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Neil Evans' Tips For Port Macquarie (Thursday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4 and rail out 2m so should play reasonably on-pace

Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (1506m):

Nearly always a tactical battle of tempo over these trips, but Wyong 3YO 3. Arrogante looks a cut above third-up off a very nice effort in stronger maiden in town. Will get a nice trail with cover and can launch over final 300m.

Dangers: Wauchope-trained 2. Nic And Run still hasn't won after 28 starts, but continues to find the line from well off the speed. Will go back from a wide gate again, but look for him late.

How to play it: Arrogante to win and quinella 2 and 3

Race 2 C, G & E MAIDEN HCP (1206m):

Looks a nice race for Newcastle gelding 1. Rothman who was a little flat at Scone third-up, but still finished okay, and looks ready to win at the longer journey in a weaker field.

Dangers: Local 3YO gelding 4. Lucky For Some improved nicely into his second-up run, and this looks no harder; while local 4YO 5. Kid Mac; and local 3YO 6. Lightsontheharbour who will park right on the speed; are the best of the rest.

How to play it: Rothman to win and quinella 1 and 4.

Race 3 F & M MAIDEN HCP (1206m):

Now the girls' turn, and can't go past the same trainer/rider combination aboard 3YO Newcastle filly 2. Raay Of Time who didn't miss by much resuming well in the market at home in a stronger maiden. Draws to sit behind the speed and just off the fence.

Dangers: Stablemate 4. Last Ace will appreciate the longer trip second-up after resuming at home; while Grafton mare 1. Sfilza looks suited third-up and with 3kg claim. Was close-up at Lismore two runs back before disappointing as favourite at Coffs Harbour when failing to let down. Kempsey filly 3. Campari Soda who has good early speed and only beaten under a length in her last two is clear best of the rest.

How to play it: Raay Of Time to win and first four 2-4/1-2-3-4.

Raay Of Time runs third at Newcastle on February 18

Race 4 CL1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2012m):

Sounding like a cracked record now, but again looks spot-on for the Lees-Gibbons duo with emerging Newcastle filly 6. Itz Lily who impressed through the early grades this prep. Dashed up last start in a good CL1, and only run down late by Holy Reign who had her back all the way. Will handle the rise in trip and is the one to beat in weaker race.

Dangers: Wyong mare 1. Gacela only won her maiden three runs back at 26th start, but she's tough and will keep finding the line; while include Coffs Harbour 5YO 4. Consoling in exotics. Has got home okay in his last couple, and being by Victoria Derby winner Monaco Consul out of a Carnegie mare, the longer the better.

How to play it: Itz Lily to win and trifecta 6/1-4.

Race 5 CL2 HCP (1006m):

Loved the way Newcastle 3YO 2. Quick Nick careered away to win second-up in a BM 58 at Scone, and draws even better here to stop the clock in slick time.

Dangers: Wyong 4YO 1. Crackneck has had two runs back from a long spell and ready to improve. Big weight off-set by 3kg claim and was scratched from Kembla yesterday to be saved for this. Coffs Harbour mare 5. The Eulo Queen is a consistent type who sits on-speed, and was brave winning from the front last start. Wauchope 3YO 4. Jumper Leads comes back in trip and grade after being way outclassed in the Country C'ship qualifier this track, but previous form was sound.

How to play it: Quick Nick to win.

Quick Nick wins easily at Scone on February 22

Race 6 BM 66 HCP (1506m):

Newcastle 3YO 6. Heredero is a free-striding gelding of emerging quality who can finish over the top, despite drawing wide. Overcame trouble in the straight to win a decent BM 58 at Muswellbrook before finishing hard as a well backed favourite in a stronger BM 66.

Dangers: Stablemate gelding 1. More Chilli is also building a decent record. Hit the line nicely in a CL3 at Scone two back before a nice closing effort in a deeper BM 66 at home. Will be in the finish from inside gate. Local mare 9. Komachi Force looks the best hope of upsetting the Lees-trained duo. Won her last two in smart fashion up to 1800m, but up in weight and this looks stronger. Kempsey mare 7. Sarasota Bay won a CL1 three runs back, and then worked home strong under a big weight in a BM 58 last start. Fit and will be finishing on again.

How to play it: Heredero to win.

Race 7 OPEN HCP (1106m):

Tricky and competitive feature sprint! Taree 5YO 2. Alot Like Home produced a big run first-up when beaten under 2 lens in the Country C'ship qualifier this track, and second-up is normally a peak performance.

Dangers: Newcastle 4YO 5. Mr Grumpy has improved all three runs this prep, and looks ready to figure dropping significantly in weight; while local mare 6. Shelley Beach Road hasn't been far off them in her last two in good company and carries her lightest weight in a long time. Include another 4YO local 7. Golden Comet who won three in four starts up to BM 66 level before only succumbing late in the Country C'ship qualifier, and another dropping plenty in weight.

How to play it: Alot Like Home to win.

Race 8 BM 58 HCP (1206m):

Open battle to finish, but like Wyong mare 2. Di's Diamond third-up from a low draw. Was okay resuming in a stronger BM 64 at home before really attacking the line at Newcastle this grade.

Dangers: Local filly 6. Taken On Chance is a perennial back-marker who can finish strong. Will obviously need all the breaks from a wide gate, but back up in trip is a bonus. Wyong mare 1. Ondo Pasa has rock solid form in slightly deeper races, and draws the fence, but goes up sharply in weight.

How to play it: Di's Diamond each way and box exacta 1-2-6.

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

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