By Neil Evans
Track around Soft 7 and rail true, with likely rain, so expect an even pattern early before a late trend wider.
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
We kick off Gold Cup day with a good maiden sprint. Newcastle filly 11. Shootforthestar from the Kris Lees stable did it tough in front first-up at home, and weakened, but with more fitness can settle just off the speed here and be stronger late.
Dangers: Wyong 4YO 3. Buckin' Rippa resumes, and has natural early speed. Was around the mark without breaking through in a long last prep, and will give a sight here from an ideal on-speed draw.
How to play it: Shootforthestar to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Shootforthestar runs fifth at Newcastle on August 22
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Progressive 4YO mare 7. Pizzly again from the Lees yard was well backed when riding the speed first-up in a strong maiden at Scone before puncturing late. Form out of that race is already proven, and she's a natural improver.
Dangers: Newcastle 5YO 4. Prospero hasn't raced for 11 months, and draws a tricky gate, but has early speed and enough ability. Trialled well for a stable renowned for striking fresh. Big watch on 4YO mare 5. Legato Feeling resuming off a long break for only her second run for a leading country stable. Newcastle filly 12. Soho Peggy off a freshen-up, and Wyong 5YO 3. Mister Ripley second up, are best of the rest.
How to play it: Pizzly to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Out in distance we go. Progressive Taree 3YO 4. Casirina trained by Ross Stitt has more ability than anything else in the field, but will need to slot in early from a wide draw. Led all the way for a dominant maiden win at Muswellbrook before ridden quieter at home and thundering to the line late.
Dangers: Connections cheered when 6YO 2. Guest finally landed his maiden at 26th attempt charging home at Grafton. Extra ground and wet track are right up his alley, but drawing the inside doesn't do his natural pattern any favours. Port 4YO 1. Apache Cove looks over the odds after winning his maiden last start, although taking on some much smarter ones here.
How to play it: Casirina to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1400m):|
Even battle in this one. Sticking with improving Newcastle 3YO 7. Son Of Sampson from the Paul Perry yard who got home okay in a stronger maiden at Scone, despite doing a few things ungenerously in the straight. Had previously hit the line hard in two runs, and the extra trip looks ideal. Senior rider gets back on.
Dangers: Promising 3YO filly 5. Pelgrave was heavily backed and should have won at second start when hitting the line late after losing his spot badly on the turn. Draws to get an economical run a few lengths off the speed, and will be charging into the finish.
How to play it: Son Of Sampson to win and quinella 5 and 7. Odds and Evens: Odds a special
|Race 5 BM 58 HCP (1500m):|
Tough and open race. Wyong 5YO 5. Hubble trained by Kristen Buchanan has a poor winning strike-rate, although placed at nearly 50 percent from 30 starts, and drops back from a tougher BM 64 at home. Drawn to find a trail around midfield, and advantaged back on rain-affected going.
Dangers: Gosford 5YO 3. New Tycoon fought hard to win a similar race first-up at Scone, and normally holds his form. That came off two forward trials so fit enough for the extra journey. Bolted in his only previous start at this track. Improving mare 4. Delchuzy is another who can improve into a second-up run over more ground.
How to play it: Hubble to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 CLASS 1 HCP (1400m):|
Improving Scone 4YO 1. Saint Ambrose can go close after three encouraging runs back, and big weight off-set by rider's 2kg claim.
Dangers: Newcastle 5YO 5. Swordsman is the likely leader from a good barrier, and boxed on okay resuming at Muswellbrook.
How to play it: Saint Ambrose to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Saint Ambrose runs fifth at Newcastle on August 13
|Race 7 GOLD CUP (2100m):|
Feature race of the day is typically wide open, with a stack of each way chances. Tamworth 5YO 8. Kacper Boy from the Jane Clement stable has been consistently in the money all prep winning two of his last four. Draws to get a soft run back in the field, and looks well in at the weights on 55kg considering he comes off a fast-finishing BM 64 win at Gosford.
Dangers: Newcastle 6YO 4. Nothing Too Hard looks ready for the extra trip fourth-up after working home steadily in his last couple in metro BM 72 grade. Coffs 6YO 5. Ambitious Prince has been up for a while, with a little advantage in fitness after fighting hard to win a CL3 at Grafton last start over further. Lightly raced 8YO 1. Invictus Prince is having only his second start for the Melanie O'Gorman stable at Tamworth after doing little at a huge price in a much stronger race at Randwick. Is used to mixing it in tougher company, and steps out sharply in trip, but trainer is adept at turning their form around quickly. Include Tamworth 5YO 6. Tavion Prince who was plain in that same race as the top selection, but was a Highway winner in heavy ground at Rosehill the previous start. Expect improvement too from Far North Coast 7YO 2. Ready For Danger who can peak over this distance fourth-up. Include both 5YO's 9. Arabolini and 10. Tom's Knight if you're playing the wider exotics.
How to play it: Kacper Boy each way.
First four 1,4,5,8/1,4,5,8/1,2,4,5,6,8,9,10/1,2,4,5,6,8,9,10. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 8 BM 66 HCP (1200m):|
We finish with a competitive sprint. Tough Taree 5YO 3. Fair Dinkum is searching for this trip after charging home to win a BM 58, and then just missed behind a smart sprinter in the feature Lightning. Drawn out suits his pattern, and weight rise off-set by jockey's claim.
Dangers: Promising 4YO 6. Star Raider swept home to win a CL1 second-up at Taree, and is headed for better races, although a query back on wet ground. Talented Newcastle mare 11. Dreaming Of Gold resumes off a quiet trial, and normally comes to hand quickly so watch for her late; while improving mare 10. Xiaoli's Ying stuck on okay resuming in a strong CL2 at Scone, and carries 3kg less here.
How to play it: Fair Dinkum each way and box exacta 3,6,11. Odds and Evens: Split.