First day of the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival shapes as a superb race day

Always one of the most exciting and historic days on the Australian turf is Derby Day at Flemington on Saturday.

We see a G1 Victoria Derby (2500m) with all the form coming out of those 3yo lead up contests rather than any from WFA races. Riff Rocket ($2.50) looks likely to run as the clear favourite with online betting sites but his conqueror Sunsets ($9) will be there. There is also Apulia ($4.50) from the Vase last week and some coming from Sydney like Cap Ferrat ($11).

The G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) shapes as a cracking edition. Can Cylinder ($4.50) get his G1 after being close a couple of times? Or will the others aimed here like King’s Gambit ($4.50), Ozzmosis ($9) or Shinzo ($7). Maybe those back in trip like Steparty ($11) and Tiz Invincible ($15) are good contenders.

The mares contest the G1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) it might be close to the best contested of the races. Hope In Your Heart ($5) deserves a big one but Princess Grace ($6), Atishu ($6) and Alcohol Free ($11) are quality. Then those from last week like Wishlor Lass ($11) and Skybird ($11) will be factors.

G2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) fillies chase an Oaks winning trial and runners like Zardozi ($2.25), Amazonian Lass ($8) and Harlow Mist ($6) are right in it.

Then the last chance to make the Melbourne Cup field is via the G3 Archer Stakes (2500m) and there are a few still striving. Ladies Man ($8) from NZ is possibly there along with Magical Lagoon ($15) and More Felons ($6) for Chris Waller.

The newly named G2 The Damien Oliver (1400m) will be definitely a race to watch with the rider himself at his last Derby Day. Horses like Vilana, Chain Of Lightning and Kalino are hopes.

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