The Melbourne Mail: Flemington 19th March 2022

The All Star Mile has its knockers. Does it live up to the billing? Probably not quite. But it's a good race over a mile and, most importantly of all, it throws up a bet.


That bet is Zaaki; the favourite and the right favourite off a perfect platform first-up in the Blamey. 

They walked in that Blamey, the pace ridiculous really, and it is easy enough to see that form being flipped on its head two weeks on in a race that will surely be run at a more genuine tempo.  

That is not to say that the winner, Inspirational Girl, wasn't very good. She was, her first run over a mile in the east seeing her right back at the peak of her form, and she shouldn't go backwards now. 

Turning her over will be no easy task and her side-by-side return with Thunderstuck suggests there isn't a great deal between that pair. So there is opposition for Zaaki, but he is the one in the field that has been through the 120 barrier on Timeform's scale. Several others have flirted with the 120-line but Zaaki has walked straight over the top of it no less than five times. 

Five times in ten Australian starts for six wins and it would seem that a seventh is incoming if he can produce another figure beyond 120. The frequentists among us would guess that he is a 50% chance of doing that. Even money pop? Not quite! There is some chance that a low 120s performance would still be within range of Inspirational Girl or Thunderstruck who should still have their best days ahead. But it seems unlikely that Cascadian and Tofane have any new tricks in the bag and 50/50 doesn't seem a bad guess as to how often Zaaki would throw up a 'good one' off that lovely platform. 

The early markets (which prominently include a couple of others like Pinstriped who has a big new peak ahead of him but seems priced up as though his luckless last-start run didn't just stop him from contesting the finish of the Australian Guineas but rather stopped him winning it by two lengths with the handbrake on... ) give us enough wiggle room to not have to worry too much about whether Zaaki is a 50/50 prop to go big or 45/55 or 60/40. He's $3.50 and that seems to undersell the edge that a good bulk of his form has on a good Group Two mile field. 



Defibrilate was fantastic first mowing down an in-form Desert Icon on the same Caulfield card that Emissary ripped home in fast late splits off a farcical tempo in the Peter Young.

That trio set a strong standard in the 1 1⁄4 m handicap run as race eight and in honour of the 2020 All Star Mile winner Regal Power, but it is a standard that Grandslam can leap judged on his winning performance on the All-Star card of 2021. 

There things went well for him and he was able to show how talented he is when that is the case. He blitzed Young Werther, Explosive Jack and Cherry Tortoni with the strength of the performance underpinned by the clock. 

In the 12 months since Grandslam has been seen just twice; finishing down the track in the Rosehill Guineas and beating just two home when resuming over 7 f two weeks ago. That hardly seems like the recipe for success on Saturday but there was some heart to be taken from his return. He held his place in the betting and then (just about) held his ground on the track in a race that was run and won on speed.

Grandslam was ridden conservatively, back and wide and never really in a position to land a blow, but up to 1 1⁄4 m he finds a race where there is little obvious pace around and with the gun yard given a month to work with him following that rust-removing return we can expect to see much more use made of him this time. 

That is a good scenario for Grandslam and Jamie Kah. Rolling along, finding a rythm and (hopefully) finding his form; form good enough to knock these over at each-way(ish) odds. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #2 Zaaki @ $3.50 

Each Way Play: Race 8 #6 Grandslam @ $8.00 



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