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There are few straighter shooters in racing than Mick Price. In an era of inflated stud deals and constant self-promotion, the racing hyperbole is usually at its peak at this time of year when the tyres of would-be champions are at their most inflated.

If Price’s horse is going like a busted, he won’t mince words. Going well? You will get the vibe in his down-to-earth way, too. And there can be little doubt Victoria Derby favourite Tarzino is doing just that. It may not have been a $3 million race, but there was an eye to a bigger fish to fry when Craig Newitt snagged the colt back to last from a horror draw in The Vase last week.

An extra 50 metres and the horse wins after running a slashing third. An extra 500m of the gruelling Derby trip? You wouldn’t think it would a pose a problem. That is usually what sifting through a Derby field is generally like, one big head scratcher. Rough results are common and the horse thought most likely is often found in reverse down the unforgiving Flemington straight the second time of asking.

On Saturday Tarzino should start the shortest priced Derby top pick in 13 years and barring any awful luck will hold most hard earned. But at $2.40 in a race for early spring three-year-olds, the money should stay in the pocket. Use him as a roving banker in all trifectas.

Finding an obvious danger is difficult. West n Kia Ora Koutou ($8) is a compelling case. A month between runs is a worry, what is not was his last start beating of older horses, albeit moderate, over 2200m rather than the traditional Melbourne lead-ups of a mile-and-a-quarter. Lizard Island ($12) has the class factor and should be in all exotics and the Derby always produces a horse that has moderate form, but will stick all day. Palace Tycoon ($41) might be it and should be thrown in as the other option.

The rest of the best card in n racing has much more betting appeal. You can throw a blanket over a vintage Mackinnon Stakes field. It looks a mighty difficult equation to solve.

The country’s best colt Exosphere should win the Coolmore Stud Stakes at long odds on, but the last of the four group 1s in the Myer Classic should have value shoppers salivating.

Stay With Me is a top class filly with no weight on her back and Royal Descent has class on her side despite being eased out of the Caulfield Cup, but Solicit is the value play.

Set for this race second up, where she performs at her best, the $19 in an even field looks juicy. Granted, the mile and group 1 level have always tested, but the days of the breeding barn beckoning are over and the older legs still have the zest for racing and quite possibly the yearning for this trip.

The Lexus Stakes? The noises from the Godolphin camp suggest Elhaame is a very bright prospect. Saeed bin Suroor wouldn’t bring him all this way if he didn’t think he would be competitive in a Melbourne Cup, let alone the race’s last chance saloon. The $7.50 will do.

* Odds supplied by Ladbrokes

WEEKEND SELECTIONS

Flemington (Saturday)

Race 3: Disposition $4.20

Race 5: Elhaame $7.50

Race 8: Solicit $19

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