By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Saturday’s Country Championships meeting at Goulburn. Selections based on a good track.
|Race 1 – 1:39PM STORAGE KING GOULBURN HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
2. Promesa is debutant and he was excellent hitting the line under a big hold at Canberra in his only public trial a month ago. Not sure if gate one is a plus or minus but with the likely favourite coming out on the trial he’s hard to beat.
Dangers: 4. Brunela has the race experience from a solid third at Wagga where she settled well back and hit the line into third, beaten five lengths. Open to improvement on that. 5. Oaks is on debut after two trials and she showed some improvement into her second at Wagga though that was 10 months ago. Betting a good guide to her chances but rather keep her safe. 10. Nine Circles is speedy and probably leads. Run down at Queanbeyan last start but has been around the mark and could be placed again.
How to play it: Promesa WIN ($2.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Promesa runs third in a trial at Canberra on February 1
|Race 2 - 2:14PM DOYLES ON THE BEACH HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
No reason why 5. Major Danger can’t handle the step up to a Class 2 off his easy first-up maiden win. He was a good thing beaten over this course back in September so he’s almost won two races anyway and gets in with 56kg. Will go forward and on his home track can be very competitive.
Dangers: 1. Yulong Win is an interesting runner up from Victoria. In the market at Moonee Valley last start and ran last but had excuses. Won well at Geelong before that and likely to be prominent from barrier one. Has the 61.5kg to carry but has to be respected. 2. Gundy was a beaten favourite at this track in January then not disgraced in a much stronger race at Canterbury won by Handle The Truth. Better suited in this class and should be thereabouts. 4. Exceed The Night was a shade disappointing at the Sapphire Coast in a small field and just held her ground in third. Couldn’t lead there so that could be key to her chances in this.
How to play it: Major Danger E/W ($3.80 TAB Fixed Odds).
Major Danger wins easily at Sapphire Coast on February 3
|Race 3 – 2.49PM JAMALA WILDLIFE LODGE HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
Godolphin appear to have the key to this race with two first starters. 9. Sakura has looked pretty good at the trials particularly in her second this time in. She’s a three-quarter sister to stakes winner Kanzan and while drawn out she looks hard to beat.
Dangers: 8. Danae hasn’t looked as sharp in her trials but she is an Animal Kingdom so she’ll be better off over the 1300m on race day then 740m trials. Worth keeping very safe. 2. Bollente has been ordinary in two runs back but he’s settled well off the pace in both. Livened up in a recent trial and has blinkers on so might go forward and give a good sight. 1. Refire hasn’t done a lot wrong in two starts for two second placings and appears suited to the trip first-up. No public trials but in top local stable and could feature. Also a watch on 5. Classic Catch who is related to Don’t Give A Damn and would no doubt have improved on his only trial back in September.
How to play it: Sakura WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Sakura runs third in a Warwick Farm trial on February 14
|Race 4 – 3.24PM TAB.COM.AU PLATE (1600 METRES)|
Looks the right race for 2. Gunga Din to break through after two handy efforts over shorter trips. Had plenty of support last time at Wagga and just found it too short so out to the mile and from barrier one he has his big chance in a very winnable race.
Dangers: 10. Jailbird Jayjay gets back and runs on and has found one better in all four starts this preparation. Good chance that will happen again here but racing in superior form to last time she tried the mile so has to be respected. 4. Lord Desanimaux started big odds when he resumed at Kembla a month ago but kept coming in a strong third and was clear of the rest. Should love the extra trip and lesser company and if that wasn’t a fluke he’s right in this. 6. Blucarat was a drifter in betting on debut and weakened after sitting outside the leader at Nowra. Likely to be fitter for this and if any support comes it’d be significant.
How to play it: Gunga Din WIN ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Gunga Din runs on into fourth at Wagga on February 14
|Race 5 – 4.04PM GOULBURN MULWAREE COUNCIL HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
5. Lolita Gold may not have quite run out the 2000m at Albury last week and on the back up and down to a mile again she appears well suited. Heavily backed when just missing over the mile at Albury two starts back and from a good gate it’s hard to see her not being right in the finish.
Dangers: 7. Defy was 1200m to a mile and found the line strongly, albeit with some favours, to run second at Nowra a couple of weeks back in similar grade. Soft draw again and if he can run up to that effort he’s in there with a shot. 8. Smiling At Shadows has had nine runs this time in for eight placings so you just can’t leave him out of the mix. Went around as favourite at Canberra a month ago and surged late to be beaten half a length. Has won at 1900m so a mile is okay. Each-way. 6. Arrogant Lass was a dashing all the way maiden winner at Nowra second-up and the mile looks to hold no fears. Lightly raced and whule up in class she’ll give a good sight.
How to play it: Lolita Gold E/W ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Lolita Gold runs a close third at Albury on February 23
|Race 6 - 4:44PM SEMCO EQUIPMENT HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
2. King’s Peak is an up and comer who won easily at his only start over this course back in October. Only miss so far was first-up but resumes here at a suitable trip on a good track and coming off an impressive second to Trapeze Artist in a Randwick trial. Drawn to have his chance.
Dangers: 1. Haikili was an easing short priced favourite off a five week break and got the job done at Newcastle over 1200m. The placegetters are running in a maiden earlier at this meeting so their efforts will give some guide to the strength of that win. Keep in mind. 4. Vertex showed some ability in the spring in a series of Highway runs including a couple of placings. Did enough in a recent trial and 1400m fresh suits in this class. Wouldn’t surprise to see her somewhere in the finish. 9. Whisky'n'diamonds made some ground first-up at Nowra and while he'll prefer a bit more ground he's a chance of running into a placing.
How to play it: King’s Peak WIN ($1.85 TAB Fixed Odds).
King’s Peak runs second to Trapeze Artist in a Randwick trial on February 18
|Race 7 - 5:24PM ELECTEL SERVICES HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
1. Black Wand was only fair when resuming at Nowra a couple of weeks back but strikes me as one that can improve here. Was well backed fresh so expected to run well and he just held ground. But the blinkers go on here, home track and handy enough draw so expecting him to show something.
Dangers: 6. Mookareena hit the line okay first-up at Sapphire Coast when it wasn’t easy to make ground then disappointed at Orange second-up. Prepared to forgive that and she’s run fourth to Noble Boy in a Highway so deserves some respect. 11. Sestina is racing consistently though it’s fair to say she’s had every chance at her last couple and hasn’t converted. Might be finding 1400m or so too far so back slightly in trip might see her find the line a bit better. 2. Classic Jade comes back a notch after a few fair runs in city and provincial company. Probably goes forward and capable of being in the finish.
How to play it: Black Wand WIN ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Black Wand runs third at the Gold Coast before a spell in October
|Race 8 - 6:00PM SERA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
2. Common Purpose is just about an each-way special in the Qualifier for mine. Can’t see him missing a place at handy each-way odds even if Noble Boy proves too good. Strong winner at Canterbury first-up then loomed and just outgunned at Warwick Farm. Blinkers go on from a perfect draw and he’s yet to finish worse that second on his home track. Will be in the finish.
Dangers: 3. Noble Boy is impossible to knock, he’s won four from four and by dominant spaces each time. Logical and deserved favourite. Barrier one is a small worry for him as he’s yet to show a lot of early speed and risks being buried in the big field. That said if he does find room to wind up he has the best turn of foot. The horse to beat. Read more about Noble Boy here. 19. Fun Tickets is fitter for two runs back and was outsped in the same race as Common Purpose at the Farm last time before working to the line nicely in behind them late. Will get back here but will be running on and could get into the money at big odds. 11. Our Rosemaree won successive Highways back at the end of last year then freshened up for this. Both runs back have been eye-catching and she’s well and truly capable of going close. 1. Handle The Truth will need luck from the wide gate but is good enough if he gets it and 10. Bocelli is worth throwing into trifectas first-up, ran eighth in this race last year at just his second start and has shown the ability if right fresh.
How to play it: Common Purpose E/W ($10 TAB Fixed Odds).
Common Purpose runs third at Warwick Farm on February 13
Comments from the trainers of every runner in the Country Championships Qualifier can be found here.