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Neil Evans' Tips For Muswellbrook (Friday)

By Neil Evans

Track improving to near Good 4 and rail out 5m from 1200m to 300m into a cut/away

Race 1 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1750m):

Tough opener, but liked the way Scone mare 2. Holy Empress hit the line late from a mile back at home, and she can win here down in grade and over a suitably longer trip.

Dangers: Watch the betting on 1. Expiredtime who drops in grade for a new stable after having little or no luck last start at the provincials. Local mare 5. Nashian can bounce back from a good draw after things went wrong third-up at Newcastle, and the blinkers go back on for this longer journey. Include in exotics both tough four-year-old 3. The Borough, and 4. Hendo's Magic over further.

How to play it: Holy Empress to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 2 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):

Big fan of unbeaten Scone filly 3. Winside who returned with an easy win at only her second start in a weak BM 58 despite not being comfortable around the tighter track. Was very impressive on debut here back in spring, and she draws to sit just off the speed and run over them.

Dangers: Resuming four-year-old 1. Rubic Honour draws well and is smart when fresh. Trialled okay, and trainer has added blinkers. Gap to the rest headed by 2. Meyisti who bolted in first-up on the heavy at Taree, while 5. Thailand fresh is on the next line.

How to play it: Winside to win and quinella 1 and 3. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 3 2YO COLTS & GELDINGS HCP (1000m):

Now a dash for the babies, and nearly all are on debut. Scone-based Outreach gelding 6. Overextend did a stack wrong in a recent provincial trial, including blowing the start and then over-racing, but still hit the line late better than anything. Draws the inside, with a senior rider aboard, and only needs to get away reasonably to run a mighty race.

Dangers: Snitzel colt 3. Indicative is another one from the Arrowfield-Messara production line debuting in blinkers. Comes in fit off three recent trials, winning the latest narrowly after flying the gates, but had to be pushed out to the line. Keep safe Star Witness gelding 2. Humble Star off two improving trials; while Dundeel colt 4. Jutland and Shamus Award gelding 5. Kiss Sum have both trialled well.

How to play it: Overextend to win and trifecta 2,3,6/2,3,4,5,6/2,3,4,5,6. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 2YO FILLIES HCP (1000m):

Now the girls' edition, and while Scone youngsters have another big hand, Rosehill-trained Capitalist filly 12. Sky Castle is the one to beat on debut for a leading metropolitan stable. Showed natural speed to cross and lead in a provincial trial after an average start, before cruising home well ahead of the pack. Draws to get a soft run, and looks a high class one in the making.

Dangers: Improving filly 1. Dawntillarvi has three runs under her belt already, including a comfortable debut win here. Will roll forward again, and be hard to beat with a claim. Press Statement filly 11. Shemakesastatement is best of the rest off a nice trial.

How to play it: Sky Castle to win and quinella 1 and 12. Odds and Evens: Split

Sky Castle wins a trial at Hawkesbury on April 19

Race 5 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1500m):

Open battle. Provincial mare 3. Take To Heart can strike second-up off a 10-week break in similar grade carrying 1.5kg less. Did her best work late over a shorter trip at Port, and extra ground and softer gate are big ticks.

Dangers: Improving colt 5. Adios Steve should be right at his peak after working home okay over similar trips in his last few. Must include 7. Mabel Josephine who hasn't missed a place all prep, and won a weaker here three starts back. Been freshened via an easy trial, and blinkers go on. Perennial back-marker 1. Salsa Man will need plenty of speed on up front carrying 61kg, but will relish getting on to a track with a long run home; while tough five-year-old 4. Estoverto is capable of figuring second-up from the inside draw over more ground.

How to play it: Take To Heart to win and box exacta 3,5,7. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 6 MAIDEN HCP (1280m):

Tricky affair with plenty of chances. Scone three-year-old 2. Chaready made good late ground on debut after making a mess of the start, and has since trialled. An even release here under the same weight, and he can produce a dominant finish.

Dangers: Progressive three-year-old 7. Tupou can break through second-up from a soft draw, with a form country rider going on. Worked home okay resuming at Port, and the second horse from that race bolted in his next start. Improving 1. Kurlansky stuck on okay after leading behind a handy maiden winner at only his second start, and is drawn to cruise forward again. Watch the betting on 3. Hamoon Sweetheart who debuts from a good draw off two tidy trials.

How to play it: Chaready to win and Tupou each way. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 7 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1280m):

Wide open again over the same distance. Keen on promising three-year-old 5. Alastor who resumes off two quiet trials. Only missed by a whisker hitting the line on debut last spring before breaking through at third start.

Dangers: Under-rated four-year-old 1. Ficsmm Dave resumes off a forward trial, and generally comes to hand early in the prep. Provincial filly 12. Pelgrave can mix her form, dominant at Taree before dropping out here five weeks ago, although did pull up lame. Has since trialled, and her best would put her right in the finish. Big-finishing 3. Two Ducks Artie backs up 14 days after he charged home to win a similar race here. Needs the speed on, and poorly in at the weights carting 60.5kg; while 6. Mr Severino has been freshened-up coming sharply back in trip after a tough all-the-way maiden win.

How to play it: Alastor to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 8 LONE PINE CHARGE (1000m):

Feature sprint of the day serves up a big and competitive field, but Scone four-year old and short-course specialist 14. Remlaps Gem has a 50 percent winning strike rate from only six starts, and can return with a bang. Normally fires fresh, and won a recent trial at this track by more than six lengths, and sensationally in at the weights carrying only 1kg more than he did in a metro BM 78 nearly four months ago.

Dangers: Another well weighted finisher is 10. Attila who has hit the line into a place in his last three, and will relish the long straight here. Local mare 7. Iamacrumpet surged home to win a handy provincial BM 64 second-up, and also has a 2.5kg weight drop. Keep safe 6. Another Sin who has been given five weeks since doing it tough from the draw in the Skellatar here. Include in wider exotics 1. Catesby who hit the line nicely in the Skellatar, but has drawn the outside barrier under a huge weight; and 3. Human Nature who is fresh.

How to play it: Remlaps Gem to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Remlaps Gem wins a trial at Muswellbrook on April 21

All the fields, form and replays for Friday's Muswellbrook meeting

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