NEWS PREVIEW

bet365 Melbourne Mail: Flemington - 20th January 2024

The good horses will be back on track in Melbourne in the next couple of weeks but Saturday's Flemington meeting is about as low-key as meetings at headquarters get. And that is just fine.

The big races and moments gain their meaning from the mundane. The contrast is important and, as the saying goes, they have all got to start somewhere.   

This meeting 12 months ago was held at Moonee Valley. It too was nondescript on paper but four of the nine winners went on and won Group races.

Finding a handful of soon-to-be Group winners is no easy task looking at Saturday's card but there might be one there. Best guess (and best bet) from the Melbourne Mail: Galilaeus. 

Galilaeus is bred for the job; by the great Galileo and from a Group One-winning mare who was rated 117. 

He looked nothing like mum or dad in his three starts as a two-year-old but they were important practice all the same. 

Gelded and blinkered as a three-year-old he proved better for that experience and getting out over longer trips, winning a couple of poor handicaps but winning them well, before switching to the very much in-form stables of Anthony and Sam Freedman. 

His first run down under was not a winning one but his ratings continued to move in the right direction, a better effort again and getting better the further they went around the tight-turning Valley.

A longer trip on a bigger track seems sure to suit and with the stable and jockey both performing way above expectations it is very easy to forecast another clear career best rating on Saturday. 

Finding the best horse is only half the betting game of course. Getting the right price is what really matters, and the early markets haven't missed the fact that he is the most likely winner, but as a lightly-raced improver against no others that could claim to anything better than evens appeals. 

Damian Lane has been dominant in Melbourne since the spring but as we build towards the return of the good horses he will also start to see a bit more competition and that starts on Saturday with the return of Blake Shinn. 

Shinn returns to Melbourne (he did spin around on a couple of double-figure chances on NYD) after a stint in Brisbane for their summer carnival where a return of three winners from 22 rides probably came up short of what he wanted. 

Those three winners came on the three shortest prices (his six rides on Magic Millions Day starting between 12/1 and 100/1) and he largely kept pace with market expectations up north. A steady return (by his standards!) more a lack of opportunity than form.

Shinn, like Lane, improves the chances of the horses that he rides and everything he hops aboard on Saturday must be given a second look.

It's his second ride, and first strong chance, that gets the nod as our each-way play with Celestial Storm appealing at early prices in race four. 

Celestial Storm has been kept on ice since winning down the Flemington straight first-up under Shinn where her rating was short of what is likely to be required this time but she did that with enough in hand to think that there can be more there for when it is required. 

Early favourite Stefi Magnetica has the profile of a handy one but her ratings from wins at Wellington and Orange (not the traditional pathway to Flemington success!) are no better than Celestial Storm's.

Spicy Margs and Rhetorical have been inconsistent but are in the game while Austmarr has the number but has to concede race fitness.

It all equates to an even race but none with an obviously better chance than Celestial Storm who can be backed at prices around $7.50. 

 

THE MELBOURNE MAIL 

Bet Of The Day: Race 2 #8 Galilaeus @ $2.30 wth bet365*

Each Way Play: Race 4 #2 Celestial Storm @ $7.50 with bet365* 

 

*Prices correct as of 5:00pm AEST 17/1


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