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Neil Evan's Selections For Wagga Races (Thursday)

By Neil Evans

Track likely improving to Soft 5 and the rail is in the True position.

Race 1 (1:20pm) KENNARDS HIRE CLASS 3 HANDICAP (1000M)

The Xmas eve card gets rolling with a strong short-course dash. Canberra 3YO filly 1. Delacour ($2.25 favourite on TAB) has a ton of natural speed and resumes off a typical smart trial win at home. Distance specialist who has only missed a place once in six starts and scored consecutive dominant wins in the spring, but is being asked to carry the biggest weight (59.5kg) of her short career.

Dangers: Albury mare 4. Ballerina Magic ($3.60) has shown steady improvement over three runs this prep and drops in weight, although meeting a few smarter ones here; while 6YO 3. Nobody's Puppet ($4.20) resumes with no public trials but has speed and normally fires when fresh.

How to play it: Delacour to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 2 (1:55pm) THE RURAL MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000M)

A weak maiden augurs well for ultra-consistent 4YO 5. Gallant Run ($1.65 fav) having his first start for a new Albury stable. Has ridden the speed and been placed in both runs this prep at provincial level and must be the one to stop from the draw.

Dangers: Watch the betting on local filly 6. Carnival Miss ($7) who has trialled well and drawn to get a sweet run; while home track mare 13. Zelberg ($8) had been around the money in her last few before trialling well on the Riverside track here.

How to play it: Gallant Run to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 (2:30pm) HAPPY RETIREMENT DAVE HEYWOOD MAIDEN PLATE (1400M)

Progressive 3YO Canberra filly 13. One Aye ($1.70 fav) will dominate this market and from the draw, seemingly only bad luck stands in her way. Charged home at big odds to just miss in a stronger maiden at Mudgee second start and gets the blinkers added over an even more suitable trip.

Dangers: Doubt there are any if the top selection gets a clear run from the turn, but improving Albury 4YO 2. Mr Zhivago ($15) can run the quinella after working home okay in his first run for a new Albury yard. Stablemate filly 14. Vinnie's Girl ($14) out in distance; and Canberra pair 7. Favourite Things ($4) who was close-up in a handy maiden at home, and improving colt 5. Arcadia Power ($11) are the best of the rest.

How to play it: One Aye to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 (13:05pm) WAGGA WAGGA EARLY LEARNING CENTRE CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1200M)

Tricky race. Canberra 5YO gelding 10. Who's Shout ($17) resumes with no official trials and likely to go around well over $31 but maps okay, carrying his lightest weight in a while. Continually hit the line well last prep and don't be put off by his ordinary strike rate. Would have done enough work and can be saved up in transit for one almighty late surge.

Dangers: Wangaratta 3YO 9. Big Day Out ($3.80) can go close second-up over a more suitable journey after a tidy return on the Riverside Track. Draws to get good cover just off the speed. Wodonga mare 8. Tori Marguerite ($7.50) has had little luck in her last two at home across BM 64 grade and looks well over the odds with a senior country rider booked and key gear changes made.

How to play it: Who's Shout each way and box exacta 8,9,10
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 5 (3:40pm) JAEGERS EVENT HIRE TED RYDER CUP (1600M)

Open feature race with a decent tempo expected. Big fan of Goulburn 6YO 7. Obelos ($5.50) who overcame traffic problems third-up before sweeping home to comfortably win a BM 83 at Orange. Previous Highway form was very good for a race like this and draws to sit back and be produced to the outside.

Dangers: Albury 7YO 6. Wyangle ($5) should be right at his peak now after finishing best to win the Prelude carrying a half kilo more and the drier the better. Victorian 6YO 8. Mellors ($2.80 fav) is the best-weighted runner in the race dropping a hefty 7kg from a string of strong efforts at BM 64 level over the border. Trainer has replaced blinkers with winkers. Tough Canberra 7YO 5. Supreme Polarity ($5) had been in and around the money all prep before finding a metro BM 78 a little rich, although a query at the mile.

How to play it: Obelos each way and first four 6,7,8/6,7,8/5,6,7,8/3,5,6,7,8
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 (4:15pm) WILLIAM FARRER HOTEL OPEN HANDICAP (1200M)

Good deep race. Like the third-up value here about lightly raced Gundagai 8YO 7. Thistledo ($6) coming back from a handy closing run at huge odds in a stronger metro BM 72. Draws to get enough cover back in the field, and this is his pet trip.

Dangers: The market will revolve around smart Canberra mare 8. Tejori ($2.50 fav) dropping back from a good effort in a stronger Highway at Randwick. Draws the inside and ready for this longer trip third-up. Albury 4YO 9. Scout ($5.50) lost no admirers resuming under a big weight behind a good sprinter at home, and while this is naturally tougher, he gets significant weight relief from a good trailing draw. Local 7YO 4. Forever Newyork ($5.50) finished best to win a BM 81 on the Riverside Track third-up and is also drawn to find a useful trail off the fence.

How to play it: Thistledo each way and box exacta 7,8,9
Odds and Evens: Split a special

Race 7 (4:50pm) THOMAS BLAMEY TAVERN BENCHMARK BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1400M)

Testing battle with a few chances. Victorian filly 11. Aswaat ($2.30 fav) can hit back hard over this trip after failing to run out the mile third-up in a BM 70 at Sandown. Despite coming out of his own age group, looks incredibly well-weighted carrying 1kg less at this country level and must be the one to beat with blinkers going on.

Dangers: Liked the way lightly raced Albury 9YO 13. Faramondo ($8) hit the line second-up at Wodonga and even better suited on the bigger track; while Wagga 5YO 3. Certain Shaft ($10) draws well coming off a strong closing CL1 win second-up at Gundagai.

How to play it: Aswaat to win
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 8 (5:30pm) ALLENS COACHES HEAT OF THE STAYERS SERIES BENCHMARK 66 HCP (2000M)

A strong and very wide open staying test with plenty of chances to close the meeting and welcome Santa. Progressive Wellington 4YO 7. Athena's Lad ($4.60) is on the rise and can make it three from his last four. Loves to settle back and finish hard and his late-charging win in a similar grade at Narromine augurs well for this longer trip, despite a 2.5kg rise in weight.

Dangers: Victorian 4YO 5. Huntly Castle ($4 fav) looks much better suited here at fifth run this prep after a flat showing in a deeper race at Sandown, although drawn right off the track. Goulburn 5YO 6. Lamington Drive ($14) got too far back in the small field at Warwick Farm before working home well, and more ground on a bigger circuit are handy plusses well into the prep.

How to play it: Athena's Lad each way
Odds and Evens: Split

BEST BETS
R3 13. ONE AYE
R7 11. ASWAAT

BEST VALUE
R5 7. OBELOS

View the final fields with full form & race replays for Wagga here

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