By Neil Evans
Track around Soft 5/6 and rail true
|Race 1 F & M MAIDEN HCP (1300m):|
We start a strong card with the girls, with most resuming and a couple on debut. Resuming four-year-old mare 4. Therapy hasn't raced for nearly nine months when sound enough through the line on debut at Mudgee as a solid favourite. Loved the recent provincial trial where she sat at the back and brushed home under a tight hold. She's bred to advantage in soft ground, and can strike here over a bit more distance with a 2kg claim.
Dangers: Conversely, the drier the better for home track filly 1. Croatian Madame who charged home late on debut at Wellington before struggling in heavy ground at Taree. Watch the betting on local four-year-old mare 6. Front Row Ticket who resumes off a lengthy break and a winning trial in soft ground; while including Canberra mare 11. More Shots in exotics down in weight third-up.
How to play it: Therapy to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 C, G & E MAIDEN HCP (1300m):|
Now the boys' edition, and there are a few chances. Like the way debutant home track three-year-old 2. Lalvani was held together leading a recent trial he could easily have won. Has been given plenty of time across two stable changes, and being by Dundeel, confident he'll run this right out.
Dangers: Newcastle three-year-old 1. Coolmeans disappointed on debut in heavy going at Taree when well backed, but she was run off her feet early. Can settle a lot better here over a longer trip with blinkers added. Keep safe provincial three-year-old 7. Just A Brother who worked home okay first-up at Bathurst, and will appreciate more ground.
How to play it: Lalvani to win. Odds and Evens: Split a special
Lalvani runs second in a trial at Muswellbrook on February 10
|Race 3 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (2200m):|
Out we go for the tricky staying test, and typically it's another evenly-graded lineup where most of the chances emerge from a similar race at Dubbo. One of them, local mare 3. Bells 'N' Bows is ready to break a long drought after working home fairly in that race. Had previously finished off nicely in a similar contest at Parkes, and the winner won again at Dubbo on Sunday. Hasn't won for more than a year, but crucially this is his first run at home for the new stable.
Dangers: Dubbo six-year-old 4. Careering Away found the line well to miss narrowly in that race at home, and carries the same weight, although consistency has never been one of his fortays. Improving four-year-old 5. Harwok'n'zoff worked home in that race from well back, and will love the long sweeping long stretch here.
How to play it: Bells 'N' Bows each way and box exacta 3,4,5. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 CLASS 1 HCP (900m):|
The top two saddle cloths should fight this out over the short course. Going with home track fresh filly 2. Patino Ruby who resumes for only her third start off a smart trial win, and can trail the topweight deep into the straight before pouncing.
Dangers: That flyer is Newcastle filly 1. Miss Kono who returned with an emphatic all-the-way maiden win at home. Has natural speed, and was close-up behind a smart one in spring, but does jump up 4.5kg. Tamworth three-year-old 5. Sidewalk capped some consistent form with a deserved maiden win at home. Likes rain affected ground is clear next best.
How to play it: Patino Ruby to win and trifecta 1,2/1,2/1,2,5. Odds and Evens: Split
Patino Ruby wins a trial at Muswellbrook on February 10
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1000m):|
Now the mainly older sprinters, but expecting three-year-old local filly 6. My Sister Carole to go right on with the job after a tough and impressive win resuming here off a six month spell. Is a much stronger galloper this time in, and bred to get further.
Dangers: Progressive Newcastle five-year-old 2. Safaris has enough tactical speed to overcome a tricky draw, and looks headed for better races. Swept home from just off the speed to win first-up at Tamworth, and finished hard to beat a handy maiden field last time here. Another one trained on the track, six-year-old 4. Eleazar is a better galloper than his record suggests, and rarely runs a bad one. Sat closer than normal when winning a CL1 here in spring before charging home late in typical fashion in his next three. Will again settle back with cover and be strong late. Improving seven-year-old 5. Fine Hero is on the next line.
How to play it: My Sister Carole to win and quinella 2 and 6. Odds and Evens: Evens a special
|Race 6 MAIDEN PLATE (1000m):|
Well-bred Headwater filly 10. Benyatta finally makes her debut for a leading metro stable. Looked way above average winning a Rosehill trial, and bred to excel in soft ground being out of a Manhattan Rain mare.
Dangers: Watch the betting on Rubick two-year-old first starter 13. The Bullring who bolted in a recent provincial trial; while four-year-old 3. Oslo resumes off a tidy trial, with the blinkers back on.
How to play it: Benyatta to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1300m):|
Good quality Heat Of The Rising Star. Lightly raced and talented home track mare 1. Deepwood Vale resumes off a near eight month spell, and two progressive trials. Has to carry a big weight, but this shapes as an ideal return race, with positive gear changes, and she was scratched from Muswellbrook on Monday to run here.
Dangers: Promising Newcastle three-year-old 3. Fleet Air Arm was also preferred here to Muswellbrook. Made a big statement on debut sweeping home to win his maiden at Port, but this is a decent next step. Big market watch on resuming stablemate three-year-old 6. One Star Shining who was given a very quiet trial.
How to play it: Deepwood Vale to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 8 COUNTRY C'SHIP PREVIEW - CLASS 4 HCP (1300m):|
Strong and competitive feature race to close the card. Expecting talented local four-year-old 1. Eiger to recapture his best second-up. Didn't have much go his way resuming at Tamworth under a big weight from a wide draw, but still ran home well. Has trialled since, and loves racing at home.
Dangers: Consistent Tamworth five-year-old 3. Ronan's Rock resumes in a suitable race from a soft draw. Wasn't asked to do much in a recent trial, but normally comes to hand quickly, and won his only previous start at this track in BM 66 grade. Keep safe resuming four-year-old 4. Syncline who has trialled okay; while local four-year-old 10. Rich And Shameless can improve further fourth-up, drawn well and dropping back from Highway grade.
How to play it: Eiger each way and box trifecta 1,3,4,10. Odds and Evens: Split