One of the premier days of the autumn racing calendar is upon us.
The Group One Blue Diamond Stakes headlines a bumper day of racing at Caulfield today, with Group One races the Futurity Stakes and Oakleigh Plate also to be contested.
Payney's Punt is excited to be back again to preview the day's action for racegoers and punting enthusiasts.
It has been a lot of fun the past two weeks with a pocket-filling day two weeks ago, followed by Tuesday's Benalla races.
Fingers crossed the fun continues today otherwise we might need to go find our mugs again.
Today the rail is out 3 m and the track is currently graded a Soft 6, but with dry weather forecast, expect the track to be upgraded.
In racing news, the All-Star Mile top-10 was revealed on Thursday and it was no surprise to see Alligator Blood and Melody Belle top the leaderboard.
Horses that missed out on entry get a chance to be added if they win today's Futurity Stakes, but a discretionary wildcard will be allocated if Super Seth, Melody Belle or Kolding claim victory.
Race 1. 12.35 pm — Hcp (2000 m)
In the first it looks as though it will be a moderately run race and it's hard to settle on a winner, but expect Taikomochi (2) to lead. Finished fourth last start, but before that had two placings and a win this prep. Leaning towards Aktau (9) to get the chocolates. The lightly raced gelding won his first race in Australia after coming across from the UK and followed that up with a placing at Caulfield earlier this month. Watch the market on Inverloch (6), who keeps Linda Meech on board and has proven form on soft ground.
Race 2. 13.10 pm — Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800 m)
It could be a case of welcome back to the winner's podium for Oaks winner Miami Bound (9) today when the star filly resumes in the Group Two Autumn Classic. The Danny O'Brien-trained three-year-old became many racegoers’ favourite last spring, if you go off her talent then she is the one to beat here. Cannot dismiss Lindsey Smith's runner Adelaide Ace (3), who has one win and a placing this prep. Last start he just missed out behind Microphone and Banquo at this track and level.
Race 3. 1.45 pm — Zeditave Stakes (1200 m)
The James Cummings-trained Pandemic (2) is at short odds already, with the gelding already a proven star on the track with three wins and a placing from five starts. In a small field, he should find a good run from barrier one and with Damian Lane on board that looks to be a winning formula. Samson (5) has won twice this preparation and will be the quickest out of the gates looking to lead. A steep jump in class here is the only query.
Race 4. 2.20 pm — Mannerism Stakes (1400 m)
One of the more open races of the day, expect News Girls (6) to get out fast from the barrier and lead with Craig Williams on board. Has two wins from four attempts this campaign and will be banging down the door again. Can she last the rise in distance? Payney's Punt is drifting towards Bam's On Fire (5) who put in a somewhat ordinary effort last start after being favourite. Finds the inside barrier and has a good record at this track with two wins and a placing form four starts.
Race 5. 2.55 pm — Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400 m)
In this Group Two the market money is heading towards Acting (1) and Southbank (4). Acting has a terrific record winning three from six attempts and finished one length behind How Womantic in the Kevin Hayes Stakes, rises up to a distance where she has won before. Outside hope Mrs Beckham (5) looks ready to register a strong outing at this grade with two wins on the trot. Has not been seen for seven weeks, but won a recent Cranbourne trial.
Race 6. 3.30 pm — Futurity Stakes (1400 m)
The first of three-straight Group One races is the Futurity Stakes and we see the return of star New Zealand mare Melody Belle (7). The five-year-old capped four-straight wins with the Group One Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington last spring and has plenty of talent on soft and good footing. Talented three-year-old and Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth (8) will be hitting the line late and demands serious thought. It looks a battle between those two and Kolding (1), with the Golden Eagle winner set to be there abouts. One for the exotics is Wild Planet (4) who has the inside barrier and has form winning second-up at this distance.
Race 7. 4.10 pm — Blue Diamond Stakes (1200 m)
The main event is the the dash of the youngsters and the favourite is the Godolphin colt Hanseatic (2). Plenty of questions have been raised by the star youngster drawing the inside barrier in what is usually an erratic sprint. Dominated the Blue Diamond Stakes Prelude last start and is unbeaten from three attempts. Clearly the one to beat. Muntaseera (12) is a smart type and ran second last start when resuming. Has won second-up before, but barrier 13 is a query. For those looking for value, the Lindsay Park stable's Aryaaf (10) flashed home two starts back on debut and should get a lovely run behind leader Rulership (6) from barrier eight.
Race 8. 4.50 pm — Oakleigh Plate (1100 m)
The Oakleigh Plate is primed to be a classic race, with plenty of up-and-coming sprinters set to star, including gun three-year-old Bivouac (3). Has won five from 11 attempts and is resuming from 16 weeks off, but comes in with a recent trial win at Rosehill last month. Fellow three-year-old Anaheed (16) is one of Bivouac's close rivals and is expected to put in a solid effort, but a wide barrier draw (15) is our concern. Anaheed will be followed to the front by another promising star in Pippie (15), who with Linda Meech on board will look to lead. Speed maps indicate that the wide barriers are dominated by leaders. Look for Zoutori (2) and Halvorsen (12) who have terrific first-up records and are at value.
Race 9. 5.30 pm — Peter Young Stakes (1800 m)
Kings Will Dream (4) flashed home last start in the C.F Orr Stakes and is finding the money in the Group Two Peter Young Stakes. It was a strong effort last start from the Chris Waller-trained gelding, and he gets an extra 200 m here which will help. Has won twice on soft ground and he has also placed three times when second-up. Our best of the day. Miss Siska (9) comes in with a win last start and against most of the runners in this race. Is a favourite of Payney's Punt and could claim her first Group Two race.
Best of the Day
Race 9: Kings Will Dream (4)