Saturday’s Might And Power Stakes (2000m) takes the form of a mini-Cox platewith AnamoeZaaki, alligator blood and I’m thunderstruck all ready to compete.
The weather forecast is a bit shaky (as I saw on Wednesday), with 10-20mm of rain expected on Friday. Luckily the showers should clear up on race day.
The rail will be in the true position and all runners should have their chance in the small field.
Speed map, runner-by-runner analysis, predicted top four and suggested $100 betting strategy below…
The map looks pretty simple on paper, but we know it doesn’t always turn out that way. Alligator Blood should lead again, with Zaaki (again) on his outside in second. Anamoe should be able to fit in front of slow beginners maverick and I am thunderstruck. Mr. Brightside maps out for a great run, while Mo’unga should be in the single stroke line. I’m Thunderstruck cards wrong back on the fence and again relying on luck/tempo to suit.
Zaaki came back from a break with a comfortable victory over the talented but enigmatic Icebath in the G2 Tramway Stakes (1400m). He then seemed to have every chance in the final start of the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), but was unable to accompany Alligator Blood over the final 200m.
Why he can win: Arguably his best performance in Australia came on this trip winning the G1 Doomben Cup by 7L in brilliant time. He will be in much better shape since his last start, going from 1400m to 1800 seconds.
Why he can’t win: He was well beaten in this event last year when he was the favorite at $1.28, and he’s a much stronger field. Alligator Blood and Mo’unga beat him at home in the last start of the G1 Underwood Stakes.
Jamie Kah (59kg)
7 years old (b/br) Leroides Animaux x Kesara
2. I AM LOVED AT LOVE
The galloper trained by Price and Kent was brilliant by winning the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) with two backs, mowing down Alligator Blood which had started well in the straight line. He looked uncomplicated in the race at home in the Underwood, but was forced to sustain a long sprint at the back in a race to suit the high-speed horses.
Why he can win: His first two runs back after a break were great before the pace played against him in the G1 Underwood Stakes. He was crushed into a $2.15 favorite in the Underwood, so there was a stack of confidence in him to step up the trip.
Why he can’t win: He hasn’t checked the 1800m+ box yet as he was beaten 7L in the G1 Queen Elizabeth (2000m) and was not placed in the Underwood. The first barrier is probably the worst door he could have drawn.
Mark Zahra (59kg)
Mick Price and Michael Kent (Jnr)
5 years (b) Shocking x Primadonna Girl
3. ALLIGATOR BLOOD
Waterhouse and Bott have done an outstanding job of bringing “The Alligator” back to its best. Tim Clark’s tempo and drive certainly helped him on Underwood’s last start, but he still had to find plenty when he was challenged by Zaaki from the top of Sandown’s long straight. He looks at the chef again.
Why he can win: He led until the last leap in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes, before eliminating G1 Underwood in gritty fashion. He will only be fitter again in fourth and he maps to find the front without too much effort.
Why he can’t win: He almost won the Makybe on a Soft 7 but he doesn’t want it to be too wet over 2000m. Rival jockeys won’t let Clark dictate the tempo anymore…surely.
Tim Clark (59kg)
Gay Waterhouse and Adrian Bott
6 years (b) Too hard x Lake Superior
4. MR. BRIGHTSIDE
The ultra-regular miler climbed 1800m on Underwood’s last start and was a disappointment. On this race it’s hard to see him turning the tide on those who finished ahead of him, but you can forgive a good horse an average performance when his previous form reads: G2 Feehan Stakes wins, G2 PB Lawrence Stakes win, G1 Doncaster win.
Why he can win: He was brilliant winning the G2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) by a huge gap and the second Inspirational Girl has since raced well at Group 1 level. He is setting a great run from the fourth barrier.
Why he can’t win: He was disappointing in the Underwood when he seemed to have every chance. Based on that, it’s hard to see how the extra 200m helps him against very similar opposition.
Craig Williams (59kg)
Ben and JD Hayes
5 year old (b/br) Bullbars x Lilahjay
Mo’unga completed the course of the race in the Underwood behind the winner Alligator Blood. He was one of the first horses to come out of the bit and seemed to be gone in the 300m, but Bowman kept him and he rallied strongly over the last 100 meters to pinch 2nd place. His work across the line suggests he’ll relish this journey.
Why he can win: He seems to scream for 2000m after three runs back from a spell. He beat Zaaki at home, I’m Thunderstruck and Mr. Brightside at the last start and meet them again at the same weights (WFA).
Why he can’t win: Since winning the Winx Stakes he’s had nine starts at Group 1 level for five minor placings – he runs well but can’t quite do the job against the best. Zaaki and Anamoe easily beat him the last two times he met them over 2000m.
Damien Olivier (59kg)
5yrs (b/br) Savabeel x Luster
Nonconformist tucked in and failed to pass a runner in the final start of the Underwood Stakes, finishing over 7L from Alligator Blood. He’ll strip down again, but he needs to drastically improve on what he’s shown so far this campaign.
Why he can win: He won the G3 Naturalism at this track/distance last year, before finishing a nose over Probabeel in this event – beating Zaaki by 1.75L.
Why he can’t win: He hasn’t been the same horse since the Caulfield Cup, finishing more than 6L from the winner in three rounds. How does he find 6-7L on Alligator Blood and co. from the Underwood?
Jordan Child (59kg)
6 years (br) Rebel Raider x Good Thinking
Anamoe resumed with a sweet victory in the Winx Stakes (1400m) on the restart, before repeating the second-up dose in the George Main (1600m). He stopped with some lameness there, which is never ideal, but Cummings is adamant he shows no ill effects and there will be no apologies here. With the exception of her Queen Elizabeth run on a bog track, her 2000m record is hard to beat.
Why he can win: He’s a Group 1 winning beast, having won three top-level victories since coming awfully close to Cox Plate last year. He couldn’t have done better in the third barrier and he’s not as tempo dependent as I Am Thunderstruck.
Why he can’t win: He stopped with a limp after winning the George Main Stakes. Although minor, any setback at this level is always a question mark.
James McDonald (58kg)
4yo (b/br) Street Boss x Anamato
Benaud is fresh blood in this area, coming out of easier business in his last couple. It’s a big ask, but it has a clear advantage and the shades go to number four. There was a lot to like about how he found the line for 6th place behind Anamoe in the Winx Stakes first.
Why he can win: All three of his efforts this preparation have been full of merit and he has a small race fitness advantage over a couple here. The turn signals come on for the first time.
Why he can’t win: He only won one race and that was a young girl from Nowra over 1400m. This is a significant class increase and the draw didn’t really help his cause.
Damien Lane (58kg)
4 years (gr) Reliable Man x Baggy Green
3. Alligator Blood
$100 BETTING STRATEGY
$100 victory over Anamoe (7)