By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Thursday’s Wagga meeting. Selections based on a good track.
|Race 1 – 12:25PM AUDI CENTRE WAGGA HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
4. Nephradiva looked quite smart in an easy debut win around the Albury 900m. Jumps quickly to 1200m but has gate one and only went into that first-up run on the back of a jump out. Has upside and should be hard to beat. Read trainer Nick Olive's comments here.
Dangers: 8. Verbek should be kept safe first-up since a luckless debut at Newcastle back in February where he was very strong late when in the clear. Stable in-form and no surprise to see him feature. 1. Mortal Witness did a good job over this course a few weeks ago sitting outside the lead from a wide gate and winning with something in hand. Bit more depth here but has to be respected. 2. Impact Star was a drifter in betting but proved too good scoring first-up at Port Macquarie over 1000m. Is accepted for Gosford on Saturday so running here may be a good pointer.
How to play it: Nephradiva WIN ($1.90 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Nephradiva wins at Albury on April 26
|Race 2 – 1.00PM NSW RACEHORSE OWNERS ASSOC HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
6. Grand Palazzo looks close to a win after two handy efforts since a mishap at Wyong in March. Slow out at Kembla last time but kept coming to be beaten just over a length and is ready for the extra trip now. Draws well, every chance to break through.
Dangers: 8. Berenib was a drifter in betting on debut at Pakenham but did make some nice late ground without threatening into fourth. Based on that the 1400m should be ideal and while taking on older horses commands some respect. 12. Singing Dixie is a 13 start maiden but she’s been competitive in both starts this time around. Likely to go forward from the wide gate and put herself in contention, each-way claims if she does. 1. Lumber Dream is ex-Kris Lees and hasn’t raced since Boxing Day when placed at Newcastle in an even effort. Had support that day too. No public trials for local stable but drawn soft and could show up.
How to play it: Grand Palazzo WIN ($3.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Grand Palazzo runs sixth at Kembla on April 24
|Race 3 – 1:35PM BUDGET TRUCK RENTALS WAGGA PLATE (1600 METRES)|
5. Kitzbuhel is a market watch first-up in Australia for good local yard. Stretched out well late in his trial over 1000m recently, the mile suits fresh and has drawn okay. That all points to a positive run.
Dangers: 11. Boadelle was narrowly beaten on debut then ran up to the $1.35 price scoring at Wangaratta three weeks ago. Have to respect the stable/jockey combination and keep her in the mix. 3. Fever Tree showed a return to form with a fighting third at Gundagai almost a month ago and will possibly land in front here. If he gets control he could give cheek at odds. 2. Battenburg raced wide all the way and dropped out when a beaten favourite at Scone last time. Was 1200m up to a mile there as well so fitter here and entitled to another chance.
How to play it: Kitzbuhel WIN ($4.80 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Kitzbuhel runs fifth in a trial at Wagga on April 18
|Race 4 – 2.15PM ELDERS HOME & COMMERCIAL FINANCE HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
All eyes on 4. Smuggler’s Bay who finally makes his debut after doing plenty wrong in a close second in a trial at Canberra back in November. First, third, fourth and fifth from that trial have all won races since. Drawn to have his chance to join them.
Dangers: 7. Best Not Say might be the one well over the odds on debut after one public trial at Albury where she wasn’t asked to do anything at all out the back. Well bred, dam was a five time winner and placed in metro company, and in good stable. Keep safe. 1. Conjola Phoenix blew the start in his only trial at Kembla a month ago and railed through to run a close second. Needs to get the start right here but otherwise worth including in the chances. 9. After Dinner is another who didn’t stand out in her latest trial but it was in town and she has blinkers on from an inside gate with Tommy Berry to ride. Watch betting.
How to play it: Smuggler’s Bay WIN ($3.30 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Smuggler’s Bay runs second in a trial at Canberra on November 27
|Race 5 – 3:00PM BYRNE TRAILERS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
2. This Skilled Cat backed up a return to form from an excellent fourth in a stronger race at Albury with a dominant win at Bendigo back to this sort of class. Gets in okay with the claim and has gate one so just needs the breaks to be a major player.
Dangers: 7. Shenandoah looked to have every chance in the lead at Canberra last time as an odds-on favourite and was run down. Drops 3kg and likely to go forward onto the speed again here so should give a sight. 6. Tocatchacod is yet to win 12 starts at this track but placed in seven of them so is well worth throwing into the mix. Runner-up in the Deniliquin Cup last start at this trip, not disgraced in the Gundagai Cup prior. 3. She’s All In can be a bit hot and cold but her best efforts would give her a show here. Down in class on her Canberra run two weeks ago, races on speed and can give some cheek.
How to play it: This Skilled Cat WIN ($3.40 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
This Skilled Cat runs fourth at Albury on March 18
|Race 6 – 3:40PM THE DAILY ADVERTISER HANDICAP (2000 METRES)|
14. Rond De Jambe appeals each-way having run well in two starts since a win here in March. Should have finished closer last time when on the placegetters’ heels. Gets back a bit so needs luck but if she gets it can feature.
Dangers: 11. Larmour did quite a good job to run down Shenandoah at Canberra over a mile and his form is even better up to this distance range. If he can hold his form now he’s right in this. 16. Himiko appreciated a class drop from the Adrian Knox to score an all the way win as favourite at Canberra over this trip. Harder here but races on the pace and given she’s lightly raced she can still measure up. 10. Aperol Sprint has made good ground behind the placings in both runs this time in. Both wins have been at this trip and has to be respected.
How to play it: Rond De Jambe E/W ($18 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Rond De Jambe runs fourth at Wagga on April 18
|Race 7 – 4:20PM IRON JACK 2021 WAGGA TOWN PLATE (1200 METRES)|
3. Southern Lad was a bit stiff in this race last year and has been set for this since finishing second to Masked Crusader at Randwick in February. Nice recent trial winner, wide gate may not be significant with decent speed engaged. Hard to hold out.
Dangers: 17. Sneak Preview has been excellent in two runs back for placings at Wellington and Wagga, the latest in the Prelude to this race. Will appreciate a solid tempo and if he can take advantage of gate one he can be dangerous. 4. Open Minded has a bit of a job from the outside gate but he goes forward and comes off four straight wins at 1200m in Victoria. Led all the way at Caulfield last time and with any luck is a good chance. 1. Handle The Truth hasn’t been back to Wagga since he won there on debut. Too strong in the National Sprint at Canberra three runs back and while safely held in two runs in town since then he’s more than capable of bouncing back.
How to play it: Southern Lad E/W ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Southern Lad wins a trial at Randwick on April 20
|Race 8 – 4:55PM INGLIS DIGITAL HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
6. Zachariah was no match for Saquon at Wyong a month ago on a heavy track but still ran well. Suspect he prefers a firmer track and from barrier one he can be in a striking position. Good each-way chance.
Dangers: 7. Kibosh had been consistent prior to breaking through with an all the way win at Canberra as favourite a couple of weeks ago. Will press forward and give a good account again. 2. The Stager was a big maiden winner three runs ago, failed at Sandown then even effort to place at Wangaratta under a big weight. Drops 5kg and Nash rides so plenty going for him here. Must be included. 3. Nothing Compares is an ex-Kiwi having her first run for Matthew Dale and has had no public trials. Form is mixed but did contest the NZ Oaks last year. Watch betting for a push in a winnable race.
How to play it: Zachariah E/W ($6.50 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Zachariah runs second at Wyong on April 8