By Neil Evans
Showcase meeting. Track Good 4 and rail true so should play fairly even. Possible downgrade with some rain.
|Race 1 CL3 HCP (1000m):|
Even and competitive affair. Mudgee gelding 3. Bel Diablo hasn't raced for nearly a year, but from a shrewd stable and has had two trials, the latest strong on the line in a field of some depth, with Alcatran already coming out to win first-up at Cowra. Over the odds!
Dangers: Scone mare 5. Lips 'N' Lashes resumed with a strong win this grade, trip and weight after stalking the speed, and can repeat the script. Drawn well for leading stable. Scone mare and last-start winner 2. Dream Charge is best of the rest.
How to play it: Bel Diablo each-way.
|Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1600m):|
Open affair over the mile, but on the score of progression and potential, Newcastle 3YO 1. Magic Charlee at just his second start is the one to beat! Came from a long way back, with little luck, to just miss on debut at Scone and has been given time to prepare for longer trip.
Dangers: Stablemate 4. Derby Star looks well placed third-up from a good draw and with the claim, but some query at the trip; while like the latest run over 1400m from Gilgandra mare 13. Wee Lassie who hit the line, and draws better here over more suitable longer trip.
How to play it: Magic Charlee to win.
|Race 3 C, G & E BM 58 (1400m):|
After two fair runs back over shorter trips, Newcastle 3YO 1. Peyton Place is ready to peak third-up. Looking for extra journey, and rider claims 1.5kg. Parks just off the speed and off the fence.
Dangers: Local 6YO 2. Herecum Da Drums disappointed at BM 66 level last start, but two back finished powerfully to win this grade; while Scone 5YO 3. Mark My Word has mixed form in generally stronger company, but fifth run in from a good trailing draw and leading rider aboard, should be in the finish.
How to play it: Peyton Place to win and box exacta 1-2-3.
|Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Scone filly 11. Charlotte's Heart was well fancied at Muswellbrook second-up, but after doing the work in the breeze, was out-gunned by a promising horse. Fitter now and looks even better placed here down in weight.
Dangers: On-pace Dubbo mare 8. Southern Strategy is all consistency, having finished second in her last three and amassed nine placings from 15 starts. Again drawn to get a lovely run. There wasn't a penny for Muswellbrook 3YO 6. Spanish Missile 2nd-up but she still charged home into the placings, and from an inside draw with leading rider on, can again be expected to find the line. Include Scone filly 14. Timid who was solid first-up at Muswellbrook; and Inverell-trained 3. Gee Tee Ay, whose three runs this prep have been fair, in exotics.
How to play it: Charlotte's Heart to win.
Charlotte's Heart runs second at Muswellbrook on January 10
|Race 5 F & M BM 58 HCP (1400m):|
Tactical battle, but keen on 3YO Newcastle filly 3. Moana Marie who won her maiden in tough fashion two tuns back at Coffs Harbour, then took on stronger at Wyong where she trailed the speed in a muddling-run race before hitting the line hard. Better off drawn outside horses and this looks ideal.
Dangers: Stablemate mare 4. Off The Dial won two back this grade when well backed, before working home okay in a race with more depth over the mile at Scone. Draws the inside and drops back to pet distance. The third of the Kris Lees runners 4YO mare 6. Ivory Jane was okay resuming at Muswellbrook, but normally improves big time into second-up run.
How to play it: Moana Marie to win, quinella 3 and 4.
Moana Marie runs second at Wyong on January 5
|Race 6 BM 66 HCP (1600m):|
Stack of chances. Scone-trained 4. Reward The Chaser ran a solid race in a metro Highway before stepping to the mile at Gunnedah in a BM 58 and was only run down late after being heavily backed. Still progressing!
Dangers: Inverell mare 3. Bonne Sare bolted in at home this grade last start, and boasts good form over longer trips; while Wyong gelding 1. Shangato is consistent and powered home to win in weaker grade two runs back under a big weight. Draws the fence with leading rider aboard. Local 7YO 8. St Luke comes out of that same Gunnedah race when working home nicely from well back, and gets a big drop in weight to off-set class rise. Should be in the finish. Local 6. Cricklewood was taken well back in class two runs back for an easy win as a short-priced favourite, before rock-solid in the market finishing nicely in a CL3 at Tuncurry under a big weight. This is tougher, but in okay at the weights.
How to play it: Reward The Chaser to win and first four 1-4/1-3-4-6-8.
|Race 7 CL1 HCP (1200m):|
Another tough affair, although only the awkward and wide gate stops me declaring 3YO Wyong filly 6. Pluck And Lucky. Returned from a six month spell finishing hard into second at CL1 this track after being heavily backed. Much better suited at 1200m, and won second-up in first prep. Will look to tuck in off the speed and finish over the top.
Dangers: Top-weight and local 5YO 1. Legendofoz has a stack of quality in this grade, but draws wide with a big weight. Another local mare 9. Whisper Delovely is a threat! Won her maiden at Armidale first run back from a long spell pushing through a gap from off the speed. Draws wide as well, but down in weight for leading stable, and extra trip ideal. Newcastle filly 8. Tartufo Bianco has her races spaced, but is getting closer to breaking a run of outs; while local mare 11. Mock Song who has had two runs back from a spell should he included in wider multiples.
How to play it: Pluck And Lucky to win and boxed trifecta 6/1-8-9.
|Race 8 COUNTRY MUSIC CUP (1200m):|
Keen on local gelding 4. De La Hoya delivering a late knockout punch! Won two of his last three at Armidale, both times stalking the leaders and charging home, and again draws to box seat behind the speed.
Dangers: Scone-trained 3. Professor Marx has attacked the line in consecutive BM 70 metro races, and is a serious threat with rider taking 3kg off; while local 6YO 5. Under The Thumb has plenty of quality, and flew home in the BM 81 Inverell Shorts on New Year's Day, but inside draw may come against his pattern. Big watch too on Wyong-trained 7. Phuket who won a good quality CL3 at Scone three runs back before strong to the line in a BM 80 at Muswellbrook. Leading rider steers from a good barrier.
How to play it: De La Hoya to win and box trifecta 3-4-5-7.