THE PUNTING MONOLOGUE "AUSTRALIAN GUINEAS SPECIAL LISTEN

Victoria Derby Preview

It’s the start of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and Derby Day is upon us. The two favourites in the feature look extremely hard to beat but there’s plenty of value around with some genuine each way plays and exotic hopes.

Sharp n Smart was sensational when winning the Gloaming and again when backing up in The Spring Champions defeating a handy one in Elliptical. Was storming through the line over the 2000 so the rise to 2500 shouldn’t be a problem. He can handle all conditions and barrier 3 should allow him to jump and get a soft run behind the speed but it does leave himself open to being crowded and could struggle to get a run. However, the booking of James McDonald is very handy and could well be too classy for most of them.

Berkley Square was the strongest late when winning at Moonee Valley last week over 2040m and prior to that was very good in the Guineas. He has run fast times on a wet track in the past and is a Flemington winner also. He is as honest as they come, never finishing outside of the top 4 highlighting his ability which makes him a genuine winning chance.

Mr Maestro just keeps winning. His last three wins have been stylish, two of which were at Flemington over the 1800m. His run in the Caulfield Classic was excellent and defeated one of the key hopes here in Distrustful Award. He was doing his best work late there and proved that he isn’t just a one trick pony and has some tactical versatility. Wide draw does no favours but should be able to find a spot in the back half of the field and hopefully be carted into the race. Each Way chance.

Distrustful Award has been competitive against Mr Maestro in the past and must not be overlooked here. Good at Caulfield last start and finds a bigger track which will be of great benefit. Will slot into the back half of the field and will be storming home late. Bred to stay and will be running on late.

Fearless Knight is a maiden but was good enough for me in the Caulfield Stakes to overlook the massive odds. He hit the line strongly there and is going to thrive over 2500 metres. Not too long ago a maiden took this race out and I think this guy has the potential to do it again here if the circumstances permit. Ridiculous odds, an each way chance for me.

Pericles will probably lead here and was ok when worn down late by the favourite last start. If he can get a soft lead, he’s a chance to sneak into the placings but will need to do some work early to cross cleanly. If things go right and nothing goes ridiculously quick up front to hinder him, he can find the placings.

On top hope is Berkley Square, I think the week back up will suit and the extra 500 will allow him to finish off even stronger than last start. Sharp n Smart is in for second with Mr Maestro in for third and Fearless Knight for fourth.

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