By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Sunday’s Country Championships meeting at Moruya. Selections based on a soft track.
|Race 1 – 12:55PM GO STEEL BUILDING PRODUCTS PLATE (1400 METRES)|
9. Il Professionale is building a good record and looked strong at the end of the 1200m when scoring first-up at Wagga. A soft track is perfect for her and the form around her last 1400m run is excellent. Sure to be in the finish.
Dangers: 7. Soviet appears to have come back well with placings at both runs back around this trip. Strike rate is getting to be a concern but drawn nicely and will have his chance. 11. Cavalier Charles started favourite on debut and led all the way though did have to dig right in when challenged early in the straight. Likely to press forward here and he could measure up. Respect the Dale/Berry combination. 4. O’So Tempting won his only start at this track and there was merit in his last start effort at Wagga, off a wide gate, running on late. Drawn one here and fitter for a tickover trial. Each-way.
How to play it: Il Professionale E/W ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Il Professionale wins at Wagga on January 21
|Race 2 - 1:35PM MWA LAWYERS HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
9. Diva Bella is an interesting runner having her first run for Mitch Newman with no official trial so betting will be crucial. Both starts have been against much stronger company and she’s been competitive. Hard to beat, especially if solid in the market.
Dangers: 5. Vinaigrette hasn’t raced since November and ignore that run in a strong city maiden. No trial and blinkers off, but city placed on a soft 6 at her third start and well worth respecting. 3. Beans is a big watch on debut, her recent trials have been on the quiet side but her first trial back in October showed she has some ability. Wide gate a small concern but no surprise to see her run well. 2. Fantini was unwanted in betting on debut at Sapphire Coast but attacked the line quite well from last to run second. Shapes as though the 1200m will suit her more and she’s in the mix.
How to play it: Diva Bella WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Diva Bella runs fourth at Kembla Grange on November 5
|Race 3 – 2.10PM COUNTRY MOTOR GROUP HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
A bit of a leftfield stab here, though less so now with scratchings, with 12. Willy Wilson first-up since November. Sure he hasn’t been placed in six starts but has raced in some handy maidens. No recent trials but in strong stable and any support would be significant.
Dangers: 2. Ghost Town backs up after making his debut as favourite at Goulburn last week on a heavy track. He also had his chance and was run down, weakening late as well. Better surface will likely assist and drawn to have every chance. 7. Beaurama hasn't raced since November and is probably better suited over further but with the smaller field is well worth considering now as he's threatened to win one for a while.
How to play it: Willy Wilson E/W ($4.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Willy Wilson’s first-up run last prep at Kembla in October
|Race 4 – 2.45PM HQ INSURANCE PLATE (1650 METRES)|
2. Globalize was big odds first-up at 1200m and ran a huge race to finish second, digging in strongly in the last 200m. Will appreciate the extra trip and if that fresh effort wasn’t a one-off then he’s a good each-way chance.
Dangers: 13. Donnachiara ran a cheeky race first-up at Kembla when leading then always well back and just battled at Wyong second-up. If she lands on the speed here expect an improved showing. 4. Tick Toc Man is a 16 start maiden but this race has fallen away to some degree and he’s generally fairly consistent so might have another chance. Just battled after leading at Gosford last time, blinkers off and stays under notice. 1. Buddahbadah is a 21 start maiden with four placings from five starts this time in. Looked a bit weak late at the mile at Albury last time but he’s still been runner-up at both starts at the trip. Can’t leave out though probably more a place chance.
How to play it: Globalize E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Globalize runs second at Sapphire Coast on February 1
|Race 5 – 3.25PM BOMADERRY BOWLING CLUB CUP (1650 METRES)|
3. Power Lift will be the short priced favourite of the day and this race has fallen into his lap. Had been working up to a win leading into his Canberra victory last week, drawn one and is entitled to take plenty of beating.
Dangers:12. Catlantic is a stayer resuming at a trip short of her best but she has performed in city company (over ground). Naturally looking for further but with two trials she could surprise. 4. Fui San looks to be battling for best form but will find this a lot easier than any of his four runs this time in so could easily improve. That said he needs to. 9. Taqueda showed some improvement in a small field at Sapphire Coast last start and is unbeaten in two starts at this track so throw into the mix.
How to play it: Power Lift WIN ($1.45 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Power Lift wins at Canberra on February 7
|Race 6 - 4:05PM HANLON WINDOWS HANDICAP (1010 METRES)|
4. Zardoro breaks a run of 14 consecutive Highway starts to tackle this race and while 1010m is a touch short of his best there looks enough speed to bring him into contention. Perennially unlucky in his Highways and blinkers go on here. Good enough if he gets the breaks.
Dangers: 2. Can’t Find Snippy finished off with purpose in city company at Warwick Farm last time and the improving track is in her favour given her heavy track effort two runs back. Doesn’t win out of turn but likes this track and should not be overlooked. 1. Bombdiggity was narrowly beaten in a good Highway three back against a couple of his rivals here, and too classy as a $1.30 chance at Sapphire Coast two weeks ago. Can give a sight. 3. Haralben has an excellent winning rate and has drawn to get a great run just off the speed if desired. Looks more depth here than past couple but can't knock winners.
How to play it: Zardoro E/W ($3.90 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Zardoro runs sixth at Randwick on January 11
|Race 7 - 4:45PM SERA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
3. Assault’n’bathory might get complete control from the outside alley with not a lot of pressure on paper underneath. Gutsy win from the outside gate first-up then pressured up to BM78 class and stuck on well at Randwick two weeks ago. Sure to give a big sight. Read more about him here.
Dangers: 6. Julian Rock can be hit and miss but he has put two good runs together now. Inside alley could be a disadvantage for him but he was game from just off the pace at Rosehill in the heavy last time and brilliant at Randwick when looping them before the turn. Commands respect. 7. Al Mah Haha won this race last year at Goulburn and showed he has come back in great order with a closing second at Canterbury on a leader’s track. Trialled quietly since then and drawn okay considering the leader is just to his outside. Go well. 8. Safe Landing is a risk at 1400m but looks suited with the map to get a soft run just behind the leader. Is seven weeks between runs but only has to repeat his second to Noble Boy in last year’s Wild Card to give this a shake. 2. Greenspan is flying of late with a couple of Highway wins including the latest where he sat three and four wide and was still too good. Harder but could measure up.
How to play it: Assault’n’bathory E/W ($8.50 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
READ comments from the trainer of every runner in the Country Championships Qualifier here.
Assault’n’bathory runs fifth at Randwick on February 1
|Race 8 - 5:25PM MICHAEL ‘MICK’ LOCKE MEMORIAL HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
2. Eurosay has the wide gate to contend with though he can press forward and look to offset it. Highway form of late is solid without winning and that’s the only negative, he’s two from 21. Good chance.
Dangers: 12. Gossip is a big watch first-up since October when a beaten favourite at Sapphire Coast. Had cardiac arrhythmia that day so forgive. Booming winner here back in July over this trip and might pay to keep her safe. 1. Gretzky impressed winning two starts back at Wagga then drifter in betting an ran accordingly at Sapphire Coast two weeks ago. Did have 63kg there so better off at the weights and inclined to give him another chance. 8. Thor's Thunder has a poor winning strike rate but is otherwise consistent. Bled when runner-up before a spell and has trialled up okay. Worth keeping in mind.
How to play it: Eurosay WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Vendome wins at Bathurst on January 31