By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Sunday’s Country Championships meeting at Dubbo. Selections based on a good track.
R8: 6-4-7-1 BB
|Race 1 – 12:45PM OSM TRANSPORTABLES PLATE (1200 METRES)|
11. Game Of Circles started double figures on debut at Port Macquarie and ran a very nice race without a lot of luck late. There’s arguably more depth in that maiden as this one and she will be better for the run. Nicely drawn, drops in weight so there’s a lot to like about her chances.
Dangers: 12. Off The Roof is one of a few interesting first starters and she’s only had the one trial, on this track, last week. So perhaps it’s a bit of an ask but she certainly wasn’t extended in the gallop and no surprise to see her run well. 9. Rosesay hasn’t raced since September and hasn’t trialled officially. Runner-up at her first two starts, including once here, and there’s a case for her to be in the finish. 5. Son Of A Dun held his ground okay in a Scone trial recently and on breeding will relish the 1200m first-up a lot more than a trial distance. Expect he’ll improve on whatever he does here and is worth a look.
How to play it: Game Of Circles WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Game Of Circles runs fifth on debut at Port Macquarie on January 25
|Race 2 - 1:20PM FURNEYS HORSELAND DUBBO HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
7. In Good Health signalled a win isn’t far off with a very handy first-up third at Scone over the unsuitable 900m. She was favourite there and had a bit of traffic problems before pulling plenty of late ground and looking strong. Nicely drawn and only has to reproduce the fresh effort to take beating.
Dangers: 3. Kookabaa was never in the race in a strong Highway at Randwick last start so ignore that. Popular winner at Muswellbrook with a big finish and is down 2kg on that. He’ll be somewhere in the finish of this. 2. Tikkitala had good support first-up and had her chance but will be fitter for running a nice second. Extra 100m would be in his favour. Wide gate a query but blinkers on a plus. Must be considered. 4. Alcatran raced on the speed and got the job done when resuming at Cowra over this trip. Hasn’t done a lot wrong in country grade and is hard to leave out. If there’s an upset perhaps 13. Tom And Me at big odds could surprise. Form is poor but hasn’t raced for 18 months and looked to be going half pace in a close second in a Dubbo trial recently.
How to play it: In Good Health WIN ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
In Good Health runs on strongly late at Scone on January 31
|Race 3 – 1.55PM THE MILESTONE HOTEL HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
1. Caszar is no good thing but has to go on top on the score of consistency in an open race. Beaten as an odds-on favourite here in December then six weeks before his third at Parkes which isn’t as bad as it looks on paper. Ran on well there and not knocked about late. Has every chance to break through if he wants it.
Dangers: 6. Press Issue had plenty of support in the same race as Caszar at his debut and he boxed on pretty well not far from that horse. Will be better for the run and also better suited this track. Has to be considered each-way at least. 5. Star Express ran okay at the short trip first-up then improved for a handy second at Dubbo. Always thereabouts last time and while drawn wide he’d only have to hold his form to be in the finish somewhere. 7. Dynasty Di has struck some consistency with placings at her last three and at big odds in her last two. Tends to race handy and was beaten by a promising one last time. Expect her to be thereabouts again.
How to play it: Caszar E/W ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Caszar runs third at Parkes on January 31
|Race 4 – 2.30PM DUBBO RSL CLUB RESORT HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
2. Charlotte’s Heart should get across from the wide gate to the front and if that’s the case she’ll take some catching. Dominant all the way winner at Tamworth last start, distance looks no issue and while up from maiden company she’s on the up. Hard to beat.
Dangers: 1. Healing Hands was no match for a handy type at Muswellbrook at his second start but still ran very well. Too good on debut here over the sprint trip. Small query at 1400m but hard to knock him on what he’s done to date. 4. Miss Lon looked as though she’ll love 1400m as she made a late burst to score at Cowra as favourite a couple of weeks back. Not sure where she goes from the barrier but done nothing wrong and is a definite chance. 16. Bel Blaster is an ex-Victorian who is a big watch first-up for the new stable. Form is mixed but judging on his Bathurst trial he’s going very well and no surprise to see him right in the finish.
How to play it: Charlotte’s Heart WIN ($3.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Charlotte’s Heart wins easily at Tamworth on January 24
|Race 5 – 3.05PM ADORS PARTY HIRE HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
3. Mark My Word is a bit hit and miss but comes back to the mile after a respectable fourth at Tamworth last start. This race has opened right up, he put in a good effort three starts back at Scone and he has a show here.
Dangers: 11. Handful Of Aces showed a return to form at big odds third-up at Bathurst finishing off strongly late to snare third. Form at her home track is patchy but heading the right way she can find herself in a minor placing. 6. Wollartant comes back to his right grade after running in the Cowra Cup and finishing midfield. All the way winner at Wellington prior and can give a sight. 8. Recital just battled at Parkes last time but can forgive that effort. Previous form was consistent without winning and from the good gate he should get every chance.
How to play it: Mark My Word E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Mark My Word runs fourth at Tamworth on January 24
|Race 6 - 3:45PM WAYNE MALLISON PAINTER & DECORATOR HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
5. Miss Hugo A Gogo is the logical horse to beat with two wins from three starts this time in. Yet to win beyond 1200m but ran well at this trip between her two wins, drawn nicely and it'd be a surprise if she's not in the finish.
Dangers: 6. Tokyo Bullet hasn’t raced since October where he may have been at the end of the prep as previous form was sound. Drawn wide but will get back and he’ll run home, expect him to improve on whatever he does here too. 12. Rawson Crossing was in the market at Muswellbrook last time and beat one home. Easy winner at Orange prior and while he's yet to win in 10 starts at this track he's in the mix. 3. Malverna wasn't beaten far by A Martin Placepick at Parkes last time and comes back in class. Beat Welcome Art at this track in July and if he can find some of that form he can show up.
How to play it: Miss Hugo A Gogo WIN ($3.30 TAB Fixed Odds).
Miss Hugo A Gogo wins at Gilgandra on January 6
|Race 7 - 4:30PM WRA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
1. A Martin Placepick does pick himself and as the weights show he’s clearly the best horse in the race. He was excellent first-up at Gilgandra then tough winner at Parkes with 61kg and conceding a big start. Any speed would assist him but simply he has the form on the board with five wins from his last eight starts. The one to beat. Read more about A Martin Placepick here.
Dangers: 4. Westlink hasn’t done a lot wrong and produced a massive effort to run third at Wellington after being a mile off the pace down the back. Amazing he could run third and from the inside and with a massive jockey change he has to be respected. Read more about Westlink here. 8. Sons Of Bourke produced an eye-catcher first-up at Cowra getting home late into third place at 1200m. Second-up form is patchy but distance looks to suit and yet to miss a place on his home track. Each-way. 2. Thermosa meets A Martin Placepick 2kg better for a narrow defeat at Parkes where his effort had plenty of merit in its own right. Does he lead here from the wide gate? Still lightly raced and can’t be overlooked. Read more about Thermosa here.
How to play it: A Martin Placepick WIN ($2.30 TAB Fixed Odds).
A Martin Placepick wins at Parkes, with Thermosa third, on January 31
Trainer comments on all runners in the Country Championships Qualifier can be found here.
|Race 8 - 5:10PM DUBBO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
6. Fine Hero looks in a race he can win. Was closing fast when narrowly beaten at Cowra then had support up in grade at Gosford and again hit the line well but probably slightly outclassed. Punters Intelligence data shows he ran the fastest last 600m of the race in 34.14. Has form around A Martin Placepick and class, barrier and claim all suit. Take stopping.
Dangers: 4. Tornado Of Souls is fairly honest and hasn’t raced since breaking through at Scone back in July. First-up stats are good and drawn to be right on the pace if he doesn’t lead. Definite chance. 7. Gillie Mooch is very quick and while it’s hard to see her beating Fine Hero on their Cowra clash she shouldn’t be too far away. Has an extra 50m and a bigger track but will give a big sight as usual. 1. Legerity is a mystery runner. Back in this area after three starts for Clare Cunningham in Sydney where he didn’t fire. Started favourite in a BM70 first-up and pulled up with excuses. Wouldn’t surprise to see him bounce back but check betting.
How to play it: Fine Hero WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Fine Hero runs into third at Gosford on January 30