By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Sunday’s Country Championships Qualifier meeting at Mudgee. The track is rated a Good 4 and the rail is in the true position.
|Race 1 – 12:55PM LION MAIDEN SHOWCASE PLATE (1200 METRES)|
2. Cabriere was kept solid in the market on debut and just bumped into one better, though he did run on well. Better for that effort at Newcastle and while the winner has since been beaten at Canberra it appears Brad Widdup has found a suitable race. Can only be better for the experience and looks the one they have to beat.
Danger: 3. Dark Haze has been hot and cold in his four starts, he was good at Wyong a month ago then very poor at Kembla last time out. Back to the trials and he’s ticked the box there, respect the stable when they take them to the country. Go well. 7. Puppet’s Gift will be a market watch, she’s a four-year-old and only had the one trial but it was a nice one at Narromine as she brushed home into third. Locally trained and bears close attention. 5. Fire Flight raced handy and stayed on for second when resuming at Narromine and may have to press forward from the outside gate here too. Had a few chances but each-way claims.
How to play it: Cabriere WIN ($1.80 TAB Fixed Odds).
Cabriere’s debut second at Newcastle on February 11.
|Race 2 - 1:35PM GOOREE PARK WINES 10th BIRTHDAY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
No reason why 4. Attalea can’t keep up the good work after a quite dominant win at Narromine off a two month break. You’d argue the extra 100m is only a plus for him, he’s drawn to get a nice run off the pace and has won over this course previously. Hard to see her finishing out of the placings on current consistent form.
Dangers: 2. Coming In Hot might well be over the odds first-up as a gelding off an easy trial win a couple of weeks ago. He contested the Western District Country Championships heat last year and the Wild Card but his other form was sound enough. One to keep very safe fresh. 1. Joey’s Destiny has the big weight to contend with but he never runs a bad race. First-up here off a Class 3 win at Orange back in November and he trialled okay at Narromine earlier this month. Couldn’t leave him out of the chances. 3. Moss My Name has been a bit below par in two runs back from a spell in open company. Back in grade and she’s yet to finish worse than second on her home track so she might be worth another chance.
How to play it: Attalea E/W ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Attalea finishes strongly to win at Narromine on February 4.
|Race 3 – 2:10PM ROBERT OATLEY VINEYARDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
I had 5. Sacred Edge on top at Goulburn on Saturday and he comes here instead. He comes through a strong form race at Kembla Grange a couple of weeks ago where he finished alongside Tamarack. That horse went to Canterbury and won last week. He can sit handy but does appreciate a bit of tempo too. Stable is flying too and he looks very hard to beat.
Dangers: 4. Kingsbridge may have been a bit stiff not to win at Dubbo a bit over a week ago. He was held up at a vital stage and by the time he could get going the winner had a full steam up. Local whose past couple have been excellent and he’s the logical danger. 1. Free Ticket is a front-running type who followed his handy win at Wyong when well supported with another easy one at Quirindi both over the mile. May have some competition for the lead here but if he gets any peace he will be hard to run down. 6. This Is Livin’ is an up and comer with three wins from his last five starts and he really put them away at Gilgandra last start after sitting just off the pace. Must be respected again.
How to play it: Sacred Edge WIN ($3.10 TAB Fixed Odds).
Sacred Edge runs third at Kembla Grange, with Tamarack second, on February 10
|Race 4 – 2.45PM TABCORP HOLDINGS LTD PLATE (1600 METRES)|
This could be the designated good thing of the day. 6. Bulletson won nicely from the back at Wyong then went to Kembla as an easing favourite and should have cantered in. Granted he took a while to wind up there but once he started to close in he was stopped in his tracks and went to the line hard held beaten two lengths. Mile looks perfect for him and the drop to country grade should see him atone.
Dangers: 12. Something Shocking has only had the five starts and she’s been very competitive in four of them, leading last time at Newcastle before battling on for third to Just Shine. That horse won at Canterbury on Wednesday. Drawn wide so will need a bit of luck but some kind of threat if she gets it. 8. Mina Harker is an interesting ex-Victorian having her first run in NSW. She started $10 at Moonee Valley in a BM64 two starts back and $5 at Werribee on Christmas Eve so in this sort of company, if she’s right, she should be respected. Watch for any betting confidence. 5. Mount Taishan has been around the mark without winning and mixing distances. Ran on well behind Resort at Orange two starts back at the mile then went to 2400m and wasn’t disgraced. Only one win from 28 so he’s not a horse you can have a heap of confidence in but he’s an each-way hope.
How to play it: Bulletson WIN ($2.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Bulletson finishes an unlucky fifth at Kembla Grange on February 10
|Race 5 - 3:20PM CLUB MUDGEE MAIDEN SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
Pretty keen on 1. Sprezzatura to break through after a string of seconds of late. It’ll be very interesting to see where he gets to from gate one after drawing wide and going right back in his last couple at Parkes and Dubbo. Bashing on the door for a win and so long as he doesn’t get buried from that inside gate he’s going take some stopping.
Dangers: 4. John has had a few chances of late but signaled he’s going well enough to feature here with a closing third at Tamworth over this trip when up from 1100m. He’s an each-way chance at the very least. 2. Stunner drew wide at Narromine and gave away far too much start before rushing home to be beaten less than a length in fourth place. Drawn nicely here, on her home track and another 100m seems no issues. Definite chance. 5. Destiny Is Written is a 24 start maiden so bear that in mind but his last couple of efforts have yielded placings and he has placed at this trip previously. Will need plenty of luck but is one to throw in the multiples and trifectas.
How to play it: Sprezzatura WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Sprezzatura charges from well back to run second at Dubbo on February 15
|Race 6 - 4:00PM RACING NSW SHOWCASE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
1. Raise A Drop has been racing in super form of late, leading all the way to score at Cowra then gave a very good account up to Class 4 at Bathurst splitting two horses that are in the Country Championships Qualifier. Right back in class here and will make his own luck up on the pace. Sure to take plenty of beating and is an amazing early price.
Dangers: 3. Mistress Mace was scratched from Goulburn on Saturday to run here and she’s looking for the 1400m even though she was good enough to arrive in time at 1200m at her second start. It was a form reversal on her debut but we have to assume that second start is more like what she’s capable of. Good chance. 5. Iona Nicconi has returned in good touch and followed a nice first-up placing in January with a strong finishing win at Bathurst two weeks ago. Wide gate a small concern but tends to get back so if they are running on she’s one of the chances. 2. Ambitious Prince was a drifter in betting and didn’t really raise anyone’s hopes running fifth at Bathurst first-up though he was beaten under three lengths. Fitter for that and from the inside alley might be worth another look.
How to play it: Raise A Drop E/W ($10 TAB Fixed Odds).
Raise A Drop runs a game second at Bathurst on February 11
|Race 7 - 4:40PM CDRA COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
I thought there’s some value in 5. Ori On Fire who showed he’s very effective from off the pace when bolting in at Bathurst two weeks ago. He does have early speed to offset the wide alley and last start he suggested he should run a strong 1400m. He will need a breather somewhere in the race, whether he’s off the speed with cover of up there, to get the trip but he’s peaking at the right time and is a good each-way chance.
Dangers: 2. Most Exalted is the very obvious and logical danger. He’s the highest rated horse in the race and is well in at the weights under the set weights scale. He’s unbeaten for Mack Griffith including a protest win at Rosehill before a spell in July. Second trial was eye-catching and he will be very hard to beat. 3. Schedule was runner-up to Don’t Give A Damn back on Everest Day and has been placed in a couple of country Cups including the Gooree Cup here in December. Very good on his day and his trial recently was also a nice pointer to him running well. 14. Our Dasha has to come into consideration if I like Ori On Fire as she was winding up strongly when the race was all over finishing third to that horse at Bathurst first-up from a two month break. Will relish the 1400m you’d think and has to be considered. I’m not ruling out 9. Turcotte as a chance if he puts his mind on the job as he’s shown ability but tends to get a bit lost.
How to play it: Ori On Fire E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds); Save on Most Exalted ($2.40).
Ori On Fire’s easy win at Bathurst on February 11.
|Race 8 - 5:20PM LAWSON PARK HOTEL HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Interesting one to finish off with and if 7. Risk And Reward is as good as he looked when destroying maiden rivals at his second start at Parkes then he’ll be able to handle skipping a class here. He had five lengths to spare on Sprezzatura, who goes around earlier in the program, and showed no signs of stopping. He’ll be up there and looks hard to beat.
Dangers: 3. Prince Planet has been thereabouts of late but just lacking something so he’s been freshened up and that might do the trick. Drawn to be handy and going back a few runs he was close up in a Highway at Rosehill. Each-way. 12. Eyesaw took off before the turn at Dubbo so did plenty of work before looming to the lead then knocking up but holding third at 1400m. Shorter trip a plus and drawn to get a nice run from the inside. Wouldn’t be leaving him out of the each-way chances either. 6. Foxdown hasn't won first-up but has only missed a place twice in nine starts. Best form closer to a mile and on wet tracks but if he lands in a good spot he's capable of being in the finish.
How to play it: Risk And Reward WIN ($3.10 TAB Fixed Odds).
Risk And Reward winning easily at Parkes on January 27