By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail true for Cup day so should play fairly even
|Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
Fairly even opener over the mile. Gulgong 4YO gelding 2. Duntroon Man did his best work late resuming over a shorter trip at Dubbo, and distance rise second-up ideal in what is a thin race.
Dangers: Narromine mare 5. Bansuri has been up for a while, but finished hard in a Class 1 at Coonabarabran last start, and drawn to get plenty of cover back in the field. Canberra 6YO gelding 3. Opera Tickets is having his first run for new stable; while 4YO Cowra mare 7. Icevovo hasn't run a place yet in eight starts, but has finished off okay in her last two at Dubbo, and also draws to coil up nicely midfield. Hawkesbury mare 10. Rose Of War is clear best of the rest.
How to play it: Duntroon Man each way. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split.
|Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1300m):|
Expect sharp improvement up in trip second-up from 3YO Gulgong filly 12. Smart Lass after a fair effort on debut in a stronger maiden where she worked home nicely from the back.
Dangers: Orange-based gelding 1. Well Decorated has been freshened up after a solid campaign, and draws to get a nice trail midfield. If he reproduces his runs at Wyong in the autumn, he'll be in the finish. Improving 4YO Canberra gelding 2. Glenleigh Lad produced his best run in three starts at Narrandera on Cup day, and also draws to park right behind the speed; while rival Canberra gelding 5. Aguias comes out of that same race at Narrandera behind Nessledo where he stuck on okay after leading.
How to play it: Smart Lass to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 3 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
From the same stable as Jailbird Jayjay, Goulburn gelding 3. Eaglehawk can break through third-up after hitting the line hard in his last couple over shorter trips, and less depth here.
Dangers: Gulgong gelding and first starter 5. One More Poet (Time Thief x Leica Poet by Amalfi) wasn't knocked around in a four-horse trial at Muswellbrook, and stable is smart at placing them early. Cowra 4YO gelding 7. Valarian put in a shocker at Parkes last start after working early, but previous runs had all been sound, and from the good barrier can bounce back into the finish.
How to play it: Eaglehawk to win and box exacta 3,5,7. Odds and Evens: Odds.
|Race 4 CL1 HCP (1400m):|
After knocking on the door all prep, 5YO Dubbo gelding 3. Get Up Alby finally landed his maiden at Wellington, and he looks well placed to take the next step, although this is stronger and drawn wide.
Dangers: Last start Cowra maiden winner, Canberra gelding 4. Manhattan Gambler is starting to progress, but will need plenty of luck drawn right off the track. Orange mare 8. Cat Walk Queen takes on tough opposition here after winning her maiden from the front at Dubbo, but does get a nice drop in weight; while Canberra mare 6. Away She Goes is honest at best, but in well at the weights and draws a cosy barrier.
How to play it: Get Up Alby to win and box trifecta 3,4,6,8. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 5 CL2 HCP (1100m):|
Another fairly open affair headed by progressive 4YO Nyngan gelding 3. Supreme Attraction who won a Class 1 at Dubbo convincingly three runs back, and just missed again finishing hard in a deeper race last start. Right at his peak now for a stable that's among the Country finalists for the 2018/19 season.
Dangers: Wellington mare 6. Divine Jewel has finished strongly in her last couple at Bathurst and Muswellbrook, and has been freshened up coming back in trip. Canberra gelding 7. Banja Luka will be hard to catch, with a 4kg claim, if he can get across from a wide barrier and control the race. Was well backed when doing just that last start, although takes on stronger here. Cowra-trained former Victorian gelding 1. Nations hasn't raced for eight months and drawn a wide gate under 61.5kg for first run in NSW, but trialled okay. Local 4YO mare 8. Onida hasn't started for nearly 10 months, but has look forward enough in two trials, and did bolt in on debut last year, so stable will have the same first-up plan in mind.
How to play it: Supreme Attraction to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
Supreme Attracttion runs second at Dubbo on July 19
|Race 6 BM 58 HCP (1400m):|
After two runs back on the synthetic Canberra gelding 1. Luga Lad is ready to fire. Gets to his right trip now and always better back on turf, and this isn't strong.
Dangers: Wagga 5YO gelding 2. Real Key has been a model of consistency without winning, and draws to get a nice trail just off the speed. Lightly raced 7YO Cowra gelding 5. Bonsley likes to push forward, and has been fair in three runs back from a spell. Again drawn to park up front, and should give a decent sight dropping in weight. Hawkesbury gelding 7. Colonel Reign has a poor strike rate, but if he runs anywhere near his last effort at Mudgee this grade behind Outta Space, he'll be in the finish.
How to play it: Luga Lad to win. Odds and Evens: Odds.
Luga Lad's second-up run at Canberra on July 26
|Race 7 FORBES CUP (1600m):|
Feature race is a little down on numbers, but still with plenty of quality, and nearly every runner has a claim. Goulburn 5YO mare 5. Amthaal is ready to win third-up after powering home in a BM 80 at Moruya, and again finishing well in the Narrandera Cup. Won two straight at Toowoomba last spring by a combined 12 lengths!
Dangers: Loved the way Wellington 8YO gelding 3. Steamin' accelerated through to bolt in a BM 80 at Dubbo last start, and draws the fence here, although up sharply in weight. Was beaten under two lengths in the much stronger Mudgee Cup last December. Albury 8YO gelding 2. Squidensquizz is meeting every challenge this prep, winning a BM 78 at Corowa before a smart victory in the Narrandera Cup over this distance. Drawn to sit in a lovely spot again right behind the speed. Watch for 6YO Wagga mare 6. My Maher getting home late. Has been frustrating threatening to charge over the top all prep, but starting to sneak down in the weights. Age will never weary 7YO Wagga gelding 4. Gentleman Max who faces the starter for the 100th time, but has always produced his best on wet tracks, including a terrific win at Albury last start, and has actually never won on a Good rating in 49 starts; while Nyngan mare 8. Bryan's Babe has just missed in her last couple and is a light-weight hope over this trip.
How to play it: Amthaal to win and first four 2,3,5/2,3,4,5,6,8. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 8 BM 66 HCP (1200m):|
Tough one to finish. Resuming Mudgee 6YO gelding 2. Bravissimo boasts enough quality in this grade. Took on tougher metro company through the winter, and looked sharp winning a recent home trial.
Dangers: Watch for big improvement third-up from 4YO Orange mare 8. Supreme Gem whose run last start was better than it looked caught in much inferior ground over the final 250m. There'll be plenty cheering for popular local trainers Barry Molloy with 7YO gelding 6. Caszar who won two straight earlier in the winter, and has since been campaigning in stronger company; and Dennis Bush with his 7YO gelding 3. Elemenohpee who draws awkwardly and would need to improve. Dubbo 7YO gelding and last start BM 66 winner 5. Zoutenant is a knock-out chance, although weighted right to his best and draws wide.
How to play it: Bravissimo to win. Odds and Evens: Evens.