The Melbourne Mail: Flemington - 4th June 2022

The calendar has ticked over to winter (icy blasts from the south a sharp reminder of that fact) and there is more than a hint of Winter Championships in the air at Flemington on Saturday.


A heat of the Winter Championship itself is the highlight and wonderfully supported by no less than two (yes that is right - two!) heats of the Banjo Paterson Series. The Mahogany, the Leilani and the Silver Bowl are all up and running with competitive heats as well - punters could hardly ask for more to bridge the gap between Oaks and Derby at Epsom! 

Well, they could ask for a winner, and it is Cardinal Gem - the early favourite in the Silver Bowl heat run as race seven - that we are popping that question to. 

It is a question that Cardinal Gem has only been able to answer once, winning a maiden on the synthetic at Ballarat, and that profile doesn't exactly scream favourite at Flemington in a race that runs deep. 

But Cardinal Gem has strung together ratings that say one from nine does him no justice. Better than his ratings is the way that they have been achieved. With plenty against, the answer to that question, and with signs that a bigger performance is coming when things drop right. 

A good draw, a good pace, and a good jock give the stars and the moon every chance to line up on Saturday. 

Jordan Childs has had no troubles answering to the demands of punters in recent times. 49 winners the crowd have asked for in the past six months and Childs has delivered Ten of those have come for Begg and 1.88 of those have come for every one that could be expected by random chance. 

Childs is riding like an A+ and the market is treating him like a B.  We will be treating him, and Cardinal Gem, as a bet. 

The race prior is an even handicap over 1 1⁄4 m where perhaps the most interesting runner is Hector De Maris who arrives with the name Tarnawa alongside his in the book. That's eye-popping in this grade but flattering in context. 

Lyrical Lad is probably the right favourite and having finished strongly over the mile three weeks back but one that he finished alongside at Sandown prior appeals as an improver now and one capable of outrunning his double-figure odds. 

Born A King was born to be but not to Praise he won't need to to beat what is put in front of him on Saturday. 

The son of the great Frankel had plenty put in front of him against many of the same rivals a fortnight back, staying on from the rear, but surely from a low draw this time he takes up closer order. 

A strong tempo meant he wasn't at a complete disadvantage, and his stablemate Welsh Legend - the winner there - now leads him 3-1 head to head. But Born A King had put up better form last campaign, when he promised more, and it is easy to see progress on firmer footing last time compounded into further progress up to 1 1⁄4 m this time. He just wants the showers to miss and the ground to sure up to hold a terrific chance. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 7 #8 Cardinal Gem @ $4.00

Each Way Play: Race 6 #9 Born A King @ $10.00

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