Bletchingly a springboard for big races

RACING: The final Group race of the season, tomorrow's Bletchingly Stakes, is often considered a good pointer for the upcoming spring racing carnival.

Trainers often use the Bletchingly (Group 3, 1200m) to start a Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup campaign for their horses - the most notable example in recent years being Shoot Out in 2010.

Smokin' Joey, last year's comfortable winner, will defend his title tomorrow, but it is worth noting he has failed to win a race since - sharing the same fate as 2014 winner Thiamandi and 2013 winner Second Effort.

Despite the race's history as a spring lead-up, in recent years the Bletchingly has primarily proved a form reference for the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m).

There is a chance that this could change in 2016, with the Darren Weir-trained Mahuta - the winner of this year's Group 2 Autumn Stakes - looking well placed to make an impression in the spring carnival.

He is the type of progressive four-year-old that could easily win the Bletchingly and the PB Lawrence on the road to his major spring target, the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 27.

A similar program has been set for Bletchingly roughie Charmed Harmony, but he may lack the upside of Mahuta.

The 1200m of the Bletchingly may prove too short for The Cleaner, but he is resuming from a spell and in seven first-up runs has won two and been placed in three.

Given his own way in front, he could be hard to run down in an intriguing race that includes runners such as Fast 'N' Rocking, Lord Of The Sky, Thermal Current and Odyssey Moon.

In a boon for punters, Labrokes is promising the best odds on every single runner.

It is offering the best tote or starting price plus 20% on all 12 Bletchingly Stakes runners, as well as enhanced odds for every runner in race three at Caulfield.

This means punters are guaranteed the best odds on races three and seven at Caulfield this weekend - an outstanding offer from Ladbrokes.


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