Placing a bet on a favourite – some punters can’t get enough of them, while others steer clear of them. Racing writer Justin Devine looks at some of the more fancied runners for this weekend’s horse racing and decides if he loves them 😍 or if he should leave ❎  them!

It’s a Super Saturday of racing with Group 1 racing coming up from both Melbourne and Sydney. SEPTEMBER RUN flew home for second in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes behind NATURE STRIP and will relish the 1200m of the Newmarket Handicap this week. She looks too good for her rivals. NZ galloper AEGON can maintain his unbeaten record and add another Group 1 to his CV with a win in the Randwick Guineas while BIVOUAC can bounce back to his best in the Canterbury Stakes 😍.

The enigmatic NATURE STRIP returns to Sydney and I’m happy to oppose him based on the mixed bag of form he displayed last prep. NIGHT PASSAGE looks under the odds on trial over the 2400m at Morphettville. WREN’S DAY continues to frustrate his backers by finding a couple better than him in his races and I’m expecting this week at Eagle Farm to be no different ❎.

Good Luck Punters!

Flemington R6 – 14. September Run @ $2.15 😍

SEPTEMBER RUN was a dominant winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes Melbourne Cup week last year (below) and put in an eye-catching finish over 1000m in the Lightning Stakes first up this prep. She loves the straight at Flemington with three wins and a second from four attempts and has drawn perfectly in barrier 8, giving Craig Williams options to go to either side of the track. SUNLIGHT and BLAC CAVIAR are the only girls to have won the Newmarket in the last 13 years. SEPTEMBER RUN is good enough to join the list. She is the best bet on the card. Yes please.


Randwick R7 – 1. Aegon @ $2.3 😍

AEGON made it five from five with a terrific win first up in Australia in the Hobartville Stakes (below) despite not getting a lot of room at different stages in the straight. He found the line strongly over 1400m and is already a Group 1 winner over 1600m back in New Zealand, so he will get the trip. Hugh Bowman is the cherry on top. I’m on!


Randwick R8 – 1. Bivouac @ $2.7 😍

BIVOUAC was a tad disappointing in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes, finishing unplaced as the favourite over the 1000m. I don’t think the 4yo out of the Godolphin stable will ever race over 1000m again. He was a dominant Group 1 winner in the Darley Stakes during last spring, powering past a quality field and the the step up to 1300m is the key this week. Big race specialist Glen Boss will find a nice spot midfield before coming with a strong finish in the straight. I can forgive him an ordinary run over an unsuitable trip. The $2.7 on offer looks huge. He is a star!


Morphettville R4 – 6. Night Passage @ $2.1 ❎

The McEvoy trained NIGHT PASSAGE made up good ground to find the line well over 1800m last start and is expected to handle the step up to 2400m well this week. However, he has been in the market at all six runs this prep and has only won once. I think the Vorster/McEvoy combination is the reason for the short price and not his recent form. While this is not an overly strong race, am I taking even money on a horse on trial over 2400m who doesn’t win out of turn? Pass!


Randwick R5 – 1. Nature Strip @ $1.45  ❎

To NATURE STRIP or not to NATURE STRIP? The speed machine marches to the beat of his own drum and can be hard to catch! He brought up his fifth Group 1 victory last start in the Lightning Stakes under the guidance of on fire jockey Jamie Kah. This week he heads to Sydney for the Group 2 Challenge Stakes and his regular rider James McDonald jumps back onboard. How will he respond to JMAC? Will he get attacked in the lead? In recent times the now 6yo has shown a tendency to follow a great run with a mediocre one. Will this be the case again? He’s very short and I’m sticking my neck out and saying he will get beaten!


Eagle Farm R8 – 6. Wren’s Day @ $2.5 ❎

WREN’S DAY was narrowly defeated when heavily backed first up, and it must be noted that this wasn’t the first time he has gone down when crunched in betting. He hasn’t won in four second up runs and will jump from the second widest gate for Andrew Mallyon. Only his most loyal backers can entertain taking him at a short price. He is good enough to win. BUT, does he want to? No thanks!