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Neil Evans' Tips For Grafton (Monday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4 and rail out 4.5m so likely even for much of the day before a late trend wider

Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1115m):

We start with an open sprint for the maidens. Coffs Harbour 3YO 1. Praeferox from the Brett Dodson stable can go close third-up from a good draw, back in trip and on firmer ground after boxing on okay in the heavy at home.

Dangers: Murwillumbah 3YO 4. Fire In The Hole was a well-backed favourite when getting back and failing to hit the line here on debut. Fitter and blinkers come off, but has a tough draw to overcome.

How to play it: Praeferox to win. Odds and Evens (First 2): Odds

Praeferox runs fifth at Coffs Harbour on April 14

Race 2 F & M CLASS 1 HCP (1015m):

Tricky sprint for the girls, with a few key ones resuming. One of them, 3YO filly 2. Divine Approach from the Gosford stable of Tony Newing looks a real contender fresh despite the big weight and a very quiet trial. Didn't miss a place in four runs across deeper opposition last prep, capped with a dominant off-speed win at Dubbo. Stable rarely comes this far without leaving its mark.

Dangers: Murwillumbah 4YO mare 4. Unimpeded has worked home nicely in two runs back, but will likely have to come from a long way off them drawn wide. Pt Macquarie filly 3. Sylvia's Memory returns for her first run in more than a year off two trials. Has good early speed, but fitness will be an obvious key. Thrashed Divine Approach on debut as a hot favourite, and was competing in Listed metro company at only third start. Lightly raced Ballina filly 5. Miss Whittington stalked the speed and finished too well resuming here, and draws to get another cosy run just off the speed, but this is harder.

How to play it: Divine Approach to win and box trifecta 2,3,4/2,3,4,5/2,3,4,5. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 C, G & E CLASS 1 HCP (1015m):

Now the boys' turn same grade and trip. Hard to believe 5YO Taree gelding 9. Pinnacle Power from the Ross Stitt yard has only won once from 30 starts, but has been placed a further seven times, and has been close-up in his last three, generally in deeper races. Draws to get a lovely trail just off the speed, and can finish over the top.

Dangers: Pt Macquarie 3YO 2. Manly Hanover defied a betting drift leading all the way resuming at home, and can repeat the dose, although tougher draw for natural front-runner; while resuming Murwillumbah 4YO 1. Thunderous Strike draws to get a soft run, with the blinkers coming off, and is best of the rest.

How to play it: Pinnacle Power each way. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2230m):

Even battle here for much lower-graded stayers, and as always tactics and tempo will play a hefty role. Coffs 3YO gelding 3. Brisbane Boy from the Joanne Hardy stable improved lengths back on top of the ground to claim his maiden at fifth run in first prep after earlier being way outclassed in much stronger metro company. Draws to get a gun run, and is ready for this longer trip.

Dangers: Kembla 3YO filly 13. Spring Secret has had three mixed runs this prep, but was only three lengths from Tampering at Nowra first-up, and a repeat of that would see her go close. Taree mare 11. Sensational Girl hasn't run a place in seven starts, but signalled she was improving finding the line okay from well back in a stronger CL1 last start; while Cessnock colt 14. Snobby Shores is hard fit deep into the prep, and wasn't far away in a better maiden here last start.

How to play it: Brisbane Boy to win. Odds and Evens: Odds

Brisbane Boy wins at Grafton on April 20

Race 5 MAIDEN PLATE (1420m):

Pt Macquarie 3YO 4. Racketeering ran above himself at the Gold Coast in only second start hitting the line hard at big odds, and looks suited here despite the wide draw.

Dangers: Expect sharp improvement from Murwillumbah 3YO 1. Byron Buoy despite climbing in weight after a strange flop first-up here when solid in the market; while include Pt Macquarie mare 10. I'm Fluent who has been placed five times in 14 starts, and draws to get a handy trail for leading country stable.

How to play it: Racketeering to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 BM 66 HCP (1620m):

Open and one of the feature races of the day, with plenty of chances, and two runners are on the radar at different ends of the price scale. Liked the way Coffs Harbour 4YO gelding 5. Galway from the Brett Dodson stable attacked the line late third-up off a long break in a BM 58 at home, and while this is harder, he drops in weight from a better draw, and even more capable on firmer ground.

Dangers: Under-rated 6YO gelding 3. I've Got This made up plenty of late ground from a mile back third-up here in similar grade. Draws better with a little drop in weight, and extra trip another bonus. Outrageous he opened more than 50/1 in early markets. Murwillumbah 6YO 15. Kijito is in the best form of his career storming home to just miss in a CL3 before charging late again to win this grade here. Tougher draw in better field, but step up in trip looks ideal on the quick back-up. Progressive Lismore 4YO 7. At Witz End saluted second-up here after stalking the speed, and four of his five career wins have come at this track. Another one from Coffs, lightly raced 4YO 8. Tower Road is hard fit, and only just missed in a CL2 here last start, and draws to get a soft run behind the speed.

How to play it: Galway to win; I've Got This each way and trifecta 3,5,7,15/3,5,7,8,15/3,5,7,8,15. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 7 BUSHGROVE CUP (1215m):

Improving 4YO gelding 2. Exclusive from the Stephen Bennett stable at Casino saves his best for this track, with four of five career wins coming here. Came off a freshen-up and back on dry ground to power home for a dominant BM 82 win, and earlier wasn't beaten far in a stronger Country C'ship qualifier. Despite a sharp rise in weight, draws to finish over the top again.

Dangers: Lightly raced and consistent Pt Macquarie 4YO 7. Magnalane has been freshened up via a smart trial win after a terrific closing run in the Country C'ship final at Randwick. Up in weight, but loves this trip, and should be charging home again. Be surprised if one of those two doesn't win, but local 5YO 11. Midweek Hussler did his best work late behind Exclusive, and also has a liking for this track.

How to play it: Exclusive to win and quinella 2 and 7. Odds and Evens: Split.

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

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