By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail true so fairly even pattern before a gradual trend wider, and with wind predicted, early cover will be crucial
|Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (900m):|
We kick off an outstanding program with the maidens over the short course. Newcastle 4YO 2. My Naughty Boy from the Steve Hodge stable resumes off a lengthy break, but looked ready to go in a forward trial. Should park a few lengths off the speed, and only missed by a whisker on debut here back in January. Sire was a Group 2 winner from only seven starts.
Dangers: Rival first-up Novacastrian mare 7. Pizzly mixed her form last prep in stronger provincial and maiden company, and has been fitted with two trials. Watch the betting on 3YO Quirindi first starter 10. Onyagame who trialled nicely on this track, and leading country rider has been booked. Talented local 3YO filly 13. Lucky Banner was close-up in all four runs to open her career. Resumes with no public trial, but will come to hand quickly in a strong yard, and looks well in the race under 55kg.
How to play it: My Naughty Boy each way and box trifecta 2,7,10,13. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 BM 66 HCP (1600m):|
Deep and intriguing battle, with plenty of chances. Home track 5YO mare 5. Mo's Glory from the Rod Northam stable is ready to win up in trip fourth-up and on firmer ground. Held her position okay in a Highway at Rosehill two runs back before working home this grade at Muswellbrook, and last win was this track and trip back in January.
Dangers: Big striding Newcastle 6YO 1. Czechoslovakia burst through to win a similar race here two runs back before found the going tough in a stronger metro form race. Draws to tuck away midfield, and gets in nicely at the weights after rookie rider's 4kg claim. Tough Gosford 6YO 6. Dashing 'N' Daring powered home to win a thinner race at Muswellbrook two runs back, before wayward in the straight probably cost him repeating the dose this grade. Query, though whether he gets the speed on up front he needs. Quirindi 6YO and perennial backmarker 8. Bulletson takes on his strongest opposition for a while, but won a weaker race at home before two fast-finishing efforts in BM 58 grade. Watch for him thundering late.
How to play it: Mo's Glory to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Mo's Glory runs fourth at Muswellbrook on August 14
|Race 3 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
Staying at the distance, and this looks spot-on third-up for progressive 4YO gelding 2. Holy Sunday from the John Sargent yard at Randwick. Has typically finished hard in two runs back, and probably disadvantaged last time by not being able to get to the outside. Has never missed a place at this track, and draws to get good cover.
Dangers: Under-rated Wyong 4YO gelding 3. Sapphires Son exploded home to destroy his maiden opposition at Tamworth third-up, and while this is a step up, extra distance is ideal.
How to play it: Holy Sunday to win and quinella 2 and 3. Odds and Evens: Split.
Holy Sunday runs second at Scone on August 4
|Race 4 F & M MAIDEN HANDICAP (1100m):|
Back to a sprint trip for the maiden girls, and it's an open battle. Love the value about local 3YO filly 6. Loyal Romance (Trusting x Bridal Veil by Haradasun) trained by John Ramsey who looked smart sitting off the speed before cruising through to bolt in a recent trial, and stable renowned for striking early. Drawn wide, but has obvious tactical speed.
Dangers: Randwick 3YO filly 9. Waafiya let punters down as a hot favorite at Canberra at her second start, and will appreciate getting on to drier ground for the first time, and dropping in weight. Big watch on talented 4YO local mare and stablemate to top selection 1. Crystal Falls who hasn't raced for a year, but been given two quiet trials, and returns in blinkers. Was competitive in 2YO Group 1 company in autumn last year, so any market moves will be pivotal. Ex-Waller trained mare 2. Poetry In Motion resumes off two tidy trials for Newcastle's leading stable; while debutant Newcastle filly 5. Delaware (Dissident x Fortress by Bernardini) has been given three trials, and debuts in blinkers.
How to play it: Loyal Romance each way and trifecta 1,6,9/1,2,5,6,9/1,2,5,6,9. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 C, G & E MAIDEN HCP (1100m):|
Now the boys' turn, and it's another strong maiden with plenty of chances. Again keen on the value about improving 3YO Newcastle gelding 11. Son Of Sampson from the Paul Perry yard third-up back on firmer footing. Has really attacked the line in two heavy track runs back at Muswellbrook, and will relish the long sweeping run for home here.
Dangers: Supremely bred Warwick Farm 3YO 8. Commanding Missile (Smart Missile x Ocean Tempest by Bel Esprit) looks primed for his debut off two impressive recent trials, and draws to get a charmed run. Watch the betting on 3YO Newcastle first starter 9. One Star Shining (Cluster x Solanas by Zabeel) who won the second of two recent trials.
How to play it: Son Of Sampson each way and Quinella 8 and 11. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 C, G & E BM 58 HCP (1300m):|
Wide open tussle for the boys. Home track 5YO 2. Magic Charlee again from the Northam stable is over the odds dropping in grade, and returning back home to firmer ground. Failed to run on in the heavy twice at Rosehill, but before that powered home to just miss in a couple of handy form races. Winkers go on, and he'll be storming late again.
Dangers: Wyong 5YO 5. Heredero improved sharply to finish over the top here second-up, and will take holding out again despite rising 2kg in weight. Local 6YO 3. My Zebrinka has an ordinary strike rate, but produced his best run in a while charging home in that same race behind Herdero, although weighted to his best. Wyong 4YO 8. Mathematics has mixed his runs since claiming a CL1 at Dubbo four runs back; while include in wider exotics resuming Gosford 5YO 10. New Tycoon who looked good winning the second of two recent trials.
How to play it: Magic Charlee to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 F & M BM 58 HCP (1300m):|
The girls' edition over the same trip, and this looks the domain of smart Newcastle filly 11. Seqana from the Lee stable returning off a seven week break, and a comfortable trial in good class company. Chased home The Snooperstar on debut here before an impressive and dominant win from well off the speed at Mudgee. Connections have much bigger targets in mind.
Dangers: Newcastle mare 2. Delchuzy resumes off an okay trial, and is a first-up winner. Have to be forgiving of Dubbo mare 6. Dirty Digby who dropped right out at Forbes after reportedly not handling a shifting track, but prior to that flashed home for a dominant CL1 win.
How to play it: Sequana to win.
|Race 8 BM 66 HCP (1000m):|
We close with a strong sprint.Talented Newcastle mare 8. Pearl Roan resumed with a dominant front-running win at Muswellbrook in heavy ground this grade, and has a terrific strike rate at this track.
Dangers: Consistent Dubbo 6YO 2. Thermosa had little more than a training gallop bolting in a much weaker Picnic Trophy first-up under 71kg, and while this is a big leap, showed plenty last prep, including close up in a BM 70 at Warwick Farm. Gosford 5YO 6. Rambler Rebel doesn't always produce, but has good speed. Sharpened up with an easy trial win at Tamworth, and trainer has made a stack of gear changes.
How to play it: Pearl Roan to Win. Odds and Evens: Evens.