The Melbourne Mail: Caulfield - 19th August 2023

The icy hand of winter is starting to loosen it's grip. Animals - most importantly fast racehorses - are ready to emerge from hibernation.


Hibernation is a testament to nature's will to survive and the importance of adaptability. Adapt or die Charles Darwin may or may not have said and few knew nature quite so well as Charles.

One of the great things about racing in Australia is adaptability. We see our stars more often and in a wider range of scenarios than other major racing juristictions and that ain't a bad thing.

Saturday at Caulfield (and Randwick, and beyond) is a fine example. Several stars are back, many are unsuited, few if any will be seen under optimal conditions, but they will adapt - and so must punters who need to tread warily in this time of transistion. 

I would dispute few of the early favourites' place at the top of betting but find genuine betting appeal in just as few of them at the quotes offered up.

The favourite for the main race on the card, Mr Brightside, is a prime example. He is a terrific horse, won the race last year, and little more will be required of him 12 months But even money? It is fairly easy to pass over. 

Reliable, loveable, at his very best last time out could all be said of Mr Brightside but it could not be said of our selection - Sibaaq.

Flaky, running at a loss of about 20c on the dollar for punters, and well below his best last time out - that's Sibaaq. Bet up punters!

It is easy to focus on the negatives around Sibaaq but they need to be balanced with the negatives of the rest of the runners and, with all that considered, the $6.50 on offer becomes a gamble worth taking with positives that win races. 

On speed with a fitness run and D. Lane to steer are such positives and, for all that his last three go down as uninspiring stuff, three of the five runs prior would go a long way towards winning this. 

For an each-way play we will go back to the feature where we passed on Mr Brightside and get Pounding on side at $31.00. 

Pounding comes off a great season which he kicked off rated 94 and signed off rated 116 after placing in the Australian Cup. 

1400m is short of his best based on his profile to date but attempts at the trip were made by the 94-rated version not the 116-rated version.

Peter Moody is quoted on Racing and Sports as saying he would be 'disappointed if he did not put a Group 1 away this season' which strikes as very optimistic but it hardly throws cold water on the idea that Pounding's progress can continue. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 10 #7 Sibaaq @ $6.50

Each Way Play: Race 9 #9 Pounding @ $31.00



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