The weather seems to get more airtime than it's worth these days but The Valley have had their last two major daytime meetings hampered by rain on the day with both the Cox Plate and All Star Mile run in poor conditions which undoutedly shaped those races.
Somewhere between 20-40mls are expected on Friday followed by some rain on the day. Assuming that forecast is distributed normally (at least roughly, but there is probably a slight bias towards predicting rain as the meteoroligist is going to come in for a bit more heckling for predicting fine weather only for it to rain rather than the opposite) then the most likely scenario is a touch under 30mls with just shy of 20ml about as likely as 40ml.
So the most likely case is that the card is run on the soft side of good and given that we can bet with confidence. The bet that appeals most on the card comes in the feature, the Feehan Stakes, where Superstorm finds his best chance to win in 18 months.
Covid-19 was something known only to scientists when Superstorm announced himself as super smart, big closing efforts in the WA Guineas and Kingston Town Stakes marking him down as a Group One winner in waiting at the back end of 2019, and he strengthened that view with runner up efforts in both the Australian Guineas and All Star Mile at the start of 2020.
Since then he hasn't had a race set up for him at all. A rushed looking preparation last spring saw him kick off over unsuitable trips before quickly pitching up to 2000m with no grounding. It could be argued he had a better grounding for both the Toorak and Golden Eagle thereafter but wide draws meant he settled nowhere near where those races unfolded and his Toorak run in particular was a cracker in the circumstances.
One quick stat that illustrates how awkwardly he has been set up in those six runs since his three-year-old days is that he has settled in front of just 9 of 81 rivals in that time! From barrier five on Saturday, against plenty who are going to be better over further, he will surely settle in front of plenty more than that.
Early markets make him a 4/1 chance and about equal to Elephant; the antithesis of Superstorm. Elephant is a prolific winner with a positive pattern but he has yet to run to the sort of levels that Superstorm has. Many will point to his time last start as stacking up well against the Lawrence but a deeper read of things hints at that being flattering.
For an each-way play we roll back to race six, the listed Atlantic Jewel for the fillies, which looks wide open. Argentia has a lovely profile, and her debut win was good, but in truth none of these have really confirmed themselves as smart.
It means that there is very little between the first 10 in betting and there for the taking for one that can take a step forward. One that can is Larkspur Run who overdid things last time and paid the price for it when turned over at short odds in Sydney.
Her form prior to that came on wet tracks, so there are no dramas for her in the pending rain, and her Canterbury winning rating is the pick of what is on offer. It's easy to make her as likely as any in this raffle and given that prices around $14.00 are worth taking.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 8 #4 Superstorm @ $5.00
Each Way Play: Race 6 #10 Larkspur Run @ $14.00