The Melbourne Mail

We are deep into the Winter series now and with just two weeks until Finals Day at Flemington, it is time for a few to stake their claim.

One who has Silver Bowl winner written all over him is Craig (GB), luckless here last time off a big win at Bendigo, he goes up very short in the market and isn't a betting proposition on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Lionel (G) should have Banjo Paterson aspirations and no doubt Ciaron Maher would've been thinking this off his Australian debut at Mornington over 2000m, running on strongly from back in the field to grab third.

The sectionals there say he was left with far too much to do, understandable given his stage of the campaign, and the market certainly took it on board, sending him out a $6 chance in the Andrew Ramsden next time out.

Awful there, he was eased out of the race, and with nothing emerging post-race, it does require a significant leap of faith to back him again here, but we'll try and make the case to do so.

His overseas form has the pieces to suggest he's a handy stayer- a listed winner in 2022 at Goodwood, he ran to 106 on that occasion before tackling the Irish Derby, sent around as a 16-1 shot but blowing up and finishing a long last.

He then resumed with a good third for the Gosden's and ran to 109 on the R&S scale, a new peak and one that would almost certainly win this race.

The run at Mornington rated 104 on the same scale and given he was off some 18 months, I think the last start flop can be forgiven. He's had another jump out since and we're getting the same $6 this start in a much easier race while also dropping 3kg.

For the each-way play, we'll roll forward to Race 4 where a group of evenly bunched mares will be looking to put their hand up as Leilani Series Final contenders.

The one that makes appeal at the prices is Starlight Scope, who has been racing very well against the boys in three runs this campaign, running three strong ratings all above the 100 mark.

While technically up to a Bm90 here, she's back against her own sex having been very competitive with some good males, and she did work a bit early on a solid tempo last start at Sandown.

There doesn't look to be much pressure here and she should be able to get to the front with minimal fuss. As is often the case, she's double figure odds and should be giving a huge sight.

The Melbourne Mail

Bet of the day: Race 2 No. 8 Lionel at $6
Each-way play: Race 4 No. 2 Starlight Scope at $10.00 & $3.25 

Racing at Flemington on Saturday, picture Racing Photos

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