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The Melbourne Mail: Flemington - 2nd July 2022

3 minute read

That a Derby winner steps out on the first Saturday in July is hardly a rare occurence.

SERPENTINE running in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Group 1)
SERPENTINE running in the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Group 1) Picture: Pat Healy Photography


Golden Horn, Workforce, Sea The Stars, Authorised and Motivator have all run on the first Saturday in July this century in one of the world's great races and now it is Serpentine's turn. 

Unlike the prior five, Serpentine turns his back on Sandown and the Eclipse in favour of the Winter Championship Final at Flemington where he trades around 40-1 in early markets. 

What have we got here?! $41 in the Winter Championship while the average odds of the five Derby winners to run in the Eclipse this century have been around $1.75. 

Has the Winter Championship Final eclipsed the Eclipse? Even the staunchest Finals Day fan would struggle to mount that case... 

Serpentine was a bad Derby winner and some 728 days on he is expected to be very much in need of the run at a trip short of his best.

That's the case against, but it's easy to make cases against $41 chances. The glass half full of it is that Serpentine is expected to roll forward and that if he does get rolling along and gets a taste for it he is plenty good enough. 

Serpentine is far more likely to set things up for the high-rating and well deserved favourite Tuvalu, but he certainly drops into the interesting alternative category. 

The Sprint Final hangs on the performance of Ashford Street. The sprinter of the winter will win again if he can stretch his winning form from his last two out to 1200m and onto a better surface but it's a reasonable query for one that has clearly landed in a sweet spot in wet ground 1000m races. 

As a result he is passed over for the favourite in the Final of the Banjo Patterson series for the stayers - Maserartie Bay

Maserartie Bay has won three of his past four including the Flemington lead up to this a month out which the last two winners, Lord Belvedere and Grand Promenade, also won enroute to Banjo glory. 

Grand Promenade went on to win a Bart Cummings and run sixth in the Melbourne Cup. It would be one hell of a shock if Maserartie Bay could keep pace with him to that point but his profile is very similar to this point and with the might of Maher and Eustace pulling his strings it takes a brave handicapper to say that he can't continue to improve. 

His wins have come fairly cheap, given soft leads in staying races that have turned into low-pressure tests of speed (a worrying trend in Victorian staying races) but he has been good enough to make the most of them and there is a great chance that something similar unfolds in the Final. 

4/1 undersells his chance on the face of it and there seems a reasonable chance that the unknowns behind that face are further positives for the topweight. 

The Silver Bowl Final that brings the curtain down on this stellar race day looks a vintage edition with the top five in the racebook all bringing a rating good enough to match or better what it typically takes to win the race. There is a bit of depth beyond them as well. 

That should translate to an equally competitive race in the betting ring and the promise of better prices than the 6-1 currently on offer about Literary Magnate is enough to draw us into an each way bet.  

Literary Magnate was bang there in the 1400m run here on June 4 when we were with Cardinal Gem who was busy getting speared through the fence at a key stage. 

Cardinal Gem has since made amends and goes again with another good chance but Literary Magnate was the best closer in that Flemington heat and while she has let a gilt-edged chance slip since then things went dead against her there. 

Her other mile run came when fourth in the 1000 Guineas. That was a plain 1000 Guineas but it would make a strong Silver Bowl Final and the Flemington mile promises to be an ideal spot for her. 


Bet Of The Day: Race 6 #1 Maserartie Bay @ $5.00

Each Way Play: Race 9 #5 Literary Magnate @ $7.00

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