By Ray Hickson
Ray Hickson’s tips and insights for Friday’s Newcastle Cup meeting, featuring several must-see races from a spring carnival point of view. And, of course, eight winners to be found.
The track will be Good and the rail is in the true position.
|Race 1 - 12:50PM MACKA’S BLACK ANGUS BEEF HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Makfi Lass has had no luck at all in her last couple of Highway assignments and still been right in the finish so I can’t believe she’s not one of the favourites for this Class 2 event. The Care To Think and My Tagoson form has to stack up well and you’d think she won’t run into too much trouble in a six horse field. The only worry I have is if mathematics comes into it, if they walk and it becomes a dash home it won’t be easy. But happy to take the gamble. Punter’s Intel: Makfi Lass ran the fastest last 200m (12.27) of her race at Randwick last start.
Danger: Animalia was very one paced when he went under as a $1.45 favourite on the Beaumont track on August 26. In his defence he was back from a mile to 1350m so the extra ground will help him out. Still, there’s a little more depth in this race and he’ll need to really bounce back.
How to play it: Makfi Lass WIN ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds); save on Quinella with Animalia.
Makfi Lass runs second at Randwick – September 2
|Race 2 - 1:25PM COATES HIRE HANDICAP (2300 METRES)|
D-Day for Bon Equus who really didn’t react to being ridden off the pace at Warwick Farm last time out. He was left flat footed when the sprint went on and held his ground but didn’t have the turn of foot to go with them. Going on his previous effort, a third at the Farm on August 23, where he was softened up on the pace but still stuck on he’s more than capable of winning if he’s the one controlling the speed. The question is do we trust him? Surely this is his chance.
Danger: Perpetual Motion is in career best form with back to back wins in easier company and it wasn’t a bad job with 61kg and coming back 208m at Hawkesbury on September 2. He may be conceding a start but he knows where the post is at the moment and looks a threat.
How to play it: Bon Equus WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
Bon Equus runs a game third at Warwick Farm – August 23
|Race 3 - 2:05PM SIMPLOT MAIDEN PLATE (1200 METRES)|
No doubt the best form is through All Too Huiying but I don’t trust him enough to want to run in and take a short price. So I landed on the first starter Renewal from the Hawkes stable. He trialled in very nice fashion at Rosehill recently and has the advantage of barrier one so will able to either lead or stalk the speed. With no convictions as yet I’d prefer to take the punt his way.
Danger: Obviously All Too Huiying has contested much better races than this one including a Group 2 placing two starts back of the outside gate at Doomben. Nothing wrong with his trial and he might well be too classy for them. Watch for a nice fresh run from Smooth Whiskey who will excel once the races get towards a mile or so.
How to play it: Renewal WIN ($3.30 TAB Fixed Odds)
Renewal finishes third in his Rosehill trial – September 4
|Race 4 - 2:40PM SUEZ MAIDEN PLATE (1200 METRES)|
Lucky Louie faces a similar challenge to All Too Huiying from the previous race in that she’s back to a maiden after tackling Group company as a two-year-old. Aside from failing on the heavy 9 in the Reisling shes run some very nice races behind the likes of Jorda, Invincible Star and She Will Reign. Her trials haven’t been eye-catching but gate one, the in-form Kerrin McEvoy to ride and back to maiden grade we get to see what she’s made of.
Danger: Summer Solstice represents a big watch on debut for the Chris Waller yard. She contested the same trial as Woman at Rosehill earlier this month and wasn’t asked to do anything serious late. If there’s any support for her I’d be looking at her seriously and she’d definitely go in the quaddie. Same for Riva Romance and Pulang Pula coming off nice trial wins.
How to play it: Lucky Louie WIN ($3.60 TAB Fixed Odds)
Lucky Louie’s debut third behind Jorda at Randwick last October
|Race 5 - 3:20PM NBN NEWS SPRING STAKES (1600 METRES)|
We all saw Merovee finish with the flashing light at Randwick earlier this month and thought ‘back me next time over a mile’. Well, here he is at the 1600m, drawn ideally, Hugh Bowman up and he’ll be just about everyone’s best bet of the day no doubt. It’s hard to argue too. Bad luck appears his main danger. Punter’s Intel: Merovee was the only horse in his race to break 34 seconds for the last 600m (33.64) last start at Randwick.
Danger: Runaway disappointed in the Ming Dynasty when he wasn’t able to gain control in front but that may be different here. Previous form is very strong and did lead all the way to an easy Canterbury win two starts back. I’d be throwing Primitivo in the trifecta, his debut at Warwick Farm was eye-catching and he’ll love the mile on a bigger track.
How to play it: Merovee WIN ($2.15 TAB Fixed Odds)
Merovee’s eye-catching second at Randwick – September 2
|Race 6 - 3:55PM AUSTRALIAN BLOODSTOCK CAMERON HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
After plenty of debate I settled on the best horse in the race Sound Proposition despite the 59kg because he does look like the type that could go to an Epsom and be competitive. We haven’t seen him since his two Randwick wins in June and July where he stamped himself as a very smart galloper. I’m not convinced about him beyond a mile and while he does have the 59kg he’ll be in the first three or four in running and there to pounce at the right time. Punter’s Intel: Sound Proposition covered 4.9m more ground than the runner-up and 10m more than the third placed horse in winning at Randwick last start.
Danger: Special Missile is a winning machine of late with five on end starting with a maiden back in late June. Now he’s up to Group 3 level and won’t know himself with the limit weight after lumping 59kg to his last couple. He’ll lead or be right there and is sure to take catching. Expecting Spectroscope to improve off his first-up run behind Deploy where he had no chance to make ground in a race run in track record time.
How to play it: Sound Proposition WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Sound Proposition’s win over 1800m at Randwick – July 22
|Race 7 - 4:35PM XXXX GOLD NEWCASTLE GOLD CUP (2300 METRES)|
I’m more than happy to stick with Sayed in the Cup despite his defeat as an odds-favourite in the Wyong Cup on September 1. While he looked as good a thing as you can get in a race going in circumstances worked against him, he was caught wide for the first 600m or so then pulled himself into the ground. He was still in front at the 200m but was a sitting shot. Chris Waller has tinkered with the gear slightly, he’s drawn one to get plenty of cover and if you were on at the $1.35 last time you’re entitled to back up at black figures. Punter’s intel: Sayed’s early sectionals were telling from Wyong, he had to run 11.57 (2000-1800), 11.96 (1800-1600) and 11.67 (1600-1400) to land outside the lead so it’s no surprise he staggered the last 200m in 12.46.
Danger: Pacodali has really come of age in Melbourne this preparation and while he has to stretch to the 2300m the way he swept home to run down reigning Melbourne Cup winner Almandin suggests he can do it. Not underselling Destiny’s Kiss but he did have favours at Wyong. The thing about him is he always goes around at backable odds.
How to play it: Sayed WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds)
Sayed’s brave third behind Destiny’s Kiss in the Wyong Cup – September 1
|Race 8 - 5:10PM YARRAMAN PARK TIBBIE STAKES (1400 METRES)|
With the scratching of Invincible Gem I'm happy enough to settle on the in-form Lubiton who was well backed when proving a bit too strong in the Mona Lisa at Wyong. I'd expect her to lead or be right on the speed again and so long as there's no bias against that she should be in the finish.
Danger: Still plenty. Philosophy is a lightly raced mare having her biggest test here but she’s won four from seven and has the inside alley so she should enjoy a nice run. Worth throwing in the multiples. Imposing Lass was runner-up to Lubiton in the Mona Lisa and is again one of the chances. She may be looking for a mile, that's the only query.
How to play it: Lubiton E/W ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Lubiton wins the Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong – September 1