The Melbourne Mail: Caulfield - 8th January 2022

No features and a fairly nondescript meeting are on the agenda at Caulfield on Saturday but one thing the card does bring is deep betting contests.


Last week, Flemington's New Year's card threw up several obvious and short-priced favourites (and we stumped up for the wrong one...). This week there is nothing of the sort. Sig Postiano heads the betting around the $2.50 mark in the seventh but there are several credible alternatives to him in a race that is hardly straightforward.  

All that is to say that it is good betting on Saturday. The sixth sees a couple of local formlines tackle the highly-vaunted 'Sydney Form' represented by a horse that many Sydney punters are probably happy enough to see the back of in Criaderas

Criaderas has been well regarded for a long while now. In the past 12 months he has started in five Group races in Sydney with SP's of 3/1, 15/8, 13/8, 10/1 and 7/2 last time in the Summer Cup. He's been placed in four of those five but won none of them; fast finishing from hopeless spots has become his game. 

This sounds like exactly the sort of horse we should be looking to avoid. But here at the Melbourne Mail we like to live dangerously. Well, that and we like that he switches down to Melbourne into a very winnable contest with Oliver booked to do the steering. Sydney form gets a big rap. And it is partly justified. Horses switching to Caulfield from Randwick over the past three years have won almost 1.5 times what we could call their share and they have beaten 5% more horses home at Caulfield than they did at Randwick. 

The locals are headed by a pair of recent quinellas. Holbein got a cheap lead and beat In A Twinkling while Starcaster got a great ride in front from a great rider from the front in Linda Meech and that was enough to win him the Werribee Cup over Dark Dream.  

The hope for Criaderas would be that Starcaster keeps Holbein working, the pace is solid rather than breakneck, and he gets a chance to stalk and pounce. 

We are hoping for a similar pattern to unfold for Vespertine in the last. She was terrific first up at Flemington and looks back in great order based on that. 

Her peak and win came at Caulfield 12 months back, though that was at 7 f and she stays at 5 1⁄2 f this time. That is a little query, but the pressure looks strong and she is drawn for the right run under Logan McNeil who rode his first metro winner on New Year's at Flemington and looks capable of riding many more. Horses that McNeil had switched onto this season have improved 2lbs on average (median) this season. He is doing plenty right and the winners will come. 


Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #1 Criaderas @ $3.30

Each Way Play: Race 9 #10 Vespertine @ $7.00

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