The Melbourne Mail - July 8

Finals Day at Flemington is one of the better punting days of the year and in 2017 the card looks deep and full of good betting races once again.
The Flemington meeting two weeks prior is invariably the key guide to the day - seven of nine winners last year had run top three at Flemington a fortnight prior, four winning at both meetings - and again it looks a pathway for many of the leading hopes in 2017.
The Banjo Paterson Series Final for the stayers is dominated by runners through the race won by Charlevoix two weeks ago and it's the fourth-placed Shakopee that has piqued our interest.
He was a touch keen racing inside horses in the early stages there. He worked home solidly without threatening but he had perhaps burned a bit too much energy in the early stages and his rating was below (albeit narrowly) what he produced winning at Sandown prior.
That Sandown win pointed to him finding his feet in Australia and when he puts it together down here we can expect to see him winning races. His form in the UK was certainly handy, the pick of it a second to the very smart Barsanti at York, and if he can get back to that level he's well up to winning races like this.
Drawing out looks a positive for him today. Settling outside horses can help him to settle and find his rhythm early and hopefully that can see him running somewhere near that peak level.
In the feature, the Winter Championship Final, we are leaning the way of Sovereign Nation who represents a good each way gamble around the $10 mark.
He won well first up from a break before stepping out at the head of the betting alongside fellow Final contender Tsahitshi at Flemington a month ago.
Tsahitsi came out all guns blazing and blew Sovereign Nation off the park. It was a fairly decisive result and the Tasmanian is clearly the better of the pair in a fast 7 f contest. We're up to the mile now, though, which looks more likely to suit Sovereign Nation and his fresher legs leave him looking fairly appealing.
There is a lot more to the Winter Championship than just Sovereign Nation v Tsahitsi of course but it's a compelling formline and one we are keen to focus

Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #7 Shakopee @ $9.00
Each Way Play: Race 7 #8 Sovereign Nation @ $10.00

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