Racing heads to headquarters on Tuesday, and New Year’s Day signals fresh hope for punters across the country.
Herald Sun chief racing writer LEO SCHLINK has cast his eye over the formguide, and believes an unlucky runner last start can break through, while highlighting some other key runners on the eight-race card.
TOO HARD: LEADING VIC TRAINERS’ TRACK CONCERN
RV INVESTIGATION: POSITIVE COBALT SWAB
See Leo Schlink’s BEST BETS below:
ON THE PUNT — FLEMINGTON
BEST BET: LAURE ME IN (Race 8, No 3)
Blocked for runs late at Caulfield when fourth behind Silentz after being heavily backed. Wide draw of no concern given his racing pattern. Will be storming late.
NEXT BEST: LONG LEAF (Race 2, No 2)
Yet to win either over this distance or at Flemington, but has an imposing formline around Ringerdingding, Native Soldier and Seabrook. Michael Poy’s claim offsets big weight.
FIVE KINGDOMS (Race 3, No 1)
Brave here last start behind talented Declares War when little went right. Can bounce back to the winning list with luck.
PRINCE ZIGGY (Race 5, No 5)
Building a decent record with three wins and three placings from past six starts. Chelsea McFarlane’s 3kg claim leaves him just above the minimum.
THE TRAINER — SIMON ZAHRA
SEAS NO LIMIT (Race 3, No 4)
“The first-up run was huge. Will be suited here by the extra distance and we’re confident he’ll run really well.”
INTO RIO (Race 5, No 11)
“Put a line through the last run, been set for this race.”
SMART COUPE (Race 6, No 11)
“Thrown in at the deep end here but she deserves a crack at a Group race after her last run.”
THE JOCKEY — TAHLIA HOPE
Hope continues to travel far and wide and, after appearances at Randwick, Seymour and Echuca, the 3kg-claimer returns to Flemington to partner NORTH AFRIKA (Race 2, No 8), CORONEL (Race 3, No 13), EVIL LIL (Race 4, No 9), PROUD WOLF (Race 6, No 10) and HOSTAR (Race 8, No 12).