By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail out 3m from 600m to the WP & True the remainder so predominantly on or near the speed
|Race 1 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
The milers kick us off at set weights, and consistent 5YO Canberra mare 6. Rosebank looks a good thing from the draw. Hasn't missed a place in her last five, and only has to run up to a close second in a stronger race at Albury last start to take care of these.
Dangers: Goulburn 4YO gelding 1. Goodradigbee is perhaps the only other progressive runner charging away to win his maiden fourth-up over this distance at Orange. Be surprised if anything else wins, although Moruya mare 5. Rapidity who won her maiden at Queanbeyan three runs back and is best of the rest; while Kembla gelding 7. Tezoff can be included in wider exotics.
How to play it: Rosebank to win and quinella 1 and 6. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (900m):|
Back to the short dash for a more open maiden. Loved the way 3YO home track filly 9. Smartkap hit the line on debut here over this trip, despite drifting in betting, and won't need to improve much for a stable having a good season with its younger horses.
Dangers: Watch the market on debutant Moruya filly 10. The Tapster (Holy Roman Emperor x Harvest Start by Sebring) who won a recent trial. Expect sharp improvement from 5YO Canberra gelding 2. Attuned who didn't fire a shot from the back resuming at Queanbeyan, but better placed here and draws the inside.
How to play it: Smartkap to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Smartkap runs third at Sapphire Coast on February 15
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1400m):|
Queanbeyan filly 9. I Am Grande has kept improving through five runs in her first prep, and was only run down late here last start. Fit enough to handle the rise in trip.
Dangers: Kembla 3YO gelding 2. Aphro Man was ordinary debuting on the Beaumont track, but that came eight months after a nice one-off trial, and in good provincial stable can improve significantly; while 3YO Canberra gelding 5. Brennaman resumes without an official trial, but raced against much stronger in two brief preps last year.
How to play it: I Am Grande to win and box exacta 2,5,9. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BM 58 HCP (1000m):|
Tricky and competitive affair for the restricted sprinters, but 6YO Canberra gelding 7. Imitation Game is in the best form of his career flashing home at big odds in a stronger BM 58 at Wagga before rounding them up with ease in a BM 60 at home. Draws to get plenty of cover, and will be hard to hold out.
Dangers: Canberra 7YO gelding 3. The Inflamer has held his form nicely in last couple after careering away to win this grade at Forbes. Not well treated at the weights under 63kg, but leading country rider goes on. Capable Moruya gelding 1. American Genius is closing in on another win after three tidy efforts in stronger sprints. Big weight is off-set by rider's 3kg claim, and draws to get a soft run behind the speed; while don't under-state Moruya mare 11. Sunday Hustler who has a poor winning strike rate, but finished nicely this grade and track resuming in a race with some depth.
How to play it: Imitation Game each way and trifecta 1,3,7/1,3,7/1,3,7,11. Odds and Evens: Odds a Special.
|Race 5 BM 58 HCP (1400m):|
Same grade, but out in trip, this is stronger with even more chances. Progressive 4YO Canberra mare 10. Tycoon Tily gave nothing else a chance in a Class 2 at Orange winning by nearly five lengths, and gets in very well at the weights after rider's claim. Just needs to find cover from the wide draw to be in the finish.
Dangers: Improving 3YO Kembla gelding 7. The Guru took over on the turn and won her maiden well resuming here, and wasn't beaten far second-up in first prep. Will need luck from the widest gate. Kembla filly 9. Freak Freckles has only won one from eight, but form is better than it looks. Wasn't far off smart Hemmerle two runs back who then competed in the Country Qualifier at Moruya, before outclassed in a strong Class 1 on the Beaumont track, but the second horse Reveal The Magic was then a beaten a nose on the main Newcastle track on Saturday.
How to play it: Tycoon Tily to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 MERIMBULA CUP (1600m):|
Feature race of the day. Goulburn 6YO gelding 3. Common Purpose couldn't go with them in the Country C'ship qualifier at Moruya won in record time, but previous runs did his best work late in the BM 84 SummerSprint at Wagga before beaten under a length in a BM 70 at Canterbury. Looks well treated dropping to 56.5kg, and trainer-rider have struck up a successful partnership.
Dangers: Lightly raced Canberra mare 8. Lolita Gold was also well outclassed behind Julian Rock in the Country C'ship qualifier, but won two straight late last year up to BM 70 Federal grade, and draws to get a soft run on the fence around midfield. Talented 6YO Canberra stayer 5. Shangani Patrol hasn't started since two runs in Melbourne late winter, winning a BM 64 at Sandown before outclassed in a stronger BM 78 at The Valley. Hasn't publicly trialled, but been in work for a while, and this looks a nice starting point for leading trainer/rider combination. Moruya-based stablemate 6. Rinviata has been mixing it in good quality benchmark and country cup company, bolting home at Gosford four runs back. Looks well treated on 54.5kg considering he was narrowly beaten in the Cowra Cup carrying 6kg more. The third of the Matt Dale-trained runners, 5YO gelding 1. Animalia didn't fire a shot back in the field resuming off a long break in a BM 85 at Wagga, and has been set a task second-up under 62kg. Against that, senior country rider goes on, second-up form is sound, and has a touch of class finishing close-up in the Listed Wagga Cup last May.
How to play it: Common Purpose to win and trifecta 3,8/1,3,5,6,8/1,3,5,6,8. Odds and Evens: Split
Common Purpose runs second at Canterbury on January 31
|Race 7 CLASS 2 HCP (1200m):|
Tough sprint to finish, and the 4YO mares should have it between them. Capable Moruya mare 7. Heavenly Thunder gets her chance for a long over-due third win well into her prep from a nice draw. Hit the line hard two runs back this track before again closing off well in a stronger BM 66.
Dangers: Canberra-trained 3. Jewel Of The Clan cruised home after leading at Forbes two runs back before couldn't run on in a good quality BM 60 at home. Has good early speed, but this is her first try at 1200m. Lightly raced Canberra rival 8. Miss Crompton hasn't started for more than eight months, but has ability, and blinkers are off for the first time; while another Canberra mare 1. Honeysuckle Choice isn't far off a third win after getting home hard in a BM 58 at Forbes before sticking on well in a stronger race at home, but again is weighted to her best and drawn off the track.
How to play it: Heavenly Thunder to win and box trifecta 1,3,7,8. Odds and Evens: Odds.