So we come to the end of what has been an extraordinary Melbourne Cup Carnival.
With the favourites struggling to make an impact, the bookmakers have had to hire semi-trailers to get their money out of Flemington. At least the second favourite Dear Demi got up in the Crown Oaks on Thursday, but generally speaking it’s been so hard to pick winners and the form has been very hard to read.
The final day of the Carnival is Emirates Stakes Day, which is always the second-best day of racing of the week after Derby Day.
Apart from the Melbourne Cup, the Emirates Stakes is probably the hardest race of the Carnival to find the winner and this year is no exception.
To me the standout is the Robert Hickmott-trained Fawkner. He really looks like a horse on the up after his performance on Derby Day. We know the stable is firing after they captured the Melbourne Cup and I think the way he finished off his race the other day means he’ll be able to handle the step up in class. He’s got a lot of improvement in him, jockey Nick Hall is a very capable rider and with a nice gate I think he’s the one to beat.
Apart from that, it’s such an open race so it’s difficult to know who will fill the minor placings. Fat Al is obviously going to be hard to beat, despite being lumped with 58kgs. The weights are fairly compressed so while 58kgs seems like a lot to carry, when you realise the lowest weight is 52.5kg it’s not so bad.
Solzhenitsyn is racing really well and he’s got a good gate so don’t rule him out, but I keep coming back to Fawkner.
The Patinack Farm Classic was the big race on this day last year as Black Caviar romped to her 16th straight win. While there isn’t as much hype around the race this year, it’s still a quality field.Buffering stands head and shoulders above the rest; he’s the best horse in the race. If you can forgive his run in the Manikato Stakes, the previous two outings, particularly the Schillaci at Caulfield, were so full of authority. I don’t think barrier 15 will be too much of a disadvantage because he can pick either the outside or the inside. And they tend to come down the middle or the outside on the final day of the Carnival so it’s probably a good gate for him and I think he’ll win.As for the rest, the two Boom horses, Temple Of Boom and Spirit Of Boom, seem to find another leg down the straight so they’re the obvious dangers.The interesting one will be Howmuchdoyouloveme after the drama in the Salinger Stakes last Saturday. We all know he’s better than that so if you can forgive him for one bad run, you bring him back into calculations. Capping off a great day of racing is the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2600m.The Peter Moody-trained Vatuvei is definitely amongst the chances after his win last week and the other one to watch is Shahwardi. He looked really impressive last start in the Herbert Power and a lot of people were spruiking his chances in the Melbourne Cup if he made it.Over the years this race has been a really good consolation for those horses who miss out on the Cup.I think Shahwardi and Vatuvei are the two to watch, but I’m slightly leaning towards Shahwardi.Channel 7’s Emirates Stakes Day coverage starts live nationally from 11am AEDT