The Melbourne Mail - September 23

Competitive handicaps are the order of the day at Caulfield on what shapes as a deep betting card.
One race that looks fairly light on for depth is the second on the card where the Lindsay Park-trained Eshtiraak gets his chance to break through after two good runs this time
He did enough in a fairly sharp Up And Coming Stakes up in Sydney first up and backed that up with another very solid effort at the Valley last time.
The winner was well ridden there but it was a genuine gallop, and Eshtiraak had his chance, so it's hard to make a case for him improving in leaps and bounds - and he will need to if he is going to make a mark in anything significant deeper into the spring - but here he stumbles into a race where he's a big chance of winning just by repeating.
Sunquest looks some sort of threat through the same formline, but Eshtiraak holds a 3-0 record over him, and Cliff's Edge has ratings to almost match.
He's probably the interesting danger coming off a high-pressure 7 f last week. That could go either way. A big peak or a flat run? Hard to know.
Either way prices bigger than 2-1 about Eshtiraak look reasonable betting.
The feature on the card, the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes, is an each-way punters' dream with plenty of good horses at big prices in a wonderfully competitive Caulfield Cup Qualifier.
We could probably write up a reasonably compelling case for ten of them but we are going to settle for Harlem around the $10.00 mark.
He kicked off his spring campaign with a pleasing effort in the Heatherlie Stakes where his run was very similar to that of Tally and Amelie's Star who both line up here with solid chances.
Both that pair had runs leading into the Heatherlie, so Harlem should have at least as much to come from that race, and his French form/ratings tell us that he is capable of stepping up a level on what he has done in Australia so far.
He was optimistically placed in the autumn but now gets his chance to show us how good he is in suitable company.

Bet Of The Day: Race 2 #1 Eshtiraak @ $3.20
Each Way Play: Race 7 #8 Harlem @ $10.00

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