By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail out 5m from 1200m to 300m into a cut/away
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
We start an open meeting with likely one of the shorter priced runners in three-year-old 3. Bullet Force who debuts off two recent forward trials, the latest right behind smart Newsreader who then bolted in her maiden at the Gold Coast on Magic Millions day. Stable hasn't rushed him one bit, and key gear selections are in play.
Dangers: Watch the betting closely on 7. The Mistral who debuts for a strong provincial yard off two impressive trials, winning the latest. Scone three-year-old 4. Icia Fox resumes for an emerging country stable, and draws to get a sound trail just off the speed; while 12. Jericho Beach wasn't afforded the best of runs first-up in heavy ground at Taree, and should be in the finish.
How to play it: Bullet Force to win and quinella 3 and 7. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Hawkesbury mare 1. You Rang is showing plenty of promise, and should have won hitting the line first-up at Orange after covering ground. Can tuck in right behind the speed, and finish strongest. The one to beat. Scratched from Kembla on Saturday to run here.
Dangers: Suspect bad luck is the biggest threat, although debutant filly 7. Irish Kisses has worked home nicely in two trials, and stable is going great guns while two-year-old filly and first starter 10. Half Moon finished off strong in a trial, and steps out in blinkers.
How to play it: You Rang to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1280m):|
Still with the maidens over more ground. Improving filly 9. Oakfield Arrow looks suitably placed at second start after attacking the line late on debut at Gosford. Even more effective now back on firm footing from a kinder draw.
Dangers: Progressive filly 12. Tip Toes comes through a handy first-up maiden at Scone, and will also appreciate firmer ground. Provincial mare 5. Stonesthrow can improve off an even debut run at home, although will need to slot in from a wide gate; while keep safe well bred three-year-old 10. Shock Zone who can improve sharply back in trip from a much better draw after being caught off the track second-up at Orange.
How to play it: Oakfield Arrow to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Oakfield Arrow runs third at Gosford on December 29
|Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1450m):|
A few chances in this one. Scone three-year-old 10. Still In Fashion carried a reputation into his first prep, but has gone under as a solid favourite in all three runs. That said, he's fought okay to the line after looming each time, and back a little in trip, and back on firmer footing, with blinkers coming off, are all plusses. Break through time.
Dangers: Expect sharp improvement second-up for three-year-old 9. Milliondollarbill who didn't fire a shot resuming in a good quality provincial maiden. Loved the way lightly raced four-year-old 3. Gilded Crown has hit the line in two runs for the Mark Schmetzer stable, and could easily have won both. Hard fit, but has to get in from a wide gate. Keep safe improving four-year-old 4. Individualist third-up.
How to play it: Still In Fashion to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Still In Fashion runs third at Muswellbrook on January 7
|Race 5 CLASS 1 HCP (1450m):|
Progressive three-year-old filly 2. Crazy Train was terrific powering home late into a place at Orange behind a smart youngster. Can peak over this extra journey, and should love the longer run home here.
Dangers: Tough four-year-old 5. Reuben James was run down here by a very promising sprinter first-up off a lengthy break. Draws to get a cosy run on the inside, although better form is clearly on wetter tracks; while 3. La Jolie Fille is looking for this trip third-up, and kept ticking over in a quiet provincial trial.
How to play it: Crazy Train to win and box trifecta 2,3,5. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 SUMMER SIZZLER (1000m):|
Not as much speed as normal in this feature sprint. Keen on Scone five-year-old 4. Herzegovina who resumes off a tidy heavy track trial here. Sprints well fresh, and drawn to get the right trail.
Dangers: Resuming eight-year-old 1. Itz Invincible should be able to cross and lead. Comes to hand quickly, with three of his seven career wins fresh, and big weight off-set by a 3kg claim. Will take some running down. Rejuvenated seven-year-old 5. Sir Donald is the only last start winner in the field, charging home to claim the feature Inverell Shorts. Hard fit carrying only 1kg more, and is good value. Now based at Cessnock, 3. Drachenfels hasn't won for a long time, and resumes off a quiet trial. Form in deeper races prior to spelling was solid enough, but not convinced there's enough pace on here to get over the top.
How to play it: Herzegovina to win and box exacta 1,4,5. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 BM 58 HCP - CLASS 2 & ABOVE (1280m):|
Plenty of chances in this one too. Promising Newcastle mare 4. Jaja Chaboogie resumes for a second prep over a longer trip this time, but that is a likely advantage first time on firm ground. Won two straight last time in the heavy up to a similar class, and is drawn to park just off the speed and pounce early in the straight.
Dangers: Improving filly 14. Crowned Empress scored a soft win at Coffs after trailing the speed, before holding her own in a Highway behind one of the better country sprinters in NSW. Can strike down in grade and back on dry ground. Big market watch on ex-SA mare 11. Mabel Josephine who resumes for a new local stable off a handy trial. Keep safe 15. Commander Bamm who has won his last two in weaker company, and has good early speed; while 1. Soami who is hard fit and 3. In Fiore third-up can all be included in wider exotics.
How to play it: Ja Ja Chaboogie to win and first four 4,11,14/3,4,11,14,15/1,3,4,11,14,15/1,3,4,11,14,15
|Race 8 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m):|
We cap the meeting back over the short course, and smart Randwick filly 11. Waafiya can pounce fresh off two forward trials. Draws well on the limit weight, and won her only previous start convincingly on firm ground.
Dangers: Progressive three-year-old 5. Tinka's Lad was a dominant maiden winner at Scone in heavy ground before narrowly missing in a deeper provincial CL1. Headed for better races, and first time he's seen a firm surface. Gap to the rest headed by speedt filly 12. Sapphire Step jumps up in grade after destroying a weak maiden field by 10 lengths.
How to play it: Waafiya to win and quinella 5 and 11. Odds and Evens: Odds.