Today I’m riding at Cranbourne for the Cranbourne Cup meeting. It’s the first time this meeting has been held as a standalone meeting on a Saturday with the feature now over 1600 metres and worth $500,000. The rail is in the true position from the 1600 to the 1000 metres and then out 3 metres for the remainder. After the recent rain the track is rated in the heavy range.
Race 1 is the Rhino The Wrecker 2YO Plate over 1000 metres. My ride here is GREYT MUMMA who is trained by Anthony & Sam Freedman. This daughter of Capitalist is raced by Love Racing. She is making her debut today and has had three jumpouts in preparation for her first day at the races. She has looked very professional in all of her jumpouts and displayed nice natural speed in her most recent effort. She is untested on heavy ground so it will be interesting to see how she handles the day and track conditions. On face value if she brings her jumpout form to the races she will be very competitive.
Race 2 is the OBrien Real Estate 3YO Cranbourne Classic over 2025 metres. My ride here is STATION ONE who is trained by Liam Howley. This gelding by Toronado has had two starts for a win and an unplaced effort. He won on debut at this track over 1600 metres on 29th October before stepping up to Listed grade at Flemington during Cup week over 1800 metres where he made all the running and got tired late. He is dropping back in grade today, is stepping up in distance and returns to the track where he won his maiden. He is a horse that makes his own luck by racing close to the speed and if he runs out the distance and handles the track conditions he will be in this for a long way.
Race 3 is the Frankston Sand Soil & Mini Mix 3YO Handicap over 1200 metres. My ride here is RIDUNA who is trained by Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott. This daughter of Fastnet Rock has had six starts for a win and two third placings. She races here fifth-up this preparation and is dropping back to the distance of 1200 metres that saw her win her maiden three starts ago after racing over 1400 metres at her past two starts. I rode her in her most recent start at Flemington in Listed grade where she stepped away slowly from a wide barrier and I felt that if she had clear running would have finished in the placings and it was a solid effort. She drops to the minimum weight of 54 kilos and will start from a middle barrier draw. She has been placed on heavy ground, so the track conditions should be of no disadvantage to her. She looks well placed here to be one of the main chances in this with the drop back in grade and distance.
Race 5 is the Rosemont Stud Fillies & Mares Pendant over 1400 metres. My ride here is MAYBE THE BEST who is trained by Anthony & Sam Freedman. This four-year-old mare by I Am Invincible is raced by James Bester, Robert McClure, Lauri Macri and partners. She is lightly raced having had only five starts for an exceptional record of two wins and three second placings. She’s had three runs this preparation and comes into this as a last start winner over 1300 metres. This will be her first time racing over the 1400 metres and the inside barrier draw will be to her advantage as she usually races on-speed. She usually starts as the favourite, so she’s always shown the stable good ability. She has been placed on a soft track at her only attempt in the conditions and she has trialled officially on heavy ground at Cranbourne where she was very competitive, so the track conditions will be of no disadvantage to her. She looks well placed here to continue her good record and will take a lot of beating in this.
Race 6 is the Procon Developments Apache Cat Classic over 1000 metres. My ride here is DEXELATION who is trained by Richard & Chantelle Jolly. This seven-year-old gelding by Ambidexter has had 42 starts for a record of 11 wins and 16 placings and has been such a consistent galloper throughout his career. He is racing in great form this preparation and is unbeaten from two runs this campaign. From his two attempts on heavy ground he has a win and third placing to his name and his soft track form is also very good. He is a horse that usually gets back in his races, so I’m hoping this track will be racing fairly as there looks to be a lot of speed in this race. If he holds his recent form he is the horse they all have to beat.
Race 7 is the Listed TAB Cranbourne Cup over 1600 metres. My ride here is MYSTERY SHOT who is trained by Lindsey Smith. This five-year-old gelding by Shooting to Win is raced by Brad Spicer and partners. He is lightly raced for his age having had 13 starts for a record of six wins and two placings. He’s had four runs this campaign and I rode him last start at Flemington over 1800 metres in BM90 grade. He drops back to the mile today and he has winning form over this distance range. He hasn’t raced on heavy ground but his soft track record of three wins and a placing from five starts is very good. He is racing up in grade today from his last start and drops 4.5 kilos in weight in this feature race. He has drawn a wide barrier in a race where there looks to be a lot of speed on paper and by the time his race comes around it might be an advantage to be away from the rail. I’m looking forward to having my second ride on him and he looks to be one of the main contenders in this new look Cranbourne Cup.
Race 8 is the BM84 Reed Cranes & Transport Marathon Handicap over 2550 metres. My ride here is BLANDFORD LAD (NZ) who is trained by Peter Gelagotis. This six-year-old gelding by Savabeel has had 30 starts for a record of five wins and six placings. He is a horse that races well at Cranbourne as from his two starts at the track he has recorded two placings, with both of those being his two most recent runs over a similar distance to this event. He is racing up in grade today from his last start and drops 5.5 kilos to the minimum weight of 54 kilos. He is racing in very good form but he is unplaced from three attempts in heavy ground, but he has winning form on soft tracks. If he handles the track conditions and runs up to his best form he will be one of the main chances.
Race 9 is the BM70 Hertz Handicap over 1300 metres. My ride here is THE GENERAL (NZ) who is trained by Richard Laming. This five-year-old gelding by Charm Spirit is lightly raced for his age having had 11 starts for a record of four wins and three placings. He’s had four runs at this track for two wins and a third placing and although untried over this distance, he has won over 1200 metres previously and three starts ago he wasn’t beaten far over 1400 metres behind the promising Sirileo Miss. With a rating of 75 in a BM70 race he carries the weight of 62.5 kilos. The track conditions will suit him as he has won on soft and heavy ground. He will start from a wide barrier and he is a horse that like to race on-speed and there looks to be lots of pressure, so it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds. If he runs up to his best form he will be in this for a long way.