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Group one racing returns to Caulfield for the first time since the Caulfield Cup this Saturday. The $400,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) has attracted a small but classy field of nine with the worlds best sprinters in Black Caviar the obvious one to beat. However, if there was to be a hiccup and she fails to run out 1400m, then have something on Southern Speed, because she was brilliant when winning first up on Australia Day.

The Blue Diamond picture will be more clear after the running of the Preludes with the early favourite Malasun looking to maintain her spot on top of the betting with a strong showing in the fillies prelude.

Later on in the afternoon, the three-year-olds will gear up for the Australian Guineas when they contest the Autumn Stakes (1400m). Overall, it’s the best race day of 2012 (so far).

Race One: BMW Melbourne Handicap 1800m        Form Guide

Back Me: Spirit Song was ultra impressive off a freshen up when spanking her rivals at Sportingbet Park a couple of weeks back. Does rise in weight, but so do the others. Perfectly placed.
Don’t Back Me: Procida meets Spirit Song worse off at the weights from that race mentioned above. Can’t see her turning the tables and is very short in early markets.
Big Danger: Winged Charm rarely wins, but Williams jumps on and she can roll forward and have her chance to run her usual honest race.
Roughie: Sesenta hit the line powerfully to break her maiden at Cranbourne and although this is a steep rise in class, she does have some upside.

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Race Two: Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) 1100m          Form Guide

Back Me: Rusambo hit the line hard in his two runs in the Spring and with the break, he would have improved. One of the better bets on the card.
Don’t Back Me: Cambiaso sat outside the speed but didn’t find much despite seemingly having his chance. $4.60 looks a bit short.
Big Danger: Andre Roo Hoo has the experience in two of the tougher two-year-old races last Spring. I’m expecting a big run from him first up.
Roughie: Greenwich is beautifully bred son of Lonhro who hasn’t been seen publicly, but Team Hawkes will have him ready to run a race.

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Race Three: Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Prelude (Fillies) 1100m       Form Guide

Back Me: If she has recovered from her tough run last week, then Formiddable will go very close to winning. I can’t go past her huge effort last week, sitting four deep no cover and only being edged out late.
Don’t Back Me: Kerrin McEvoy has been talking up Applegate for a while now, but I just feel she’ll have her work cut out from the barrier. Watch out for her to hit the line well, but it’ll take a huge effort to win.
Big Danger: Malasun did everything right to win the Preview and she has come up with the perfect barrier to do a repeat of that.
Roughie: Diamond Earth at $13? Big overs for a filly who does have the fitness and experience edge. 1100m from barrier 12 is a tough ask, but at the price, definitely have a dabble each-way.

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Race Four: Catanach’s T.S. Carlyon Cup 1600           Form Guide

Back Me: This just looks a perfect race for Shout Out Loud. Barrier one, gets the run of the race, just needs to get off the rail and he’ll just about win.
Don’t Back Me: Ranger is the class horse, but he might be a risk first up given how far back he’ll be in the run from barrier 15.
Big Danger: At The Heads was most unlucky behind Southern Speed on Australia Day. Risk at 1600m, but from the ideal barrier, he’ll get every chance.
Roughie: Seduced ran her last start in patches, but I liked the way she hit the line. If there is be a knockout, this is the horse.

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Race Five: Hyland Colours Autumn Stakes 1400m        Form Guide

Back Me: Going to stick with Unpretentious. He found the line well enough behind Instinction to suggest he’ll be a contender in the good races. Drawn to get an ideal run and hopefully produce what he did on debut.
Don’t Back Me: Pied A Terre does have loads of talent, but he has the tendency to switch off for a few strides. He won’t get away with it here against some classy gallopers.
Big Danger: Zephyron has been freshened since recording a soft maiden win at Cranbourne. He’ll be better over further but he does appear to have the talent to figure in the finish here.
Roughie: Adamantium looked like he need the run in the Zeditave. Fitter, drawn well, Bossy is back in form, hard to beat.

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Race Six: Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes 1400m                Form Guide

Back Me: Black Caviar/Southern Speed quinella/exacta.
Don’t Back Me: Can’t say anything here.
Big Danger: As I said earlier, if there is to be a problem and the champion mare struggles at 1400m, then Southern Speed is the horse.
Roughie: Danzylum can roll forward and maybe cling on for a place/first four. A must for exotics.

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Race Seven: Schweppes Rubiton Stakes 1100m                 Form Guide

Back Me: She is short, but Karuta Queen will beat these. Top class filly who will be too nippy for this average lot.
Don’t Back Me: Hard to say, maybe the Kensington Stakes quinella of First Command and Decircles. Bit of a step up in class here.
Big Danger: Can’t see a danger to the princess of Queanbeyan.
Roughie: Grand Duels was four wide, no cover yet stuck on bravely last start in Adelaide. Drawn to get a soft run, $8.50 for a place is big overs.

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Race Eight: Kevin Hayes Stakes 1200m                          Form Guide

Back Me: Miss Stellabelle is at $9, which is crazy. Clear class Australian filly here, has performed well fresh before, drawn well, weighted well…if she is anywhere near right, she’ll go very close.
Don’t Back Me: Soft Sand, for me, is huge unders. Failed to get past Lady Antebellum and Glows last start, yet is $3.80. No thanks.
Big Danger: Big watch on the superstar from New Zealand in Anabandana. Unsure as to how well she has travelled, but if she has coped with it, she’ll give this a shake because she is the overall class filly in this event.
Roughie: Secret Liason is perhaps suited over slightly further, but she gets a soft run from barrier one and can fill the placings with luck.

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Race Nine: Pps Geoffery Bellmaine Stakes 1200m                    Form Guide

Back Me: With some key runners drawn poorly, I’m tipping the lethal combination of Damien Oliver and Matthew Smith to win here with Slow The Flow. Super win at Canterbury the other day and she is rock hard fit.
Don’t Back Me: The purple patch of form of Let’s Be Happy surely has to come to and end soon? Will she need this after a 40 day break? I think so.
Big Danger: Biancon was very good when resuming behind Avionics on Boxing Day. Freshened, drawn well in barrier two and a senior ride in Dwayne Dunn jumps on.
Roughie: Hi Belle does have a good record fresh. Don’t be surprised to see this talented mare run a forward race first up against a somewhat weak race.

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