By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail out 4m from 900m to 275m and 1m the remainder
|Race 1 2YO MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
The youngsters get us rolling on Cup and Mornington Preludes day, with more than half on debut. Astern gelding 4. Sterny Bear debuts off two controlled provincial trial wins, and was scratched from Hawkesbury on Monday to run here. Draws to land the box seat for a good juvenile stable.
Dangers: Another first starter Star Witness filly 8. Hamoon Star won the second of two recent trials. Epaulette gelding 5. Zakor was a big drifter on debut when just fair to the line, but has been freshened, and prior trial form suggests a much improved run. Debutant stablemate to top selection 2. Mr Cosmic is also included from the inside barrier off a smart winning trial.
How to play it: Sterny Bear to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
Out to the mile we go and that augurs well for progressive local three-year-old 8. Hurn Court fourth-up. Screaming for this trip now after hitting the line hard in his last three, and can settle a bit closer in the run here from a softer gate. A month between runs but kept ticking over nicely at the trials.
Dangers: Scone three-year-old 7. Discreet Star is also well suited reaching this distance third-up, although has to negotiate a wide gate. Senior country hoop sticks, and won't be a maiden for much longer. Expect an improved run from 11. Prodigal Prince back a little in trip with the blinkers on; while 12. Front Row Ticket needs to find a length or two, but can peak fourth-up over his pet distance.
How to play it: Hurn Court to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Hurn Court runs second at Tamworth on March 7
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1200m):|
Moderate maiden. Was quite taken by the run of Scone filly 8. Diamond Kat at huge odds first-up for 13 months in a new stable. Sat at the back before making late ground through plenty of traffic in a deeper race, and should have finished closer. Was good enough to start her career in smarter metropolitan grade late in 2019 before setbacks took over, and expect her to be running on hard here at good odds.
Dangers: Home track filly 3. C'mon And Love Me was heavily backed on debut here, but missed a place in a handy maiden. Has since been given a good freshen-up, and leading stable has added blinkers and made a significant jockey switch. Has enough natural speed to park on or near the lead. Stablemate filly 1. Half Hinch dropped out resuming here when friendless in betting, but has reloaded via a winning trial and can improve sharply. Watch the betting on Swiss Ace filly 4. Watchkeeping who debuts off a string of only moderate trials.
How to play it: Diamond Kat each way and trifecta 3,8/1,3,4,8/1,3,4,8. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1000m):|
Consistent local six-year-old 3. Wallace Street hasn't missed a place in four runs this prep starting with a determined fresh win in similar grade at Dubbo. Draws to get an ideal trail just off the speed, and loves it firm.
Dangers: Home track specialist 1. Lord Tony comes out of that same last race at Moree as the top selection, and also draws to get a charmed run. Even with a 1.5kg claim, though, still looks weighted to his best. Local six-year-old 2. Holy Command drops back significantly in grade and trip after leading and collapsing second-up in a Country C'ship qualifier. Has been given a month between runs and travelled nicely in a recent trial. Sparingly raced three-year-old 7. Castlecomer has plenty of ability, but hasn't been seen since a terrific effort finishing hard through traffic in a deeper provincial race six weeks back. Watch for him charging home. Include in exotics 9. Timion who resumes with no public trials, but has a tonne of natural speed and can lead for a long way carrying only 54kg.
How to play it: Wallace Street to win and trifecta 1,2,3/1,2,3,7,9/1,2,3,7,9. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 5 MORNINGTON PRELUDE (2100m):|
Out in distance for three-year-olds and up in one of the features. Big-finishing five-year-old 2. Shamusu Sho jumps up a long way in trip third-up, but he's ready to recapture his best dropping sharply in weight. Has worked home from a long way back in two good quality affairs, and with enough speed to chase here, will be strong late carrying the lightest weight of his career.
Dangers: Honest six-year-old 1. Chocolatier can settle closer in the run over this journey after getting too far back in the Wellington Cup and doing next to nothing in the run home; while consistent Dubbo six-year-old 4. Careering Away hasn't missed a place in his last five including two wins
How to play it: Shamusu Sho to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 TAMWORTH CUP PRELUDE (1400m):|
Now the Cup candidates lock horns, and typically there are a stack of chances. Tough four-year-old 10. War Car is much better placed here back from a high-rating Muswellbrook Cup when doing some early work to get across from the draw, and the effort told late. Hard fit and well treated carrying the same weight.
Dangers: Talented Dubbo five-year-old 3. What The Fuss has knocked up running second after a BM 83 win at Cowra back in mid January. Versatile sprinter who usually parks just off the speed, but likely to be ridden quieter here from the tough draw in order to run out a strong seven furlongs. Blinkers off is also a crucial gear change. Promising Scone four-year-old 5. Total Recall looks ready to return with blinkers back on after winning both lead-up trials, but would prefer him drawn away from the fence. Keep safe 9. Salsa Man who powered home from a mile back to win the Quirindi Cup, and has been given a decent freshen-up for this drop back in trip against better opposition on a less suitable circuit.
How to play it: War Cat each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 CLASS 2 HCP (1200m):|
Lightly raced and smart Scone mare 10. Stunning Mosa is ideally placed third-up from a soft draw over more ground. Has been given six weeks since a nice closing effort in a tougher Highway after being a certainty beat resuming at Muswellbrook.
Dangers: This is a familiar pattern for four-year-old mare 1. Cecilia stepping up to this trip off a strong closing 1000m return, and she's won both second-up starts in dominant fashion. Gap to the rest headed by 2. Kinship who can use his tactical speed from the inside gate fourth-up around this course.
How to play it: Stunning Mosa to win and quinella 1 and 10. Odds and Evens: Split
Stunning Mosa's last start at Randwick on February 27