By Neil Evans
Track likely Soft 7/Heavy 8 and rail True so even early before trending away from the fence, with rain forecast
|Race 1 2YO MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Testing opener in a fairly big field, with most on debut, but one of the few with race experience looks the one to beat with the blinkers going on. Local filly 12. Mischief Managed from the Cody Morgan stable was sound enough on debut at Coonamble as an even money favourite, and draws to find a nice spot. Sire Spill The Beans, a three-time Group winner from only 11 starts, is under-rated.
Dangers: Newcastle filly 11. Meydan Lass should be right there from the inside draw after being over-run in the stronger Starmaker on debut at Muswellbrook. Pt Macquarie colt 1. Bay Of Bendal improved significantly second-up ridden closer, and should be able to push forward and sit outside the leader, or just off. Watch the market on another first starter, Scone gelding 7. True Tally (Shooting To Win x Seven Love by Charge Forward) who was wayward in a trial at Muswellbrook but still hit the line okay, and debuts in winkers.
How to play it: Mischief Managed to win and trifecta 11,12/1,7,11,12/1,7,11,12. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1600m):|
Another big field of maidens over a mile, but while plenty are just making up the numbers, one looms as a stand-out bet! Promising 3YO filly 8. Justitia from the leading Kris Lees yard at Newcastle was very good on debut this track charging home late behind smart Fonce Factor. Bred to get over much further, and any amount of rain won't hurt.
Dangers: Rival Newcastle filly 12. Rainy Day is hard fit, and hit the line from well back in heavy ground at Pt Macquarie. Expect sharp improvement at third run and up in distance from Scone 3YO gelding 2. Fanmalia; while Armidale filly 7. Gerwig has shown steady improvement in useful company without ever threatening, and out to 1600m suits.
How to play it: Justitia to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
Justitia runs second at Tamworth on March 8
|Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1200m):|
Wide open, with several chances. Like the placement and addition of blinkers for 3YO Scone filly 11. Nana Neddy from the Stephen Jones yard after a disappointing debut here when well backed. Has ability, and extra furlong is key.
Dangers: Muswellbrook 4YO 13. Shamus Star hasn't been beaten far in two runs back across deeper company, and gets a nice 4kg weight drop with winkers going on. Gap to the rest headed by local 3YO 3. Our Mate Chuckles who has shown steady improvement in three runs this prep, and draws to get a cosy run. Inverell 6YO mare 7. Flying Encounter is still trying to break through after 20 starts, but form in some handy maidens is stronger than it looks on paper, and he drops 2kg from a nice closing effort here last start; while another Scone filly 15. Bella Rubino returns from two decent runs in Qld, but needs a scratching to get a run.
How to play it: Nana Neddy each way. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1200m):|
Take two for the maidens over the same journey, and it doesn't get much easier. Emerging 3YO Scone gelding 3. Brash is ready to break through over this longer trip after three progressive runs to start his career. Hit the line from well back at Toowoomba, and debut race and trial jockey gets back on.
Dangers: Rival Scone mare 12. Now Or Never can drive into the finish after three runs back and down in weight. Former Victorian 3YO gelding 2. Raglan has his first run for new Gunnedah stable, but draws right off the track; while include Newcastle gelding 7. Freedom's Fire in exotics after running on strongly second-up from a long break at Muswellbrook.
How to play it: Brash to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 MORNINGTON PRELUDE (2100m):|
Very thin edition that looks the property of two old boys. Age doesn't weary 8YO Grafton gelding 1. Melted Moments who has won two of his last three over shorter trips and lines up for his 78th start. Draws okay, any further rain won't hurt, and huge weight has been off-set by 4kg claimer being booked. The one to beat!
Dangers: Armidale 7YO 4. New Endeavour mixes form like a toddler mixes lollies, but can be ridden much quieter over this longer journey and will be the one finishing on late. Newcastle 5YO 3. San Francisco will find this more to his liking than the Quirindi and Armidale Cup where he worked early before dropping out. Finally draws a soft gate, but query in the ground.
How to play it: Melted Moments to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Melted Moments wins at Murwillumbah on March 23
|Race 6 CLASS 1 HCP (1400m):|
Wide open, with plenty of chances headed by improving 3YO 6. Elusive Eagle from the Allan Denham stable at Wyong who can crack a second win at 10th start after powering home from well back this track and grade. Draws to get plenty of cover, and previously was beaten under three lengths into a place by high class Animate who scored a dominant win in the Provincial C'ships Qualifier at Newcastle on Tuesday.
Dangers: Newcastle filly 8. Leisa Louise stamped her ability surging home from midfield to win on debut in heavy ground at Pt Macquarie, and extra trip looks ideal although drawn wide. Improving 3YO Scone gelding 4. Chastise hit the line hard to claim his maiden at Mudgee two runs back before chasing hard from further back in a BM 58 at Coonamble, and in well at the weights after rider's 2kg claim. Another lightly raced Newcastle filly 10. Solvency lines up for only her third start from a low draw after a dominant win on debut, and then running on late in a BM 58 at Scone.
How to play it: Elusive Eagle each way and box trifecta 4,6,8,10. Odds and Evens: Evens a special
|Race 7 CLASS 2 HCP (1200m):|
Good competitive sprint. Newcastle 5YO gelding 4. Titus from the Paul Perry yard in Newcastle can finally shed his tag as a professional place-getter deep into a consistent prep. Has run a stunning 20 placings from 31 starts, yet only two wins, and been close-up all year, three times missing out by well under a length. This looks easier, handles rain-affected ground, and was scratched from Gosford on Thursday.
Dangers: Rival Newcastle 4YO 7. Ultimate Power is also starting to clock up the placings from 16 starts. Charged home in a weaker BM 58 at Armidale last start, and drops 3kg for this. Promising 3YO gelding 2. I'm On Break from the Mel O'Gorman stable is shooting for three straight wins on home track. Has dominated on-speed in last two as a hot favourite, but faces a tougher task here up in class and drawn wider. Scone 4YO 3. Joey's Chance is starting to become costly. Went down narrowly at Mudgee and Taree before finishing on late at Armidale. Carries the same weight, and back to his best trip, but needs to find more. Wyong 8YO 1. Oakfield Jet doesn't win often, but his form in and around this grade is solid enough, and three starts back got right under the market's guard at a similar price storming home to win on the Beaumont track.
How to play it: Titus to win and box first four 1,2,3,4,7. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 8 CLASS 3 HCP (1600m):|
Wyong 4YO 2. Arrogante hasn't done much in two runs back at the provincials, but looks much better suited here third-up, and is over the odds.
Dangers: Taree 5YO 3. Texas Storm can go close after charging home at big odds in a BM 64 at Newcastle.
How to play it: Arrogante to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 9 BM 66 HCP (1000m):|
Back to an open and tough sprint to finish. Scone 4YO 9. Expellable has been given a lengthy freshen-up since failing in stronger metro class, but is well suited over 1000m, and only two wins so far have come in soft going.
Dangers: Lightly raced local 6YO 1. Knock Toff loves this distance, leading all the way in a smart BM 82 field at Gunnedah before swamped in similar company at Narromine. Big weight off-set by 4kg claimer, but doesn't want it too wet. Home track gelding 2. Purton resumes off a nine-month break and quiet trial, but normally comes to hand fairly quickly.
How to play it: Expellable to win. Odds and Evens: Odds.