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Neil Evans' Tips For Cessnock (Monday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4 and Rail true so should play predominantly even, with possible showers:

Race 1 BM 58 HCP (2125m):

Thin race. Newcastle mare 1. So You Merge is ideally up in trip, and looks the one to beat off two solid closing runs this prep, and drawn to park right behind the speed again. Took on much deeper races in the spring and was never beaten far.

Dangers: Few if any! Tamworth 6YO gelding 6. In Bengal comes out of that same race at Gunnedah as the top selection when he tried to lead all the way, while Kembla 5YO gelding 3. Stitched Up comes back from a stronger BM 66 at Wagga.

How to play it: So You Merge to win.

So You Merge runs third at Gunnedah on May 19

Race 2 BM 58 HCP (900m):

Terrific little sprint for similar graded runners over the "scamper" course where there's little or no room for hesitation around this track. Newcastle filly 3. Bubbles Ball, a flying daughter of Zoustar, returns for second prep off a nice trial. Just missed as a well backed favourite on debut at Muswellbrook in the spring before bolting in her maiden third-up at Coffs Harbour as an odds-on favourite. Will settle just off them, and get the last crack in the straight.

Dangers: Gosford 4YO gelding 1. Go Joyce Go has to carry 60kg first-up for nine months, but fresh record is smart, and did win his latest trial at Gosford by zooming along in front; while Wyong 3YO gelding 2. Engadine also trialled nice ahead of first run in six months.

How to play it: Bubbles Ball to win and trifecta 1-3/1-2-3.

Race 3 CL1 HCP (1150m):

This sets up big for talented Newcastle filly 2. Jazette who scored a dominant win resuming at Taree crossing from a wide gate and giving nothing else a chance. Up in weight, but pattern suits this track, and looks the winner.

Dangers: Newcastle filly 4. Without Conviction will naturally get a fair way back from a wide draw, but can hit the line hard third-up off a good tempo so watch for her late. Muswellbrook filly 8. Pleasure Bomb won a weaker sprint third-up at Wauchope last start, and draws to get a nice run on speed; while Wyong filly 1. Snip 'N' Stare has had two runs back from a spell and looking for the extra journey, although will need a finely-tuned compass drawn the fence with 61kg around this course.

How to play it: Jazette to win and quinella 2 and 4.

Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1350m):

Looks a suitable and softer assignment second-up for improving Newcastle filly 3. Brazenbrook who led for a long way at Tuncurry, and even better suited here if she takes a sit and stalks the speed.

Dangers: Big watch on Warwick Farm filly and impressive trialler 9. Punch The Clock who resumes off a six month break. Muswellbrook 5YO gelding 2. Manno was brave enough from the front at just second run, and if he can get over from a wide barrier, will give a tonne of cheek on this smaller track. Expect sharp improvement at second career run from Wyong filly 6. Lavish Rose who was unwanted on debut at Newcastle, but experience and slightly longer trip are both plusses.

How to play it: Brazenbrook to win.

Race 5 MAIDEN HCP (900m):

Back to the "blink and you'll miss it" trip again. Wyong filly 1. She's My Girl won consecutive trials before an even first-up run in a stronger maiden at home, and look very hard to hold out.

Dangers: Debutant 2YO Wyong gelding 6. Zapluck (Pluck x Zaminga by Za-im) can start with a bang. Bred for speed on both sides, and looked good in a recent home track trial when held together all the way. Big watch on Warwick Farm filly and first starter 2. Camouflage Girl (Declaration Of War x Pentimento by Elusive Quality) who hasn't been asked to do a lot in two trials, but stable is good with their youngsters early, and lugging bit goes on; while another Warwick Farm filly 7. Judge's Daughter loves to jump and run, and has had three fair runs back this prep. Leading country rider hops aboard. Include well-bred 2YO Hawkesbury filly 4. Miraculous in exotics, was unwanted in betting resuming at Kembla, but stable is in terrific form with their juveniles, and second-up improvement almost guaranteed.

How to play it: Quinella 1 and 6.

Race 6 MAIDEN HCP (1150m):

Tricky race with plenty of trial form, and one of those, 2YO Randwick filly 13. My Sweet Fish, can strike first-up. Beaten out of sight in way stronger company on debut behind subsequent Group 1 winner Castelvecchio, but looked sharp winning a recent trial under a good grip, with nearly all the chasers pushed out.

Dangers: Wyong 3YO gelding 2. Commander Bell was all around the money in three runs earlier this year before freshened and closing late at Wyong. Draws to get a nice trail midfield, and will be hitting the line despite a sharp rise in weight. Muswellbrook 3YO gelding 3. Barry's Brother wasn't right in only previous run at Quirindi in the spring dropping right out, but will return so much stronger and switched on judging by a recent home trial win, and draws a nice trailing barrier. Newcastle 2YO filly 9. Diddly Dee is on the improve after getting home strongly at just second career start; while 3YO gelding 6. Freedom's Fire can also return a much improved galloper after not firing a shot in the spring, winning a recent Wyong trial; while 5YO mare 4. Silly Sally is hard fit after four runs back, but draws a very tricky barrier.

How to play it: My Sweet Fish each way and first four 2-13/2-3-4-6-9-13.

Race 7 C, G & E CL1 HCP (1150m):

Thin race looks there for the taking for Newcastle 3YO gelding 1. Exdream returning for a second prep off two open class trials. Was beaten under a length on debut at Port Macquarie last spring when backed from $4 into $3.30, and bolted in his maiden third-up at Coffs Harbour as a red-hot favourite.

Dangers: Taree 3YO gelding 3. Jest Magic is another one resuming who normally comes to hand quickly, and draws to get a lovely run just behind the speed. Wyong 4YO gelding 6. Ayeteem has only won once from 17, but placed a further six times, and has shown significant improvement in last two runs. Draws a nice barrier.

How to play it: Exdream to win.

Exdream's trial at Wyong on May 22

Race 8 CL3 HCP (1570m):

One of the more open races. Like Newcastle 4YO gelding 3. Titus to finally despatch that professional place-getter's tag after being run over leading all prep in similar races. Again drawn to find the top, but this track obviously suits his pattern better, and more aggressive rider on board is also a key.

Dangers: Progressive 3YO Port Macquarie gelding 1. Chamisal would have been clear on top if he had drawn better. Won two of his last three from maiden to BM 66 level, and loves to settle midfield & swoop over the top, but will need some luck carting 60kg from the widest gate. Wyong 5YO gelding 4. Equalibrium comes out of that same last-start race as Titus when closing nicely late, but also drawn off the track; while Wyong 4YO gelding 2. Captain's Legend is best of the rest up in trip at third run back from a spell.

How to play it: Titus to win and quinella 1 and 3.

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

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