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Neil Evans' Tips For Ballina (Monday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4/Soft 5 and rail true so should play mainly on or near the speed, with possible late rain.

Race 1 4YO & UP MAIDEN HCP (1000m):

Thin maiden to start, and likely only two chances. Capable 4YO Gold Coast mare 2. Mosht Up was never far away last prep in much better company than this, and has trialled okay for a stable that can strike fresh.

Dangers: Casino 4YO mare 3. Urban Appeal can go one better from a nice draw after just missing on debut at home, and looks the quinella runner. Watch the market on resuming 5YO local mare 10. Spring Nymph whose form is much better than her one placing from 10 starts suggests. Trialled nicely at Grafton, and trainer has rung the gear changes for her return.

How to play it: Mosht Up to win and quinella 2 and 3. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split

Race 2 BM 66 HCP (2650m):

Now a long haul for the restricted stayers, but again very little depth. Improving 5YO Lismore gelding 1. Peak Hill is hard fit, and carried the same weight hitting the line hard in a deeper race at Grafton. Prior to that had held his own in stronger metro grade.

Dangers: Honest 9YO Taree gelding 3. Loving Home found the right graded race last start at Grafton sailing down the middle to win, and while this is a step up, drops 2kg and will run out the longer trip. Murwillumbah 7YO gelding 4. Lookin' At You who was solid enough in both the Lismore Cup and Cup Prelude is clear best of the rest.

How to play it: Peak Hill to win and quinella 1 and 3. Odds and Evens: Odds

Peak Hill runs second at Grafton on October 29

Race 3 CL1 HCP (1000m):

Very moderate affair, with any number of chances. Grafton 5YO mare 6. Savanna Jeune scraped home to win her maiden at 10th career start before just an even run when unwanted in betting in a Class 1, but her form earlier in the prep was strong enough in better company to be hard to beat here.

Dangers: Casino 5YO mare 2. Crackaview has held her form okay after a narrow maiden win four runs back, and stuck on gamely from the front for a close second at big odds in that same race as Savanna Jeune. Gets in okay at the weights after rider's claim. Grafton 4YO gelding 5. My Best Seller hasn't done much since defying a big betting drift to win his maiden at home, but draws to get a cosy run on the fence just off the speed.

How to play it: Savanna Jeune each way and quinella 2 and 6. Odds and Evens: Evens

Race 4 BM 58 HCP (1000m):

Local 5YO gelding 3. My Cousin Steve looks well placed from the draw fifth run this prep. Beat a fair Class 1 field three runs back before just missing this track in a stronger race, then not suited ridden further back at Murwillumbah. Should settle further forward here, and strike early in the straight.

Dangers: Gold Coast 7YO gelding 2. Old Trieste has only won twice from 31 starts, but placed 16 times, and resumes with a handy first-up record off a solid trial, although is harshly treated under 62kg. Lismore 5YO gelding 4. Dexter Dutton steps up in grade from a narrow win at Casino, and is one of the better weighted runners after a 2kg claim; while 5YO Casino gelding 6. Mecum is drawn to get an economical run, and can be included in wider exotics.

How to play it: My Cousin Steve to win. Odds and Evens: Split.

My Cousin Steve's last start at Murwillumbah on October 15

Race 5 CL3 HCP (1400m):

Competitive race. Gold Coast 4YO mare 5. The Palms doesn't want it much further than this, but she's one of the best weighted runners all day, and draws nicely for leading stable. Was only run down in the last stride by a nice horse at Grafton, and previous form had been consistent enough.

Dangers: Gold Coast 5YO gelding 2. Natural Force was heavily backed careering away to bolt in a Class 2 at Murwillumbah before struggling in tougher metro company. Back to a more suitable level, and drawn to get a good trail. Local 5YO gelding 3. Viking Raid was also well beaten at big odds in that same Class 3 at Eagle Farm third-up, but draws well for leading trainer, and this is the easiest opposition he's met all prep; while local 6YO gelding 1. Kitteau has been doing his best work late in stronger company, without ever threatening. Will also find this more to his liking, but prefers it longer and is weighted to his absolute best.

How to play it: The Palms to win and box trifecta 1,2,3,5. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 6 C, G & E MAIDEN PLATE (1300m):

Open and thin sprint at set weights, but breakthrough time looms fourth-up for 4YO Gold Coast gelding 7. Telecom Danewin after three straight placings. Fought on well at the Sunshine Coast and Doomben before comfortably run down at Ipswich after drifting in betting. Better off with a sit, and draws to park just off the speed and claim them early in the straight.

Dangers: Grafton 4YO gelding 6. Taikun Tommy has been big odds in both runs so far at home, but they were both handy maidens, and the step up in distance suits. Similarly, 3YO Murwillumbah gelding 9. Byron Buoy will also improve up in distance after a plain first-up run at the Sunshine Coast; while lightly raced 3YO Gold Coast gelding 11. Fallow has been well prepared for his first run in more than six months with two forward trials.

How to play it: Telecom Danewin to win and trifecta 6,7/6,7,9,11/6,7,9,11. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 7 F & M MAIDEN PLATE (1300m):

Now the girls' turn over the same trip to close the card, and keen on local 3YO filly 13. Toots Is Tops at only her third start. Has found the line nicely in both runs so far, and extra distance a bonus in what looks a weak maiden.

Dangers: Resuming 3YO Gold Coast filly 12. Qualify showed gradual improvement in her first prep, but looks ready to go after winning a recent home track trial. Another Gold Coast runner, 4YO mare 2. Calabria can go close second-up after a handy closing effort resuming against stronger at Doomben, and draws to get a nice trail. Was scratched from the Gold Coast on Saturday.

How to play it: Toots Is Tops to win and box exacta 2,12,13. Odds and Evens: Split.

All the fields, form and replays for Monday's Ballina meeting

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