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Sunday Racing Tips March 19 - Benno's Best for Yarra Valley

  • Benno's Best for Yarra Valley on Sunday
  • Three-year-old filly ready to run well in maiden
  • Taking on Weir in the Yarra Valley Cup

Sunday racing takes us to down town Yarra Valley where the feature race today is the $100,000 Yarra Valley Cup. I have a real fancy in the Cup today along with a maiden I think can get the job done.

Race 3 Three-Year-old Maiden Plate

Young trainer, Shea Eden has tasted some success of late with Ocean Embers winning the Group 3 Bow Mistress Stakes in Hobart recently. His stable is forever growing and among his horses is a nicely bred three-year-old filly called Capdelago.

A daughter of Helmet, she had her first start at Bairnsdale back in August last year and certainly didn’t cover herself in glory. She finished eighth in a field of ten, beaten 10 lengths. However, the track was an absolute bog that day and she clearly showed her disliking to wet tracks.

She was then spelled for nearly seven months before returning to the track in a Kilmore maiden. Over the 1200m trip, she raced very keenly for the first 400 metres before jockey, Jason Benbow could settle her. 

Turning for home she appeared to lose her gate as the odds-on favourite went past her. She battled on well over the last 200 metres, doing her best work in the final 100 and secured second place.

Today’s challenge doesn’t appear to be any harder and she maps so well for this. Front runner, Drysdale Spirit will go forward and Threepeat should be up there as well. If Benbow plays it smart, he will drop in behind these two and get a nice cushy run into the straight where the additional 200m will be an absolute bonus to our filly here.

I think Rebow will get too far back to offer any serious challenge, especially with the extra two kilos he has to carry. The Russian contingent, Vladivostok could get a mid-field sit and be finishing late.

Jason Benbow retains the ride (as he rides a lot for the Eden stable) and as this is his only ride for the day, I figure he’s not taking the one hour drive through the Dandenongs to smell the roses.

Race 7 Yarra Valley Cup

Now to the feature event, and I’m doing something here that some would classify as ‘racing suicide’ and taking on the Darren Weir contingent. Whilst it’s clear High Church is a class runner and ticks a lot of boxes, I just think John Salinitri’s Hard Call can get the job done and rack up his third straight victory here.

Hard Call has been locking horns with city class horses of late and while carrying the grandstand he’s been winning a few as well. 

Third-up from a four month break, he took on BM84 over 1400m at Caulfield and under the masterful hands of Stephen Baster, never looked like losing the race. Sitting right behind the pace, he gave them the go by on straightening and left them lamenting as he powered away to win 2.5 lengths.

Then, under the control of Craig Williams, he finished just behind the placegetters in the Gold Star Hcp at Moonee Valley over 1500m.

Returning to the Valley next start, he returned to the winner’s circle when he dropped in class and won the BM78 with Beau Mertens and 61.5kgs on his back.

Then last start came the big test, a BM84 at Flemington over 1700m. Carrying 60.5kgs and this time, Jordan Childs had the reins, he again proved too good for his rivals, beating home Divine Mr Artie, his last 600m in 35.1 which was impressive carrying that weight.

Today, he meets similar company but does have to step up to 1950m. The big advantage he has today is the huge drop in weight he will experience. Dropping 6.5kgs (nearly a stone on the old scale), he won’t know himself and an added bonus sees the return of the ‘smiling assassin’, Stephen Baster to the saddle, who is good form of late, riding a winner at Flemington yesterday.

The speed map suggests Use The Lot from his inside draw will probably lead but could be challenged by Bonfire and Araldo Junior crossing from their wide gates. 

Now, provided Baster gets a good start, he could be sitting right behind these three on-pacers and get first crack at them turning for home. With his luxurious drop in weight, he should have plenty of petrol left in those legs then to leave them fighting out the minors, all things going well of course.

I’m playing on High Church being held up for a run as he should be three to four lengths back on the fence with a wall of them on his outside. Time will tell. Hard Call is in great form and ticks enough boxes for me to take the odds on offer.

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Sunday Racing Tips March 19 - Benno's Best for Yarra Valley

Steve Bennett has two best bets on Yarra Valley Cup Day. Read his detailed analysis here.

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