It does appear a race devoid of early speed which should see Gailo Chop take up the running without too much of a hassle from barrier three.
From a better gate this time around, the 2019 Makybe Diva Stakes winner Gatting should be able to settle in the first pair or two and from out wide, Quick Thinker will likely have to push on.
It's perhaps the same fate for So Si Bon who has to overcome barrier 16 and has the blinkers applied now.
The option is available early for Levendi to at least box seat from barrier one early but he like many here, doesn't have a definitive map.
With a run under her belt and stepping up to a mile, Miami Bound is perhaps one that can find herself in the first half a dozen on settling under Ben Melham
1. Vow And Declare (11)
@ $51.00 via Palmerbet
Why he can win: His last two fresh efforts have been strong and both of them have been at Flemington, the scene of his 2019 Melbourne Cup triumph. Has a good record at this track and is a proven spring performer.
Why he can't win: Hasn't won below 1800m and despite performing well in some fresh attempts, is yet to win first-up. There is a query irrespective this time in given he was mostly disappointing over the autumn.
2. Gailo Chop (3)
@ $91.00 via Sportsbet
Why he can win: Can make his own luck up front from a low draw where he won't have to work to find the lead. Has finished in the top three five times from 10 first-up attempts, is a group one winner on this circuit and is a proven weight-for-age performer.
Why he can't win: Not getting any younger as a now ten-year-old and off a long lay-off, was mostly well below par last time in. Was well beaten in this race last year at huge odds and perhaps lacks the required zip at a mile now.
3. Harlem (6)
@ $35.00 via Sportsbet
Dabernig & Hayes
Why he can win: He performed far better than the 100/1 starting price fresh in the Memsie Stakes when hitting the line strongly late over the seven-furlongs. He saves his best work for Flemington where he's a two-time group one winner and generally, improves off the fresh run
Why he can't win: Harlem prefers a good tempo which perhaps flatterred the fresh performance to the eye and there doesn't look to be the same set-up here. Maybe still a run short with further trips in mind later in the spring.
Why he can win: Was a group one winner over the Flemington mile last spring when taking out the Cantala Stakes following a Toorak win at Caulfield. Unlike many of these, this does appear as genuine target race following a nice third fresh in the Winx Stakes and he's won a trial since then.
Why he can't win: Although he's been very honest since that Toorak victory, he hasn't managed to register a win since then and has continually found a few better weight-for-age level. Of late, he's been a little tardy away from the barriers, a trend that did continue in his most recent trial.
5. Gatting (4)
@ $61.00 via Palmerbet
Why he can win: Won this race at huge odds in 2019 and from a low draw, Gatting should be afforded a much kinder run as opposed to his last few outings where he can land close to the speed. Has residual fitness from the Perth winter and back to Flemington is a plus.
Why he can't win: Been well below his best in 2020 and as a now seven-year-old with 48 starts, there's not exactly a stack of upside there. The first-up run in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield was ordinary.
6. Levendi (1)
@ $151.00 via Sportsbet
Why he can win: Looked one of the rising stars of the Australian middle distance and staying ranks in the autumn of 2018 when winning the Tulloch Stakes and then toppling Ace High in the Australian Derby. The ability is there.
Why he can't win: Injuries have had a big say with Levendi who's only had three starts over the best part of two and a half years and was plain in all of them performances. This would be one of the all-time great turnarounds which as his odds indicate, appears unlikely.
7. Kings Will Dream (15)
@ $10.00 via Bluebet
Why he can win: Was excellent when resuming in the P.B Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield where a leader-biased track got the better of him. He loves racing at Flemington and the rise to a mile is a big tick. Has the tactical versatility to overcome the bad barrier.
Why he can't win: The winning strike rate is a concern with his only victory over his last 17 starts coming last spring and has had his chances either side of that. Is he perhaps a little too dour to win over a mile now?
8. So Si Bon (16)
@ $26.00 via Neds
Dabernig & Hayes
Why he can win: Hard to fault his two performances so far this campaign and now stepping up to his pet trip of a mile, a peak effort isn't far away. The blinkers now go on and with a lack of speed up front, he could slot across into a handy position early as one of the fit runners.
Why he can't win: Although he promised the world early days and has gone some way to becoming a more reliable galloper, the class is a big question mark in race of this nature and as a seven-year-old, his ceiling does appear at a rung or so below this grade.
9. Master Of Wine (10)
@ $11.00 via Unibet Australia
M,W & J. Hawkes
Why he can win: Following an enormous effort without luck in a high rating Queen Elizabeth Stakes, he looked of the boom horses in the country ahead of the 2020 spring. Barrier 10 suits him if anything and up to a mile on the big Flemington circuit, he's well placed second-up
Why he can't win: Either way you look at it, it was a poor return in the Winx Stakes and given how behind he was first-up, there's clearly still a view towards him peaking come Caulfield Cup time or thereabouts. Is he as effective on his other leg? (all Australian wins have come in Sydney).
10. Warning (9)
@ $51.00 via Bet365
A & S. Freedman
Why he can win: Is unbeaten from both Flemington starts and those victories were by big margins. He's come to handy early via his last two campaigns and now has a consistent body of work behind him. Straight to the mile fresh suits after resuming over shorter journeys previously.
Why he can't win: Despite being competitve in the autumn, he failed to improve from his early three-year-old campaign and it doesn't get any easier now rising to open company. This appears as a likely warm-up before longer assignments deeper into the spring.
11. Dalasan (8)
@ $9.50 via Palmerbet
Macdonald & Gluyas
Why he can win: Has race fitness on his side arriving now third-up and the Behemoth form from his first-up effort has been franked with that galloper winning the Memsie in style. Has won twice at Flemington which includes a victory over the mile and when right, he's very capable.
Why he can't win: This is a massive step-up from his second-up outing where he was a little plain in a field he should've been disposing of. There's still a query on his racing manners and he had every chance to beat Russian Camelot in the SA Derby, who is a more talented animal.
12. Quick Thinker (13)
@ $35.00 via Sportsbet
Baker & Forsman
Why he can win: Murray Baker needs to be respected with anything he campaigns in Australia and with this son of So You Think, he gave Castelvecchio, Shadow Hero and co a bath in the Australian Derby. He's a winner at both 1400m and 1600m and the Zebrowski form is starting to stack up.
Why he can't win: He might just be a wet tracker which all of his runs in Australia do support and it's perhaps a guessing game from a wide gate if the rain doesn't come on a track that does drain well. Another that perhaps is a little dour at this level over a mile.
13. Russian Camelot (14)
@ $3.60 via Bet365
Why he can win: The spruik that everyone's waiting to see this spring is the highly talented Russian Camelot who was last seen taking out the SA Derby in sensational style. Has as much x-factor as anything in the race and if it comes down to talent, he could quite easily blow them away.
Why he can't win: This is clearly his toughest test to date now stepping up to open age level and straight into a group one under weight-for-age conditions. Will need luck from the gate and with a likely slow tempo, could over-race back in the field and be left with too much to do.
14. Perfect Jewel (2)
@ $6.00 via Unibet Australia
G & A Williams
Why she can win: One of the more underrated Bob Peters gallopers who's won three of her last four starts and that includes a slashing fresh victory at Caulfield in her first Melbourne outing. Racing in career best form and has a sharp turn of foot at a mile.
Why she can't win: Barrier two doesn't appear ideal as they'll likely have to race her a little more forward or rely heavily on luck. Perhaps better suited to mares or even handicap level as this is a big step up in class.
15. Princess Jenni (12)
@ $61.00 via Palmerbet
Why she can win: Hard to fault the fresh effort in the Memsie where she wasn't there to do anymore. Has an excellent second-up record, 1600m is her pet distance and versus many opposition who'll prosper deepr into the spring, this might be her best chance to land another major.
Why she can't win: Still get the feeling that she'll be better suited back to mares grade and her record supports that. She's yet to register a win from four attempts at Flemington and has been a few lengths off her best in her most recent six runs.
16. Miami Bound (7)
@ $27.00 via Sportsbet
Why she can win: After a short and ordinary autumn campaign, the August 22 return at Moonee Valley was strong against the pattern in what was virtually another barrier trial. Hasn't finished outside the top three from four runs at Flemington which includes a dominant victory in the 2019 VRC Oaks.
Why she can't win: This is big step up off that fresh return and even off prior form limes, this does appear too strong. Maybe one that'll be better placed in the second-string staying events deeper in the spring. The Geelong or Bendigo Cup could be down her alley.