By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Sunday’s Country Championships meeting at Scone. The track is rated a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position.
|Race 1 – 1:05PM CRESSFIELD MAIDEN SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
He’s probably as short as you’d want him to be on debut but 5. Chosen Heir does look well placed to kick off with a win. He’s had four trials since the start of January so has obviously taken some time and/or had issues but there was plenty to like about his close third at Gosford almost three weeks ago. Had a bit in hand at the finish and is drawn to have every chance.
Danger: 2. All Accomplished beat Chosen Heir in a trial at the end of January before hitting the line well on debut at Goulburn. Just fair at Wyong on March 3 when snagged right back to last from a wide gate and she only passed a couple late. Blinkers go on and she could be a sharp improver. 3. Augusta In April is locally trained and has had a few chances but placed six from nine so is an each-way chance at least. Last start no match for the winner but held the rest at bay at Muswellbrook. 8. I Wear Prada bumped into what may be a handy one last time out also at Muswellbrook and from the soft draw she should enjoy a nice run. That was her first placing in five starts so she could still be on the up. Watch on 7. The Savant who made late ground in her latest trial at Gosford.
How to play it: Chosen Heir WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds); save All Accomplished E/W ($12).
Chosen Heir runs a close third in a Gosford trial on February 28
|Race 2 - 1:45PM VANTAGE HILL PRE-TRAINING & BREAK PLATE (1100 METRES)|
Somewhat keen on 7. Pompous to go one better than he did first-up on Championships Day at Wagga two weeks ago. He was a drifter there and bumped into a pretty nice one in the shape of Sei Stella who led and cantered in. He followed through on the fence and while he couldn’t get near the winner he was getting away from the rest. Extra 100m, home track and drawn quite well so there’s plenty of ticks in his column.
Dangers: 3. Luckenbach Texas had excuses at his only start when well in the market at Dubbo. Tried to lead but couldn’t cross and was a spent force at the 200m. Drawn a much kinder gate here and it wouldn’t surprise to see him improve sharply. 13. Shiver Me Timbers has been a beaten favourite at her last four starts and was $1.65 when fourth at Armidale last time where I thought she had every chance. Drawn the inside and winkers go on so she could be worth another look – though this is no easier. 2. Dapkos has to be better than what he showed at Tamworth last start as a short priced favourite. Drawn well and worth including in the chances.
How to play it: Pompous E/W ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Pompous runs a promising second at Wagga first-up on March 4.
|Race 3 – 2:20PM ARROWFIELD SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
Lowest confidence levels of the day in this race and it’s worthwhile being very careful. With that said if you could guarantee a bit of speed 4. Zroya would be very well placed to break through. She’s been hitting the line with gusto in higher benchmark and class races and won’t know herself back in this grade. She was set an impossible task over the 900m at Scone last time and fared well to finish less than a length from the winner. Fair strike rate but yet to miss a place at 1100m here in six starts for two wins and this could be her chance.
Dangers: 3. Lady Chicago could be a query at the 1100m but she was too strong first-up at Cessnock then not quite up to provincial level when fourth at Wyong. More suitable here and while she’s no good thing she has claims. 1. Quick Cash ran last in the same race as Zroya on February 23 then turned it around to win well over 900m at Muswellbrook. Has one placing from four attempts at 1100m and a big weight as negatives but coming off a win he can’t be discounted. 2. Don Franco started a solid favourite first-up at Gunnedah and I thought he had every chance to be in the finish before finishing fourth. Second-up record is only fair but is trained here and could be open to improvement. Each-way.
How to play it: Zroya E/W ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Zroya finishes off strongly when the 900m race is over at Scone on February 23
|Race 4 – 2.55PM LONHRO @ DARLEY HANDICAP (900 METRES)|
Could be the best of the day here with a bit of even luck. 4. I Am You Are had no luck first-up at Tamworth a few weeks ago where he raced four wide on the speed, hit the front and just weakened late to be narrowly beaten. First run since September so much fitter here, senior rider goes on and drawn well. Entitled to go close.
Dangers: 2. Bridyn May is the likely leader and the short trip is right up her alley. Gave a huge sight to run second over the 1200m at Gosford last start when swamped in the last 100m. If she gets her own way then she will take catching. 5. Arleta hasn’t raced since December when placed at Coffs Harbour. Honest mare who is yet to miss a place. Runner-up over the 900m fresh last time in, tends to go forward so might sit outside the leader here. Keep in mind. 3. Banter is an ex-Victorian who has failed badly in three starts since a win at Echuca in October. Betting will be the best pointer to his chances but if there is some support he’d be worth throwing in.
How to play it: I Am You Are WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds).
I Am You Are is narrowly beaten first-up at Tamworth on February 26
|Race 5 - 3:30PM COOLMORE HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Quite keen on 5. Miss Redoble who looked very good surging away second-up at Port Macquarie then had no luck at all at Newcastle a month ago. Dropped right out to last off a wide gate and was held up on the fence and wasn’t seriously tested beaten less than two lengths. The mile here should suit and less traffic to negotiate. Clearly on top for me and very hard to beat.
Dangers: 7. Vihari is an up and comer who is yet to put in a bad one in three starts. She took an eternity to wind up at the 1400m here last month but she mowed them down and looked strong on the line. A bit more depth in this field but heading the right way and should run well. 1. Al Cubana hasn’t won for eight starts but is usually around the mark and he worked home without threatening over 1300m just over a week ago. Has won at the mile and is going well enough to be in the finish. 2. Boolaroo is down in class after winning a BM60 at Tamworth over the mile at his first attempt at the trip. Seemed to relish it there and he’s generally better on top of the ground too. Can’t leave out.
How to play it: Miss Redoble WIN ($1.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Check out Miss Redoble’s unlucky seventh at Newcastle on February 17
|Race 6 - 4:05PM SEGENHOE CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600 METRES)|
2. Table Mountain is a promising type though I am concerned he’s a little under the odds. Beaten favourite first-up after leading at Quirindi then led all the way at 1280m at Muswellbrook on March 2. No worries with the mile and it looks as though he will get control or a nice enough run up on the pace to have his chance. The one to beat but I’d like a bit better price.
Dangers: 5. Lips ‘N’ Lashes could be a good each-way play if you don’t like the shorts about the favourite. Just the two starts to date and she looked a bit green when edging clear first-up at Tamworth over 1200m last month. Well supported there and on pedigree the mile should be fine for her. Worth a serious look. 3. Uncle Rodriguez can be forgiven for his first-up failure where he sat wide on the speed and couldn’t go on with it under the 60kg. Competitive last time in against provincial grade and a bit better types and from a better gate he can improve quickly. 1. Shangato found some form at start four to win at Tamworth in a blanket finish over the 1400m. He had some late support so was obviously expected to improve and should only be helped by the mile. Probably can’t win the race but is a trifecta hope.
How to play it: Table Mountain WIN ($1.80 TAB Fixed Odds); save Lips ‘N’ Lashes E/W ($13).
Table Mountain leads all the way to win at Muswellbrook on March 2.
|Race 7 - 4:45PM H&NWRA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
You won’t find me tipping against 4. Suncraze and a bit like Snitz last week at Grafton he really does look a cut above them. He’s yet to finish worse than second in his career and that’s all he needs to do to qualify for the Final where he is the $6 second favourite at present. Expect that will shorten should he take care of this lot. He beat Don’t Give A Damn three starts back giving that horse 6kg then should have won the Anniversary Highway on Everest Day. He was very good winning a BM85 at Randwick first-up from a spell and that’s better form than anything else here can boast. Entitled to be favourite and equally entitled to win.
Dangers: 14. Try A Lil Harder could be a slight query at the 1400m but she’s been excellent in her four runs back from knee surgery for three wins and a placing. Strong late when running down She Knows (who had a tough run) at Rosehill in a Highway last month and if she can find a spot on the pace without too much trouble she can be in the finish. 8. My Tagoson is warming up nicely for this third-up after getting way too far back over the 1300m here on February 23 but he really charged at the line late. Tricky gate for him but he’s a serious each-way chance with even luck. 1. Caerless Choice won this race last year on a wet track and given his record fresh he has to be respected. Won the Muswellbrook Cup in December 8 and his other three runs this prep were in city class where he didn’t fire. Trialled okay and is a chance but may not be going as well. If you’re looking for a roughie at silly odds I thought 3. Devlann. Won the Glen Innes Cup two starts back at this trip then last time back to 1100m at Armidale and couldn’t get into the race but charged late to be beaten three lengths. Barrier one is a plus and he could get into the placings at big odds.
How to play it: Suncraze WIN ($1.80 TAB Fixed Odds); Trifecta 4/1,3,8,11,14/1,3,8,11,14.
Suncraze winning first-up at Randwick on February 17
|Race 8 - 5:25PM EMIRATES PARK PLATE (1300 METRES)|
Open race to end the day but I do like the chances, certainly each-way, of 6. Mister Smartee who was heavily backed into odds-on when he strolled away with a BM55 at Port Macquarie on March 2. He’s turned up in some very handy races of late behind the likes of Volpe, Ferniehirst and Waimea Bay and the way he finished off last time suggests 1300m will be no issue, especially from a nice gate. I’d be surprised if he’s not in the finish somewhere.
Dangers: 4. Sugar Dance made a move on the turn first-up at Orange and looked as though he was going to go on with it but the run ended and he was outgunned late. Fitter but only has an extra 20m and his best form last prep was his win at 1800m. Has to be strongly considered though may need the breaks. 2. Our Sebring disappointed fresh a few starts back but his two runs since have been sound efforts. Took a while to wind up at Muswellbrook a couple of weeks ago and should be at his top now. Did run third to Uptown Lad at Newcastle at this trip in November. Go well. 7. Don’t Doubt Her has only won two from 18 but she’s always in the money and battled on pretty well behind the smart Star Boy here last start. Has every chance again to be in the finish.
How to play it: Mister Smartee E/W ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Mister Smartee proves far too strong at Port Macquarie on March 2