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Neil Evans' Tips For Port Macquarie (Friday)

By Neil Evans

Track improving to Good 4 and rail out 2m from 1200m to 350m, then True the remainder so should play fairly even before late trend away from the fence

Race 1 3YO MAIDEN HCP (1006m):

Competitive maiden sprint to start, and keen on 3YO gelding 2. Nombuso from the local Neil Godbolt stable second-up from a better draw. Finished okay resuming here in a deeper maiden, and regularly tackled much tougher metro opposition in spring.

Dangers: Newcastle 3YO 1. Bravio will find this easier than his last few in metro and provincial company; while watch the betting on Coffs Harbour 3YO first starter 3. Pay The Plumber (Hidden Dragon x Lotsahula by Sequalo) who won a recent trial.

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

Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1506m):

Thin maiden which augurs well for 4YO gelding 3. The Premier from the Kris Lees yard at Newcastle who looks very well placed second-up off a nice closing return at Scone.

Dangers: Rival Newcastle filly 10. Chilli Chilli was well beaten resuming in that same race as The Premier, but can improve sharply second-up from a soft draw; while 5YO home track mare 6. Crazeelil was good here three runs back before taking on tougher maiden company, but prefers rain-affected going.

How to play it: The Premier to win. Odds and Evens: Split

The Premier runs second at Scone on April 6

Race 3 OPEN HCP (1506m):

Tricky tactical race, and most have a chance. Local 6YO 5. O'Driscoll from the Tas Morton stable hasn't won for a while, but continues to run on well just behind the place-betters in handy open company, and five of his seven career wins have come at home.

Dangers: Newcastle 5YO 1. Chalmers also gets his chance to break a long run of outs rising in distance third-up after two modest efforts at BM 70 provincial level. Consistent Coffs Harbour 6YO 2. Evopex hit the line late in a good BM 85 at Armidale, and is on the quick five-day back-up. Cane tucked away back in the field, and produced late again. Ballina 6YO 3. Polemic will find this easier than first-up effort at the Gold Coast when well beaten at big odds, and also draws to get plenty of cover around midfield.

How to play it: O'Driscoll to win and box trifecta 1,2,3,5. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1206m):

Back to the maidens, and lightly raced 4YO mare 2. Princess Ariana from the Kristen Buchanan yard at Wyong only needs to get over from a wide draw to be the one to beat at fourth start. Held on okay behind a smart one at Wyong before only collared late after leading at Newcastle by one of the better non-metro maidens in NSW at the time.

Dangers: Home track mare 1. Frivolosophy has run three consecutive second placings this prep, and is the clear threat over a little more ground from a soft draw. Watch any betting move at big odds for Scone 3YO 5. Stroke Of Midnight who charged home at only second start at Dubbo, and has been freshened with blinkers applied; Muswellbrook 4YO 7. Tough Case loves to roll forward, and hasn't missed a place in four runs this prep; while local 4YO mare 10. I'm Fluent improves back on top of the ground fourth-up and is best of the rest.

How to play it: Princess Ariana to win and trifecta 1,2/1,2,5,7,10/1,2,5,7,10. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2012m):

Deeper and open staying contest, and the 3YO's have an edge. Keen on improving gelding 11. Savvy Crown from the Jason Deamer stable at Newcastle out in trip and down in weight at only third career start. Covered a stack of ground well back on a Heavy 8 at Tamworth, but still ran on well, and while has to overcome another wide draw, can peak on more suitable track.

Dangers: Liked the way Newcastle filly 9. Lime And Sugar found the line on a Heavy 10 this track. Hard fit well into the prep, and is by a dual Group 1 UK winner. Local 4YO gelding 2. Lucky For Some has more ability than his record suggests, and improves even further back on good ground. Has been close-up in his last two here, only run down late in that same Heavy 10 race after setting a solid tempo out in front. Newcastle colt 10. Political also did his best work late in that same wet track slog, and this is the firmest surface so far in four runs.

How to play it: Savvy Crown each way and box trifecta 2,9,10,11. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 CLASS 2 HCP (1506m):

Competitive battle, but big fan of 4YO mare 5. Pure Faith from the Brett Cavanough stable at Scone despite drawing wide, and flopping last start on a very heavy track at Tamworth. Won her previous two comfortably at Gilgandra and Gunnedah, and can bounce straight back in firmer going.

Dangers: Taree mare 2. Good Excuse did her best work late in a CL3 at Muswellbrook before out of her depth at Newcastle, but gets in okay at the weights after rider's 2kg claim. Wyong 3YO filly 3. My Desire has been up for a while, but held on okay after trailing the speed in a BM 66 at Scone. Has a tough task coming over from the outside gate. Coffs Harbour 4YO 1. Banjo's Voice hit the line hard in a BM 66 at Ballina fourth-up, and will be running on again.

How to play it: Pure Faith to win. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 7 CL3 HCP (1006m):

One of the highlight races of the day, and there are a stack of chances. Like the timing and value about 3YO Wyong gelding 1. Upper East Side from the Buchanan stable who can peak and finish hard third-up from a handy trailing draw. All three career wins have come on good ground.

Dangers: Scone 4YO mare 3. Gem Dealer resumes off two quiet trials, has plenty of natural ability, and blinkers go on. Inside draw, though, doesn't do her natural pattern any favours. Grafton 4YO 5. Jule's Spirit returned off a long break with a smart CL2 win at home before again attacking the line late in a CL3. Draws to get plenty of cover off the speed, and will again be zooming home. Wyong 4YO 4. Gidgee Guy must be a hope after hitting the line from a mile back in a BM 64 at Newcastle, just doesn't want to drift too far back; while local 5YO 10. Crackneck is best of the rest down in weight.

How to play it: Upper East Side each way and trifecta 1,3,5/1,3,4,5,10/1,3,4,5,10. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 8 BM 58 HCP (1206m):

Progressive 3YO filly 8. Gentlemen's Words from the Murwillumbah stable of Matt Dunn can take the next step fourth-up off a dominant on-speed maiden win at Ballina. Will push forward again & likely sit outside or just behind the pace.

Dangers: Home track 3YO gelding 6. Spirit In The Sky gave nothing else a chance third-up here in the heavy leading all the way to bolt in his maiden, but has only seen wet tracks this year, and draws a tough gate. Local 5YO gelding 5. Condover Hall was okay late resuming on a Heavy 10, and can improve further back on firmer ground from a better draw; while Coffs Harbour mare 7. Supreme Diva is another one who improved sharply on wet ground surging home to win a CL1 at Taree, but not as effective in the dry.

How to play it: Gentlemen's Words to win. Odds and Evens: Split.

Gentlemen's Words wins at Ballina on April 7

All the fields, form and replays for Friday's Port Macquarie meeting

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