By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail true so should play fairly even.
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1375m):|
Forbes-trained gelding 1. Caszar continues to knock on the door this prep. Got home okay under a bigger weight in a stronger maiden at Dubbo last start, and leading rider jumps back on. Ready to break through!
Dangers: Liked the effort of Hawkesbury 4YO 2. Touch Of Purple from off the speed at Orange first-up for six months. Draws a nice barrier and down in weight for this. Doubt anything else can win.
How to play it: Caszar to win and quinella 1 and 2.
Caszar's last start fourth at Dubbo on February 10
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Bit more depth here, although wide open with several chances. Bathurst mare 8. Happiest is one of the few runners still with plenty of improvement and she was sent back to the trials after a nice closing first-up run at Dubbo a month back. Will need some luck from a tricky gate, but can hit the line hard.
Dangers: Plenty of them, headed by Queanbeyan 4YO 5. Mad As Zariz whose been around the placings and steady in the market across all four runs this prep, and must be in the finish. Hawkesbury filly 12. Our Blue Moon who had two trials before finding the line nicely resuming at Orange and is down in grade. Big watch too on Warwick Farm 2YO filly 14. Cinnamon Cloud who lost her rider shortly after the jump in a 1400m maiden on Hawkesbury Provincial Qualifying day, but subsequently trialled well at home. The form of Narromine 3YO 7. A Krupt Pick is better than it looks in three runs back from a spell, including an even finishing effort behind the smart Healing Hands two back. Watch for improvement too from Wellington 4YO 1. Blinkin Excel whose been beaten out of sight in two runs back, but this is much weaker and draws nice trailing gate.
How to play it: first four 8-5-12/1-5-7-8-12-14.
|Race 3 CL2 HCP (1375m):|
Keen on Canberra mare 5. Boston Ivy going back-to-back after winning her maiden from the front at Orange last start. Previous efforts on the south coast were sound and still believe she's better ridden off the pace. Draws okay and in well at the weights.
Dangers: Another Canberra mare 3. Orithyia ran out of fitness resuming in a BM 55 at home, but drops significantly in weight after the rider's claim, and had solid form up to the mile last prep. Wellington 5YO 2. Butter Toast struggles to win, but is generally around the money, and suited back in trip with a lighter weight. Gulgong 5YO 9. Rawson Crossing also struggles to win, but has finished off okay in his last few behind better horses, and drops right down to the 54kg minimum.
How to play it: Boston Ivy to win and box trifecta 3-5/2-3-5-9.
Boston Ivy wins at Orange on February 16
|Race 4 BM 58 HCP (1200m):|
Local 6YO 4. The Renovation Man has had two promising runs back from a lengthy spell in better company, and as a younger horse was a 1200m specialist. .
Dangers: Warwick Farm mare 1. Secret Diamond resumed off a long break to win her maiden at Nowra, but this looks a little tougher. Forbes mare 8. Hu Hit Hu draws a nice gate for leading rider, is hard fit and should be around the finish. Include in wider exotics Narromine mare 5. Whispadah third-up who has natural early speed.
How to play bit: The Renovation Man to win.
|Race 5 DIGGERS CUP BM 74 HCP (1375m):|
Feature race looks right on the radar for smart Dubbo 4YO 3. Westlink whose already qualified for the Country C'ship Final at Randwick via a brilliant win at Dubbo charging home underneath runners from midfield. Goes up only 1kg in a field of less depth, and just has to overcome a tricky gate to trump these.
Dangers: Popular local 1. Welcome Art is a nice galloper who won two straight country cups powering home from midfield, and was then stretched to 1900m at Canterbury in heavy ground and again hit the line bravely. Enough class, but big drop back in trip and significant weight hike are little queries. Age refuses to weary Narromine 10YO 5. Shadow Force who found the line okay as a despised outsider in the stronger BM 81 Banjo Patterson at Orange behind clear favourite in Sunday's Mudgee Country C'ship qualifier. Canberra 7YO 8. Boys Day Out is up in grade, but right down in the weights for strong trainer/rider combination.
How to play it: Westlink to win and quinella 1 and 3.
|Race 6 BM 58 HCP (1700m):|
Tough and open race, but the "map" suggests in-form Dubbo 5YO 4. Carinda Road can track a similar path as his last two and make it three straight wins. Draws a lovely on-speed gate and top rider sticks for the slight rise in class.
Dangers: Tough Canberra visitor 2. Greyfell is a tough front-runner who won a stronger grade two starts back over 2000m, and will be suited on-speed here off a freshen-up. Canberra mare 5. Pink Moscato finds it hard to win, but if she gets any luck from a wide gate and reproduces her fast-finishing effort behind Luga Lad in a Federal two runs back, she'll be in the finish; while Warwick Farm-trained 7. Somoso looks fairly placed off a solid BM 58 run at Bathurst and the blinkers off.
How to play it: Carinda Road and Greyfell both to win.
|Race 7 BM 58 HCP (950m):|
Shortest race of the day to finish, and looks ideal for 4YO Dubbo flyer 6. Hilfiger who finally won his maiden at Orange last start. Will be right there from the inside draw and leading apprentice takes 1.5kg off.
Dangers: Canberra 3YO 7. The Unknown Factor flopped as a heavily-backed fancy at Wagga last start, but has ability. Will get back, but watch for him late. Forbes mare 4. Yeas And Nays comes back in grade third-up and will also be hitting the line late. Canberra 5YO 1. Exaggerate has been racing against stronger, and has early gate speed, but will need all of it here jumping from a wide gate under a big weight.
How to play it: Hilfiger to win.