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Darran

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Darran last won the day on October 14

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About Darran

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  1. Big gap between those two games though and a team like Eastbourne aren't always going to be that consistent. Not the first time they have put in a stinker this season.
  2. Slough v Concord A change of manager at Slough led to a win in the FA Trophy win, but back in the league and it has been two defeats. They not surprisingly lost to Ebbsfleet on Saturday, but more worrying has to be the 5-1 loss to Eastbourne the week before. It is just 2 points for them in their last 10 games now and they are really struggling. Concord have also changed their manager and as I highlighted a few weeks ago they have improved for the manager switch. Their only defeat in the last 6 league games was against Dartford and they have won 4 of those 6 games. Quite why they are as big a price as they are for this I don't know as they are in much better shape than their hosts right now and they are cracking value. Welling v Farnborough Welling started off very well and the ante-post bet on them was looking a fair shout, but their form has fallen off the edge of a cliff as they have won just once in 10 games. They have drawn 3 of their last 5 which isn't bad, but they are suffering a bit with injuries at the moment. I'm happy to back Farnborough again here as they were a bit unlucky not to win for us on Saturday. Their good form continues though so I think they can get back to winning ways here. Kidderminster v Chester For the first time since Setanta showed the play-offs back in 2007 we have a live National League North game on TV to look forward to. With a blank day in the World Cup BT are showing this game on Wednesday night and on Sunday lunchtime they are showing the National League South game between Braintree and Dulwich. It is handy they have chosen this game because I really fancy Chester. Quite how the bookies have come up with the prices they have for this game I don't know. The home sides only win in their last 7 games was a lucky one against bottom side AFC Telford. I mentioned when I backed Gloucester against them that they weren't playing well and they duly lost that game. On Friday night they only drew 1-1 against an Alfreton side who had gone down to ten men and had to put the reserve keeper in goal after their first choice got injured. They now host a Chester game who have won 7 and drawn 3 of their last 10 league games. They have scored 21 goals in that time, scored in every game and conceded just 7, 4 of which came in the 3 draws. As that shows they are in cracking form at the moment and their price is crazy as I would nearly make them favourites. At the price they are for me they are a max bet. Concord 2pts @ 5/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 7/4) Farnborough 1pt @ 17/10 with Paddy Power, Betfair and Coral (take up to 11/8) Chester 5pts @ 11/4 with Bet365, Betfred and Skybet (Coral are 3/1 and take up to 6/4)
  3. Good pick with Eastbourne. I am always slightly worried when I new manager comes in, but clearly he has a lot of work to do at Slough.
  4. I stuck my picks in the Non-League section as this thread hadn't been set up. Ipswich -2 is the only bet I have for tomorrow.
  5. Altrincham v Eastleigh I am happy to carry on opposing Eastleigh away from home as I did last week when they lost to Maidenhead. Altrincham have been in good form and although they lost 3 on the bounce one was at Wrexham, and one was a 1-0 loss to Wealdstone which they should have won. I'd have them shorter than they are for this. Dorking v York A bit surprised to see over 3.5 goals as big as it is for this given Dorking are involved. I did wonder if it wouldn't happen against Bromley last week given their lack of goals, but it duly ended up 3-2. Odds are too big on it being over 3.5 again for a Dorking game. Maidstone v Maidenhead I was tempted to back Maidenhead, but this is just the sort of game they struggle in and actually Maidstone don't lose that often at home. They have only lost 3 times at home and drawn 5 and those have all come in their last 7 home games. I can easily see this being a low scoring draw so am happy to back the stalemate here. Kettering v Southport (NLN) Kettering's pitch is always a right state and that has meant their home performances/results are much better than their away ones. They have lost just twice at home all season and even managed to beat Kings Lynn. Southport's away form has improved after losing 5 bounce as they have won their last 3, but given Kettering's strengths at home they shouldn't be as big a price as they are. Kidderminster v Gloucester (NLN) Kidderminster were so lucky to beat AFC Telford on Tuesday night as they were still a goal down with less than 10 minutes to go. They then scored 2 quick goals to turn the game around, but it highlighted again how much they are under performing this season. I know Gloucester's form has fallen off the edge of the cliff and injuries have not helped, but the performance against Scarborough was much better and the late winner had an xG of just 0.07 which sums up what a wonder strike it was. I think 2 weeks off from the league will have been a big help for the team who had a very busy set of fixtures and one where the players really put in a lot of effort when King first joined. I'd still have the home side as favs, but no way should their be as much between the two sides as there is so I am happy to take an away win. Forest Green v Alvechurch Into the FA Cup and whilst I know FGR are bottom and Alvechurch beat Cheltenham in the last round I just can't see them causing another upset. FGR managed to beat South Shields 2-0 in the previous around away from home and South Shields are miles better than Alvechurch. As much as Alvechurch performed so well against Cheltenham I just can't see them being able to pull off another freak result like that and as I said in the previous round, the fact the game is on TV helps focus the League sides minds in my view. The -1 handicap is odds against and FGR really should be covering that. Dagenham & Redbridge v Gillingham Dagenham have been a really curious side this season having put in some stinking performances, but the vast majority of those have been away from home. They have only lost once at home and that was 5-0 against Notts County. Gillingham are really struggling at the bottom of League 2 and who knows this might be a league game I am writing about next season. I'd make Dagenham favourites to win this so they are a spot of value. Ipswich v Buxton Ipswich didn't put out their first team against Bracknell, but you could see the massive class edge that they had and they did enough to land the handicap bet for us in the end. Now they are at home here I think they can run out easy winners against a Buxton side who aren't as good as I thought they would be this season. The handicap is at -2 again, but I think they can cover it and prove their massive class edge. Altrincham 1pt @ 11/8 with William Hill and Betfred (take up to 11/10) Dorking v York over 3.5 goals 1pt @ 13/8 with Bet365, Skybet, William Hill and Betfred (take up to 5/4) Maidstone v Maidenhead draw 1pt @ 23/10 with Betfred (12/5 with Bet365 and take up to 21/10) Kettering 1pt @ 5/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 2/1) Gloucester 1pt @ 11/2 with everyone and William Hill are 13/2 (take up to 5/2) Forest Green -1 3pts @ 11/10 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 4/5) Dagenham & Redbridge 1pt @ 8/5 with Bet365 (take up to 11/8) Ipswich -2 1pt @ 7/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 11/10)
  6. Cheers for that info Andy. Very surprised he didn't feature in the Racing Post stable tour if that is the case and that Maxwell hasn't mentioned him. Hopefully nothing has happened to the horse since that was published.
  7. It is time to start my road to the Cheltenham Festival Hunters Chase (it really was easier when they called it the Foxhunters) for the 2023 renewal. Pointing has been going a couple of weeks in Britain although hunter chases don't start until January 9th at Taunton. In Ireland pointing started in October and we had the first hunter chase at Fairyhouse this week. No British contenders have been out yet, but there have been contenders over in Ireland. As per usual the first post will be focusing on all the runners currently near the top of the market in the ante-post betting and then following updates will occur as and when things need updating Vaucelet - Skipped Cheltenham last year but won at Fairyhouse, was 2nd to Billaway at Punchestown and then won the Stratford Foxhunters in May. He had to work quite hard to beat Law Of Gold that evening, but they went a slow pace and I do think more of a stamina test will suit. Every chance the tough battle with Billaway left a mark as well. After that he was made ante-post favourite for the race (4/1 with Paddy Power, Betfair and William Hill) and it is understandable as he ought to still be improving. He has already been seen this season as he won an Open at Portrush last month. He wasn't especially impressive as he only beat Coastal Tiep by 0.5L with Le Malin a further 0.5L back in 3rd. His trainer David Christie said after the race though was that he was fit enough to do himself justice, but he is working back from Cheltenham. They didn't go a strong pace either and he had to make the running so whilst the bare form isn't great it was a perfectly satisfactory start to the season. Winged Leader - It will be interesting if he and Vaucelet both go to Cheltenham given he is the same connections as Vaucelet. He was a superb 2nd in this last season and was arguably unlucky to be pipped by Billaway. He hasn't been seen yet this season. Billaway - Finally got the victory he deserved after finishing 2nd in this race in the 2 previous years. He then went and did the Cheltenham/Punchestown double. He will be 11 next year whereas Vaucelet will be 8 and Winged Leader will be 9 so it could be the younger legs get their revenge. Willie Mullins reported him in good form and Cheltenham is the target again. Latenightpass - He is as short as single figures, but I would be amazed if he runs as connections have suggested he will stick to pointing before aiming to win the Aintree Foxhunters again. Samcro - Has won 2 points with ease, but don't back him as he isn't able to run in hunter chases in Britain this season so shame on William Hill for quoting him at 10/1. The Storyteller - Former Cheltenham Festival winner as he won the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate in 2018. He pulled up in the Ryanair in 2019 and then in the following two years he has run over hurdles at the Festival finishing 2nd in the Pertemps in 2020 and then 5th in the Stayers' Hurdle in 2021. Sadly, in September of that year he pulled up lame at Listowel and he wasn't seen again for over a year when he won a Ladies Open at Ballycrystal. He only won by a short head that day beating Its On The Line who was pulled up in the John Corbet Cup last season and was a well beaten 2nd to Ferns Lock in the first hunter chase of the season at Fairyhouse, so that form is not good enough to win at Cheltenham. He qualified for Cheltenham when he won at Necarne on Sunday and whilst he did it comfortably it was not a strong race at all. He has already been tipped up in one tipsters ante-post Cheltenham on another website, but I struggle to see it at this stage. Formerly top-class horses on the downgrade don't tend to win this race anymore and although he is rated 163 over fences if he was anywhere near that level, he wouldn't be going hunter chasing. Like I say the form of his two point wins are miles away from what is needed to win this and he got a RPR of 104 for both wins which sums up the level of the form for me. I would also query if he wants 3m2f round Cheltenham especially if it came up testing. He is 10/1 with William Hill and is as short as 7/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair, but that is way too short a price for me at this stage. Hopefully he will go hunter chasing so we can get a better idea of where he is at. Good Bye Sam - Was bafflingly put into the market for this last year even though he was never likely to qualify for the race. He was 2nd to Billaway at Naas in his first hunter chase in February, but was then beaten at 2/11 at Thurles in a maiden hunter chase the following month. He finally got his head in front at Tramore and was then beaten into 2nd in a race over the banks course at the Punchestown Festival. He is qualified for this race, but Willie Mullins didn't mention him in his stable tour and at this stage even his top price of 14/1 (William Hill) looks too short let alone the 8/1 he is with Unibet. Castlebawn West - Won the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in Christmas 2020 when trained with Willie Mullins and wasn't seen again until running in the same race Samcro won at Tinahely last month. He was pulled up very quickly after the 3rd fence that day though so it would appear he has been injured again. Given the doubt about his fitness he can't be touched at his current price of 14/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair. Simply The Betts - I'm not sure what has happened to Bob And Co, but it seems he isn't in contention for Cheltenham this year and David Maxwell has purchased this horse and mentioned it might be his Cheltenham Hunter Chase horse. The problem is I don't think he can run in hunter chases this season as he was 2nd in the Grade 2 at Cheltenham back in April and as far as I know that rules him out. Even if he could run I don't think he will stay. Monalee - He hasn't run since November 2020 and has only been seen 21 times in his career which for a horse about to turn 12 is not very much at all. He was of course a very close 4th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2020 which along with his 2 2nds in the Savills Chase would be the pick of his form for me. Clearly we have no idea as to how much ability he retains, but his trainer Henry De Bromhead has said he is in great form and is set to go down the hunter chase route with him. I know I have said I wouldn't usually like horses on the downgrade for this race, but like I say he hasn't had much racing (The Storyteller has had 38 starts) so he could be an interesting one. He is 16/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair, but I certainly wouldn't be backing him until we see him run and see how much ability he retains. Jett - Must admit I thought they had retired him after his shocking run at Aintree, but he is listed in the prices at 20/1. I'd be amazed if he turned up though given how he ran at Fontwell and Aintree last season. NB adding an update to this on 28/11/22 to say that Jett reappeared in a point at Larkhill yesterday, but he ran very poorly and pulled up at an early stage. Even if they do have another go with him I would be amazed if they don't just stick to points let alone consider this. Bob And Co - Is listed at 20/1 in the betting, but as I mention above he wasn't talked about in Paul Nicholls' stable tour so I couldn't be backing him to make it 3rd time lucky at this stage. At the same time it is hard to see what else Maxwell will have for the race at the moment. Ferns Lock - I was hugely impressed with him at Fairyhouse this week when he beat Its On The Line by 12L on what was only his 4th start. He will only be 6 in March and given David Christie has the front two in the betting I would be surprised if he made the trip to Cheltenham this season, but he looks a very promising horse going forward. Porlock Bay - Won this in 2021, but connections decided to miss it last term and focus on Aintree instead where he was a good 3rd. He will be 12 next year so hard to see him regaining his crown if he does go to The Festival this time around. Dandy Dan - I was really impressed with his victory at hunter chase night at Cheltenham in April when he beat the very useful Caryto Des Brosses in good style. He was then 3rd at Stratford behind Vaucelet where I think it was a combination of his jockey not knowing the course and that a stronger test of stamina was needed, meant he didn't finish closer to the winner. He would appear to not want soft ground, but he could be a player on good ground given what he did in April. Dubai Quest - Was one of my fancies for the race last year and although he was beaten 25L back in 4th I thought he ran with great credit on just his 13th start. He will be 10 next year, but clearly has had little racing so if he can find more improvement then he would be a leading contender again in March. That is it for now. I certainly couldn't be putting up any bets at this stage as I would imagine we might even see contenders appear that aren't even priced up yet given there are various doubts about some of those that I have mentioned above. At this stage though I do think one of the top 3 in the betting looks like the likely winner.
  8. Bromley v Halifax Bromley's form has really tailed off in recent weeks. You may remember I was really keen on them to beat Gateshead last month as they had started to score goals which had been a problem, but a 1-1 draw that afternoon was the start of a winless run of 6 games in the league. They have lost Chesterfield, Barnet, Maidenhead and then on Wednesday night against Woking. They did get a very good draw at Notts County prior to that Woking defeat though. Again, the problem seems to be scoring goals and now Halifax are much improved they are a spot of value to win this game. Their only defeat in their last 6 league games was at Wrexham which was hardly a surprise. They have beaten York, Dagenham, Oldham and on Tuesday night Solihull in that spell. That win on Tuesday was especially eye-catching as they limited Solihull to only a handful of shots. They lost in the FA Cup last week against Ebbsfleet, but going down to 10 men didn't help and Ebbsfleet have yet to lose this season. They are the team coming here in form though and whilst Bromley should be favourites I do think an away win is too big a price. Southend v Dorking In hindsight I should have just gone for goals on Wednesday night in the Dorking game and probably should have chanced over 4.5 given how it played out in the end. Southend really impressed me on Tuesday night against Notts County and I do think they are currently the 3rd best team in the division. They are scoring goals now as I keep highlighting and they are sure to get plenty of chances against Dorking. I was originally going to go for the over 3.5 goals which I do think has every chance of happening, but instead I am going to go with Southend to win and over 2.5 goals in the game. There is every chance we could be looking at a 3/4-0 win for Southend here, but Dorking are capable of scoring as well. So despite the fact Southend's defence has been very stingy of late, a 2-1 home win wouldn't be a huge shock either. Southend should have too much for them so I think that is the stronger bet. Torquay v Chesterfield So we add a 3-3 to the bonkers scorelines at Plainmoor in recent weeks. Given Torquay looked like they couldn't score at all for the first few weeks of the season it is hard to understand why the goals have suddenly started flowing. What's also happening though is they are conceding even more than they were as their average xG against was suggesting they would. You keep conceding good chances and eventually you are going to concede plenty of goals. We know Chesterfield have plenty of attacking threat and I think we could be looking at another goalfest so will take over 3.5 goals. Wealdstone v Wrexham As you know I usually like to take Wrexham on away from home, but they really ought to be covering the -1 handicap against a Wealdstone side who are leaking goals. They kept their first cleansheet in 10 games in their last game at Altrincham when they won 1-0, but Alty's xG was 2.06 so clearly they should have scored. Prior to that it was 5 defeats on the bounce 2-1, 2-1, 3-1, 6-1 and 4-1. The 6-1 was at home to Notts County so clearly Wrexham have the potential to score a few here. They won 3-1 at Scunthorpe on Wednesday night and odds against on them covering the -1 handicap looks a good bet. Chelmsford v Hampton & Richmond Just the one other bet at Step 2 and it is Chelmsford to win this. They might have one eye on the replay on Monday against Barnet, but although they drew 0-0 they didn't allow Dover to have a shot on target and their xG was 1.56 so they were unlucky not to win the game. Havant are the only team to have beaten them at home this season and they have only lost one other game. Hampton have now lost 4 on the bounce although they didn't do too badly against Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night. They have struggled on their travels only winning 3 and losing the other 5. I think Chelmsford should be a shade of odds on for this so happy to take odds against. Halifax 1pt @ 3/1 with Betfred and Bet365 (take up to 2/1) Southend to win & over 2.5 goals 2pts @ 6/4 with Coral and William Hill (take up to 11/10) Torquay v Chesterfield over 3.5 goals 1pt @ 7/5 with Betfair, Paddy Power and Coral (take up to 6/5) Wrexham -1 2.5pts @ 11/8 with Bet365 (take up to Evs) Chelmsford 2pts @ 5/4 with Bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 5/6)
  9. Kidderminster v Darlington 2 sides who are likely to be in the play-offs at the end of the season and I don't think there is much between them at which makes the drift on the away side pretty mental really. Darlo did have a little wobble where they didn't win in 4 games, but then the first two of those were a draw against Brackley and a loss to Kings Lynn and they are currently the top 2 in the table. They then lost 2-1 to Buxton who happened to score with their only 2 shots on target from just 5 shots in total. Then in the 1-1 draw against Leamington they had an xG of 3.42. They followed that up with an easy win at Telford on Tuesday night. Kidderminster are just struggling for consistency as highlighted by the fact they have won 4, drawn 2 and lost 4 of their last 10 games. They were involved in good game on Tuesday night at Scarborough which the home team won 4-2. Like I say I don't think there is much between those two sides so the price on an away win is way too big. Spennymoor v Gloucester Gloucester were disappointing on Monday, but I did fear it might be one game too many and coming so close after the Kings Lynn effort that is what happened. The game was played in horrid weather though and whilst Bradford did deserve to win their 2 goals were down to keeper error and a deflection. Gloucester signed two more players before the game as I thought, but then you had a large part of the team who had barely played together. A few days training since will have helped on that front and they travel to a Spennymoor side who have won just 3 games this season and only 1 of those was at home. We of course had Chester to beat them on Tuesday night at a big price. They have drawn half of their league games so the draw is a concern, but I think we will bounce back from Monday's loss and add more misery to Spennymoor's season. Slough v St Albans Opposing Slough has been profitable for us in recent weeks and I was right to swerve them against a Worthing side I wasn't that impressed with when I saw them play Dulwich last week. I am happy to take them on again here though against a St Albans side who are in really good shape at the moment. There has been plenty of improvement since they sacked their manager and they come here on the back of a 6-0 win over Hampton on Tuesday night. Darlington 1pt @ 100/30 with William Hill (take up to 2/1) Gloucester 1pt @ 2/1 with Betfred, Betfair, Paddy Power, Skybet and Bet365 (William Hill 21/10 take up to 6/4) St Albans 2pts @ 17/10 with Bet365 (take up to 5/4
  10. Chesterfield v Northampton These two sides are both 3rd in the table, but all the money has been for the National League side which does surprise me a bit. I certainly think Chesterfield are capable of pulling off a victory, but Northampton are just too big a price for me. We only have to look at how Stockport and Grimsby are doing to know that there is a bit of a gap in class between the two divisions so I just can't make Northampton as big a price as they are. I know they have only won 1 game in 6, but that was against Stevenage and they have only lost 3 games in the league all season. Away from home Northampton have only lost at Walsall and they have played some tough games. Chesterfield are over their little wobble now and had a very easy night against Gateshead on Tuesday. The thing is though they will play league games at home to teams who are priced up at 9/4 so for that to be the price of the team who are 3rd in the league above just has to be taken. Woking v Oxford United (Sunday) Usually I like backing the underdogs at big prices to cause an upset and have a good record over the years, but this round and the prices on offer makes it very tough on that front. South Shields, Fylde, Chelmsford and Weymouth were all teams I were thinking about backing, but the prices on them are too short for me to take. There certainly seems to be a move for bookies to offer shorter odds on the underdogs. Alvechurch are the same price to beat Cheltenham as Oldham are to beat Wrexham. Now I don't think either will, but how can those two things be the same price as each other. Anyway the one Non-League side I will be backing is Woking who I think do have a chance of beating League 1 Oxford. Woking have been very strong at home all season and they do look a side capable of being in the play-offs. They strike me as the sort of side who can cause an upset in a one off game and Oxford aren't doing that well in League 1 this season. Bracknell v Ipswich (Monday night ITV4) Bracknell won promotion last season to Step 3 of Non-League football and although they are in 11th place at the moment it is a little misleading as they have only played 12 league games and have actually only lost twice. As much as it would be great if we saw an upset the gulf in class between these two sides is huge as Ipswich are currently 2nd in League 1 having only lost twice. They have managed to score 35 league goals and their xG's in their last 3 games have been 2.24, 2.34 and 2.54. If they are recording those sort of figures against other League 1 sides then they are likely to be much higher on Monday night. At this stage last season we saw two sides from Bracknell's level appear on TV. Banbury hosted League 2 Barrow and lost 4-0 and Stratford hosted League 1 Shrewsbury and lost 5-1. The non TV games involving teams from their level were on the whole much closer affairs and I certainly think there is something in the League side not wanting to be embarrassed and on the end of an upset live on TV. Ipswich really should be covering the -2 handicap. FA Cup Acca As usual at this stage I put up a short price acca with teams who I think look bankers. The bet features 7 teams. Burton to beat Needham Market, Cheltenham to beat Alvechurch, Charlton to beat Coalville, Lincoln to beat Chippenham, MK Dons to beat Taunton, Derby to beat Torquay and Ipswich to beat Bracknell. Northampton 1pt @ 5/2 with Bet365 (their 2 goals up offer comes into play in the FA Cup games and take up to 6/4) Woking 1pt @ 9/2 with Bet365 (take up to 100/30) Ipswich -2 2.5pts @ 5/4 with Bet365 Burton, Cheltenham, Charlton, Lincoln, MK Dons, Derby and Ipswich 1pt acca @ 5.79/1 with Bet365
  11. I'm not delighted that Merthyr have made the first round as they beat Gloucester on the way! Will put some bets up in the coming days.
  12. The going looks unlikely to get to the heavy range now as they haven't had the rain that was predicted. It is currently a Soft 5 and although rain is due I think we are looking at no worse than a Soft 7 now. I have had a look at the 2nd race on the card and White Marlin is a very short price to make it 5/5. He won a couple of races at Dundalk before going to Oz where he is 2/2. He might well be good enough and he could be going for the Cup next year, but I am going to take 3 at big prices e/w against him. Bell Ex One was 3rd in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March and has already won one of the big hurdle races in Oz. He had no luck at Moonee Valley last time and he is much better than he was able to show when 3rd that night. He could run a big race here. I also like Themoonlitegambler who will probably look to make all and Sous Les Nauges who had no luck at all at Geelong last time and he will stay as he's already won over 2700m.
  13. Bet365 are going 6 places on their UK market. Just go to the ante-post section and it is in the Australia & New Zealand NRNB section.
  14. As usual I will be staying all night to watch the race that stops a nation, the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday morning. You will be able to watch the action on Sky Sports Racing. I don't think it is an overly strong race and my thinking is it is even weaker than last year's race. The front two in the betting both come from the UK so whilst they are the only 2 still trained here there is a very strong chance the Cup will be coming back to the UK. I have had a look at every horse in the field and come up with my idea of the first 4. Gold Trip - Ex-French and his only win remains a G2 in France, but he has run some really good races in defeat in Australia. He was 5th in Turnbull which was solid and then he was just nabbed on the line by Durston in the Caulfield Cup. A week later he was 9th in the Cox Plate which doesn't look great on paper, but he had little room in the final 200m and he was better than the finishing position that day. It's pretty tough to take in all 3 of the big ones and he's unproven past 2400m. The other concern is top weights do not have a good record in the Melbourne Cup, but he does enjoy wet ground so that side of things is ideal for him. I can see him running well again without winning. Duais - Hasn't been running as well as she had in the Autumn when she won the G1 Australia Cup here over 2000m in great style and followed that up by taking the G1 Tancred at Newcastle over 2400m. This prep she has been no better than OK, but there was promise in her Caulfield Cup run where she had to sit in 14th place and was forced to come very wide round the final bend. At the 400m marker she was still in 16th place and ended up finishing 8th. Based on that effort it does look like she needs 3200m now and it could just be that she's working herself to hit peak form here. Knights Order - Was stuffed in this race last year when only 19th, but he should be able to improve on that this time around as he has been in much better form since. He won the Sydney Cup when making all and then won the G2 Chelmsford over 1600m. He's run well in 3 starts since then including a 4th in the Turnbull and 3rd in the Caulfield Cup when beaten a length. He handles any ground so won't mind if it does become a heavy track, but he has drawn a stinker of a stall in 24. He is going to be doing very well to get across to lead without using too much energy up and because of that I think he is opposable. We do at least know he stays the trip and if he had drawn lower then I might have been tempted to back him. Montefilia - She is a top class horse on her day and finished 4th in the Caulfield Cup for the 2nd year running. She came into that having run poorly at Randwick on a Heavy 8, but connections blamed the ground that day and whilst she has won on a heavy track that day was especially bad so I don't actually have an issue with her if it comes up heavy here. She looked arguably was the run of the race at Caulfield as she was bumped at the top of the straight and her final 200m split of 11.8 was the 7th fastest of the meeting. At the 400m she was still in 14th place having been in 16th for most of the trip. The trip is a query as she hasn't been this far, but clearly she sees 2400m out well and I think she will stay. Has a big chance for me. Numerian - Has done well this year and was a very good 5th in the Caulfield Cup last time. He was on speed in that race though sitting in 2nd place throughout and given they didn't go much of a gallop it has to be a concern that he faded into 5th given he has to go an extra 800m here. Without A Fight - This has always been the target for him this season and we know he handles travel as he was 2nd to Hukum in Meydan back in March. He won a couple of times over 2800m at York in the summer which proved that he is highly likely to stay 3200m in this and that he can quicken off a slow tempo which could be vital here. His prep run was at Newmarket last month where he was well to finish 2nd over 2400m giving away weight to the winner. I like the depth of his form and although ideally he could have been drawn a little lower than 18 he does have the services of William Buick to help on that front. He's won on soft at Newbury and Haydock and I reckon those surfaces are at least as testing as what he will end up facing here. He has a big chance for me. Camorra - Having his 1st start in Australia having been trained by Ger Lyons and he landed the Curragh Cup in June which has been a very good pointer for this race in recent years. I'm not sure that was a very strong race this time around though and the big concern has to be his shocking run in the Irish St Leger last time. He did handle heavy tracks in his younger days, but his form since then points to him needing a good surface. On balance he looks opposable. Deauville Legend - European 3yos managed to win this race twice in 2017 and 2018, but both of those winners carried much lesser weight than he has to. He broke his maiden tag at Windsor in April and then was 2nd in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot. He then took the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket before finishing 2nd in the Gordon Stakes (a neck in front of Hoo Ya Mal) and then took the Great Voltigeur last time at York. Mixed messages from the form of that race as the 2nd ran poorly on his next start but the 3rd El Bodegon was 3rd in the Cox Plate. He's unproven over this far, but I don't have an issue about that what I do think could be an issue is a wet track as he has never encountered one yet. Kerrin McEvoy has a superb record in this race so that is a big plus. He clearly has a chance, but he is a very short price favourite. Stockman - Had a bizarre prep for this when he ran in the Rosehill Cup on Saturday over 2000m when finishing 8th. A couple weeks ago on his previous start he landed the St Leger at Randwick over 2600m and the 4th in the Met was decent as well. He loves a wet track so that is a plus, but he was poor in the Sydney Cup and that has to be a concern. Vow And Declare - The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner who came into that race having finished 2nd in the Caulfield Cup. Things went badly wrong for him after the Melbourne Cup win though and he just hadn't been in the same form. This prep however he has re-found his best form again. He was 3rd behind High Emocean over 2500m in September and then was 5th in the Bart Cummings over the same trip. This year he was 6th in the Caulfield Cup, but it was a run full pf promise as he plugged away well and bodes well for a decent run here. A top 6 showing wouldn't surprise, but at the same time it is hard to think he can win this given he hasn't won since his Cup win. Young Werther - On his day he is capable of some useful form having finished 2nd in last year's Turnbull and he was 3rd in this year's renewal. Was only 8th in last year's Caulfield Cup though and finished 10th in the Cox Plate last time. To be fair that was probably as good as he could have hoped for as he wasn't beaten far at Moonee Valley. The trip has to be a concern as is the face his only win came in a maiden at Geelong over 1500m. It would be a little surprising if his 2nd win was the Melbourne Cup. Hoo Ya Mal - Was a very surprising 2nd in the Derby this year behind Desert Crown and after that he was sold for a small fortune with this race as the target. He was 3rd just behind Deauville Legend in the Gordon Stakes and then won the March Stakes at very short odds. He then ran in the St Leger and ran very poorly. The ground was given as an excuse which is worrying given it will be a wet track here as well. I suspect he is better than he showed at Doncaster and I wouldn't be shocked if he won, but at the same time he doesn't jump out as a horse I want to back. Serpentine - After a Derby 2nd we have a Derby winner in the shape of Serpintine. He had shown nothing at all in 4 starts in Australia and then all of a sudden he finds some form on Saturday when he was 2nd in the Archer Stakes over 2500m. I'm not sure the form of that race is especially strong though and given he tends to make the running his draw of 23 is just as problematic as 24 is for Kings Order. Daqianseet Junior - This year's Adalaide Cup and followed that up with a 3rd behind Knights Order in the Sydney Cup. So we know he will stay, but the Adalaide Cup is never a strong race and he was 4.5L behind the winner in the Sydney Cup. His 3 runs this prep have been poor as well so looks to have a stiffish task to trouble the judge. Grand Promenade - Finished a decent enough 6th in this race last year and has won here 3 times so those are the pluses, but he has been woeful this prep. He was a well beaten 4th in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup last time and he usually struggles on a heavy track which is a big concern given the forecast so he so he wouldn't be for me. Arapaho - Has had a very un-Australian like prep as he's been on the go since March and raced 14 times. Pluses are he likes a wet track, but to be honest that is about it. He's been running sound enough races and was 2nd to Stockman in the St Leger last time, but it's hard to see him being good enough to win this. Emissary - Hugo Palmer trained this one back in 2019/20 and he managed to beat 1 home in Serpentine's Derby. Won a Listed Race at Caulfield in August, but was only 8th in the Herbert Power at Caulfield. He bounced back to form big style though when he took out the Geelong Cup, but there is every chance that improvement came because he was on a Good 4 and his runs on worse than a Soft 5 are not great. The 2nd in the Geelong Cup did win here on Saturday so at least the form has been boosted. Lunar Flare - Won her way into this when winning the Bart Cummings a month ago beating Francesco Guardi who reversed the form in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup when Lunar Flare finished 2nd to him. They did finish in a bit of a heap in the Bart Cummings though which makes me think it might not be strong form race and I would have preferred Francesco Guardi's chances had that one been running. Also, the only she raced over further than 2500m she was well beaten, Smokin' Romans - Wasn't given the best of rides when sent off a short price favourite for the Caulfield Cup which came on the back of wins in the G3 Naturalism and the Turnbull. Finished 7th at Caulfield and he is better than that. The trip is an unknown, but he handles a wet track and whilst I wont be backing him a bold show would not be a surprise. Tralee Rose - Was 9th in this last year after winning the Geelong Cup and doesn't come here in good form at all. Was 13th in the Caulfield Cup and whilst she was a bit unlucky not to finish closer that day she clearly comes here in much worse form than last year's race. High Emocean - We know she handles a wet track so that is a big tick and she comes here in great form having won the Bendigo Cup last week. She was given a very good ride that day though so she might have been slightly flattered by that win and the Bendigo Cup isn't usually a key prep race for this. Interpretation - Ex Aiden O'Brien who finished 4th behind Hurricane Lane in last year's St Leger. He has been running OK since coming to Australia and although on paper his 6th in the Geelong Cup wouldn't be good enough for this he was racing in the worst part of the track so you can forgive him. He should stay this trip given his form over here and he could be one that is flying under the radar as he hasn't been able to show his peak form in Australia. He will also feel like he's running lose with just 50kg on his back. Realm Of Flowers - Her last run in the Metropolitan a month ago when running very well to just be beaten into 3rd. She won the Andrew Ramsden here in 2021 and was only just beaten in the Sandown Cup (3200m) in 2020 so the trip isn't a concern. She has a chance, but overall there are others I prefer to back. Verdict - Just like last year's race it doesn't look that strong a renewal and in fact it probably is an even weaker contest. In a normal year I don't think Deauville Legend would be such a short price favourite, but clearly he has some of the leading form for this. I do think though at 5/2 he is worth taking on and he helps create the market especially given bookies are offering extra places. For me the most likely winner is Without A Fight. I like his form in this country and this has been the target for him for some time. Verry Elleegant came from the same stall (18) last year and the 3 winners before that came from 12, 21 and 19 so his draw is not a negative. He should stay and he should handle to track as well. Everything looks in place for a big run and he can give the UK a 2nd win in the race. I am then going to take a couple from the Caulfield Cup. Montefillia put in a huge performance at Caulfield and she should be capable of going very close here on the back of that. Granted better luck she could easily be coming here as a Caulfield Cup winner. Duais is the other one to take from the race. She looks like she is running herself into form based on the Caulfield Cup effort and her form from last prep would see her a much shorter price than she currently is. Finally I am going to take a bit of a flyer with Interpretation. He has no weight on his back and on his form for Aiden O'Brien he looks very well handicapped. I don't think he's been able to show his best so far in Australia and whilst he does need to step up on what he has shown the fact he gets in with just 50kg is a big plus for him. NB In Australia they only ever offer 3 places so Bet365's market at the moment is only to 3 places. They usually offer a UK only market where they offer more places, but it can be well hidden and I haven't found it as yet. 1 Without A Fight e/w @ 10/1 with William Hill (6 places) 2 Montefillia e/w @ 9/1 with Skybet (7 places) Bet365 are 11/1 3 Duais e/w @ 22/1 with William Hill (6 places) Bet365 are 25/1 4 Interpretation e/w @ 33/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes (5 places) 28/1 Skybet 7 places Bet365 are 50/1
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