By Neil Evans
Track Good 4/Soft 5 with possible showers and rail true
|Race 1 2YO HCP (900m):|
The babies, most of which are on debut, get the first meeting here in five weeks underway. Hard to go past local filly 7. Mezinjit who dropped out from a wide draw in the much tougher Magic Millions battle at Wyong. Trialled in terrific fashion at Tamworth scooting clear around the turn and bolting in barely touched. Blinkers go on, and she looks ready to ignite that early promise.
Dangers: Well bred gelding 2. Jet Pack can bounce back on a firmer surface after floundering in the heavy on the Kensington track, and winkers have replaced blinkers. Newcastle colt 4. Spellcatcher debuts off two provincial trials, winning the first, and still finding the line in the second despite having a troubled run. By dual Group 1-winning sprinter Extreme Choice, and draws the inside. Expect improvement from local filly 5. Half Moon after a fair debut at Muswellbrook.
How to play it: Mezinjit to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 3YO & UP MAIDEN HCP (900m):|
Now the older sprinters go over the same short course, and it's a tricky affair. Home track three-year-old filly 6. My Sister Carole returns for her first run in six months. Typically, the stable has by-passed the official trials, but crucially this is her first start on dry ground. By Lonhro out of multiple Group-winning sprinter Sister Madly.
Dangers: Expect 2. Big Happiness to improve sharply here, back in trip and class, with a stack of gear changes. Was beaten a long way first-up in a stronger metro maiden, but has since scored a convincing trial win and stable may have found the key. The career of 5. More Joie has never got going since debuting 19 months ago. Has shown speed, but continually failed to finish off. Two recent trials, though, have been significantly better, and he can run a race here as a fresh four-year-old. Watch the market on local filly 8. Swiss Scent debuting off two trials from a good draw.
How to play it: My Sister Carole to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1400m):|
Wyong three-year old 1. Jervis was hard in the market when finishing less than three lengths from the winner on debut after striking trouble in the run. Extra trip is a natural plus, and he's the one to beat in this company.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 11. Roman Candle worked home steadily in that same race as the top selection, and also searching for more ground, but has a tough draw to overcome; while 4. Buckin' Lucky found the line okay on debut at Taree, but up in weight and drawn off the track.
How to play it: Jervis to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Jervis runs fifth at Gosford on January 15
|Race 4 CLASS 2 HCP (900m):|
Back to the dash in a competitive market for this class. Like the short course placement here for five-year-old local mare 2. Miss Power Belle first-up off a lengthy break with gear changes. Has had two 1000m trials bolting in the most recent, and loves it firm.
Dangers: Rival mare 4. Last Chance Dance scored with authority at Gunnedah first-up for the new stable over this trip. This is tougher, and will have to work a little harder from the draw, but continues to build a solid record. Despite only one win ahead of his 17th start, five-year-old 1. Aytobe is never far away, and has a 50 percent place record. Back sharply in trip is a query, but does carry his lightest weight for a while after the claim. Local six-year-old 7. More Than A Samba has more to offer than his record suggests. Has been close-up in three spaced runs this prep, and carries his lightest weight in nearly a year.
How to play it: Miss Power Belle to win and trifecta 2,4/1,2,4,7/1,2,4,7. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (2200m):|
Now the stayers' turn, and this stacks up nicely for progressive four-year-old 2. Savvy Crown fifth-up. Swept home for consecutive provincial wins before not having much luck in a deeper metro BM 72. Up in trip and weight, but back in grade and drawn to get an ideal trail.
Dangers: Improving three-year-old 6. Olympic Gaze is screaming for this longer journey after charging home to win his maiden at Newcastle, and similarly finishing late in a handy CL1 at Gosford over the mile. Gold Coast-based six-year-old 1. Urbino has been out of the placings only four times from 19 starts, but went under as favorite several times here before he broke the drought. Has hit the line impressively in his last two over the border, and comes back from a much higher-graded metro race. Has the class, but normally likes the ground a bit softer. Lightly raced four-year-old 3. Ready By Design steps up sharply in trip from the inside gate; while include in wider exotics local seven-year-old 5. Itasca and last start CL1 winner 7. Noble Cause who is down in weight.
How to play it: Savvy Crown to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1600m):|
Tougher affair over the mile. Very forgiving of three-year-old Newcastle filly 5. La Jolie Fille who did it tough in the run at Muswellbrook, but stuck on okay. That was off a near six week break, and the quick back-up is a big plus.
Dangers: Warwick Farm mare 7. Kimmylee missed by a whisker fourth-up in a provincial CL1, and despite the wide barrier, should be right at her peak on the bigger track. Improving mare 6. Jazirat covered ground before rounding them up in style to land her maiden first-up at Muswellbrook, but she was advantaged in the heavy going, and generally comes back a peg on firmer tracks.
How to play it: La Jolie Fille to win and box exacta 5,6,7. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 7 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
Capable three-year-old filly 13. Windsweep drops in quality from three metro runs, and is one of the better weighted runners all day only half kilo over the minimum. Has struggled to finish off on rain-affected ground last couple, without much luck in the run, but can hit back hard on the firmer ground here.
Dangers: Improving three-year-old 5. Genkides has had market support in both runs to start his career. Didn't get a clear run from the inside draw at Canterbury, and gets on a dry surface for the first time. Big market watch on debutant local mare 7. Tasteful off two quiet trials; while keep safe consistent filly 10. Jericho Beach who has found one better in two runs this prep, and draws to get a soft run.
How to play it: Windsweep to win and quinella 5 and 13. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 8 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1100m):|
Good quality sprint to finish, and keen on talented Tamworth filly 10. Mischief Managed shooting for three wins from her last five. Beat a good maiden field at only previous start this track, and was impressively getting home late behind a smart one at Muswellbrook three weeks ago. Well treated at the weights, and drawn to get good cover.
Dangers: Tough local mare 7. She's Never Late drops back to the trip over which she motored home to win here three runs back in spring. Has finished okay in deeper company two runs since, and should be right in the finish on her preferred firm surface. Include in exotics last-start BM 58 winner 6. Fourth Protocol who will find this tougher, but drops 5kg after the claim.
How to play it: Mischief Managed to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
Mischief Managed runs fourth at Muswellbrook on January 7