New stable acquisition Flamberge has the best recent Group 1 winning form of his rivals heading into the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Flamberge will be having his first run for the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra stable after being handed over after Peter Moody decided to hand in his trainer’s licence after being suspended for six months on cobalt related charges.
While under the care of Moody, Flamberge was able to win three times at Group 1 level, including his last two outings in the $500,000 Clamms Seafood Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 27 and in the $500,000 Mitchelton Wines William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24.
His other Group 1 victory came in the 2015 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville in May.
“The horse has been in terrific order. He’s won $1.8m,” co-trainer Simon Zahra told Racing.com’s Racing Ahead on RSN 927.
“It’s pretty hard to improve a horse off a) Peter Moody and b) two Group 1 wins.
“He’s probably in career-best form really, and off that race, there’s no-one in better form than him.”
The Randwick track was still rated a soft 7 on Friday morning and the prospect of a rain affected track won’t harm the chances of Flamberge who has an excellent wet track record with two wins on the heavy from two attempts and two wins on a soft track from four goes.
“Track’s going to be wet up there; he’s got terrific wet-track form,” Zahra said.
“His 1200m form is outstanding, so he’s going to be right in it – it’s just whether he backs up, that’s the only key.
“He looks like a horse that likes to camp off the speed, or midfield, and nice and comfortable.”
Melbourne jockey Damian Lane is back aboard Flamberge who should get a good run just off the pace from barrier eight in the fifteen horse field.
Lane takes over from Brad Rawiller who rode the six year old to victory in the William Reid Stakes but was in the saddle for his Oakleigh Plate win two starts back.
Even though Flamberge in the winner of two Group 1 races at his last two starts, he is still considered as one of the outsiders of the field with Ladbrokes.com.au offering the good odds of $19.
The John O’Shea trained three year old Exosphere heads the T J Smith Stakes market order at $2.70 ahead of Chautauqua at $3.50 and Gai Waterhouse’s filly English at $9.
T J Smith Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.70 Exosphere, $3.50 Chautauqua, $9 English, $13 Terravista, $19 Delectation, Flamberge, $21 Fell Swoop, Our Boy Malachi, Shiraz, $31 Dothraki, $41 Rebel Dane, $51 Knoydart, $51 Fast ‘N’ Rocking, $81 Famous Seamus, $101 Boss Lane.