Group 1 Futurity Stakes and Oakleigh Plate Previews… By Luke Murrell

Kris Lees trainer of Oakleigh Plate value tip Guard Of Honour. The Oakleigh Plate has a history of long priced winners!!

Kris Lees trainer of Oakleigh Plate value tip Guard Of Honour. The Oakleigh Plate has a history of long priced winners!!

A great week end of racing with 4 Big Group 1 races on this weekend with Caulfield to hold centre stage with 3 Group 1’s being the Blue Diamond Stakes for 2 year old’s, the Futurity Stakes and the Oakleigh Plate for the flyers which Luke Murrell has previewed. In Sydney, we have the Winx benefit of the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes over a mile at Royal Randwick with Hartnell chasing home the champion mare again. Or can he or something else cause a massive boilover and spoil the party with H Bowman this week saying he believes that she can go past Black Caviar’s winning streak of 25, is that the kiss of death?

At Caulfield, interestingly we have a 3m rail which historically has proven that backmarkers can almost be discounted completely as the track plays “up and on” which is something you should think of when doing form there this week end.

Today Luke Murrell is previewing 2 of the Group 1’s down in Melbourne the first being the Futurity Stakes and the second the Oakleigh Plate which regularly throws up a long priced winner.

Futurity Stakes Preview:

BLACK HEART BARTMidfield or worse than midfield but possibly 3 wide.Deserved favourite but in all 1,400 runs for has never sat forward of midfield or better. Tricky gate where he could be posted 3 wide the trip. I don't think he is the good thing his price suggests.
LUCKY HUSSLERWorse midfield.One of my favourite all time horses but looked sore the other day and couldn't have him.
TURN ME LOOSEShould lead.On his day in the top 3 horses in Australia and of his last run he could be heading back to that form. If given the right run by McEvoy who currently I rate in the top 2 jockeys in Australia I can see him beating BHB.
TOSEN STARDOMMidfield Has only had 3 runs in last 2 years so will need the run. On class, can win but his main target is in Sydney over the Championships. Place chance.
FAST 'N' ROCKINGRear of field.Is a good consistent but not up to these.
PALENTINOWorse midfield.Went as good as Jameka last start but is really a B Grade Group 1 horse. Would love to own him but not as good as his record suggests and Weir has done a wonderful job for him to have the record he has.
ECUADORSettles right behind TML.Is absolutely flying but this seems an afterthought as was nomed for the Peter Young also. If McEvoy is too conservative through the middle stages could sneak through and upset them. Underrated but is a fantastic horse.
HE'S OUR ROKKIWorse midfield.Another you would love to own but is really a genuine Group 2 horse. Albeit his 1st up run was huge the other day and he had the best TOF midrace which shows he is in for a good prep. But can't see him placing.
ATTENTIONSits outside TML on the speed.Is a B Grade 3 year old but at this time of year should be sitting outside of Turn Me Loose with no real pressure? Will get every chance but best I can see is him running 4th.

On paper the Group 1 futurity looks a moral for Black Heart Bart and whilst he gets plenty of ticks in his boxes he meets two opposition here that whilst their records would suggest are not as good as BHB on personal ratings and career best ratings – both Tosen Stardom and Turn Me Loose have much superior ratings to what BHB has ever done. In fact, I’d suggest these two horses are the only 2 horses in Australia at present who could challenge Winx. Before you suggest I’ve lost my mind though – let me tell you that on my Japanese form and ratings Tosen Stardom has twice produced a rating equal to or superior to what Winx has done- but that was 3 years ago, and it’s rare for horses to peak twice and perhaps his best is well behind him. If you don’t believe me go and watch his run against Maurice and I won’t find many people who disagree. It’s well documented that Tosen Stardom has only had 3 runs in almost 2.5 years and Darren Weir suggests he will need the run as he has targets in Sydney – given he doesn’t like wet tracks also – it would seem Tosen Stardom is quickly running out of time to show the Australian Public just what a potentially freakish horse he is. In terms of Turn Me Loose it’s well documented he just seems to not to be able to handle the Sydney direction so he will not present a threat to Winx but this horse if he can produce his best has 2-3 lengths on BHB’s best and last start we saw a glimpse of just how good he can be. In what is a plus he gets K McEvoy on and he is in the top 2 riders in Australia at present so that will help. If he gets get a well judged rolling tempo then this horse is a serious threat to BHB and can certainly spoil the Weir party. if I was giving instructions to McEvoy to beat the field here I’d tell him to be get rolling at an average tempo early and then with 700m from home put your foot down as he can absorb enormous amount of pressure and he will be impossible to run down if he is anywhere near right. If he rides him “pretty” in a sit and sprint he is nowhere near as effective.

All in all, at the price I think Turn Me Loose can win on the weekend and would suggest 2 units each way as a smart bet to knock of the favourite.

The Oakleigh Plate is a race that normally sees 2 lengths between 1st and 10th is the time-honoured Oakleigh plate and as always if you can find the winner it generally offers a very high dividend.

In the Oakleigh Plate they will go fast but I don’t think they overdo it and speed will only be 3-4 lengths above.

FLAMBERGEForward of midfieldAn amazing horse with a great will to win and gets the quick back up. Has never backed up in 7 days and for mine I think he is better with his runs spaced. Genuine chance but that 7 day back up being an older horse will go one way or the other.
FELL SWOOPForward of MidfieldTricky gate but if ever a horse deserves a Group 1 its him. He is in well here and genuine chance.
EXTREME CHOICEWorse the Midfield to Last few pairsThree year olds are well in here but he will settle back and of all the three year old's he is the most overrated. He can still win here but I'll be taking him as Newitt has a habit of missing the start and I don't see him having a huge edge on the field and hence happy to take him on.
KAEPERNICKLastHas a massive turn of foot- specialist 1100m horse but the track could be against him here. Genuine chance with him and Hellbent to be charging late.
SHEIDELOn pace/LeadsHas a fat 1st up record winning 4 from 6 and can handle most race shapes. Will be top 2 pairs and not the worst. Being an older mare and having had lots of racing I just suspect she might find this too hot first up.
THERMAL CURRENTWorse than MidfieldSuper consistent horse but just not good enough though.
FAATINAHLeadsHas a real smell of being set for the race? Distance is ideal gets a kind draw and is proven in an above average tempo.
WILD RAINLeadsThe trainer has had 1 winner from 15 in the last 12 months so happy to oppose her here. She had every chance last time and was poor. She does have a good course and record stats but you can't have them all and she is not a hope for me. She will be on speed but she is one of the slowest leaders going around so could end up further back than normal.
AEGEAN SEAOn pace and fast little 1000m only horseIts costs $4500 to accept here and this will prove to be very expensive owner's tickets for the owners as she has no hope here. Her only plus is the 7 day back up but she lacks class- albeit her best runs have been in suicide type speed race shapes. Not for me.
HELLBENTWorse than midfield to lastHas a booming finish and is the best of the run on horses. He would have been set for this and it's his grand final.
MISS PROMISCUITYOn paceA terrific little mare but she is only listed class in open grade and can't win here.
OCEAN EMBERSBackGood honest filly who needs mare's races where they sit and sprint- will be exposed here.
READY SUNSHINEWorse than MidfieldThis has more problems than Ben Cousins and Todd Carney combined so full credit to his trainer in Ryan Balfour. She is no hope but he has done a great job training her.
SHAKESPEAREAN LASSMidfield at bestShe normally races up front but is extremely slow so will be doing well to hold midfield. She is not good enough.
I AM A STAR (NZ)Midfield and wideShe is a super filly and was the main chance here but the draw has all but killed her chances.
EL DIVINOmidfieldGets Oliver to Yendall and only whacked away in a moderately run race last time. Had had one go in a fast run race and he was weak as water. Would have been set for this and will get a suck run so that makes him some chance and not to be discounted as happy to forgive the flat run last time.
MISSROCKBackShe is high class but this is too hot for her.
GUARD OF HONOURLeadsHe looks 1000m to 1100m only horse only so gets his right race. The draw is ok for him and three year olds have a great record. Stable is on fire and he could be the best value.


As always most of the field can win this race but for mine the best way to play the race will be to try and snag a big first 4. For 10% I’d suggest you outlay $168 and box up a few wider in the market including 1,2,4,5,7,10,16,18. We take on the overrated favourite and a few taking up too much of the market.

If you want an each way bet, then Guard of Honour along with Faatinah are the best two roughies and the best mapping horse is Fell Swoop.

Preview brought to you by Luke Murrell: Luke is successful Professional Punter for the past 19 years and runs the highly successful  as well as providing tactical advice and analysis for jockeys, trainers and owners.