Mosheen, Adamantium and Secret Liaison are three names that will be known by those who closely follow the races in Victoria. Mosheen was unfortunately retired three months ago but is still a prime example for this article. Each of these three horses have one key item in common. They came into their last preparation with strong form and form lines from previous preps. Mosheen had won 5 of her last 6 races, Adamantium had run 3rd in a Futurity behind King Mufhasa and Pinker Pinker while showing a fair bit of class last prep seemingly unlucky to score a win and Secret Liasion’s form lines included close 2nds and 3rds last prep with a win over an in-form shopaholic the previous prep.
There are two others horses I want to identify for this example in African Pulse and Happy Trails. African Pulse beat home Karuta Queen in a very strong time at Flemington three preps back. Last prep won a 0-89 and competed in much harder races going close a fair few times. When resuming for the only one last prep, absolutely bolted in at a handy $4-1 in much easier company. Happy Trails is the other who you all know we followed all spring. His final run of last prep in the Doncaster from 19th on the turn to finish 1.4L 6th behind More Joyous and 3rd to Dance with Her in a very strongly run Golden Mile were amazing and we knew he was going to give us something in the Spring.
So what happened with Mosheen? Some may and many have suggested that she was a quality mare who just couldn’t match it with the best of them. I tend to agree with that fair assessment of her. She wasn’t able to beat Sepoy or Atlantic Jewel on her day, but do you really mind if you can still win $2.8million in prize money? Mosheen showed us that she was a very consistent mare who seemed best suited to 1600-2000m. She was started first up this prep at 1200m and simply failed off 59kg. Second up she ran a little better at the 1200m in a less classy field but was still beaten home by horses that she would dominate on last preps form. The difference was a further step down in class (looking at the runners) and up in distance to 1400m paying a handy $5.20. She was unfortunately injured over 1400m at Caulfield and we didn’t get to see her best when she was expected to step up to 1600-2000m the next prep.
Adamantium is certainly an interesting one. Adamantium on previous form lines seemed suited to anything between the 1200 and 1600m, but with his best form coming at the 1200m distances from close to the front. The first up run was strong even though he ran 8th settling back in the field which doesn’t suit his pattern and running on. Second up, he took your money again on what has to have been the most leader biased track on the 2012. 3rd up he simply went BANG and smashed our best bet Big Buddie that day by about 3 lengths. He was actually up 1.5kg that day but slightly down in class. The difference was the forward ride he was given and the training he had done between the 5th of November (first run that prep) to the 15th of December that found the best of his form. It was a dominant win and he certainly wasn’t done there. We jumped back on last start. It was a run to take note of and the race looked to be somewhat a three horse race (we tipped the 1,2,3). Adamantium went out very fast and was never headed.. infact… no horse got close to him. He absolutely split the field apart at $8! The $2 favourite Catapulted ran in for a clear 2nd but was no match for him. He will progress onwards again this prep and could be winning a Group 1 this prep.
Secret Liaison has always shown a load of potential. This was seen three preps back when winning her final race of that prep over Miss Stellabelle (handy) and Shopaholic (beat Mosheen). Her runs 2 preps back started very slow with a good run being put down 5 runs into that prep when running 2nd at Caulfield at $18. The final two runs of the prep resulted in a 3rd at Randwick and 9th in the Oaks in Adelaide. Both of those were in company beyond her so were good form lines. Returning this prep, she showed nothing her first three runs until she reached her pet distance of 1600m. Her first run at the distance was certainly disheartening. This is where we made a mistake with the horse and jumped off after that run (stats suggested she should have won that first 2000m race). Next start at 2000m she did fail but the next run at 1600m at $25-1 she won at the distance and followed that up with a $6.50 win at Caulfield. She just keeps on improving with a close 2nd to Mabsam at Flemington and winning last start at Mornington at another handy price (around $6). I would be shocked if she doesn’t win her next start.
African Pulse has won 4 of 5 starts in what I would call medium to low quality grades with a 0.10L second in 2YO HCP class. The four races where he has failed to place (even though he ran very well and was never out of them completely) were the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket, Darby Munro and Gosford Guineas. Returning last prep at Flemington, you knew that he LOVES the track, he goes at his best down the straight track as proven three preps back and most importantly, was in the lowest quality race of his career. Having carried around 57kg for most of his career, the 60k was no issue and he bolted in as our best bet of the day at the $4 quote. African Pulse cut his leg during training after that run and 150 days later is still yet to return to the track. Keep an eye out for his next prep.. it will be a game changer.
Onto our favourite horse of the year (even ahead of Dance With Her and Galbraith) is Happy Trails! As talked about earlier, we saw stars watching his last prep and were expecting big things. How about starting with a $5 win first up over the Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed and a horse that was flying in Gossip Girl? He raced on the regular swooping pattern that day and it paid off. In an interesting training move that did suit the pattern of the day second up, we were on Happy Trails again at around the $15 quote who was made to run at the front of the field instead of swooping. Running 2nd of 15 that day, it was a super run for a horse who had never been a front runner previously over the 1400m trip. Losing to Sincero who is a Good track specialist over the 1400m (his best distance) was good form. We followed on again third up with Happy Trails at Moonee Valley our best bet of the day to the 1600m. We were convinced that Green Moon wouldn’t be able to chase him down with the 59kg and got the win (by a nose on the bob.. we will take that) at around the $8 mark! As you know, Green Moon would go on to win the Melbourne Cup. Up to 2000m next start in the Turnbull, the run in for 5th was solid, taking the very poor inside ground instead of trying to find a run outside which may have cost him a place. Green Moon dominated that day and showed he could win very well with lower weights. Happy Trails then finished right next to Green Moon in the Cox Plate. Both did too much wrong that day and Green Moon didn’t handle the weight again as expected. It looked like 2040m was also a little too far for Happy Trails that day. The final run of the prep was the Emirates. The weight scale for this race was amazing with 4kg between bottom and top weights. Happy Trails was put up at a stupid price of $16 for the race and was always a top 3 favourite on weights and previous runs. Fawkner was the $5 favourite and we decided that Fawkner would be the one to beat if Happy Trails was given the same rides as previous. We did put Happy Trails up as second pick and a bet for the race also, as at the weights, he could win it. Damien Oliver with his last major ride before his suspension give Happy Trails a gem of a ride from the back of the field where we think he best runs on from, winning in a photo.
I can guarantee that you will see me tipping these horses up in the future (not Mosheen). Many people call this biased tipping but in reality, it is following good form lines that you know will be profitable in the long term. We were certainly accused of being too Happy Trails focused during the spring, yet if you bet $50 on all 6 of the runs, you profited $1400. For that type of profit, you can accuse me of being biased any day of the week!
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice.
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