Analysis and suggested bets for nine-race card at Morphettville on Saturday.
Its's Christmas Handicap Day at Morhpettville on Saturday and we are treated to a solid nine-race program.
The Listed 1200m feature highlights the day's action but is supported by a handful of competitive contests that will have South Australian Racing fans rejoicing.
In what looks one of the finer editions of the Christmas Handicap, it sits a tight tussle at the top of the market for favouritism, with Validated, Wakanjeja and Walk Like An Angel all under $5 (Race 8).
On recent form these three deservedly sit atop of the market but my main interest in the race comes outside of the top few and sits with one of the older horses and in Michael Hickmott's stable star Lord Vladivostok.
Currently a $21 chance, it seems as though the market may be being too harsh on the recent efforts of this seven-year-old. While he has admittedly failed to find the frame in his last three starts, the son of Tavistock has been tackling much tougher opposition over in Victoria at black type level and looks much better suited against this lot in his home state.
Returning with a career peak (104) on the Parks surface back in September when dismantling a handy enough BM82 field under the big weight (63kgs), Lord Vladivostok was a tick below that (103) in his next start when sent out 2-1 in the Listed Murray Bridge Gold Cup. Set an almighty task when turning for home deep in the ruck, LV let loose powerfully when pulled to the outside and made a stack of ground to savage the line for third in what has proven to be a strong form race, with four subsequent winners.
Sent over the border to Flemington on Derby Day at his next start, LV produced another strong finish in the G2 Damien Oliver to only be beaten 1.8L, a run that prompted the seven-year-old to jump favourite on Cup Day in the Listed Furphy Plate.
Although well below his best in his last two (Furphy Plate & Cranbourne Cup), producing ratings of 93 & 76 respectively, I don't believe a return to the form we saw earlier this campaign is off the table.
While he has again fallen victim to the barrier gods (14), the wide gate doesn't necessarily hurt Lord Vladivostok as much as it may other horses. As alluded to earlier, LV has ripped off some of his career peaks after settling well back in the field before letting rip.
Perhaps the most crucial factor for his winning chances come Saturday relies on the tempo they run up front and with horses like Struck By, Starlite Valley and even the three-year-old Walk Like An Angel engaged, a strong gallop can be anticipated. If a hot early tempo does come to fruition, while Lord Vladivostok will be at the rear of the field when turning for home, he has the turn of foot to make the in-roads necessary to send a scare through those in front of him.
While I'm awfully keen to indulge in the juicy odds available for Lord Vladivostok in the feature, Typhoon Harmony earlier in the day looks a great winning chance (Race 3).
While admittedly on form Midnight Mass looks clearly the horse you want to follow, a look into the ratings tells a different story.
With career peaks of 103 and 93 for Typhoon Harmony and Midnight Mass respectively, the former has run better than or the same as the favourite's peak on eight occasions.
Admittedly not having reached that figure yet this time in, Typhoon Harmony has been contesting tougher challenges back in Victoria compared to that of his rival.
Stripping fitter for the three runs under his belt this time in, Typhoon Harmony should be nearing his peak now and with such a price disparity between him and Midnight Mass, I'm more than happy to lean the Vic's way.
Say From SA
Best: Race 3 #3 Typhoon Harmony @ $4.60
Best each way: Race 8 #2 Lord Vladivostok @ $21/4.80