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The Melbourne Mail: Flemington - 1st January 2023

As always, we ring in the new year at Flemington and, as always, we do so with a terrific card centred around the Bagot.

 

The Bagot is starting the new year right at the best of times but in 2023 we have the makings of a vintage edition. Persan and Sound are both rated above any recent Bagot winners and Regal Lion is close - any of that trio would have the makings of a winner for the ages.  

Persan and Sound fought out the finish of the 2020 Bart Cummings with Persan winning there and using it as a springboard to running fifth in the Melbourne Cup. It is safe to say that Persan's Melbourne Cup-winning window, only ever slightly ajar, is now closed but his winning days are not done as we saw last time when he manhandled a lesser field in the key Bagot lead up. 

Sound, a Group Two winner over two miles in Germany, has won twice in Australia but not in over 12 months and there was must some query about whether he is still living among his winning days. Like Persan, he was afforded a terrific chance to knock one in last time but he hit the crossbar after racing wide in the Pakenham Cup. 

Sound had run by Persan in the Queen's Cup but was behind him in runs either side and overall the ledger reads 3-1 Persan - a ratio that falls largely in line with their wider ratings arrays. 

Early betting (loosely 5/2 v 9/2) scaled to 100% makes that ratio more like 60/40 and that makes Persan an appealing bet.

Of course we aren't dealing with a simple head-to-head bet here. Persan will need to be the rest as well but most of those 'rest' are fairly easy to bet against.  

Nobel Heights has the makings of a typical Bagot winner but this doesn't look a typical Bagot. His stablemate Team Captain is given a 10% crack at it in early betting but he has been operating at a lower (and slower) level. He was alongside San Huberto last time (also somewhat in the market here) who had been no match at all for Persan in better races prior. 

Regal Lion is the new blood and for connections that are feared. He has also been behind Persan this spring but in an unconvincing race and his Sandown run prior had impressed. 

Ultimately, Regal Lion has several factors that make him interesting, and he is feared, but the ratios push to Persan at early prices and he can be backed to follow up and make a perfect start to 2023. 

A nice each-way oppurtunity presents itself earlier on the card in the second race where the appeal is not so much a knock on the two at the head of betting, who are sure to be popular and with reason, but with Prairie Flower producing something better than she has done to date at her first try over 1400m. 

She has been very ratings consistent across her 11 starts but the way she finished off, having been left with far too much to first up over 6 f said that she had come back ready to go to another level and 7 f looks the target this time. 

Prairie Flower has not been able to land in good spots as a rule but perhaps up in trip and well drawn she will be able to make things easier for herself this time and the platform is there for her to spike to a level that wins this. 

 

THE MELBOURNE MAIL 

Bet Of The Day: Race 7 #1 Persan @ $3.50

Each Way Play: Race 2 #2 Prairie Flower @ $10.00 


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