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Neil Evans' Tips For Grafton (Monday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4 and rail out 3m so should play fairly even

Race 1 BM 66 HCP (2220m):

We start with the stayers and a typical battle of tempo and tactics. Keen on progressive 5YO mare 3. Lady Grande from the under-rated Ballina stable of Ethan Ensby. Been very consistent this prep up to this grade and trip, and saves her best for firmer footing.

Dangers: Pt Macquarie 3YO filly 4. Hanna From Havana continues to improve charging home from just off the speed to easily win here last time, and well capable over this distance and rising in grade, but all her best form is on rain-affected going. Wyong 5YO 2. Captain's Legend ploughed through the mud to win a BM 58 last start, and drops in weight, but meeting some classier ones here.

How to play it: Lady Grande to win; quinella 3 and 4; trifecta 3,4/3,4/2. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split

Race 2 C, G & E MAIDEN HCP (1106m):

Back to a thin maiden sprint for the boys, and resuming 3YO 6. Byron Buoy from the leading Murwillumbah stable of Matt Dunn looks the one to beat off a strong open trial when pushed to find the front, and stretched out nicely under a hold before run down late.

Dangers: Obvious watch on 3YO stablemate 1. Fire In The Hole (Spirit Of Boom x Dyna Mita by Keltrice) who has had two recent trials, draws the inside, and debuts in blinkers; while 2YO Coffs Harbour colt and first starter 4. Borlotti (Spill The Beans x Kas Nediym by Nediym) is some value on debut with winkers on, despite a modest trial.

How to play it: Byron Buoy to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 F & M MAIDEN HCP (1106m):

Now the girls' turn over the same journey, and keen on 3YO filly 3. Miss Whittington first-up for five months from a good draw for the Ballina yard of Stephen Lee. Trialled strongly, and showed enough on debut last spring.

Dangers: Local filly 1. Holiday In Dubai draws the inside, and is close to breaking through at fourth career start. Came from a wide gate to be beaten under two lens here last start. Ballina 4YO mare 8. Franglais found the line nicely this track before being spelled, and despite no public trial, will be running on; while include well-bred debutant Dunn-trained filly 6. Tolerate (So You Think x Bonanova by Star Way) who is bred to get over much further, and has trialled quietly, but will be forward enough to finish off.

How to play it: Miss Whittington to win and trifecta 1,3/1,3,6,8/1,3,6,8. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1710m):

Very tricky and moderate affair over a middle distance. Casino mare 9. Sharp Wit from the Stephen Bennett stable comes back in quality after two moderate runs behind Hanna From Havana, but was well specked in the market both times, and previous form over longer trips was good enough to win this.

Dangers: Honest Coffs Harbour 5YO 2. Jet Pilot has been banging on the door also finishing on from off the speed in his last couple behind Hanna From Havana so an early form reference from Race 1 could be pivotal. Gets a 2kg allowance, and will also find this a bit easier. Taree mare 8. Cross Eyed Mary will find this more to her liking after doing best work late at Newcastle, and then beaten out of sight behind smart Red Hot Chillypins at Wyong. In well at the weights after 2kg claim. Expect improvement second-up over more ground from home track 3YO filly and former Victorian 13. Torpedo Miss despite a wide draw.

How to play it: Sharp Wit to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 CLASS 2 HCP (1410m):

Good quality Heat of the Rising Star. Progressive 5YO mare 4. Without Risk looks ideally suited second-up from the draw for the Matt Dunn stable. Hit the line hard resuming in heavy ground at Ballina off a near year-long break, and draws to get plenty of cover back in the field before launching late. Won two of her last three in autumn, both times thundering home from well off the speed.

Dangers: Wyong 4YO 3. Thiswilldous is hard fit, and loves to drift back and finish hard; while 6YO Murwillumbah mare 6. Portuguese Tart had solid form over the border before an average first-up run, but can improve sharply here from a soft draw.

How to play it: Without Risk to win. Odds and Evens: Split


Without Risk runs second at Ballina on April 7

Race 6 BM 66 HCP (1410m):

Open battle, with plenty of chances. Going very wide in the market with 6YO Kempsey gelding 4. I've Got This who did his best work late second-up on a heavy surface at Taree. Even better suited here on top of the ground, over further, and dropping significantly in weight.

Dangers: Plenty of them headed by another one from the Dunn stable, improving 5YO 8. Cinnamon Missile who can peak third-up over this distance and crucially back on firm ground after working home okay at Ballina last start, with senior rider getting back on. Coffs Harbour 6YO 2. Northern Knight can mix his form, but was good late under a similar weight here last start, and draws to get a lovely trail. Ballina 5YO 9. See It Thru is building a nice record, and led all the way in a Class 3 here last start, but must be a risk over this trip rising to 59kg. Lismore 4YO 12. At Witz End also finished off well resuming in that same race at Ballina behind Cubix, and drops sharply in weight, but second-up form isn't as flash; while include 7YO front-running mare 13. Foxy Walk who dropped out badly after leading at Ballina, and will need to get over from a wide barrier, but form prior was very consistent in and around this grade.

How to play it: I've Got This each way and first four 2,4,8/2,4,8,9,12,13/2,4,8,9,12,13/2,4,8,9,12,13. Odds and Evens: Evens

Race 7 OPEN HCP (1106m):

Feature open sprint, and again there are several challengers. Consistent 5YO gelding 6. Golden Comet from the under-rated Margaret De Gonneville stable at Pt Macquarie looks suited off a freshen-up four run into his prep, with blinkers going on. Wasn't far away in a stronger BM 70 at Newcastle two runs back before hitting the line hard in a handy BM 83 this track.

Dangers: Smart 4YO home track mare 4. She's Choosie has been freshened since finding a BM 75 at Doomben a bit rich. Previous northern NSW form in good class sprints had been rock solid, and she normally fires off a break. Capable Ballina 5YO 10. Star Of Harada was rewarded finishing best in a good quality BM 66 at home, and looks one of the better weighted runners all day, but facing more depth here.

How to play it: Golden Comet to win and box exacta 4,6,10. Odds and Evens: Evens

Race 8 CLASS 1 HCP (1106m):

Reasonably open sprint to finish, although if promising 3YO filly 7. Triple The Fun from the Dunn stable switches on, the others could well be running for second. Led all the way resuming from a lengthy break as a hot favourite at home, and can only improve further. Draws to either lead, or park right behind.

Dangers: Coffs Harbour filly 10. Cotton Caper landed her maiden at fourth start in dominant fashion charging home, and drops sharply in weight, but taking on some better ones here from a wide draw. Rival Coffs 5YO 6. Gus Lightning has been freshened since finally landing his maiden here at 13th start, and draws the inside, but this is tougher.

How to play it: Triple The Fun to win. Odds and Evens: Split.


Triple The Fun wins at Murwillumbah on March 23

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

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