Emirates Stakes 2000m Group One
1 HAPPY TRAILS (8)
Dwayne Dunn 59kg
Paul Beshara
9YO that won 2013 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and 2014 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington but has not shown that type of form for a long time. Last-start last behind Winx in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m) indicates that he won't be winning here.
2 HAURAKI (1)
James McDonald 59kg
John O'Shea
Had outstanding campaign winning the G2 Tramway (1400m) and G1 Epsom (1600m) and finishing excellent 2nd to Winx in G1 George Main (1600m). Failed to run-on when last-start 8th to Winx in G1 Cox Plate (2040m) but this race is much easier. Has good 2000m record, is drawn for a soft run, a firmer track is in his favour and James McDonald takes-over so will be no surprise if in the finish.
3 THE UNITED STATES (11)
Kerrin McEvoy 59kg
Robert Hickmott
After interrupted start to preparation has won G2 Crystal Mile (1600m) and finished unlucky 4th in G1 Cantala (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday. Proved class in Autumn winning G1 Ranvet (2000m) and finishing 2nd to Lucia Valentina in G1 Queen Elizabeth (2000m). Backs-up for 3rd week in a row but no evidence to suggest it is a problem, has excellent 2000m record, likes firm tracks and the return of Melbourne Cup hero Kerrin McEvoy is a positive. Genuine winning chance.
4 HAPPY CLAPPER (13)
Brenton Avdulla 59kg
Patrick Webster
Has been thereabouts this campaign without winning. 2 starts back close 4th to Hauraki in G1 Epsom (1600) before battled-on well for 6th to Winx in G1 Cox Plate (2040m). Finished 3rd to Lucia Valentina and The United States at only other WFA start in G1 Queen Elizabeth (2000m) in Autumn. Will have to go right back from outside barrier but this race is much easier than Cox Plate and will appreciate firmer surface.
5 VADAMOS (7)
Damien Oliver 59kg
Andre Fabre
French galloper that went too fast in-front before finishing 4th to Winx in G1 Cox Plate (2040m); was headed-off well before turn and did excellent job to defeat all his rivals from Cox Plate here. This race is much easier, should be better for that experience, has an outstanding record on good tracks, Damien Oliver takes-over and Flemington 2000 should suit perfectly. Hard to beat.
6 AWESOME ROCK (9)
Stephen Baster 59kg
Leon & Troy Corstens
Underrated gelding that 'won' G1 Australian Cup (2000m) in Autumn before losing race to Preferment in stewards' room. Has returned even better with emphatic win in G2 Dato' Tan (1600m) 4 starts back being his career-peak. Has raced consistently since with a last-start 5th to Winx in G1 Cox Plate (2040m) another highlight. Will find this much easier, proven over course and distance and a return to a good track is in his favour.
7 SCOTTISH (6)
William Buick 59kg
Charlie Appleby
Godolphin gelding that finished outstanding 2nd to Jameka in G1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at 1st Australian start; missed the start there, circled the field to lead and held-on remarkably well to finish 2nd. Better suited at 2000m at which distance he has won 3 from 4, should be better for Caulfield Cup experience, has excellent record on good tracks and is drawn for a good run close to the speed. Definite winning chance.
8 ENDLESS DRAMA (4)
Craig Williams 59kg
Chris Waller
Former Irish galloper having 1st Australian start for Chris Waller. Finished 2nd in 2015 G1 2000 Guineas (1609m) at Curragh and 3rd in 2016 G1 Lockinge (1609m) at Newbury so clearly has plenty of ability. Not an easy task here but is drawn for a good run and Craig Williams rides. Genuine query runner.
9 PALENTINO (5)
Mark Zahra 58.5kg
Darren Weir
Career-peak 3 starts back easily running-down Black Heart Bart in G1 Makybe Diva (1600m). Failed badly when last to Hauraki in G1 Epsom (1600m) before having little luck when 11th to Le Romain in G1 Cantala (1600m) last Saturday. Well-beaten by Tally in G2 Alister Clark (2040m) in March at only run past 1600m. Has gone off the boil at last 2 starts and not proven over 2000m but drawn for good run and loves Flemington and can feature if returns to his best form.
10 VANBRUGH (10)
Ben Melham 58.5kg
Chris Waller
Not considered a WFA galloper but has returned to his best form. 3 starts back finished 4th of 6 behind Winx and Hauraki in G1 George Main (1600m) before 9th to Hauraki in G1 Epsom (1600m). Really appreciated step-up to 2000m when too strong for Tom Melbourne in G3 Coongy. Meets better field and rises 4kg so has task ahead but no surprise to see him run a cheeky race.
11 TIVACI (12)
Patrick Moloney 58.5kg
Michael Moroney
Has raced well without winning all preparation. Followed 3rd to He's Our Rokkii in G1 Toorak (1600m) with 3rd to Le Romain in G1 Cantala (1600m) last Saturday. Is racing in best form of career but WFA conditions, step-up to 2000m and an outside barrier are not in his favour so will be a surprise to see him in the finish.
12 GOOD STANDING (3)
Chad Schofield 51kg
James Cummings
Good 3YO not out of place in this WFA contest. Followed strong 3rd to Impending and Divine Prophet in G2 Stan Fox (1400m) with 7th to Divine Prophet in G1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) when caught three-wide without cover throughout. Lead all the way for easy win in G3 Norman Robinson (2000m) at last start 3 weeks ago. Never raced outside his own age but drawn for good run, will only carry 51kg and no surprise if he is right in the finish.
13 SEABURGE (2)
Dean Yendall 51kg
David & B Hayes & T Dabernig
Another classy 3YO that has raced well without winning this preparation. 2 starts back finished strongly for close 2nd to Divine Prophet in G1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m). Battled-on well without threatening when 8th to Le Romain in G1 Cantala (1600m) last Saturday. Like Good Standing will only carry 51kg and is drawn for a soft run but steps-up to 2000m for 1st time and whether he can improve enough to be competitive at this stage remains to be seen.

 

Wizard's Top Five

  1. VADAMOS
  2. THE UNITED STATES
  3. SCOTTISH
  4. PALENTINO
  5. GOOD STANDING

 

 

Good luck today punters! #DerbyDay #MelbCupCarnival #StartWinning

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