By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail out 3m from 1400m to WP, so should play fairly even, with gradual trend away from the fence, on a giant 10-race card
|Race 1 CLASS 2 HCP (1600m):|
We kick off a massive program with an even looking battle over the mile. On the simple score of progressive ability, promising 3YO Victorian gelding 5. Jirnaas must be the one to beat after a dominant maiden win by nearly four lengths at Albury before Xmas. That was only second-up in overall fourth career run, and the Hayes-Hayes-Dabernig team have a terrific record when they cross the border.
Dangers: Canberra 5YO gelding 2. The Senator stuck on well after leading in a BM 60 at home, but was ridden quieter first-up, and finished off nicely under the same big weight. Up in trip so more effective if he's ridden off the speed. The form of 4YO Goulburn gelding 4. Refire can be hard to digest, but he has ability and put it all together last start charging home to win a Class 1 at Albury. Back up in grade here, but hard fit and draws the fence.
How to play it: Jirnaas to win and quinella 2 and 5. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1600m):|
Still at the mile and a tough race for some battling maidens. Warwick Farm 3YO gelding 5. Overflowing like many has been up for a while but continues to hit the line nicely, and draws to get a soft run with cover just off the speed.
Dangers: Improving 4YO Wodonga mare 4. Mudgegonga crosses the border at the right time after two encouraging runs back at Wangaratta and Benalla; while expect stablemate mare 3. Sharlie to improve sharply drawn the fence in what looks an easier race than her last few. Canberra 3YO filly 6. Room Number defied her big price on debut flashing home late behind a nice horse, and is bred to get over more ground.
How to play it: Overflowing to win and box trifecta 3,4,5,6. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 F & M MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Thin maiden at set weights, with most just making up the numbers. Not so 3YO Warwick Farm filly 10. Pocket Missile who looks destined for much better races after flying home on debut at Nowra when well specked from a double figure price. Will likely go a long way back from the outside gate, but should love the big track and longer straight.
Dangers: This looks a nice resuming race for 4YO Goulburn mare 2. Breaking Cover after four honest runs at Hawkesbury in her first prep earlier in the year. Likely to settle back from the inside draw, but trainer has made a few gear changes, and lead-up trial was sound. Expect significant improvement second-up from 3YO Canberra filly 12. Starliv with the winkers going on.
How to play it: Pocket Missile to win. Odds and Evens: Evens.
|Race 4 F & M MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Play it again Samantha for girls over the same trip, and 5YO Canberra mare 6. Rosebank looks to have a weak race at her mercy. Has improved sharply after a spring freshen-up, not far off the winner when well backed at the Sapphire Coast before charging late as a $2.40 favourite behind Money Heist in a stronger maiden at home. Only needs to get some cover from a slightly awkward draw to take care of these.
Dangers: Watch the market on 3YO Canberra filly and first starter 10. Sassy Annie (Zoffany x Sassy Vixen by Towkay) who has trialled okay for a dominant trainer/rider combination. Local 4YO mare 7. Stazzana loves to settle back in the field and finish hard, making up plenty of ground in her last couple. Draws nicely, and in well at the weights after rider's 2kg claim; while another 3YO Canberra filly 11. She's Cherry Ripe can improve drawn the inside after failing to finish off on debut at Queanbeyan.
How to play it: Rosebank to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
Rosebank runs third at Canberra on December 15
|Race 5 C, G & E MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Now the boys get their turn under the same conditions. Tough 5YO Canberra gelding 4. Katatonic ran some nice races in better maiden company through winter, and has been placed three times from six starts on this track. Hasn't officially trialled and drawn wide, but trainer has removed the winkers, and much stronger rider has been booked.
Dangers: Big market watch on 3YO Canberra gelding 13. Old Man Emu (Alert x Ease Louise by Lujain) who looked good winning a a recent trial, and debuts in blinkers for leading stable. Canberra 4YO gelding 7. Nieces And Nephews returns for a second prep without a public trial, but race in stronger maidens than this in winter, draws a nice barrier, and the blinkers are off for the first time. Gundagai 5YO gelding 10. Up Bombowlee resumed off a long break doing his best work late this track, and extra ground looks a natural plus, but has to overcome a wide gate.
How to play it: Katatonic each way and box trifecta 4,7,10,13. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 C, G & E MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
This looks a deeper and more open contest than the previous. Warwick Farm 4YO gelding 4. Haunting Spirit has been threatening to win his maiden since early spring, twice running second at Wyong against better opposition. Trainer has given him a little freshen-up, and rung the gear changes removing blinkers, lugging bit and tongue tie. Will push forward from a middle gate, and with any sort of decent run is the one to beat.
Dangers: Progressive 3YO local gelding 13. Pushkar is a clear threat if he gets any luck and cover from a wide gate. Has hit the line impressively in two runs this prep, and screaming for the longer trip. Watch for a big debut run from 4YO Wodonga gelding 6. MacGyver's Me Mate (Greenwood Lake x Momaslittlehelper by King Of Prussia) by a fashionable US sire, and dam did win at this track. Finished close-up in a trial, and draws to get a nice run. Albury 3YO gelding 12. Houlio's Dream showed enough on debut as an easing favourite, and did bolt in a trial here in late November. Watch the market on 3YO Kembla gelding 14. Wild Chap (Toronado x Pipkin by Gallo Di Ferro) who hasn't been seen at the trials since May, but reportedly working well, and draws to get an economical run; while 4YO local gelding 10. Zarsnip didn't run on last time, but three previous runs here were full of merit from well off the speed. Rider will likely to take him right back from a wide barrier, and be saved for the last crack.
How to play it: Haunting Spirit to win and first four 4,13/4,6,10,12,13,14/4,6,10,12,13,14/4,6,10,12,13,14. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 7 BM 58 HCP (1800m):|
Another heat of the popular Staying Series, and banking on 6YO Goulburn gelding 2. Defy hitting back after putting in a shocker at Canberra last start. Won last time here in a weaker race over the mile before hitting the line to just miss at Orange, and then a terrific effort covering ground in a strong Highway at Rosehill. Draws well over the perfect trip.
Dangers: Local 4YO gelding 3. Jungle Book is ready for the extra journey after getting very little luck in a BM 60 at Canberra before working home okay this track and grade. Will drift back, but capable of running the quickest final 400m in the field. Under-rated 5YO Canberra gelding 4. Sugar Pine worked home okay last start in that same race as Jungle Book after getting much further back than normal. Previous runs here have been good, and new rider should be more positive from a wider draw. Kembla 3YO gelding 10. Colonnade is up in grade after flashing home to win his maiden at Moruya, but still in nicely on the 54kg limit; while include 5YO Wodonga gelding 8. Savvy Acquisition who has won only once from 27, but placed a further nine times. Hit the line hard last run on this track, and the blinkers have been applied.
How to play it: Defy to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
Defy runs fifth at Canberra on December 27
|Race 8 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):|
A stack of hopes in a good quality sprint, although very tough with most of the big guns drawn wide. Keen on lightly raced 3YO local gelding 4. Blitzar who resumes for only his third start for leading local stable. Missed by a head on debut here in August before dominant maiden win from just off the speed at Dubbo. Drawn wide but has the tactical speed to get across.
Dangers: Promising 3YO Canberra filly 12. Affinity Beyond rubber-stamped her potential with an explosive first-up win from the front at home, running her final 600m in a blistering 32.73 secs. Also drawn out, but she hits the ground running, and looks supremely in at the weights dropping to 54.5kg. Rival 3YO Canberra filly 6. All In War was terrific charging home to win resuming in a handy Class 2 at Queanbeyan, and won second-up last time, but she draws the outside barrier. Canberra 5YO gelding 7. Mad As Zariz scored a dominant maiden win at Queanbeyan three runs back, and hit the line hard in a good Class 1 last start. Loves to sit on speed, and drops in weight. Yet another 3YO Canberra filly 13. Disobedient should be included in exotics after a tough front-running maiden win here a fortnight back.
How to play it: Blitzar to win; quinella 4 and 12; first four 4,12/4,6,7,12,13/4,6,7,12,13/4,6,7,12,13. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 9 CLASS 1 HCP (1300m):|
Another even race, although likely to be dominated through one form-line. Progressive 4YO Goulburn mare 6. Ameares has gone to another level in her last two beating a handy maiden field at the Sapphire Coast before finishing well behind a smart one at Canberra. Tricky draw but prefers to sit outside runners and sweep home.
Dangers: Rival 3YO Goulburn gelding 7. Cap's Boy comes out of that same Class 1 in Canberra when finishing only a whisker behind Ameares first-up and came from much further back. Improving 5YO Wodonga mare 9. It's Christmas landed her maiden on this track in good style a month back, and has been freshened, although following the trend of the day, also drawn a nasty barrier.
How to play it: Ameares to win and box exacta 6,7,9. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 10 SUMMER SPRINT (1200m):|
One of the feature and most competitive races of a bumper day is saved for last, and there's any number of strong chances across the big field. Local 7YO gelding 6. Snippet Of Gold scored a cracking first-up win coming from midfield in a strong BM 74 this track, and while his second-up form is generally not as strong, he drops 3kg and draws to get a trail with some cover.
Dangers: After a nine-month break, popular 7YO local gelding 4. Noble Descent resumes over the right trip. The Corowa Cup and Albury Mile winner from last autumn hasn't publicly trialled, but been in work for a long time, and nearly always comes to hand quickly. Has a 30 per cent winning strike rate from 25 starts. Canberra 5YO mare 10. Gold Touch is building a strong record, and finished hard in that same race behind Snippet Of Gold after back-to-back wins at Gundagai and Canberra. Never raced better, and draws to be in the finish. Talented 6YO Goulburn gelding 5. Common Purpose has had two runs back in stronger metro company, and while this looks suitable third-up, has to overcome a wide gate; while well travelled 5YO Albury mare 11. Yousay Bolt resumes off a quiet trial, although is another who draws wide. Took on strong metro company last year, including beaten under two lengths as a well backed favourite in a Highway at Rosehill.
How to play it: Snippet Of Gold each way and trifecta 4,6,10/4,5,6,10/4,5,6,10,11. Odds and Evens: Evens.