The Melbourne Mail: Flemington - 12th March 2022

The outstanding Lightning of three weeks ago is followed by a vintage Newmarket which is set to light up Flemington on Saturday.


The 2022 Newmarket looks about as good as the Australian Cup looks bad; that race having taken a wrong turn since the creation of the All Star Mile. 

But the Newmarket is beyond neglect. Last year's soft running has been quickly put in the rearview mirror with this a Newmarket for the ages headlined by the country's leading three-year-old Home Affairs. 

Home Affairs will look to become the sixth horse to complete the Lightning-Newmarket double this century. Unsurprisingly Lightning winners have tended to do well here and so have Coolmore winners. The Coolmore has an outstanding relationship with the Newmarket as do three-year-olds who have won 40% of the past 20 Newmarkets from just 22.6% of runners.

As a top-notch winner of both the Coolmore and the Lightning Home Affairs' claims are there for all to see. But what is there for all to see is not typically the best way to find a bet. 

A big Newmarket field should ensure a strong pace and that means real form. It's a field loaded with talented horses but we're tipping big names and big Group One form to the fore. 

The high (very high) pressure Everest should be a good pointer and Masked Crusader  had both Home Affairs and Lost And Running in behind there.  

That was a third straight win over Lost And Running for Masked Crusader before the tables were turned in the Classique Legend Stakes where Masked Crusader threw up a poor one.

He wasn't much better when resuming in the Lightning in truth, where Home Affairs also turned the Everest tables, but the betting goes against him now and prices around the $13 mark may be even bigger by the time they jump. 

Certainly those who focus on last start form will struggle to make a strong case for him. That effort patently won't be good enough; but he has thrown up poor ones in the past and quickly bounced back and his peaks are hard to resist at the prices on offer.  

He goes up as our each-way play and we are sticking with connections for our best as McNeil and Hawkes link up with the well spruiked Remarque in race three. 

The McNeil and Hawkes pairing have undershot slightly in the past 12 months - 17 winners have come up a bit short of what the market has expected in that time - but that has been trending the right way in the past few months and their record together with favourites is solid. 

With Remarque they link up with what appeals as a good favourite. He's probably been slightly overplayed himself to this point, and like Masked Crusader his most recent piece of form is a poor run, but he pulled up with excuses there and had been good enough to go around single figures in that Golden Rose having chased a couple of smart ones prior. 

Those first two efforts from last campaign, closing nicely behind Paulele and Anamoe respectively, rate highly against a deep and even line up here where plenty seem rock solid for this class but none look as likely as Remarque to make it in better - he already has made it in better to some extent. 

Remarque was sent around at 15/8 and 2/1 in those Sydney races at the start of the spring. 7/2 against much lesser horses here, off a couple of winning trials, seems plenty fair given that. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 3 #2 Remarque @ $4.50 

Each Way Play: Race 6 #1 Masked Crusader @ $13.00 




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