By Neil Evans
Track Good 4, Rail out 5m from 800m so should play on-speed early before levelling out
|Race 1 BM 58 (2208m):|
Small staying field makes it a pure battle of cat-and-mouse tactics, but 2. The Potato Pontiff is the one on the rise and suited getting out to a longer trip third-up. Cruised home as a hot favourite this track last start and leading Canberra rider sticks.
Dangers: Cooma-trained 1. Coolamine won his home Cup two runs back before outclassed in a stronger BM 65 Federal at Canberra, and with the rider's claim, looms as the quinella runner! Queanbeyan-trained 4. Hilltop Hood is third best.
How to play it: The Potato Pontiff to win, quinella 1 and 2; first 4 in order 2-1-4-3
|Race 2 BM 58 HCP (1008m):|
Moruya mare 1. Living Doll looks very well placed coming back from a hotter BM 83 Flying when over-run late, and still in well at the weights after the claim.
Dangers: Goulburn-trained 2. Newtown Is Coming won two back at Nowra before puncturing late over the 1200m at Canberra. Mixes form, but this is weaker and shorter trip suits. Much-improved effort from Kembla-based 3. Halliday Road in a decent CL3 at Wagga last start, but goes up sharply in weight.
How to play it: Living Doll to win and quinella 1 and 2.
Living Doll's first-up effort at Moruya on December 23
|Race 3 BM 66 HCP (1608m):|
Tricky race, but Canberra-trained 4. Reliant has been solid enough to the line in his last two when easy in the betting both times, but is crying out for the extra trip.
Dangers: Canberra rival 1. Balansa is the clear threat back in grade, despite a poor effort second-up. Extra trip and rider's claim big plusses. Moruya-trained 5. The Blues Brother appears the only other winning chance after scoring two back this track in similar grade. Found the BM 78 Fred Cooper at Goulburn a little rich, but this suits better from a nice trailing draw.
How to play it: Reliant to win and box trifecta 1-4-5
|Race 4 CL1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1608m):|
Low-rating race at set weights looks ideal for Canberra mare 10. Reign Over Me who broke through to win her maiden at home last start and can go right on with the job from the inside draw.
Dangers: Moruya-trained 1. Bendethera made light work of his big price and weight last start hitting the line hard in a BM 58, and even better suited over the longer trip; while Moruya mare 8. Georgian Court improved into the placings stepping up to this trip last start. From smart stable and will take up a nice striking position off the speed. Watch for big improvement second-up from lightly-raced 6. Oscar Cranach. Bred on high-class European staying lines, he didn't do much first-up at Moruya, but fitter and extra trip an obvious advantage; while Canberra-trained 4. Imanacheeva can be very hard to catch, but will take up a forward position and this isn't strong.
How to play it: Reign Over Me to win
|Race 5 CL2 HCP (1008m):|
Lining up to back Canberra 3YO 1. Ninky Nonk here. Resumed with a solid effort in a strong CL2 at Orange when caught in the worst part of the track late, and is unbeaten second-up.
Dangers: Canberra mare 4. Kopaonik hit the line hard in her final two runs last prep on the synthetic at Canberra, and appears well placed first-up with the rider's 2kg claim. Super consistent Moruya sprinter 5. Smart Remark incredibly has not missed a place since April, winning his maiden six runs back at Queanbeyan before a string of close seconds, each time sitting just off the speed in similar grades. Draws again to get a cosy run and be in the finish. Well weighted.
How to play it: Ninky Nonk to win and box exacta 1-4-5
|Race 6 MAIDEN PLATE (1208m):|
Another moderate but tough race to dissect. Canberra mare 6. Boston Ivy can finally crack her maiden first-up. Hasn't raced since a flat performance in a CL1 this track back in July, but stable renowned for having them ready and she draws a lovely stalking barrier.
Dangers: Canberra-trained 1. Banja Luka is the clear threat. Hasn't been beaten far in three runs back from a long spell and should be peaking fourth-up, with the rider claiming 2kg.
How to play it: Boston Ivy to win and quinella 1 and 6
|Race 7 MAIDEN PLATE (1408m):|
Surely this is break-through time for Canberra 4YO 3. Luga Lad at 18th career start! Didn't finish off at Wagga last start, but previously had been charging through the line right through this prep. Draws nicely here to settle midfield with cover and pounce late.
Dangers: Local 5. Samara's Choice didn't run on first-up from a long break at Wagga, but was specked in the market, and will improve significantly second-up; while big watch on Braidwood mare 9. Star Cash who is improving and was game from the front coming back in trip last start at Moruya. Expect Canberra filly 10. Larmour to also improve second-up at this trip after a modest first-up run at Wagga.
How to play it: Luga Lad to win.
Luga Lad's last start fifth at Wagga on December 24