Flemington 5 March – Thoroughbred Preview

Deane Lester’s Preview


The Flemington meeting starts with a great value chance in DAWN OF HOPE when she resumes from a spell in the Saintly Handicap (1400m). The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig trained filly showed genuine talent in her first two runs last campaign, commencing with an eye catching third on debut over 1300 metres at Bendigo on September 17 before enduring a wide run yet proving dominant in winning her maiden over 1500 metres at Benalla on October 2. She was then tested as a VRC Oaks candidate but proved too immature for the task and finished unplaced at her subsequent two runs to complete that campaign. A recent 800 metres jumpout at Werribee on February 22 would suggest that she is set for a good campaign and this looks a very suitable option fresh. It’s a competitive race but DAWN OF HOPE has a terrific winning chance at each way odds.


Whilst she faces a slightly stronger field in the Mrs Mac’s Bakery Sprint (1100m), there is no reason why ESTAMINET won’t continue on her winning way. The four year old has won five of her past seven outings including a dominant win over 1000 metres at Flemington on February 20. Ben Melham, who has won four races on the mare, is reunited with her after James McDonald rode her to victory last time. She is drawn out wider in barrier 8 in the eleven horse field which gives Melham plenty of options in the run down the tricky Flemington straight track. She is likely to start one of the shorter favourites on the Flemington program but I’m confident that ESTAMINET will win again.


Despite the scratching of SIGNOFF, the Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) looks a cracking contest between WA mare REAL LOVE and the European import ASSIGN. Whilst the safest bet in the race looks to be the quinella, I have been taken with the emergence of ASSIGN in recent weeks and think he can win his third race in 17 days. His campaign commenced with a strong win carrying 62kg over 1800 metres on February 17. He then dominated from the front to win the Mornington Cup Prelude over 2000 metres at Caulfield on February 27. He should race in the lead group again and looks to have the necessary stamina to run the extra distance of this race. Nick Hall is riding in good form and again partners ASSIGN, who should prove hard to beat again.

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