2017 Naturalism Stakes Day is the major card in Victoria on Saturday afternoon and is highlighted by the running of the Group 3 feature race, offering its winner ballot-free entry into the 2017 Caulfield Cup field.
All nine races on 2017 Naturalism Stakes Day boast talent-rich fields, but we have analysed every horse in each, in order to help your find a winner.
The action on 2017 Naturalism Stakes Day is set to get underway with the running of the Aquis Farm Supports Pinchapoo Plate (1400m) at midday, while the feature race is set to be run and won at 3:35pm.
Race 1 (12:00pm) Aquis Farm Supports Pinchapoo Plate (1400m)
Fourteen three-year-old fillies will step out in Race 1 on Naturalism Stakes Day and there is a case to be made for more than half the field. Aloisia (barrier 3) has not been seen at the races since she finished a close second in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) in early June, but she is arguably the class filly of this field and will take plenty of beating. Sanadaat (barrier 11) has returned to racing in typically smart form this time in, but will need some early luck from a wide draw, while Joyfilly Ours (barrier 13) will take plenty of improvement into the race following a credible performance for sixth in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) first-up. Blondie (barrier 1) and Leather‘N’Lace (barrier 5) are both live chances in betting markets.
Tip: No. 4 Aloisia – Each Way ($5/$2.10)
Race 2 (12:30pm) Sportsbet Supports Mirabel Foundation Handicap (1600m)
Eleven three-year-olds have been confirmed in the field for Race 2, including Eshtiraak (barrier 3). The Street Cry colt has returned to racing in great form this time and could enjoy the run of the race on Saturday, with Damien Oliver in the saddle. Cliff’s Edge (barrier 1) failed to produce much in the Listed Exford Plate (1400m) last time out, but will appreciate a step back in class and step up in distance. Nistaan (barrier 5) flew home to win a mile race at Pakenham last time out and is primed for another big performance here, while Pres De Toi (barrier 11) has only made three appearances at the races to date, but has shown plenty of ability and would not look out of place in the winner’s circle.
Tip: No. 1 Eshtiraak ($3.30)
Race 3 (1:05pm) Lojac Civil Handicap (1800m)
A capacity field has been taken for Race 3 on Naturalism Stakes Day and it is subsequently an open race from a betting perspective. Sin To Win (barrier 6) has returned to racing in strong form this time and is primed for a return to winning form third-up in this race, particularly with Dwayne Dunn in the saddle and a favourable draw. Anaheim (barrier 9) is a proven performer at the course and distance of this race and will be tough to beat, while Lycurgus (barrier 12) savaged the line for fifth in unideal conditions first-up and will take plenty of improvement into this race. Macedon Lodge’s horses are absolutely flying this season and both Goodwill (barrier 13) and Sherlock Holmes (barrier 2) have genuine claims on winning this race on class alone.
Tip: No. 12 Lycurgus – Each Way ($7/$4.30)
Race 4 (1:40pm) Fight Cancer Foundation Plate (1100m)
Several smart horses are set to take their respective places in the field for Race 4, including Bandipur (barrier 12). The classy Godolphin galloper has failed to finish worse than second through four starts this time and while charged with overcoming a wide barrier, has class over many of his rivals here and should prove difficult to beat. I Did It Again (barrier 11) debuted to racing for a dominant win in the John & Denise Cobcroft Handicap (1200m) on July 15th and will resume after trialling extremely well. Superhard (barrier 1) faces a step up in class into this field, but is yet to taste anything but success and should be right in the finish once more, while Lakhoni (barrier 7) is also looking to continue a winning run of form. Bed Talk (barrier 13) has yet to finish outside the minors through four starts this time and is not without a chance.
Tip: No. 1 Bandipur – Each Way ($5.50/$2.10)
Race 5 (2:15pm) Ladbrokes Supports National Jockeys Trust Handicap (1400m)
The Ladbrokes Supports National Jockeys Trust Handicap has drawn a smart field of horses, including So Si Bon (barrier 12). The So You Think entire flew home to finish second in his first two starts this time, including the Group 3 The Heath (1100m), but failed to fire in the Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) last weekend. A step up in distance will suit, but he will need luck in running early after drawing into the field wide. Duke Of Brunswick (barrier 5) also failed to fire last time, but is drawn ideally here and will appreciate a step back in class. Revolving Door (barrier 6) flew home to finish third in the Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m) last time out and should prove tough to beat in this race. Sirconni (barrier 3) was disappointing first-up, but he will have no issue finding the early pace from an inside draw and he has conditions to suit.
Tip: No. 6 Revolving Door ($4.20)
Race 6 (2:55pm) Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m)
Twelve classy sprinters will contest the first black type race on 2017 Naturalism Stakes Day, but it is Japanese import Brave Smash (barrier 6) that is set to jump a clear and justifiable odds-on favourite. The Tosen Phantom entire has been confirmed for a start in the $10 million The Everest in October and has so far finished second to Vega Magic in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) and won the Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m). El Divino (barrier 7) ran on well to finish second in the Chandler Macleod Stakes and looms as Brave Smash’s biggest danger once more here, while the resuming Fast ‘N’ Rocking (barrier 11) is a live chance of finishing in the first three on class and ability alone. Bons Away (barrier 8) has been outstanding at a lower class than this during his current campaign and is a genuine lightweight contender at generous each-way odds.
Tip: No. 3 Brave Smash ($1.70)
Race 7 (3:35pm) Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m)
The Naturalism Stakes offers its winner ballot-free entry into the Caulfield Cup and subsequently, it has drawn an outstanding field of stayers and some of the Spring Carnival’s best horses. Macedon Lodge will launch a typically smart attack in the feature race, but both Sir Isaac Newton (barrier 16) and Gallante (barrier 12) will need some luck in running after drawing wide. Darren Weir has confirmed Big Duke (barrier 10), Articus (barrier 3) and Amelie’s Star (barrier 14) in the Naturalism Stakes field and all three horses are capable of winning on class alone. Stampede (barrier 9) resumed for a smart win in the Craig Opie Cup (1600m) on September 9th and will only improve second-up and over 2000m. Abbey Marie (barrier 4) flew home to finish second in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) and fortnight ago and should prove tough to beat.
Tip: No. 6 Stampede – Each Way ($4.60/$2.05)
Race 8 (4:15pm) Group 3 Ladbrokes Odds Boost Stakes (1200m)
The Ladbrokes Odds Boost Stakes, formerly known as the ‘How Now Stakes’ has drawn a typically strong and open field of mares. Missrock (barrier 15) has returned to racing in outstanding form this season, but has been charged with overcoming a difficult draw in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Stakes and will need plenty of luck. Miss Gunpowder (barrier 11) has not been seen at the races since June, but has trialled well and should relish the conditions of this race first-up, while Queensland raider Savanna Amour (barrier 14) carries winning form into the race after taking out the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) on September 2nd. Fuhryk (barrier 6) failed to fire first-up, but will take wholesale improvement into this race and could receive the run of the race from her draw, with in-form hoop Beau Mertens in the saddle.
Tip: No. 5 Fuhryk ($4.80)
Race 9 (4:55pm) Inglis Supports Riding For The Disabled Association Victoria Plate (1400m)
The final race on 2017 Naturalism Stakes Day has drawn an open field of thirteen mares, including Fragonard (barrier 7). The Godolphin runner resumed for an outstanding win at The Valleyt on August 26th and will be extremely difficult to beat with improvement here. Stable mate Chatuchak (barrier 2) has also found strong form, but faces a step up in class and will need to improve if she is to win. Jamaican Rain (barrier 3) is yet to taste anything but success this time and is drawn ideally, with a race-low 54kgs. Merriest (barrier 5) worked home well to finish fifth at The Valley first-up and will take plenty of improvement into this race.
Tip: No. 7 Merriest – Each Way ($8.50/$2.75)