Coopers Brewery Benchmark 64 Handicap Tips (Race 4)
Balaklava Next Best Bet - Race 4 No. 1 Not Alone
While the step up to 2200m from 1600m is somewhat of an ask, this gelding did have residual fitness with 10 furlong runs in January and February before joining the Gary Searle stable.
The ex-Victorian has been building well in two South Australian outings, firstly making ground for a fifth at Gawler over 1500m before improving again on April 21 when finishing next to Reynolds on the line, the subsequent Provincial Final winner (last Saturday).
Versus a few in the market here that are coming off Maiden victories, that form around Not Alone is clearly stronger and as a proven weight carrier that is now dropping in grade, the current each-way price is somewhat surprising,
Taylors Wines Benchmark 58 Handicap Tips (Race 6)
Balaklava Best Bet - Race 6 No. 8 Mrs Mourinho
This resuming three-year-old from the powerful Phillip Stokes stable broke her Maiden first-up in December before recording a hat-trick of placings at Metropolitan level and was tipped out following her February 13 attempt on the Parks circuit.
By Smart Missile and out of a half-sister to a Group Two winner in Champagne Harmony, Mrs Mourinho has trialled up well but it was slow time compared to the Strathalbyn heat taken out by Little Town Blues on April 20, who is the second market elect albeit she wasn't there to break any records.
With that key rival looking to hold up early from barrier one and Domination crossing from out wide, that could leave the on-pace pair vulnerable late first-up with big weights while with 56kg after the claim, this filly can be the fresh runner on the scene late.
My Butcher 36 Degrees South Benchmark 58 Handicap Tips (Race 7)
Balaklava Value Bet - Race 7 No. 2 Exalted Ambition
There's no doubt he improves off whatever he does here fresh, but off a good trial and a the class runner of the field who seemingly has the most upside, ability alone can see him go close.
Prepared by Grant Young who has trained seven winners at Balaklava over the last 12 months at a strike rate of 23.3%, Exalted Ambition is at least a city class galloper if his first two preparations were any indication, competitive multiple times at Stakes level and has three placings in Metropolitan grade.
Via his 1200m hit-out on April 30, he was clearly the pick of a Strathalbyn heat that included Fulton Street who is rated well above anything in this field, a line-up that does lack quality and over 1600m first-up, this gelding can figure despite the 61.5kg impost.