By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Saturday’s Country Championships Qualifier meeting at Goulburn. The track is rated Soft 5 but expecting an upgrade, and the rail is in the true position.
|Race 1 – 1:10PM TAB.COM.AU COUNTRY MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
A fair amount of confidence to kick off the day with 1. Missed Out having the form on the board to mark him clearly on top. Three back he gave Chewbacca a fright, wasn’t disgraced at Kembla Grange before a spell then returned at Canberra to be tipped out late after racing waywardly in the straight. There’s a bit of speed here so I’d expect him to find some cover in the first half and pounce at the business end. Entitled to be favourite and should take stopping.
Danger: 3. One More Tipple could be the dark horse of the race on debut after just the one trial. It was a nice enough trial too at Goulburn where he led all the way and seemed to hold them comfortably enough. I’d expect he will go forward from the wide gate and could give a sight. 4. Izzy Good is the likely leader from the inside gate and he showed improvement into his second start at the Sapphire Coast. Each-way chance. It wouldn't shock to see 8. Amelda make some improvement on what she's shown lately though it's hard to have her any higher.
How to play it: Missed Out WIN ($1.85 TAB Fixed Odds).
Missed Out’s first-up second at Canberra on February 2.
|Race 2 - 1:44PM YOUR HOME MATTERS SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
1. Parlay Vous can be a bit hot and cold. Hit the line strongly first-up at Gosford in a good form race then went back and was never in the hunt at Canterbury. Both his wins have been at 1000m and with She Knows not there he gets his chance to break through. Not the type to have your house on though.
Dangers: 2. One Stryke is an interesting runner, first-up for 18 months. He was allowed to run along in the lead in his trial at Warwick Farm last week and was just too quick. Any support would be interesting and he’s worth a bit of a look. 7. Fraternater trialled quite well behind Fell Swoop here recently and won’t have to do any work from the inside gate and a watch on 8. I Am Kalani whose form is all on the synthetic Acton track but she has looked good in her two wins and attacks this race fresh.
How to play it: Parlay Vous WIN ($2.25 TAB Fixed Odds).
Parlay Voux's first-up effort in a strong race at Gosford on January 11
|Race 3 – 2:19PM ANTONY & EDWARDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Splitting the top two in the market was made a lot easier with Sacred Edge coming out and it leaves the race at the mercy of 3. Fun Tickets who was scratched from a winnable race at Canberra on Friday for this and he’s very much on the way up this prep. Impressive winner over 1400m second-up after getting a long way back and weaving through and was narrowly beaten at his only mile attempt. Clearly the one to beat.
Dangers: 6. Cliff adopted the wrong tactics at Randwick last week by settling back and the race was dominated by the winner who led all the way. I’d expect him to be among the leaders this time and he can be an improver. 8. Delude has only had the three starts and I thought he had his chance when runner-up here a month ago. Goes straight to the mile, which may suit given he won at 1425m second-up last time, and given he’s from the Williams camp he’s worth some thought. 2. My Friend Charlie is back in trip but will put himself up on the speed and he could give a bit of cheek.
How to play it: Fun Tickets WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Fun Tickets winning impressively at Canberra on February 2
|Race 4 – 2.54PM TWINSTAR RACING PLATE (1600 METRES)|
I’m not sold on the two favourites and went looking for a bit of value here. 10. Hands Off has only had the two starts and showed improvement into her second where she hit the line very late at Kembla over 1400m in a small field. She just finished like she was looking for the mile, running 34.25 for the last 600m and 11.80 last 200m (Punters Intel), and I thought she is a good each-way chance if that’s the case.
Dangers: 3. 7. She’s Demanding is under the odds for mine on her one paced effort at Newcastle second-up. Ran on well when a beaten favourite at Canberra fresh and the only plus for her here is the blinkers go on so that’s why she warrants some thought. If she doesn’t fire here she’d be hard to back. 2. Arms Race ran fifth to Don’t Give A Damn three starts ago when coming from well off them. Resumed with a fair effort at Kembla though did take off well before the turn, loomed up then felt the pinch a bit. Ridden a bit quieter he could be a sharp improver.
How to play it: Hands Off E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Hands Off’s improved effort to run second at Kembla Grange on February 10
|Race 5 - 3:29PM GOULPRO CLASS 1 SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
4. El Mo missing the Country Championships is probably a blessing because he’s only a Class 1 horse and he’s much better suited in this event. His two Highway runs since his maiden win on this track in December have been first class. He was all over the shop at Warwick Farm two weeks ago but still worked home well enough to run fifth (Punters Intel last 200m of 11.81 was third best in the race). Extra 200m and a class drop says he’s the one to beat.
Dangers: 1. El Dorado Mine might have been a bit close first-up at Bathurst as he just whacked away in the last 200m or so after being on the speed. Better at 1400m and while he has struggled to put races away (one win from 16) he has found a winnable race in this one. 3. Tearaway Charlie is an honest enough type and kicking off at 1400m suits him it would seem off two trials. On pacer so the barrier can be offset and it’d be worth including in the chances. 9. Scent Of A Woman showed some kind of a return to form placing behind Can She Kiss at Goulburn a month ago and if she can repeat the effort then she's in with a place chance again.
How to play it: El Mo WIN ($2.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
El Mo runs on late for fifth in a Highway at Warwick Farm on February 10
|Race 6 - 4:09PM GOULBURN SIGNS HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
He has a big weight but 2. Tiger By The Tale is very hard to go past back on his home track. He didn’t have a lot of luck at Canberra about six weeks ago with 64.5kg after being shuffled back in the mid stages. He ran on really well considering and I like that he comes into this fresh. The weight doesn’t worry me as Rory Hutchings is a heavyweight rider so the the horse won’t carry a lot of dead weight. He’s never an ‘on the nose’ proposition but with even luck he should give you a good run.
Dangers: 3. Can She Kiss has struck top form with back-to-back wins at this track. Admittedly her win two starts back looked a lot better to the eye but perhaps the 1400m of last start was the top of her limit. Go well again. 9. Inch Perfect looks under the odds to me on his fair effort at Canberra three weeks ago. Had every chance there and perhaps he just doesn’t run out the 1400m. Still has a wide gate to contend with and he’s more a minor player in my thinking. 4. Ready Set Sing has been inconsistent but two runs back he ran well at Kembla and four runs back he was placed at Randwick so perhaps he's due another good showing.
How to play it: Tiger By The Tale E/W ($3.80 TAB Fixed Odds).
Tiger By The Tale’s last start third at Canberra under 64.5kg on January 5
|Race 7 - 4:50PM SERA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
There’s a good reason 2. Don’t Give A Damn is a short priced favourite, you only have to look at his form. Four wins from five starts, the only defeat a narrow one to Suncraze, and his racing pattern very much negates any negative his barrier might throw up. In fact I think the barrier is a plus. Unless something runs way against pattern, most of the speed has actually drawn outside him and I think it will allow him to come across easily and either lead or let anything outside him do the work for him. We’re talking a horse who is $26 in the Doncaster market racing Class 5 horses and below with 57.5kg. Impossible to tip against him.
Dangers: 11. Acquittal is a free runner and he might well cross the favourite if he doesn’t blow the start. He was game when worried out of it by Mate Story at Rosehill last time and that horse has since won another Highway. He’s a very promising galloper and I think he’s been a bit forgotten, though he isn’t well weighted compared to the couple up top. 8. Kopi Luwak has been off scene for one reason or another since he chased Acquittal home at Randwick on January 20. Late scratching prior to his last engagement at Randwick earlier this month when he hit his head in the float. Would relish a strong tempo and if they serve it up to the favourite he could be the one to swamp them. 9. Chewbacca is no doubt very promising but I wonder if it’s all a bit too soon for him. Scrambled home to break his maiden before a spell but came back a much better horse winning a BM58 earlier this month. Certainly wouldn’t shock if he’s in the finish.
How to play it: Don’t Give A Damn WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Trifecta: 2/7,8,9,11/7,8,9,11.
Don’t Give A Damn’s easy first-up win at Rosehill on February 3
|Race 8 - 5:29PM NJB RACING HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
On paper it looks a perfect race for 1. Legendofoz whose form lines stand way above anything else in this maiden. Beaten two lengths by Kennedy on debut then chased home Merovee and Ataraxia in successive starts at Newcastle. Two trials back and he wasn’t overly pressed in running third in the latest at the Farm. Entitled to favouritism and is the horse to beat.
Dangers: 6. Zaffrina started favourite first-up over 1200m here and made her run with the winner when failing narrowly on February 12. Has that race fitness on her side and surely the extra 100m won’t be an issue. I’d rate her a minor threat but clearly next best. 10. Pellegrina trialled fairly at her second hitout this prep and she wasn’t terrible when fresh last time in behind Pandemonium at 1400m. Her two runs at a mile were sound and she could show something in this field. 3. Red Currant is on debut on the back of what wasn’t a bad trial effort at all at the Farm on February 15. The winner was running the whole way and ridden out while he worked his way into second under a reasonable hold. One to keep an eye on.
How to play it: Legendofoz WIN ($2.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Legendofoz runs third in his Warwick Farm trial on February 16