By Neil Evans
Track improving to Soft 5/6 and rail True
|Race 1 FILLIES & MARES MAIDEN HCP (1100m):|
We start a giant 10-race card with the maiden girls. Liked the trial of debutant Good Journey three-year-old 2. Talitha from a Coffs Harbour stable who knows how to get them ready.
Dangers: Drawn further out three-year-old 3. Kiani resumes for a new Coffs stable with no public trials after switching from Victoria; while 10. Queens Do Dream also resumes from a softer draw in ground she prefers.
How to play it: Talitha each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 FILLIES & MARES MAIDEN HCP (1100m):|
A second division of the same race, and improving three-year-old 6. Power Runner is ready to win. Has found the line okay from just off the speed in her last few, and less depth in this.
Dangers: Improving local mare 2. Charice has been right behind the winner in her last two, and is a natural threat fifth-up from the inside draw. After a long stint at the trials, Gold Coast four-year-old 1. Frida's Time worked home nicely on debut although the times were slow. Keep safe at big odds 8. Gold Serenade who backs up quickly after hitting the line from well back in heavy going at Coffs, and was scratched from Taree on Saturday.
How to play it: Power Runner to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 3 COLTS, GELDINGS & ENTIRES MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Now for the boys over the same distance. Rothesay three-year-old 2. Daedalus debuts off a handy soft track trial finishing right on the winner's heels, and is the one to beat.
Dangers: Watch the betting too on resuming 3. Lookonchina off a quiet heavy track trial for smart Coffs stable, and draws to get a soft run back on the inside. Include home track six-year-old 14. Moringa's Hiemie fourth-up this prep and down in weight, with the blinkers coming off.
How to play it: Daedalus to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1100m):|
Plenty of chances in this one too. Lightly raced local six-year-old 1. Kid Galahad returns off a seven week break and forward trial. Weighted to near his best, but has superior fresh form, and drawn to get an economical run behind the speed.
Dangers: Liked the way local rival 6. Adelita Rose charged home to beat a handy CL1 field here when well backed, although asked to carry 2.5kg more. Home track mare 8. La Cronica finished hard into a place second-up behind Twelve Apostles who would have been a big chance in this. Include in exotics 5. Electric Miss first-up off a lengthy break; and 11. Miss Whittington off a nine week freshen-up and on the limit weight.
How to play it: Kid Galahad to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1100m):|
Play it again Sam, especially for Coffs mare 1. Lolly Dolly who can strike here first-up for nearly eight months. Has been given two quiet trials on rain-affected ground, normally comes to hand quickly, and gets in well at the weights after a 3kg claim.
Dangers: Big watch on 4. Toots Is Tops resuming off a smart Gold Coast trial win. Toowoomba mare 2. Arrow Express had no favours from the wide barrier in tougher grade last start, and looks well treated back to this level after the rider claims 3kg. Gap to the rest headed by local mare 5. Nanakorobi Yaoki fresh off a handy trial and drawn well; while 7. Crackaview is one for the exotics second-up off a long break.
How to play it: Lolly Dolly to win and box exacta 1,2,4. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (2200m):|
Now for the tactical staying battle. Gold Coast five-year-old 6. Scilago hit the line well at massive odds in much tougher metro grade over the border, and looks well in at the weights back in this company. Only two wins from 34, but placed a further 14 times, often in deeper races, and can sweep home late.
Dangers: Tough seven-year old 2. Pressing Matters has never raced better winning two of his last three, latest surging home from midfield in tougher grade, although up significantly in weight. Gold Coast-based 1. King Tomlola was easily collared by Pressing Matters here, but meets him a hefty 5kg better at the weights. Out of the same race, 4. Tickets For Youth only went down by a neck, but rises 4kg for this.
How to play it: Scilago to win and quinella 2 and 6. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 7 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1700m):|
A few over the odds here, although hard to see progressive three-year-old and well weighted 2. Vanbari getting beat if he gets over okay from the wide gate. Was only caught in the last couple of strides here second-up in a stronger field, and the drying track is a big plus.
Dangers: Local filly 12. La Roca is a threat, fourth-up from a handy draw. Took over on the turn before easily winning her maiden at Taree, and extra trip is ideal at this stage of the prep. Keep safe 13. Dear Sibling who hasn't missed a place in three runs this prep, and drops in weight; while 16. The Fringe can be included in wider exotics.
How to play it: Vanbari to win and El Roca each way. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 8 CLASS 2 HCP (1400m):|
Another big field and open affair. Progressive mare 4. Zoukina is screaming out for this journey after hitting the line from well back in her last few at tougher metro level in Qld. Draws to get plenty of cover back in the field, and can charge over the top.
Dangers: Home track three-year-old 3. Swanston can peak fourth-up out to this distance. Claimed a CL1 here two runs back before a slow start proved costly at Armidale, charging home late under 60kg. More depth here but can win again. Big watch on three-year-old filly 9. Mirror Model who has her first run for leading country stable since switching from the Freedman camp. Had little or no luck at Canberra two runs ago before getting too far back in a deeper provincial race. Honest five-year-old 1. A Million Dreams rarely runs a bad one. Was a dominant winner in this class two runs back, and another suited by an improving surface. Keep safe local mare 10. Stars Are Trumps off a handy maiden win.
How to play it: Zoukina to win and first four 3,4/1,3,4,9/1,3,4,9,10/1,3,4,9,10. Odds and Evens: Split
Zoukina runs fifth at Doomben on March 27
|Race 9 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1400m):|
Armidale mare 6. In Heart's Wake hasn't won for 18 months, but she's hard fit and form is strong for this grade. Hit the line to beat all bar the winner in the higher graded Guyra Cup, and gets her chance to break the drought on an improving track.
Dangers: Far North Coast mare 11. Unimpeded is also overdue for a win. Has been in and around the money all prep, and draws to get a nice trail a few lengths off the speed. Must include in exotics local 12. Hurricane Max fourth-up from a good draw.
How to play it: Heart's Wake to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 10 FLYING HCP (1100m):|
We save the most open for last over the sprint trip, and naturally there's a tonne of chances. Talented mare 5. Zac Attack returns off a lengthy break for her first run in a new Far North Coast stable since switching from the Danny O'Brien stable in Victoria. Looks ready to go off a recent forward trial here, and is the best weighted runner all day after junior rider's 3kg claim.
Dangers: Home track mare 11. September Girl is in full flight having won her last three up to BM 62 grade, but she's a real wet tracker so the more sunshine, the more her price may drift. Tamworth seven-year-old 2. Attila draws to get plenty of cover back in the field, and is always a knock-out chance with plenty of speed on up front. Smart four-year-old 3. Macchina Volante has had two months since a solid effort in a much deeper Country qualifying race, although will need to find clear running from the inside draw late in the day. Include in exotics at big odds 6. Heaven's High who hasn't done much in two runs, but is very capable back in this grade.
How to play it: Zac Attack to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Zac Attack runs third in a Grafton trial on March 29