The Melbourne Mail: Caulfield - 9th July 2022

As the dust slowly settles on the extravaganza of Finals Day at Flemington we turn to Caulfield and the SIr John Monash Stakes meeting.


It is no easy task lining up in the shadows of Finals Day but the Monash card does a fine job of The feature is a terrific sprint; a mix of winter warriors and horses making an early start on September and the springtime.

Our play of the day sits firmly in among the latter. Oxley Road can already count himself a feature winner in the spring having landed the Caulfield Sprint on Cup Day last year. 

That was a second Group win around Caulfield and he was at least as good around The Heath in the summer, placing in both the Rubiton and a fast and frantic Oakleigh Plate. 

Only two of the past 10 runnings of the Monash have required a winning rating better than what Oxley Road has produced to date. That rating (111) marks him down as the star of the race and indeed of the meeting with his stiffest competition coming from the sprinter of the winter; Ashford Street.  

Ashford Street is rated 110, a big number for one plying his trade in the winter months, but he has been magnificent and looks well up to winning a typical Monash. His knock, and the knock that makes Oxley Road a bet in the writer's view, is that Ashford Street has taken his form to such heights on more testing conditions than Saturday is likely to present him and in a faster fixture it may be beyond him to repeat. 

Mileva must also be mentioned, a third runner with a peak rating right up at the level where the Monash is typically won. (Aysar also has peak ratings up and above the Monash winning average but he produces it about as often as North Melbourne win...) 

She has established herself at that level with a trio of listed wins, including when fresh at Caulfield last spring, but has been turned away in three attempts at raising the bar to Group races and that seems likely to happen again if Oxley Road is on song - or so we hope... 

The fourth on the card features a couple of interesting horses, none more interesting than the early favourite Impulsar, but his chance looks well decribed by the betting at this point while the hopes of Dick Whittington might be slightly undersold. 

Dick got the chance to play a rare home game on good ground last time and he shaped well from an awkward spot in a race that rated strongly. He's played his part in setting up a strong rating at Flemington the run prior and there must be some hope that he can do a bit better now. 

His latest couple of ratings put him among the key market players here and he had threatened to make more of himself when fourth in the Colin Stephen at Rosehill right back at the start of the season. 

That season is now winding down, into its final month, but there is still time and a chance for Dick Whittington to come good on that promise and 14/1 is the right sort of price to side with. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 8 #4 Oxley Road @ $3.00

Each Way Play: Race 4 #10 Dick Whittington @ $15.00

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