Timeform review - Spring Champion Stakes
A capacity field is set to face the starter in this year's Spring Champion with a number of differing form-lines converging.
Of the 15 accepted, five come through the Gloaming Stakes won by Love Tap, two back up off last weekend's Flight Stakes and four make the trip up from Victoria.
Yankee Rose was the first filly to win the Spring Champion in 2016, before Maid Of Heaven followed the same path when also backing up to win the feature.
No fillies contested the Spring Champion last year, with the David Payne trained Montefilia now aiming to be the third filly in five years to win the event.
Successful in upstaging Hungry Heart in the Flight Stakes, Montefilia returned a new career peak now rated 114 by Timeform.
That figure sees her top-rated on Saturday and if able to repeat, she should prove very hard to hold out.
The Gloaming Stakes has provided nine of the last 20 winners with Shadow Hero completing the double last year.
The Richard & Michael Freedman trained Love Tap is unbeaten in four starts and heads into the Spring Champion rated 103.
He has improved with every start and while he has to take another step on Saturday, he gives the impression he will relish the step up to 2000m.
The wide draw leaves Nash Rawiller with a bit of work to do, however he showcased his versatility last start and should be prominent from the outset.
The Patrick Payne trained Cherry Tortoni creates plenty of interest up from Victoria, having closed off very well behind Glenfiddich in the Bill Stutt Stakes.
Rated 109 by Timeform, he should appreciate the firmer footing and this looks the perfect platform for the Victoria Derby.
Yet to be seen beyond a mile, however he should be nearing his top third up and has drawn to settle a few pairs closer.
Ryan Maloney takes over and with even luck, he should be very strong late.
Of the rest the Busuttin & Young trained Wertheimer appears the next in line.
He had no luck last start at Flemington and expecting him to take a big step forward getting out to 2000m.
Golden Rose winner Ole Kirk will be looking to follow in the footsteps of In Top Swing and The Autumn Sun by adding the Caulfield Guineas to his C.V this Saturday at Caulfield.
Timeform Preview – Caulfield Guineas
Ole Kirk comes down to Melbourne looking slightly less ominous than The Autumn Sun but there isn't a vast difference between the pair on ratings. The Autumn Sun went to Caulfield rated 120+ while Ole Kirk is rated 119 following his Golden Rose success.
The 2020 Golden Rose wasn't a vintage edition by any means but it was well won by Ole Kirk and it still appeals as the first port of call when looking for the Guineas winner.
Peter Snowden has won the Guineas three times and has another lively candidate in the form of King's Legacy who, like Ole Kirk, comes via the Golden Rose.
King's Legacy finished third there, and has some ground to make up to turn the tables on Ole Kirk, but the ledger overall reads 2-2 with King's Legacy having had the wood on Ole Kirk last season where he was rated 116 – within striking distance of Ole Kirk's 119.
King's Legacy does look the more likely of the pair to make genuine improvement into the race being third up and into a race that he has long been targeted towards.
Two of Snowden's three Guineas winners came in a four-year period between 2011 and 2014 and two of them came via the Golden Rose.
Helmet, who had a remarkably similar profile to King's Legacy being a Sires/Champagne winner, arrived third up off the Run To The Rose and Golden Rose where he, like King's Legacy, finished third.
Shooting To Win also finished third in the Golden Rose and Long John third in the Guineas Prelude. The stable have a pattern and know how to peak one on the right day.
The other Group One-winning two-year-old in the race is Tagaloa who won the Blue Diamond around Caulfield and has been set for this ever since.
He backed his Blue Diamond win up in the Todman where he closed strongly having been left with too much to do and three runs since in the Golden Slipper, McNeil and Rupert Clarke have been rock solid.
He was poorly weighted there, carrying well above weight-for-age, but stuck on gamely against his elders.
Three-year-old typically have a great record against their elders, in part because of selective placement, and in part because they are often well treated by the handicapper.
That wasn't the case in the Rupert Clarke and Tagaloa's effort there deserves to be seen in a positive light.
Glenfiddich ran admirably behind a similar set of his elders in the Memsie before dominating the Stutt – early season clues that the three-year-old form might have catching up to do against the open agers.
Tagaloa looks made for the mile and he looks like getting a great run handy to the pace for an in-form Craig Williams. He must be a great chance.
The other key hope in the market is Mo'unga, a talent for sure and certain, but one without the runs on the board that the others at the top of betting have.
He is rated 106p, and will surely prove better than that in time. His late strength has impressed at his last couple of wins and is evidence that he will improve again with more to run at. But it's a big leap in quick time – if he can do it then we are dealing with a terrific talent.
Both of those closers look sharp improvers, not dissimilar to Mo'unga, and have chances – albeit with their work cut out to match the established Group One winners at the top.