By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Sunday’s Country Championships Wild Card meeting at Muswellbrook. The track is rated a Good 4, and the rail is in the true position.
|Race 1 – 1:03PM SKY RACING COUNTRY MAIDEN SHOWCASE PLATE (1280 METRES)|
Fairly tricky maiden to kick off but I don’t think you can go too wrong with 12. Daiquiri Lass on an each-way basis. She ran a cracking race at big odds on debut at Scone, leading until inside the last 100m, then stepped to provincial maiden and led again before being run over in the last furlong. Much easier task this time and the slight drop in trip is a plus. She’ll lead them and should take plenty of running down.
Dangers: 5. The Naked Truth had some support two starts back in a similar race and hit the line strongly late into second. Went to Scone, dropped 180m, and just battled away holding his ground in the straight. Worth another chance back here. 6. Pirated Game is an interesting runner resuming after a year off and with blinkers. I thought he trialled okay under a little bit of pressure at Goulburn and if he attracts support then expect him to run well. 10. Madam Yoko was unwanted in betting at Scone but almost got there over the 1100m on March 18, same race as The Naked Truth. Callow retains the ride and if she can run up to that performance then she’s right in the finish of this race.
How to play it: Daiquiri Lass E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Daiquiri Lass runs third on debut at Scone in February
|Race 2 - 1:38PM SCHMETZER RACING MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
I think the key to this race comes in two first starters so keep an eye on the betting. 11. With Purpose is a very well bred filly who did the job nicely winning a trial at Randwick on Monday, her third this time in. Drawn out a bit but likely to roll forward if the trial is any guide and she looks capable of being in the finish on debut.
Dangers: 10. Rebellion looks a bit green based on her latest trial but she raced forward and got the job done fairly comfortably. In good hands and while she has drawn wide it’s only 1000m and it wouldn’t surprise to see her go close. 1. Missed Out has the runs on the board with five placings from nine starts and he gave a good sight up in front at Goulburn a couple of weeks ago before being run down. Kept up to it with a trial win and is sure to take beating. 5. My Blue Jeans hasn’t raced since September but that effort when third at Moruya was a strong one. No trials leading into his first-up run so market moves might help but I’d be inclined to include rather than dismiss him.
How to play it: With Purpose WIN ($3.00 TAB Fixed Odds); box quinella with Missed Out & Rebellion.
With Purpose wins her trial at Randwick on March 26
|Race 3 - 2:13PM SCONE EQUINE HOSPITAL CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
Somewhat keen on the chances of 2. Flying Rose, particularly if she can run up to her effort in the Provincial Qualifier at Wyong two starts back. Dropped in trip last time and was run down but back up in trip, her only win to date was at a mile, suits her. If Table Mountain comes out and runs in the last she has this race at her mercy but hard to beat either way.
Dangers: 3. Table Mountain impressed winning at 1280m here two runs back then had his chance up to a mile and was just outgunned. Better for that and the 100m drop is a plus. He’ll be handy and can prove a stumbling block. 1. Dizzy Success doesn’t win out of turn but he does know how to put himself in the finish of a race. A win and six seconds from eight runs this time in is a pretty good, albeit frustrating, record and he’ll be around the mark again. 4. Magic Arli doesn't win out of turn but is fairly consistent and was placed at Newcastle three starts back, failed in the Port Macquarie Qualifier then ran on well at Coffs last time out. Each-way.
How to play it: Flying Rose WIN ($3.30 TAB Fixed Odds).
Flying Rose’s gallant effort in the Provincial Qualifier at Wyong on March 3
|Race 4 - 2:48PM ALLWELD SERVICES CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1280 METRES)|
I was quite keen on 7. Swiss to win at Canterbury midweek two weeks back but the stable scratched and went to Goulburn the next day where she got the cash in an effort that was a lot better than it looks on paper. So check out the replay. She didn’t really have a lot of time to hit her straps after trying to get into the clear in the straight but she still picked up enough to claim the win. Reckon she’ll be even better at 1400m and a mile so that’s the only query with the 1280m but I can’t jump off.
Dangers: 2. Staraday doubled her price in the betting before romping away with a first-up win at Gosford a couple of weeks back. She did get all the favours on that occasion with a saloon run through from last but she also put a margin on them. Looks a threat. 5. Unbridled Power has been freshened up since failing at Newcastle about six weeks ago and trialled in open company. Close second to All Too Soon reads well for this sort of race and she’s worth another chance. 10. Swift Arrival won well over the scamper here then went to Cessnock and wasn’t disgraced running on late at the 900m again. Should be okay with the extra trip and is worth including, as is 12. Mackellar first-up despite a wide gate, she’s shown enough to be competitive fresh.
How to play it: Swiss E/W ($4.80 TAB Fixed Odds).
Swiss wins impressively on debut at Goulburn on March 15
|Race 5 - 3:23PM JTS REALITY SPRINT HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
I’m not super confident but 3. Musical Query is worth another chance back to her favourite course and distance and with the blinkers on first time. Unbeaten in three 1000m runs here and the shades might be just what she needs after an even effort at Scone a few weeks back. If she doesn’t perform her it probably suggests she hasn’t come up this time in.
Dangers: 5. Nick On The Run is rarely too far from the action and has some good stats at this track and fresh to suggest he shouldn’t be overlooked. Two trials back, one curiously over 1200m, against open company horses have been okay and he won’t disgrace himself. 7. Dreamy Belle was outclassed first-up in Sydney then bounced back with a slick all the way win around Port Macquarie a month ago. Kept fresh and she’ll offset the gate quickly. Good chance. 2. El Sid can be a bit hot and cold but his first-up run last time in at Gosford was a cracker and if they overdo it he’ll be charging over the top of these.
How to play it: Musical Query E/W ($9.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Musical Query’s last win over the Muswellbrook 1000m in August
|Race 6 - 4:00PM COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS WILD CARD (1280 METRES)|
Outstanding field for the last chance to make next Saturday’s Country Championships field. I see a bit of speed in this race and that’s leading me toward 3. Most Exalted who will be one of, if not the strongest late. Ignore his run in the Mudgee Qualifier on a bottomless track and check out his finishing effort at Rosehill two weeks ago where he ran 11.26 (Punters Intel) for his last 200m into fifth behind Peacock who led all the way. If he’s within striking range on the turn he will take holding out and really at the price is an each-way bet to nothing.
Dangers: 4. Don’t Give A Damn was the $1.70 favourite when he ran the worst race of his career in the Goulburn Qualifier with excuses made for him due to a long wait in the stalls and a firm track. He trialled okay since and I have some small concerns as to whether he’s lightened off and whether he will be allowed to dictate. If he can dictate he’ll take stopping and Kerrin McEvoy coming to ride is a big pointer to how he may have bounced back. Still, we have to take odds-on again and I can’t justify that. 10. Ori On Fire ran a big race in the Mudgee Qualifier holding third after being up there all the way in unsuitable conditions. Form around his Bathurst win prior is excellent and he has trialled impressively since. Drawn ideally for him and he’s a big threat. 11. Iggy The Moocher went back for just about the first time in his life in the Grafton Qualifier and he hit the line strongly late behind Snitz. I can’t see him doing that again here, he has to press forward and if he can land in a good spot he can go close. 8. Gitan ran fourth in the Goulburn Qualifier after being run off the track a bit on the turn. Can’t leave him out either.
How to play it: Most Exalted E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Most Exalted storms home from last to run fifth at Rosehill on March 17
|Race 7 - 4:40PM TAB.COM.AU BALMORAL SHOWCASE (1280 METRES)|
Plenty of chances here. 4. Mishani Honcho is racing in great form, overlooking his Randwick failure, and he was always going to win in the run at Grafton a few weeks ago. Yet to win beyond 1200m but it’s not that much further and he’s sure to take plenty of beating.
Dangers: 5. Bezel had his first run for the new stable and didn’t disgrace himself finishing midfield at Warwick Farm on March 14, hitting the line okay late without threatening. Fitter for that and back a notch to country level he’s more than capable of improving into the finish. 15. Barricade strikes me as a big improver on what he showed at Warwick Farm a couple of weeks ago. Previous form was solid, likes this track and has drawn well. No surprise so see him give them a fright at good each-way odds. 13. Beauty Best had his first run for two years at Armidale a couple of weeks ago and tried very hard, just missing a place in a tight finish. Can only be fitter and is worth including.
How to play it: Mishani Honcho E/W ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Mishani Honcho wins easily at Grafton on March 11
|Race 8 - 5:20PM NORM TURNER ELECTRICAL HANDICAP (1450 METRES)|
1. Clevanicc went around in a Provincial Qualifier at Hawkesbury last start and wasn’t up to the task but there was nothing wrong with his effort prior at Newcastle when resuming. Extra trip suits and he should be hard to keep out of the finish.
Dangers: 14. Diamond Deluxe improved on an even debut effort to win running away at Cessnock as a long odds-on favourite. Shows plenty of promise and while quickly up in grade she’s impossible to leave out of the main chances. 8. Ti Tan Tiger hasn’t raced for a year but was in outstanding form when last in work and betting should be watched for a pointer to stable confidence. Drawn well and has won at this track and distance so keep in mind. 13. Iona Nicconi is flying at the moment and has been to this track once for a minor placing. Too good at Coonamble last time and if her central west form measures up in the hunter she's in the finish.
How to play it: Clevanicc E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Clevanicc's first-up fourth at Newcastle in February