By Neil Evans
Showcase meeting for Gold Cup day. Track likely Soft 5/6 and rail out 2.5m from 1000m to 300m into a cut/away so on or just off the speed before trending wider.
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1280m):|
Potentially strong maiden to get us underway. Still hard to believe 4YO Newcastle mare 1. Dreaming Of Gold went under at Hawkesbury after cruising up down the middle, but laying in late. Three close seconds this prep, and five overall has connections and punters mystified, although despite creeping up further in weight, draws the inside and can challenge again.
Dangers: Emerging filly 11. Confinement from the Cameron Crockett stable at Scone has been a good thing robbed in her last two at Mudgee and Coonamble, and well in here at the weights on suitable track, but has to overcome a very tough draw; while lightly raced stablemate 3YO 2. Brother Bassy comes back in trip from a fair closing effort over the mile at Coonamble, but rises 4kg.
How to play it: Dreaming Of Gold to win and quinella 1 and 11. Odds and Evens (First 2): Odds
|Race 2 BM 58 HCP (1750m):|
Tough and wide race, with plenty of chances. Improving Scone 5YO 5. Spirit Of Elijah is on the quick track turn-around after being run down by a smart one here on Sunday in this grade.
Dangers: Warwick Farm 5YO gelding 5. Colesberg is also on a quick back-up, and comes back a fair way in grade from being easily swamped in a BM 64 at Kembla behind a filly who has serious carnival potential. Strike rate is poor, but will roll forward in typical fashion from a low draw, and look to control things through the key middle sections. Almost lost track of the number of times 4YO Wyong gelding 4. Hubble has powered home from the back into a place. Steps out to a suitably longer trip, but big query coming from well off the speed up sharply to 60kg. Watch the betting on 4YO local gelding 10. Sir Leo who comes back in grade off a freshen-up, and draws the inside.
How to play it: Spirit Of Elijah each way. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 3 BM 58 HCP (1280m):|
Play it again in similar grade, but back to the sprint trip. Lightly raced 4YO gelding 5. Banff looks to have found a nice resuming race after nine months away. Has had two trials on this track, and showed enough in first prep hitting the line from well off the speed to suggest he will be getting home again here.
Dangers: Scone 5YO mare 13. Rose Of Savannah is drawn out, but better suited off a freshen-up from two failures in BM 70 metro company; while 4YO gelding 8. Supreme Streak beat a handy Class 2 field at Taree last start, and hits peak fitness fourth-up.
How to play it: Banff each way. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 4 WAYNE HARRIS HCP (1280m):|
The ultra competitive battles continue. Improving 3YO Scone filly 9. Emperor's Star is the one to beat from a good draw and crucially back in trip. Destroyed a handy Class 3 field three runs back, but was easily out-gunned in much stronger Country C'ship qualifier at Tamworth last start after working hard early. In well at the weights.
Dangers: Gosford 6YO gelding 2. Invicta is a big market watch resuming off a long break without an official trial, but normally comes to hand quickly, and been in work for a while. Progressive 4YO Newcastle gelding 3. Great Danger has come back in smart fashion this prep defying a betting drift to upset a BM 70 field first-up before just missed finishing hard in the Provincial C'ship Qualifier at Hawkesbury. Looks fairly treated up only 0.5kg, and trainer Kris Lee has removed the blinkers, but will need the breaks early from a wide draw in big field. Stablemate 8YO gelding 1. Powerline is not a noted first-up performer, but second of two trials was forward enough to suggest he can finish off here behind a good tempo.
How to play it: Emperor's Star to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m):|
Plenty of changes again headed by ultra consistent 3YO Gulgong filly 7. All Hollywood who closed off strongly first-up at Scone, and bolted in her maiden at Dubbo in only other previous second-up run.
Dangers: Blinkers on for the first time might do the trick for Scone mare 6. The Light Of Day who has been beaten narrowly in her last two after landing the maiden first-up at Taree. Has more than enough class and drawn to get a lovely run, but often struggles to savage the line. Emerging 3YO 5. Vox Pop returned off a long break with an easy maiden win at Goulburn at his first run for new Randwick trainer John Thompson. That was only his third start, and could go right on with it now. Warwick Farm filly 4. For Love doesn't want it any further, but stuck on okay in a Class 1 at Hawkesbury, and at peak fitness now fourth run this prep.
How to play it: All Hollywood each way and trifecta 6,7/4,5,6,7/4,5,6,7. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6. SKELLATAR SPRINT (1000m):|
Feature sprint on the card, and there's never any room for the faint-hearted here. Keen on smart 4YO Warwick Farm mare 5. Miss Invincible who resumes with an impressive fresh record off two winning trials. Drawn to push forward and probably sit outside the lead, and watch her explode from the 350m.
Danger: Capable 4YO Hawkesbury gelding 1. Rare Episode found the front-running pressure too much in a good quality open sprint at Canberra on Black Opal day, but previous metro form under big weights was rock solid, and can bounce straight back. High class Randwick 4YO 4. Black Magnum has built a strong record from only 16 starts, and comes out of that same sprint in Canberra behind fresh specialist Handle The Truth when finishing hard. Up in weight and drawn out, but has the class. Both 5YO Scone gelding 6. Star Boy who is second-up after a flat return at Eagle Farm, and 6YO gelding 3. Ozark who has a terrific first-up record and resumes for new Tamworth stable, are over the odds.
How to play it: Miss Invincible to win and trifecta 1,4,5/1,3,4,5,6/1,3,4,5,6. Odds and Evens: Split
Miss Invincible wins a trial at Warwick Farm on March 10
|Race 7 MUSWELLBROOK GOLD CUP (1750m):|
One of the most open Cup editions ever run, and exotic players can have a field day. Warwick Farm and former Victorian-based 6YO gelding 2. Ken's Dream can break a winning drought of more than two years getting back to this trip well into the prep. Very competitive in high quality BM races in two states before finishing strongly in Listed National Sprint at Canberra. Handicapper hasn't missed him up 6kg in weight, but drawn to get a charmed run just behind the speed.
Dangers: Naturally a stack of them headed by 4YO Warwick Farm gelding 6. Bobby Dee who can also break a run of outs well into his prep after just missing in a BM 78 at Rosehill. Drops 3.5kg for this, and also drawn to get a nice run. Randwick 4YO 8. Commander has been given plenty of time after dropping out badly in heavy ground first-up at Rosehill under a big weight when striking early trouble and rider reported he lost his footing early and never felt comfortable. Has since trialled nicely. Stablemate 6YO gelding to Bobby Dee, 9. Shock Alert gets to an ideal distance third-up, and comes out of a strong BM 88 metro form race. Also looks well treated at the weights, but like many will need plenty of luck drawn in the car-park.
How to play it: Ken's Dream each way and box trifecta 2,6,8,9. Odds and Evens: Evens.
|Race 8 CLASS 3 HCP (1450m):|
Another open and testing one to finish. Progressive 4YO Tamworth gelding 2. Whiteley looks set to pounce third-up after a strong finishing effort in the Country C'ship Qualifier behind smart Ligulate. Rises sharply to 61kg, but drawn to get nice cover back in the field with leading jockey jumping aboard.
Dangers: Port Macquarie 4YO 4. Foxy's Foxinator couldn't get into the finish on heavy ground in a Country C'ship Qualifier at Taree, but has since scored a dominant open trial win, and blinkers have been applied. Well over the odds. Tamworth 5YO gelding 5. The Launcher also looks big value from a soft draw. Finished off okay in consecutive Class 3 races before missing by a whisker at home in a BM 66. Consistent 4YO local gelding 3. Absolute Trust only needs an even break from a wide barrier to be right in the finish. Was a dominant Class 2 winner here three runs back, and has good early tactical speed.
How to play it: Whiteley to win and both Foxy's Foxinator and The Launcher each way. Odds and Evens: Split.
Whiteley runs fifth at Tamworth on March 8