Tips by Ray Hickson
Ray Hickson’s tips and insights for Wednesday’s Warwick Farm meeting. A solid midweek card and there are winners to be found for seven races!
The track will be Good and the rail is in the True position.
|Race 1 - 1:25PM TAB HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
The market looks to have it right with Pandemonium a short priced favourite on the back of a very easy Kembla Grange maiden win. The stable has high hopes for the filly with races like the Flight Stakes on the agenda and she did improve sharply from her first-up run into the Kembla win. Rachel King will have to be wary of getting into a speed battle if the roughie Dragon’s Shadow wants to lead as he did at Hawkesbury. Regardless, she should be versatile enough to take the sit if need be. Hopefully she can kick punters off on the right foot.
Danger: Pride Of Darci had what they call an ‘easy kill’ winning on debut at Taree. He was clearly a class above his opposition there and was heavily backed into a very short priced favourite. Tim Martin places his horses expertly and he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think the gelding was up to it. I thought St Vaduz was worth keeping an eye on too. He was beaten by a smart one at Flemington last start and the form out of the race has been solid since.
How to play it: Pandemonium WIN ($2.15 TAB Fixed Odds)
Pandemonium winning at Kembla Grange
|Race 2 - 2:00PM PLUCK@VINERY HANDICAP (2200 METRES)|
Typically tricky staying event with three from the Chris Waller yard. Presscott looks a bit better value than his stablemate and favourite Queen Of Heights despite his low rating. He carries the Winx colours and there was plenty of merit in his fifth at Flemington earlier in the month against some handy young stayers. Presscott may be a bit one dimensional, which is a small concern, but he has the services of Kerrin McEvoy who is a master in these staying races. Not a lot of confidence but happy to take the punt that the change in scenery in a weaker race does the trick.
Danger: Queen Of Heights makes her own luck up on the pace which can be an advantage, particularly as she may have control of this race. No harder task than her last start third and Hugh Bowman did ride her to her only win to date. Have to also respect Don Pellegrino who arrived in time to snatch second from Queen Of Heights when they clashed on August 2.
How to play it: Presscott E/W ($4.80 TAB Fixed Odds)
Don Pellegrino and Queen Of Heights battling out second at Warwick Farm on August 2
|Race 3 - 2:35PM TAB REWARDS HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
Al Mah Haha has caught the eye both times he’s stepped out, closing off with purpose over 1100m at the Farm each time. Goes to 1300m, with blinkers first time and Hugh Bowman taking over – three significant factors in his favour. Not only that he has an ideal barrier to be positioned in a striking spot and we know he can finish his races off. This looks his chance to break through.
Danger: Dissolution is back to a maiden after tackling two Group 3 races in the autumn and he went within a lip of winning the latest on the Gold Coast. He’ll likely be giving Al Mah Maha a head start having drawn the outside but remember he’s back to a maiden and his trial behind Spieth was handy enough. Smartedge had no excuses other that sitting wide when beaten as an odds-on favourite but has blinkers on and of the first starters it wouldn’t surprise if Primitivo ($26) ran a cheeky race after a nice trial.
How to play it: Al Mah Haha WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds)
Al Mah Maha just failing to catch Piracy
|Race 4 - 3:10PM SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
Nictock is an uncomplicated winning machine and there’s no reason to think he can’t make it six from seven especially with the couple of scratchings. He has an extra 3kg to lump on his last start win at Canterbury but is back to 1000m and is five from five on good tracks, with that lone defeat a game third to Clipper on a heavy 10 when first-up back in June. There doesn’t look to be a lot of competition for the lead and if they let him have control he’ll likely be too quick again.
Danger: Realise Potential might have a bit against him with the outside and 61.5kg but he’s right back in class on a nice first-up effort at Randwick and will be hitting the line.
How to play it: Nictock WIN ($1.85 TAB Fixed Odds)
Nictock runs them into the ground at Canterbury
|Race 5 - 3:45PM #THERACES HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Taking the punt that if Argent D’Or can run out the mile he might be a bit too good for them. He’s been racing in great heart in good quality Saturday benchmark races and while he only ran fourth at Rosehill on August 12 he had no hope with the winner leading and controlling the tempo. So he did well to keep hitting the line. It’s going to take a ‘Gun’ ride from Brenton Avdulla but he does know the horse well and hopefully times his run to perfection. On breeding he’s 50-50 to run out he mile but Joe Pride wouldn’t be running him if he didn’t think he could handle it.
Danger: Kokopu is the up and comer in the race and while he may not be well weighted compared to Argent D’Or considering the quality of race they have tackled he was super impressive winning at Kembla on August 10. He will run the mile out and races on the pace so should give a good sight.
How to play it: Argent D’Or E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds)
Argent D’Or winning at Randwick in July
|Race 6 - 4:20PM ASCOT RESTAURANT HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Easily the most interesting runner of the day is I Am Serious who is unbeaten in three starts in the country and makes her city debut for Chris Waller. Her three wins have all been dominant, she’s clearly better than country grade, and the two trials in August have been excellent. She got the better of Assimilate at Randwick then beat all but Group 1 winning sprinter Takedown at Rosehill. She has a tricky gate but it’s not too much of a disadvantage at the Farm from the 1200m. She doesn’t have to be a star to win but she does look better than midweek class.
Danger: Red Is The Rose is rightly being kept safe in the betting. She’s been competitive in all five starts down south and was only beaten two lengths by I Am A Star in a Group 2 event in March. She will go forward and commands some respect. Wouldn’t be counting out Eccellere who could lead them a merry dance with the light weight.
How to play it: I Am Serious WIN ($3.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
I Am Serious runs second to Takedown in a Rosehill trial on August 18
|Race 7 - 4:55PM TAB.COM.AU HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Gretna is still fairly good each-way value with the scratching of stablemate Awoke. She was fresh and was only reeled in about 120m out when resuming at Rosehill with 58kg. She should land in front from an ideal gate for her, she’s fitter now and her last win was over the same course back in April, albeit on a heavy track. If she is able to skip away on the turn as she has done in the past it’ll take a good performance to run her down.
Danger: Royal Navy trialled well against Artlee at Gosford recently and was a strong winner beating The Pharoah and Echo Effect over 1400m at Rosehill in January so he looms as the major threat.
How to play it: Gretna E/W ($6.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Gretna finishing a close sixth after leading until the 120m first-up at Rosehill