The Melbourne Mail: Geelong - 6th January 2024

It's time-honoured Coastal Classic Day at Geelong where fans can look forward to a thrilling fifth set between Keats and Junipal.

Of course we wouldn't have gotten to a fifth set under the rules of tennis, as Keats leads 4-0, but the latest couple can be said to have gone to tiebreakers and, as it stands, Keats' edge must be small.

The clash is on - but it is a clash that runs deeper than two and the scale of the handicap leaves Bermadez looking dangerous. Dangerous is probably a kind description of Bermadez who has gone winless in 14 now but his two runs this campaign have been as good as anything he has done in that drought and they leave him poised to peak.

He's found the right race at the right time and prices around 4/1 make him a tempting one to put up in these pages - particularly given the Melbourne Mail likes to play a feature if we can.

But the same sort of price about Rich Fortune in the sixth race on the card makes more betting appeal and so she goes up as the best of the day for a stable that are getting back in business after winter in the wilderness.

Rich Fortune was the first horse back for Jerome Hunter after three months without a runner following a stable virus and she was understandably rusty.

That was still the case at Cranbourne but she took a slight step forward before a real return to form at Flemington, travelling as well as any for a long way in the Kensington Stakes and posting a rating just about in line with her best efforts to date.

She's back and so are the stable, with winners starting to flow, and we know that they are something to watch (and bet) when they get going.

Last summer the yard turned out nine winners at 47% (not a typo!) with less than four expected by the betting in that three-month span.

Rey Magnerio heads the betting on Saturday, and has done plenty in a short span of time improving his rating in every one of six starts and winning four of them, but if Rich Fortune goes on with last start rating then Rey won't get away without posting yet another new peak and that is no easy task. 

A case can be made (and I believe I have started to make that Rich Fortune is the more likely of the two and the right favourite on Saturday.

I will stop short of making the case that our each-way play - Holly Lolly  - should be favourite in the ninth on the card but the front of the early betting doesn't look hugely convincing and the $16.00 on offer seems a reasonable gamble. 

She won something similar at the Valley last time and did so posting a timefigure that gives her claim a nice rounded look about it. 

Va Via and Waverider Buoy come through the same race where the pattern both on the day and in the race could be seen as a reasonable excuse. A switch south has produced peaks in the past for both of them but, excuses or not, there wasn't enough in either return run to make those peaks easy to forecast. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #6 Rich Fortune @ $5.00

Each Way Play: Race 9 #4 Holly Lolly @ $16.00

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