By Neil Evans
Track likely Soft 6 and rail out 3m from 1000m to 380m into a cut/away
|Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (920m):|
We start with the maidens at set weights. Improving mare 7. Stella Siren has had little luck in transit and at the barrier draw in three runs at this track, yet has continued to find the line well. Just needs to find any cover here and can finish over the top.
Dangers: Nomadic four-year-old 1. Epauvescent can improve fourth-up from a softer draw. Watch the betting on four-year-old Scissor Kick mare 3. Accidental Mai Thai who debuts in winkers; while four-year-old 2. Poet's Octave can improve at her second start.
How to play it: Stella Siren to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 2 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1010m):|
Competitive sprint, with several chances. Progressive Canberra five-year-old 1. Washington Towers is primed to pick up where he left off in autumn, winning his last two before spelling. Draws to get a nice trail in behind the speed.
Dangers: Lightly raced eight-year-old 5. Alfstar has hit the line hard in his last two at CL3 level, and is ready to win. By-passed a winnable race at Wellington last week to be saved for this. Tough nine-year-old 4. Newtown Is Coming broke a long drought in weaker grade, and looks handily placed at the weights after rider's claim. That said he will need a tonne of speed up front to get home. Provincial mare 7. Designer Maid will likely set that speed and give a big sight, although doubt she can hold out all of these; while 9. No Emotion will be running on hard.
How to play it: Washington Towers and quinella 1 and 5. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 3 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1650m):|
Canberra five-year-old 3. Clem Fandango goes up sharply in weight, but he has more scope for progression than anything else in the race. Worked home late here two weeks back in a deeper race, and should be able to settle closer here off-setting a decision to bring him back 350m in trip.
Dangers: Emerging five-year-old 2. Assertive Ace has returned in smart order this prep, winning two from three here, both times sitting just behind the speed. Tougher draw, but a proven weight carrier. The one he narrowly beat last start 6. Think Rush gets a 1.5kg weight turnaround, and did land his maiden at this track the start prior, but drawn right off the track. Canberra mare 7. Iconically has won two of her last three, and has enough tactical speed to roll across from a wider draw and give a big kick.
How to play it: Clem Fandago each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1425m):|
Improving mare 8. Hope Uno is the clear value at her fifth start after working home in her last few. Back to a bigger track and over a little more ground are big keys.
Dangers: Lightly raced five-year-old 3. Budderoo Blitz is the natural threat fourth-up and down in weight; while the rest are probably going around for fun.
How to play it: Hope Uno each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Consistent and still improving Canberra filly 13. Stratum Pride gets the nod here 4th-up in an ideal race sitting on the limit weight. Liked the way she picked up late over a shorter journey at Queanbeyan, and the extra trip is a natural bonus.
Dangers: Local four-year-old 7. Yorker is a serious threat resuming from a handy draw. So too Canberra colt and ex-Kiwi 12. Titled who was only collared late on debut at Wagga after being very heavily backed. Watch the betting on provincial four-year-old 6. Renard who debuts off two progressive trials from the inside gate.
How to play it: Stratum Pride to win and box exacta 7,12,13. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1425m):|
This stacks up nicely for progressive Canberra mare 5. Exotic Deel second-up and down in grade. Chased hard resuming behind a smart sprinter at Queanbeyan, and draws to get a cosy run off speed over an extra 225m before being produced in the straight. The one to beat.
Dangers: Tough provincial mare 11. Freaky Freckles is well placed deep into her prep having comfortably beaten a similar field at Goulburn two runs back, and coming back from deeper provincial grade carrying 1kg less. Big market watch on talented and lightly raced five-year-old 9. Port Douglas who can fire fresh after a progressive autumn campaign when he destroyed a Class 1 field by a long way. Local seven-year-old 1. Whiskey'N'Diamonds is drawn wide with a big weight, but likes to settle back and finish hard; while include in exotics 10. My Blue Jeans and 12. Kentucky Award.
How to play it: Exotic Deel to win and quinella 5 and 11. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 7 CLASS 2 HCP (1425m):|
Improving four-year-old 2. Mitata gave nothing else a chance, leading all the way here two runs back before sticking on well in a similar race. Has enough gate speed to off-set the wide draw.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 5. You Are King gave odds-on backers a real scare at second start, just hanging on as a hot favourite, but draws to get a charmed run up in grade. Keep safe progressive mare 8. Kermatin who resumes for a strong Canberra stable; while tough local mare 3. Boom And Zoom comes back in distance four weeks between runs, but probably needs it wetter to win this.
How to play it: Mitata each way and box trifecta 2,3,5,8. Odds and Evens: Split
R2 1. WASHINGTON TOWERS
R5 13. STRATUM PRIDE
R4 8. HOPE UNO