By Neil Evans
Showcase meeting on Cup day, with track Good 4 and rail True so should play fairly even across the board
|Race 1 CL3 HCP (1900m):|
Tricky opener to get us underway. Pt Macquarie 5YO gelding 2. The Kroc has enough ability, but often finds ways to get beat. Has been hard in the market in his last two finishing well at Taree before even through the line in the Cessnock Cup. In okay at the weights, and this looks his best chance in a while to break back into the winner's stall.
Dangers: Rival Pt Macquarie 5YO 3. Condover Hall similarly threatens to win races, but struggles to nail the finish. Right around the money in his last couple, and down significantly in weight, but is a query over this trip; while 5YO Gosford gelding 1. Matakauri fought on well in this grade last start after jumping from a wide barrier, and draws better here, but this looks slightly tougher.
How to play it: The Kroc to win. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split
The Kroc runs fifth in the Cessnock Cup on October 28
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1000m):|
Most of these are battling which augurs well for 4YO Newcastle gelding 6. Serbelloni who can break the duck here at his 15th attempt. Has good early speed, and only just missed in his last couple.
Dangers: Improving 5YO Gosford mare 8. Lollipop will improve after a fair closing effort at Pt Macquarie in her first run for nearly a year. Ideally would like it longer, but draws to get cover, and stable is good at placing them. Pt Macquarie 5YO gelding 2. Kid Mac is still trying to break through after 24 starts, and went within a whisker of leading all the way first-up this prep at home. Has been placed 10 times in some handy maidens, but rises back up sharply to 59kg. Watch the market on debutant 3YO Taree filly 12. Polar Express who only trialled quietly, but it's not often you see a first starter with blinkers, lugging bit and tongue tie all on.
How to play it: Serbelloni to win and quinella 6 and 8. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 3 MAIDEN PLATE (1450m):|
Intriguing maiden. Big-striding 4YO Newcastle gelding 5. Schemer had a tough run fourth-up at Scone, but still finished off strongly from a mile back behind a nice horse. Extra distance a big plus, and while he'll be forced to go back again from a wide barrier, top country hoop on is music to the ears. Flew home in a stronger maiden at Wyong three runs back.
Dangers: Newcastle 3YO filly 10. Atomic Pulse is the obvious short-priced threat. Was well backed on debut when finishing off okay into a place, and expect further improvement with the blinkers going on. Stablemate 4YO gelding 3. Elas Jet was only fair on debut in that same race behind Trackman, but will improve up in trip, and drawn to get a good run. Pt Macquarie 3YO gelding 7. Graziano has been ridden quieter in his last couple, and found the line okay. Draws to get a cosy run tucked away around midfield. Another 3YO, Taree gelding 8. Men In Tights was heavily specked in the market from a big price when just failing to hang on resuming at home. Bred to get over much further being by former Group 1-winning stayer Hampton Court, and with an even better draw here will give plenty of cheek. Include 3YO filly 11. Bear The Crown in exotics for popular local trainer after flashing home at big odds on debut in a handy maiden at Pt Macquarie.
How to play it: Schemer each way and trifecta 5,10/3,5,8,10,11/3,5,8,10,11. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BM 66 HCP (1000m):|
Keen at the big value on 5YO Newcastle gelding 5. Mr Grumpy who was only fair to the line resuming in this grade at Scone, but is almost a second-up specialist so expect a peak run.
Dangers: Progressive 3YO Wyong gelding 7. Upper East Side scored a well deserved win in Class 1 company two runs back before bumping into a smart Class 2 field at Hawkesbury. Looks better placed here from a softer draw where he can trail the speed. Pt Macquarie 5YO mare 3. Penfold can mix her form, but has more than enough ability to win. Finished nicely to win this grade three runs back, and was strong again late in a tougher BM 80 at Coffs Harbour last start. Inexperienced 3kg claimer aboard, but draws to get a lovely trail just off the speed. Pt Macquarie 5YO stallion and ex-Victorian 6. Evil Cry stormed home under a big weight to win on debut in this region, and while this is tougher, did tackle better fields in Melbourne through the early part of winter.
How to play it: Mr Grumpy each way and box trifecta 3,5,6,7. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 5 MAIDEN HCP (1250m):|
With the blinkers on for smart trainer/rider combination, 3YO gelding and first starter 5. New York Poet can make an impact. Took time to settle in a trial and got a long way back before accelerating and running through the line. Significantly, draws to get a lovely trail.
Dangers: Coffs Harbour 3YO gelding 3. Surmise has been well specked by punters in two fair runs to start his career; while 4YO Wauchope mare 6. Kiwi Ingenuity has trialled okay, and draws a soft gate.
How to play it: New York Poet each way. Odds and Evens: Odds.
|Race 6 CL3 HCP (1450m):|
Open race, but loved the way 5YO Pt Macquarie mare 5. Our Girl Babs has hit the line from midfield to win her last two, and with sound form over much further ground, she looks heard to beat again drawn to get to the outside.
Dangers: Taree 5YO mare 2. Danzibar Dancer had been consistently finding the line, including a narrow win in the Bowraville Cup, before outclassed in Highway grade, but back in rightful company here. Progressive 4YO local mare 13. Campari Soda is ready for this longer trip after four runs back. Flew home to beat a good BM 58 field second-up, and looks well in at the weights with only 54kg from a good trailing draw; while watch for 5YO Pt Macquarie gelding 10. Dangerous Dan getting home late at big odds down in weight. Made up a stack of ground between runners from way back last start, and extra journey a must.
How to play it: Our Girl Babs to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 KEMPSEY CUP (1450m):|
Very good and deep edition this year, with a stack of chances. Wyong 5YO gelding 3. Cisco Bay dropped out after leading in a stronger BM 70 on the Kensington track, but this is much more to his liking, and best form is second-up.
Dangers: Progressive 5YO Taree gelding 4. Casino Mondial is closing in on a fifth career win from only 12 starts after finishing okay in a BM 84 and then just missing rattling home in the Krambach Cup behind smart Mo The Great. Drawn to get a lovely trail, with the winkers going on. Consistent 7YO Grafton gelding 1. Cool Prince drops back from tougher opposition, and this is his best distance, but has to overcome a wide draw. Pt Macquarie 6YO gelding 2. I Wanna Be A Jeep has a good strike, and tried valiantly to lead all the way in the Jungle Juice Cup at Cessnock. Unbeaten at the track, but has to work over from a wide barrier, and won't want it one shred further. Newcastle 5YO gelding 8. Sausalito has made terrific improvement this prep, charging home to win the Krambach Sprint before finishing well again in the Jungle Juice Cup, and draws to get an economical run midfield on the fence. Local 6YO gelding 6. Mister McIlroy won three straight at BM 66 level before beaten a long way in tougher grade at Wyong, but better suited back on home track and down in weight; while 5YO Pt Macquarie gelding 9. Mister Smartee is another honest and capable performer around this class, and scored a dominant win from the front this track four runs back.
How to play it: Cisco Bay each way; quinella 3 and 4; first four 1,3,4/1,2,3,4,8/1,2,3,4,6,8,9/1,2,3,4,6,8,9. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 8 BM 58 HCP (1250m):|
Open contest to finish, although looks ideal for 4YO Newcastle gelding 4. Ultimate Power peaking second-up from the good draw. Did his best work late resuming under 60kg at Muswellbrook, and this suits.
Dangers: Rival 3YO Newcastle colt 7. Dodecanese was heavily backed when beaten under a length resuming in that same race as Ultimate Power, and drawn to stalk the speed again. Armidale 4YO gelding 3. Cos I'm Good looks set for a much bigger prep after storming home to win his maiden first-up at Coonabarabran, and looks well capable of taking the next step. Improving 6YO Pt Macquarie gelding 1. Triage peaked at sixth run this prep to easily win at Grafton, and 4kg claiming apprentice keeps him in the contest; while 7YO Taree mare 9. I'll Take Money is capable of getting home hard.
How to play it: Ultimate Power each way and box trifecta 1,3,4,7. Odds and Evens: Split.
Ultimate Power's first-up run at Muswellbrook on October 22