It is a new position on the calendar for the Standish, two weeks on from its traditional spot on New Years Day, but it's an old winner that appeals most. 2020 Standish-winner Halvorsen was left with too much to do behind Kensington Stakes-winner Mileva back in December but will fancy his chances of turning the tables with Jamie Kah switching aboard.
After a lost prep, going 0/7 between January and July last year - Halvorsen returned with the closing sting that had won him that Standish, giving an in-form and well-fancied Malkovich a headstart and mowing him down with a flurry of fast closing splits. That was as good (maybe better) as anything that Halvorsen has done in the past.
His health assured, and talent in-tact, and each-way odds (just...) available make for a bet worth having.
We threw up Decent Raine as a decent bet a few weeks ago but she found a decent amount of traffic in running and finished third, beaten just a neck in the end.
Should she have won? Hard to say, and guessing at such things might be a fool's game, but she has run to a rating ~100 four times since September and with a bit more luck might have run to that mark a couple more times as well.
Some of the gloss has come off now that she has seen plenty of racing but in the second at Flemington there can be little doubt about who has the best form in the book. It's Decent Raine, and a clutch of improvers below her will have their work cut out to match her if she is able to keep producing. There are very few reasons to expect that to drop away for a stable that may have claims to being the best in the country at keeping horses bouncing deep into campaigns. In this case, we are more than happy to bet on them getting it right again.
THE MELBOURNE MAIL
Bet Of The Day: Race 2 #1 Decent Raine @ $3.30
Each Way Play: Race 7 #2 Halvorsen @ $6.50+