Australian Racing Friday Night (June 13th, 10:55 PM EDT)
RACE 2C (Flemington), 5.5 furlongs (1100m)
Flemington is the top track in Australia. It hosts the Melbourne Cup, along with the week-long Melbourne Cup Carnival in November. However, there is one other feature that makes Flemington unique, and in some way world famous: It’s “straight course” (no turns) six furlong chute.
As far as I am aware, there are only three race courses in the world that have at a straight six furlongs (Flemington’s 1200m chute) and longer (both Newmarket and Ascot have straight courses that go up to one mile).
My experience with the Flemington course is that if the surface is rated good to dead, speed is vitally important. If your horse can’t be on the lead, it still needs to “stay close” early and not fall off the pace. If the ground is slow or heavy, closers have a much better chance. Also wide post positions away from the inner rail (Aussies call posts “barriers”) give horses the chance to recover from a slip or stumble at the start and get back into the race. Horses on the inside after a mishap never seem to “get a breather” and it usually tells in the final furlong.
I am tipping #4 NEAREST TO PIN to win here. The race at Flemington on Nov. 5th was a listed race during Melbourne Cup week, when the competition is extremely tough, so I will look past the lack of Flemington form and recognize his good overall speed and 20-7-3-4 record. I see him tracking #6 Big Buddie from the outside, putting him away, and drawing off at good odds.
My second selection is #8 THE THIEF. Seems to be sitting on a winning effort on this circuit and is race fit. Also has a very good 12-4-5-0 career mark and has enough speed to get a jump on the closers.
Third pick is #2 BROKEN. Figures to improve second time off the bench for ultra-sharp leading trainer Dennis (DK) Weir. Has a good record at Fleminington (11-2-2-3) and can juice the trifecta.