Mr Brightside and Zaaki bolstered their claims for the Cox Plate while the other Cup contenders did their spring aspirations no harm.

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News Corp’s racing team reviewed the performance of Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate competitors during Saturday’s races at The Valley and Randwick.

THE VALLEY

POWERFLO DISABILITY SOLUTIONS (2040m)

2nd – MIDNIGHT BLUE ($51 Caulfield Cup / $101 Melbourne Cup) – Struggled around corners at The Valley, but the six-year-old did his best work late. He is improving and can win soon.

GROUP 2 FEEHAN GAME (1600m)

1st – MR BRIGHTSIDE ($15 Caulfield Cup / $8 Cox Plate / $34 Melbourne Cup) – Ran close range and won easily to reserve his Cox Plate spot. It gets harder from here, but it just keeps intensifying.

2nd – INSPIRATIONAL GIRL ($15 Caulfield Cup / $101 Cox Plate / $101 Melbourne Cup) – Worked steadily at home without threatening the winner in a nice comeback. Bettors should note that she is undefeated in second place.

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3rd – SPANISH MISSION ($26 Caulfield Cup / $18 Melbourne Cup) – Misfit around The Valley first but made a promising start to their Cups campaign. It will only get better with more ground.

4th – SOUND – ($201 Caulfield Cup & Melbourne Cup) – The old boy did his best work late in the misfit first-place contest. He won’t win a Melbourne Cup, but there’s something named after him this spring.

5th – EARLSWOOD ($51 Caufield Cup / $34 Cox Plate / $51 Melbourne Cup) – Led and weakened in a smooth start to the campaign. Coach Maddie Raymond said he needed the race more than the team thought so he could make it to the Underwood Stakes next.

Mr Brightside and jockey Craig Williams combined for an easy win in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes at The Valley. Image: Race Photos via Getty Images

DRUMMOND GOLF HANDICAP (1600m)

2nd – UNCLE BRYN ($51 Caulfield Cup / $201 Cox Plate / $201 Melbourne Cup) – Covered some ground but chased the winner on pace. He will be in better shape for this and expects him to improve on bigger tracks.

7th – DARK DREAM ($201 Caulfield Cup / $201 Melbourne Cup) – Dark Dream finished a long way from the winner but his final 200m was fourth fastest in the race. He will improve on that and can win in a similar class this time around.

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RANDWICK

TATTERSALLS CLUB CUP (2400m)

2nd – ARAPAHO ($101 Caulfield Cup / $201 Melbourne Cup) – Had every chance and passed 2400m but gave the winner 5kg in difficult conditions. It is worth persevering.

3rd – KINGDOM OF FLOWERS ($51 Caulfield Cup/Melbourne Cup) – She had a good run but didn’t accelerate on the difficult terrain. However, she did pretty well in second place and she will improve.

4th – CHALK STREAM ($101 Melbourne Cup) – Chalk Stream made a mid-race move but tired of the second home corner. The queen’s horse will improve for this.

TRAM PICKETS (1400m)

1st ZAAKI – ($4.50 Cox Plate) – Made a great comeback to the race with a dominating win. No reason to think he won’t be able to continue winning in Sydney in his next races.

4th – PROFONDO ($26 Caulfield Cup / $15 Cox Plate / $51 Melbourne Cup) – Had every chance but didn’t drop as well as the others in the wet. It is expected to improve strongly on firmer ground.

Melbourne race

Melbourne Cup setter Spanish Mission made a pleasant return to racing in the Feehan Stakes. Photo: Vince Caligiuri–Getty Images.

CHELMSFORD PICKETS (1600m)

1st – KNIGHTS ORDER ($101 Cox Plate / $26 Melbourne Cup) – Led and controlled the race before holding them in tough conditions. He returned to form but was beaten from afar in the Melbourne Cup last year.

2nd – NUMERIAN ($18 Caulfield Cup / $201 Melbourne Cup) – Made a solid comeback trying hard in the Chelmsford Stakes. He will be much better off and deserves to be followed.

3rd – NO COMPROMISE ($101 Caulfield Cup / $101 Melbourne Cup) – Ran close to speed and stuck OK in another good effort. He will continue to improve.

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4th – BENAUD ($18 Caulfield Cup / $51 Cox Plate) – Outclassed in the leader-dominated race, but still did enough to show he’s on the right track. No reason to think he won’t continue.

5th – SUREFIRE ($15 Caulfield Cup / $26 Melbourne Cup) – Gave too much of a start but not dishonored over 1600m in second place. Will improve with more land.

7th – ALEGRON ($34 Caulfield Cup / $101 Cox Plate / $26 Melbourne Cup) – Got enough done boxing along the inside first. Will be in better shape for that but expect it over 2400m and beyond.

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