Nature Strip won the race last year through the Everest but has been well below his best this spring. Bivouac comes back to where he won the Newmarket in such style and he was terrific running second in the Everest and Libertini had run really fast time beating the subsequent Everest winner in the Premiere before a flat run. Sorting them all out, with a trio of last start winners for good measure... Not easy.
The other Group One on the card, the Mackinnon, looks to have its tricks about it as well but here we find our best each way of the day in the form of Fifty Stars who won the Australian Cup here in the autumn and looks to have been set up in much the same way this campaign.
His Australian Cup peak and win came backing up from the Blamey seven days earlier and he hits the Mackinnon the back up from a fast mile in the Cantala last week. Ratings wise he is going at least as well this time around and a peak here will give him a great winning chance.
Arcadia Queen is likely to find herself better suited by what will surely be a more gentle test than the Cox Plate was, and her Caulfield Stakes form makes her a great chance, and Melody Belle ran an absolute screamer in this last year and comes across in good form back home. They will take beating no doubt but $10 seems a very worthwhile gamble about Fifty Stars.
Our bet of the day comes in the Queen Elizabeth where Bendigo Cup runner-up Pondus is fancied to make amends.
He ended up with a lot to do at Bendigo but stayed on powerfully and posted a fairly smart figure in the process. Best of all, it's a smart figure he can build on based on his form overseas.
He had a fairly quiet year since joining Joseph O'Brien, no doubt aimed at Melbourne all along, but he had run some really sharp figures when previously trained in England and Bendigo was a strong hint that he was ready to return to that form and deliver on all that promise now.
There's a little map query on Saturday, without a lot of obvious speed and the main danger looks like getting the front, but we have Damien Oliver booked to worry about that so we will get on with worrying about who is fastest - and we think that horse is Pondus.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 5 #2 Pondus @ $3.00
Each Way Play: Race 8 #2 Fifty Stars @ $10.00