequently including in Group 1 company and with that in mind Hugh Bowman’s mount is taken to maintain his unbeaten record dropping in distance.
The feature race on the Cairns card is the 2022 running of the 2100m Cairns Cup. The race has attracted a large field and is set to take place as the penultimate race on a nine race card.
The in form Louis January is expected to jump as favourite having won each of his last two starts including a Benchmark 65 contest over 2000m at Townsville earlier this month.
That effort came on a soft 5 track and look for Robbie Fradd to get his mount to the lead having drawn barrier eight.
The wide drawn Namazu has shown good form in Cup contests of late and is preferred here however with the Medaglia d’Oro gelding following up a third place finish in the 2000m Mackay Cup with a length triumph in Townsville’s equivalent over the same distance in similar conditions three weeks ago.
While recent efforts have come on a sound surface the pick has shown good form on wet tracks in the past and is selected to provide trainer Ricky Vale with a winner in this competitive affair.