By Neil Evans
Track Good 3 and rail true on expected hot day so likely pattern on or just off the speed
|Race 1 2YO MAIDEN PLATE (1000m):|
A small field of babies get us underway at set weights, with all but one runner on debut. Gulgong colt 3. Winter Moon (Redoute's Choice x Dazzling Gazelle by More Than Ready) looks to have ability, and been given plenty of time at the trials. Draws a good gate will be hard to stop for a big team of owners.
Dangers: Newcastle filly 6. Romanella (Roman Emperor x Elle by General Nediym) has trialled okay for top provincial stable, and drawn alongside appears the main threat.
How to play it: Winter Moon to win and quinella 3 and 6. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split.
|Race 2 BM 58 HCP (2050m):|
Thin and tricky race of tactics and tempo. While the top two saddlecloths could dominate betting in a weaker race, 6YO Dubbo gelding 7. Club Town gets a real chance to notch only his second win from 28 starts. Has worked home okay from well back in his last three against better opposition, and drops 5kg for this from the inside draw.
Dangers: Local 7YO gelding 2. Davor dropped back from fair form in stronger races to miss by under a length this grade at Quirindi on Boxing Day, but meets the top-weight better at the weights after rider's claim. Gosford 8YO gelding 1. Coolaminyah Kid was rewarded for a consistent campaign with that fighting win over Davor at Quirindi. Hard fit, with leading country rider booked, and is used to carrying weight so all being equal, there won't be much between them again.
How to play it: Club Town to win and box trifecta 1,2,7. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 3 3YO & UP MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Looks a race in two, with a few of these waiting for some time to break through. Not so 3YO Newcastle filly 6. Espressino who disappointed as a well backed favourite on debut at Quirindi, but has since trialled in smart fashion, and the introduction of a lugging bit is pivotal.
Dangers: Gulgong 5YO gelding 1. One More Poet resumes for a second spell without a public trial, but draws okay, and stable is renowned for having them ready. Was beaten under two lengths on debut at Forbes in late winter as a $3.10 favourite.
How to play it: Espressino to win and quinella 1 and 6. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 4 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
This could end up a two-horse war at set weights over the mile. Promising 3YO Newcastle filly 9. Dissenter is potentially a cut above these, and draws the inside for leading traiuner/rider combination. Charged home to win on debut at Tamworth before again finishing strongly in a Class 2 as a well favourite. Trainer has added the blinkers, and should looks beautifully placed under the conditions in this grade.
Dangers: Tamworth 4YO gelding 7. Deeling Us In only needs to find some cover early to be powering into the finish. Has run three straight second placings in handy maiden company, hitting the line from well back in his most recent, and the Dundeel breed are going well around the country and provincial traps. Be surprised if anything else wins, but improving 4YO Scone mare 6. Wickmo put the writing on the wall with two sound finishing efforts at Dubbo and Mudgee before claiming her maiden at only fourth start, but is up in weight and drawn wide. Tamworth 6YO gelding 4. Sadler's Rest likes to drift back and finish off. Record isn't flash, but draws well and should get enough speed on up front to work home, and this is his best distance. Inverell 5YO gelding 2. Cabriere really mixes his form, but a nice finishing effort in a Class 1 at Moree last start was a sign he could be on an upward trend.
How to play it: Dissenter to win; quinella 7 and 9; trifecta 7,9/6,7,9/4,6,7,9. Odds and Evens: Odds.
Dissenter runs fourth at Tamworth on December 23
|Race 5 MAIDEN PLATE (1300m):|
Plenty of chances in this one, again run at set weights. Muswellbrook 4YO mare 12. Real Rainbow gets her real shot to break the duck at 15th start. A tactical change to ride her much quieter two runs back at Scone almost came off when she flooded home to be beaten a head in a stronger maiden than this before disappointing same track and trip just over a week ago. Drawn to coil up midfield, and cut loose early in the straight.
Dangers: After four improving runs late last year, 3YO Scone gelding 9. Chastise is ready to break through. Drawn a little awkwardly, but will look to settle a few lengths off the speed and pounce early in the straight. If 5YO Tamworth gelding 5. Think Of Legend gets any luck from a very wide draw, he'll be hitting the line. Finished nicely in his first run for eight months in a handy maiden at Quirindi, and wasn't far off them against better opposition last prep. Tamworth 3YO gelding and first starter 8. Another Arli (Arlington x Duchess van Deurs by Bachelor Duke) looks ready to run a race on debut after two solid trials for an under-rated stable, but also has to overcome a wide barrier.
How to play it: Real Rainbow to win and box trifecta 5,8,9,12. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 6 BM 58 HCP (1300m):|
Open battle, but another one from the leading local stable of Gavin Groth can break through for his fourth career win from 25 starts. Improving 6YO gelding 5. Danspur was even to the line in stronger Class 3 and BM 66 races before finishing only fairly as a well backed favourite here last start when drifting too far back. Will be able to settle in a nice midfield spot behind what is a likely solid speed.
Dangers: Local 5YO gelding 2. Malzoom produced a career best run this grade a month ago giving nothing else a chance from the front in record time, and the second horse from that race has since run well again in a handy Class 1 field. Up a little in weight, but draws to repeat the dose. Tamworth 5YO mare 6. Pomme La Belle has finished well in two runs back from a spell, and this looks easier from the inside gate. Another Tamworth visitor, 4YO gelding 4. Rubble is much better than his two sub-par runs over 1000m this prep, and getting out to this distance where he can settle a little kinder and work into the finish is a big factor.
How to play it: Danspur each way and box trifecta 2,4,5,6. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 7 BM 58 HCP (1000m):|
Same grade, but back to the pure sprint trip to close the meeting. Progressive 4YO Tamworth gelding 3. Hey Dude is on the rise, and can go back-to-back after finishing best to win a Class 1 here three weeks back when heavily backed. Up sharply in weight but this looks at his mercy.
Dangers: Watch the market on 4YO Scone mare 7. Shesabitfoolish who hasn't started for nine months, and resumes without an official trial, but trainer/rider combination cannot be underestimated.
How to play it: Hey Dude to win. Odds and Evens: Odds.
Hey Dude wins at Gunnedah on December 17