By Neil Evans
Track a Soft 5, with the rail true, so expect a gradual pattern away from the fence.
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1400m):|
Newcastle filly 4. So Good To Me looks well placed after a strong closing effort to just miss at Gunnedah. Peaks now fourth-up and gets the inside draw and 1.5kg claim. The one to beat!
Dangers: Two runs back from locally-trained 2. Dukes County have been solid through the line, and should also be in the money from a good gate and with 2kg allowance. Newcastle colt 1. Sunny Afternoon showed speed two runs back at Scone before run down by a promising one, and again gave a sight in front at Gunnedah last start. Tamworth mare 8. Hi My Girl was well backed last start this track when hitting the line nicely and drops in weight for leading stable.
How to play it: So Good To Me to win and box trifecta 1-2-4-8
|Race 2 C, G & E MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
Modest and even maiden for the boys, but Coffs Harbour-trained 6. Money Travels showed enough in his first prep and then hit the line hard first run back at Grafton to suggest he can win this. Natural off-speed horse who will look for cover and get over the top. Rider takes 1.5kg off.
Dangers: Tamworth-trained 12. Keighley Sun has his hoof on the main prize after finishing close-up in his last two, and gets in well at the weights after rider's 3kg claim; while Newcastle visitor 10. General Soho improved to find the line last start, but will go a long way back from a wide gate.
How to play it: Money Travels to win.
Money Travels hits the line well first-up at Grafton on December 2
|Race 3 F & M MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
Now for a trickier girls' edition and keen on Tamworth mare 3. Moscow Mistress after rider's 3kg claim. Hasn't raced for a year, or officially trialled since an impressive winning effort early May, but reportedly working well and this isn't strong.
Dangers: Another Tamworth mare 5. Whisper Delovely mixed her form first prep mid year, but gets a nice trailing gate for her return for strong rider/trainer combination. Didn't mind the debut effort at Grafton from Armidale filly 11. Rabaab from smart stable and she should improve with race experience. Newcastle filly 10. Mary Magpie has early speed and gets the fence draw, but final 150m is a query.
How to play it: Moscow Mistress to win and quinella 3 and 5
|Race 4: BM 66 HCP (1100m):|
If Tamworth mare 5. Duble Gaze gets any cover from the widest gate, she will be hard to hold out! Powered home from a mile back to win a good CL1 at Gunnedah under the same weight before close-up at Tamworth. Best when ridden quiet, although won't want it too soft.
Dangers: Another Tamworth visitor 2. Call Me Brad has struck a purple patch, with dominant wins at Quirindi and Muswellbrook over shorter journeys, but this is stronger and has a wide barrier to overcome. Tamworth mare 7. Blinkin' Legend steps up in grade, but has won two of her last three, and drops in weight with a softer draw.
How to play it: Duble Gaze each-way
|Race 5 CL1 HCP (1100m):|
Hard to tip against smart 3YO Tamworth colt 3. Policy who was terrific on debut at Gunnedah working over from a wide gate, covering ground, and shook them off easily when challenged early in the straight. Gets a better draw here and the one to beat!
Dangers: Newcastle-trained 2. Peyton Place had very solid form across his first prep during the winter and looked forward in a recent home trial, although wide gate is tricky. Expect Coffs Harbour mare 6. Alternative Facts to be in the finish after returning from a long lay-off comfortably leading all the way at Grafton; while local 14. Pig 'N' Whistle hasn't been far away in decent company last few starts, and gets a nice chasing gate here and form rider's 2kg claim.
How to play it: Policy to win
Policy wins on debut at Gunnedah on December 8
|Race 6 OPEN HCP (1900m):|
Good competitive affair, and banking on Armidale 6YO 4. Rage Against taking a trail from the inside gate, rather than leading like at Scone where he was run down. Won two straight before well held in the Cessnock Cup two runs back, but back in trip an advantage and maps to be in the finish.
Dangers: Toowoomba raider 1. Atouchmore took on much tougher BM 90 company at Doomben last start after winning two straight, and rider's 3kg claim gets him right into the race at the weights; while Rage Against's stablemate 2. Exilia Miss has produced very good runs last two at Inverell and Scone, both times attacking the line from off the speed, but wide gate is a leveller here.
How to play it: Rage Against to win and quinella 1 and 4.
|Race 7 OPEN HCP (1300m):|
Wide race and good depth, but going right out in the market on the form-line and placement of Tamworth-trained 8. Iwatani. Hasn't won for a while, but chased home good horse Miss Redoble - who has since won again at Hawkesbury - under a big weight at Scone last start, and previous form in high BM company was sound. Ready to win over slightly longer and more suitable trip.
Dangers: Lightly raced Tamworth sprinter 7. De La Hoya is a clear threat after charging home to win a BM 66 at this track two back before just missing when leading in open company last start. Hard fit and parks on the speed. Inverell warhorse 1. Mishani Stealth continues to defy his age powering home to win a BM 70 at Newcastle last start. Consistent local 4. Melted Moments is also a strong finisher and won three runs back. Gets a good draw to sit midfield and rider takes 1.5kg off, but back in trip a concern. Newcastle-trained 9. He's Our Toy Boy doesn't win often, but his last couple behind two above average gallopers at Scone and Muswellbrook were strong and he gets down to his lightest weight in a long time. 2. Desert Marshal is as honest as the day is long this grade and could get into the minor end of the money.
How to play it: Iwatani each-way and box first four 1-4-7-8-9
|Race 8 BM 58 HCP (1400m):|
Tough race to finish, although after knocking on the door all spring, Newcastle colt 3. Jamaican Dream can break through. Been getting closer stepping up in trip in CL1 grade and peaks now to stalk the speed from a good gate.
Dangers: Newcastle-trained 2. Fearless Al is a clear threat having produced two good closing runs back from a spell and draws again to sit off the speed and finish hard. Tamworth mare 8. Olivia's Girl took 10 runs to win her maiden two back, but she hit the line nicely in CL1 company last start, and is suited again down in weight.
How to play it: Jamaican Dream to win and quinella 2 and 3.