By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 rating, with the Rail out 3m from 800m to Winning Post, then True the Remainder so on or near the speed before trending towards the middle of the track.
|Race 1: CONGRATULATIONS JOHN RAMSEY G1 PLACING MAIDEN HCP (900m) at 1.35pm.|
We fly out of the blocks with a short-course scamper, and as always a clean break and early position are pivotal. Expecting enough improvement at second start from locally trained 7YO gelding 1. Watchtower who did it tough from a wide gate on debut at Taree, and faded late, but previously had trialled well, and back on home track should flick the switch.
Dangers: Gosford 5YO mare 2. Little Wonder ran some nice races in her first prep in autumn before failing dismally first-up at Muswellbrook. Has trialled nicely since, and trainer has made some gear chances, but looks an each-way hope at best. Include 4YO Muswellbrook gelding 6. Spanish Missile in exotics after finishing off okay resuming carrying 3kg more than here, and just missed at only previous second-up run.
How to play it: Watchtower each way and box exacta 1,2,6. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 2: ALL TOO HARD @VINERY MAIDEN HCP (1100m) at 2.10pm.|
Tough and very open sprint for the maiden gallopers, with a few first starters on show to shake it right up. Lightly race 3YO Newcastle filly 6. Hard Lady resumes for the powerful Kris Lees yard. Was obviously a little disappointing going under as clear favourite in two runs back in July, but was strong through the line under a good hold in a recent trial, and as long as she gets over from a wide draw, will take a power of beating.
Dangers: So too will stablemate 3YO filly 13. Illecebrous who didn't fire in a strong maiden here on debut in winter, but set to return a much better filly off two nice trials, and a lugging bit going on. Local 5YO mare 5. Havelka has to navigate over from a wide barrier, but she's shown good improvement in two runs back for the Stephen Jones stable finishing nicely to beat all bar the winner in a handy maiden second-up at Muswellbrook. Expect sharp improvement at second run from 3YO Newcastle filly 11. Andaluna who was disappointing on debut at Muswellbrook when fairly hard in the market, but draws a lovely trailing gate, and will appreciate the longer trip. Watch the market on home track 3YO filly and first starter 9. Spirinac who is bred to sprint by Magic Albert out of a Catbird mare, and trialled okay for the Rod Northam stable.
How to play it: Illecebrous each way and first four 5,6,13/5,6,9,11,13/5,6,9,11,13/5,6,9,11,13. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 3 HELLBENT @YARRAMAN PARK MAIDEN PLATE (1300m) at 2.45pm.|
Less depth in this one augurs well for promising 3YO Randwick filly 11. Maisaa who has been placed five times from seven starts, and was a certainty beat at Wyong two runs back when held up and stopped in her tracks mid straight before finishing gamely last start. Only needs cover from the wide gate to be the one to beat.
Dangers: Locally trained 3YO gelding 6. Maningrida has found the line well in two very handy maidens to commence his career, and the rise to this trip looks ideal for a youngster who should eventually get a strong mile for the Brett Cavanough team. Newcastle 3YO filly 12. Serriano finished off okay from well back on debut in what was a fairly strong maiden, and set to improve from an ideal trailing draw with senior country rider going on. Wyong 4YO mare 8. Enchanted Princess resumes off an average late autumn/winter campaign, but she generally held her own in much stronger maiden company, and has much more to offer here than her record suggests.
How to play it: Maisaa to win and quinella 6 and 11. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 4 FURPHY REFRESHING ALE MAIDEN PLATE (1300m) at 3.25pm.|
Not a lot of depth here. Big-striding 4YO Newcastle gelding 4. Schemer is bursting to win a race heading into his 18th start. Got home late behind a nice horse this track and distance two runs back before should have won at Kempsey when ridden more forward and covering plenty of ground from the half mile, yet coming & went under only a long neck. Will drift back and look to power home again, and is well used to carting big weights.
Dangers: Local 4YO gelding 2. Hardyo isn't far away from breaking through after three runs in his first prep. Finished off okay at Tamworth & Newcastle before getting too far back here last start, but a big query dropping back to this trip from the mile. Watch the market closely on well bred and resuming 3YO home track filly 12. Cosmic Haze by a fashionable speed sire, who was outclassed in two smart 2YO fields mid-year, but trainer has given her a quiet trial and removed the winkers. Randwick 3YO gelding 5. Balladeer has had three mixed runs to begin his career, and while needs to improve, top metro stable have significantly brought him back in trip.
How to play it: Schemer to win. Odds and Evens: Evens.
Schemer runs third at Kempsey on November 8
|Race 5 TAB VENUE MODE BM 58 HCP (1600m) at 4.05pm.|
Strong race, with plenty of emerging quality & depth at this level. Progressive 4YO Newcastle mare 7. The Deel Is Dun is a smart stayer in the making by former multiple Group 1 winning champion Dundeel, who gets to his pet trip second-up where he is unbeaten. Blew the cobwebs out at Muswellbrook in his first run for four months, drops 2kg, and has been re-focused after the abandoned Pt Macquarie meeting last Thursday.
Dangers: Newcastle 4YO mare 6. Queens continues to make good strides rattling home late in a Class 3 at Taree before finishing too powerfully for a dominant win this grade at Pt Macquarie. Draws to get a lovely trail, and one of the clear runners to beat. Improving 4YO Wyong gelding 3. Oakfield Geronimo is up sharply in weight, but wouldn't need to improve much off his last couple to be in the finish. Chased valiantly last start in a Class 3 at Muswellbrook run in record time, and stable is having a good run. Expect 3YO Newcastle gelding 8. Controlthewitness to improve out to this trip third-up after two fairs run back for top provincial stable. Newcastle 5YO mare 4. Sazavee did little resuming at Cessnock but is much better second-up getting to this trip on a bigger track. Wyong 6YO gelding 1. General Artie hasn't won for a while, and been flat finishing off in four runs this campaign. Trainer has rung the gear changes removing the blinkers and pacifiers, and putting winkers on for the first time.
How to play it: The Deel Is Dun to win and trifecta 3,6,7/3,6,7,8/3,6,7,8. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 6 XMAS PARTY RACE DAY DEC 13 BM 66 (1100m) at 4.40pm.|
Another very competitive sprint, with several serious chances. Lightly raced 4YO Wyong mare 7. The Crimson Idol has picked up where she left off last prep, finishing hard behind the smart Upper East Side at Muswellbrook before finishing too powerfully this track and grade last start. Also accepted for the next race.
Dangers: Progressive 5YO Newcastle gelding 4. Little Al is building a nice record for an emerging stable. Resumed with a terrific win this track over high class Burning Crown who has since powered onto a couple of dominant wins, and last couple have been strong through the line in handy BM 64 company carrying virtually the same weight. Wauchope 5YO gelding 6. Salad Dodger has never raced better winning two his last three up top this grade, both times flooding from the back. Up in weight, and will be forced to go a long way back again from the wide barrier, but if there's decent tempo on up front, this track suits his finishing style. Tamworth 5YO gelding 3. The Real Boss will find this a lot more suitable than the Bowman Sprint at Muswellbrook when he was run off his feet over a shorter distance by a good sprinter who has since bolted in at Gundagai on Snake Gully Cup day. Up sharply in weight, but drawn to get plenty of cover back in the pack.
How to play it: The Crimson Idol to win and trifecta 4,6,7/3,4,6,7/3,4,6,7. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 7 HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN PRYDE CL3 HCP (1100m) at 5.15pm.|
Looking forward to the return of unbeaten 3YO local gelding 4. Eiger off an encouraging trial for smart stable with the blinkers going on. Won the Goblet at Dubbo on debut before again sweeping home to beat a handy 2YO field at Grafton.
Dangers: Tamworth 4YO gelding 7. Smooth Factor looks up to this tougher task after back-to-back wins carrying 3kg more, and stable is developing a real liking for this course. 1. Leogang is probably better suited to this race than the one prior, although will still probably need the run under 61kg. Another last start winner here at home, 4YO mare 10. Aubrey Skies steps up in class third-up, but sneaking down in the weights.
How to play it: Eiger to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
Eiger wins at Grafton on July 11
|Race 8 SEGENHOE STUD CL1 HCP (1400m) at 5.55pm.|
Tricky race to close. Local 4YO mare 9. Mo's Glory chased valiantly here last start under a big weight on a day when it wasn't easy to make up ground. Drops 3kg from that effort, and previous form was very consistent.
Dangers: Newcastle 4YO mare 12. Constanzia improved nicely to win her maiden second-up at Muswellbrook when an easing favourite, and is well capable of taking the next step, down 2.5kg from that win. Local 4YO gelding 2. Boom Gate resumes off a nice trial, and did rocket home to land an upset maiden win off a break at only second career start.
How to play it: Mo's Glory each way and quinella 9 and 12. Odds and Evens: Split.