NEWS PREVIEW

The Melbourne Mail - August 19

The resuming runners are no more relevant than in the feature on they day, the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes where ten of the twelve runners are first up from a break.
They include the two best horses in the race, Hartnell and Black Heart Bart. Both are likely to be shy of their top but they remain the two best winning hopes in the race. Hartnell's best has come over further than 7 f but his record at the trip is still mighty impressive while Black Heart Bart has owned the Caulfield 7 f since coming across from the West.
While that pair deserve their place at the top of the betting it's hard to imagine that there is going to be any great betting edge in either of them - the market knows the ins and outs of these two established stars and should assess their chances fairly accurately.
One that we may still have something to learn about is former Japanese galloper Tosen Stardom who, despite his age of six, still gives the impression that he has never really put it all together - particularly in Australia.
At this point Tosen Stardom carries a Timeform rating of 122 but there's long been an inkling that he is better than that - an inkling that was furthered when he gave Black Heart Bart a mighty fright in the Futurity in the autumn. At that point in time Bart was up and humming while Tosen Stardom was first up. Tosen Stardom was 16-1 there and we'll have to settle for roughly half that this time around but he appeals as one to keep on side.
There are plenty of tough races to assess on Saturday's card but few are tougher than the Vain Stakes where 13 largely unexposed and improving three-year-olds kick off their spring campaigns.
The race is there for one of the fast improvers to stamp themselves a contender for richer prizes this spring but through all the speculating about who will take the biggest steps forward sits the battle-hardened Veranillo and he appeals as an each-way bet at double-figure odds.
Veranillo has set himself up to run well here fresh with two competitive trials up in Sydney and the blinkers are on which hints at him being ready to put himself on speed and run a forward race.
He came up short at the top level in the autumn, and it's likely that he will again in the spring, but so often having raced in those tougher races at two proves a massive advantage and with the positive map in his corner he should make himself hard to topple.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL

Bet Of The Day: Race 7 #4 Tosen Stardom @ $8.50
Each Way Play: Race 6 #2 Veranillo @ $10.00

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