By Neil Evans
Track improving to near Good 4 and rail out 6.5m from 800m to winning post so around or just off the speed for much of the meeting before a late trend wider
|Race 1 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
We kick off a strong card, with a testing battle over the mile at set weights. This shapes up well for talented 4YO backmarker 4. Holy Sunday from the John Sargent yard at Randwick. Resumed with a nice closing effort here in a deeper CL1, and the second horse from that race careered away to win Saturday's Highway at Randwick by a long way.
Dangers: Improving Coffs Harbour 4YO 1. Baileys has dodged the wet tracks after a strong closing return in the Grafton Guineas a month ago, although weighted to his best. Muswellbrook 6YO 5. Nine Not Out pulled up with a poor recovery after flopping at Taree so expect sharp improvement, especially back on firmer footing.
How to play it: Holy Sunday to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1300m):|
Promising filly 14. Virtuous Miss from the Kris Lees yard at Newcastle can go one better over more ground at her second start. Narrowly went under on debut here to one who was heavily backed, and there was a big gap to third. Had previously trialled strong, and drawn to park right behind the speed.
Dangers: Progressive mare 6. Confinement improved sharply hitting the line third-up at Tamworth, and back on home track over a little further ground fits the bill; while rival local filly 13. Gold Lunar was strong to the line first-up at Wellington, and drawn to get plenty of cover, with top country rider staying on.
How to play it: Virtuous Miss to win and trifecta 14/6,13/6,13. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Open sprint, with plenty of chances, although the debutants can dominate. One of those 3YO gelding 7. Not Another Reiby (Denman x Reiby Regina by Commands) again from the Sargent stable looks a smart one in the making cruising home in a trial on the synthetic, and has clear tactical speed.
Dangers: Home track 5YO 2. Dante Alexander has been finding the line well all prep without winning, although up in weight and back in trip are queries for one who naturally settles back in the field. Inverell 5YO stallion 1. Belle Reve (I Am Invincible x Streetcar Stella by Blevic) is over the odds on debut from a nice draw off a strong trial win at Grafton when he was slow to begin. Watch the betting on well bred debutant local mare 5. It's Me (Shamus Award x It's You by Celtic Swing) who steps out for a strong stable off a quiet trial.
How to play it: Not Another Reiby to win and trifecta 1,2,7/1,2,5,7/1,2,5,7. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Potentially, a good sprint. Very keen on promising Tamworth 4YO 3. Rubic Honour having his first run in nearly eight months as a gelding for new trainer Cody Morgan. Form rider steers from a handy draw, and was good enough to mix it with high class sprinters like Splintex and Spaceboy at only his second start in late autumn of last year.
Dangers: Local 4YO mare 5. Black Run resumes after a tidy front-running debut at Port Macquarie.
How to play it: Rubic Honour to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 5 BM 58 HCP (900m):|
The handlebars will be right down here from the moment they leave the barriers. Have to be forgiving of promising local 4YO gelding 2. Remlaps Gem from the Scott Singleton yard after falling in a heap here at his second start as the hottest of favourites. Debut win over a subsequent Grafton carnival winner was super impressive, and looked in great order cruising home in a recent trial. Drawn wide, but has superior early speed, and trainer has responded to the shock loss by making more gear changes than Miley Cyrus at a rage party.
Dangers: Much will depend on the top selection being switched on, but include Wyong 5YO and impressive second start winner 3. Suitor, smart Muswellbrook 3YO 5. Pee Dee who resumes with no official trial, but won his first two starts on this track in summer; and home track 6YO 1. Gold Codes who is hard fit and stuck on well in a good CL2 at Newcastle.
How to play it: Remlaps Gem to win. Odds and Evens: Split a special.
Remlaps Gem wins a trial at Scone on July 19
|Race 6 CLASS 2 HCP (1300m):|
Open battle, with plenty of ability on show. Consistent Newcastle mare 10. Dream Song from the Lees stable is the one to beat fifth-up and down significantly in weight. Charged home to just miss in a CL1 at Muswellbrook before working home well in a BM 58 at Taree when heavily backed. More depth here, but she's at her absolute peak and drawn to get an ideal trail.
Dangers: Progressive Wyong mare 2. Light Of Uluru should have nearly won here last start when forced back to the inferior inside over the final furlong, and trainer has kept her away from the wetter tracks. Muswellbrook 3YO 9. A Scorched Land has powered home to win two of his last three, although the inside draw late in the day may not be right up his alley. A little forgiving of local 4YO gelding 1. The Snooperstar who dropped out in a Highway at Rosehill. That came after two impressive and tough wins at home in the previous three, and may have flattened him a bit for the trip to Sydney. Has a tough task from the wide gate, but back on firmer footing is a big plus. Rival local 4YO 3. Rich And Shameless stuck on well in a good quality BM 66 here, and trainer has changed up the gear, but has to overcome an awkward draw.
How to play it: Dream Song to win and trifecta 2,9,10/1,2,3,9,10/1,2,3,9,10. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 BM 58 HCP (1100m):|
Most open race of the day rounds out the meeting. Home track 6YO mare 12. Rose Of Savannah from the Stephen Jones stable capped some strong and consistent form by sweeping home to win a deep CL1 at Tamworth. This no harder, and again draws to get an ideal trail around midfield.
Dangers: Improving Newcastle mare 1. Martinique can go close third-up from a useful draw, and sharp rise in weight significantly off-set by the young rider's 4kg claim. Wyong 5YO 10. Heredero hasn't won for a while, but his first-up run in similar company was solid, and has never finished worse than second in three second-up runs.
How to play it: Rose Of Savannah to win and quinella 1 and 12. Odds and Evens: Split.