TABtouch Melbourne Mail: Mornington - 22nd April 2023

Racing in Melbourne heads away from the spaces of Sandown to the tight margins of Mornington for Cup Day.


Such compact confines leave space at a premium and it is no surprise to see that wide draws have done well at Mornington - particularly over the Cup distance of 2400m. 

That could be all important when it comes to sorting out the winner of what, it must be said, is an top notch edition of the Caulfield Cup qualifier. 

The strength of the race is highlighted by the number of horses rated 115 or better by Timeform. Seven in this year's line up have crossed that threshold with the long-term average being a shade better than one-and-a-half.

Those horses are headed by the 120-rated Hezashocka who first hit that mark in the Champion Stakes (ex-Mackinnon) in a run that looked somewhat at odds with his prior work but has since been confirmed, most recently when close up and fourth behind Dubai Honour in the Queen Elizabeth.  

The task for Hezashocka now is to do something similar in a winnable race and from a wide draw. Both of those two big peaks came at big odds and from low draws. Hezashocka has been taken back and ended up hopelessly placed in a couple of recent runs from double figure draws but over this trip with a gun jockey aboard and at a track that plays to those drawn wide the barrier is seen as a help and not a hinderance. 

His biggest danger Nonconformist draws at the other end of the line in one - a gate that has won just 0.7 races for every one it should have over the Mornington 1 1⁄2 m in the past 15 years.

That barriers two and three have fared even worse hints at this being more than just a random occurence but rather a clue to a scenario that makes this task easier for Hezashocka than for Nonconformist who was second in this race in 2021 and has filled the same spot in a Caulfield Cup since. He is a better horse now than in 2021 and remains untapped at the trip but he's no better than Hezashocka and preference is for the other at this stage.  

The positive record of wide draws disappears over the 6 f course where lower draws have fared slightly better overall and that may help the cause of last year's Hareeba winner Not An Option as he looks to go back-to-back from barrier one. 

Not An Option was a surprise winner at 40/1 last year when he arrived having run ratings in the 90s in five of his six starts prior. 

In the 12 months since, Not An Option has run ten races with his rating not dipping below 99 in that time.

This preparation he seems to have been undervalued by the betting at every turn. He has only made that pay once, but it paid well, and it may do again on Saturday where early markets again make him a double-figure shot while his ratings say his chance is a good bit better than that. 

THE MELBOURNE MAIL (Odds courtesy of TABtouch

Bet Of The Day: Race 8 #5 Hezashocka @ $4.00 with TABtouch

Each Way Play: Race 7 #3 Not An Option @ $11.00 with TABtouch 

Did you know eastern state punters can use TABtouch? Western Australia's largest bookmaker. 

This Saturday: TABtouch Superpicks on Races 1-5 at Doomben, Mornington and Ascot – Actual Money Back (not a bonus bet) for 2nd



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