By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail out 6m from 1400m to Winning Post and True the remainder
|Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
A generally open card gets rolling with the maidens over the sprint trip. Albury four-year-old 3. Gallant Run boasts good speed and looked home for all money fourth-up before caught in the last stride by a useful sprinter. Down in weight and trainer has no hesitation in backing him up in seven days.
Dangers: Local filly and first starter 4. Our Baez has trialled well, and carries only 54kg after the claim.
How to play it: Gallant Run to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 F & M BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1200m):|
The girls lock horns in what will be a very competitive market. Albury five-year-old 1. Chap's Dream can strike dropping back from two runs in tougher Highway grade. Finds a better draw from which to utilise early tactical speed, and natural sharp weight rise is off-set by a stronger rider going on.
Dangers: Consistent local 2. Corazon De Oro put them away nicely third-up in a CL2 here after trailing the speed. Draws to find an ideal forward position again, but the handicapper hasn't missed her asked to carry 6kg more. Keep safe four-year-old 3. Underground Music returning for her first run in more than 10 months. Has by-passed the official trials, but showed enough last prep, and jockey booking is significant from the inside gate. Canberra four-year-old 4. Stand Your Ground loves this track sweeping home to win her maiden here from a mile back, and stable is going great guns; while 6. Torsiton was disappointing last outing and would need to improve, but draws to get a lovely trail.
How to play it: Chap's Dream to win and trifecta 1,2,3/1,2,3,4/1,2,3,4,6. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 C, G & E BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1200m):|
Now the boys' turn, and keen on Albury four-year-old 3. Halo Warrior third-up. Weaved through from off the speed to beat a handy CL1 field two runs back before making up late ground on the much tighter Corowa circuit. Much better off this track, and with the leading jockey back aboard.
Dangers: Consistent five-year old 1. Kurocaine is a clear threat from a handy draw on his home track. Hasn't missed a place in his last four, and gets right back in at the weights after rider's 4kg allowance. Honest seven-year-old 4. Halliday Road scored at the Sapphire Coast two runs back, and gets good weight relief here; while watch the market on 6. Swagger who resumes as a gelding and won a recent trial, but has a tricky draw.
How to play it: Halo Warrior to win and quinella 1 and 3. Odds and Evens: Odds
Halo Warrior runs fourth at Corowa on December 28
|Race 4 MAIDEN HCP (1600m):|
One of the more open contests, with several chances. Prepared to forgive Canberra colt 1. Arcadia Power who was flat over the final furlong here fourth-up. That was his first crack at the mile, and had previously chased home a couple of smart ones. Just needs half decent speed on from the half mile to get home off the wide draw.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 13. Without Equal did his best work late second-up here, and should reach his peak, although also likes to drift back. Stablemate 2. Foxtrot Bravo can also find his best third-up after working home okay at huge odds in a handy maiden at Nowra.
How to play it: Arcadia Power to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 5 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):|
Consistent Albury mare 4. Bellarina Magic has attacked the line strongly in her last three across some handy form races, and drawn to get plenty of cover.
Dangers: Gap to the rest headed by 3. Houlio's Dream who drops 6kg in weight fourth-up for this tougher test.
How to play it: Bellarina Magic to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 MAIDEN PLATE (1300m):|
Promising Canberra three-year-old 6. Erwin must be the one to beat. Was gallant on debut at Moruya, taking over early in the straight before only caught in the last hop. Carries a half kilo less here on a drier surface, although stepping out a further 300m won't be a doddle.
Dangers: Improving three-year-old 7. Important Product didn't run on resuming in a handy maiden on that same day, and will appreciate getting back on firmer ground. Local three-year-old 8. Trade Statement is drawn to roll forward, and can give a big sight at second start with winkers added.
How to play it: Erwin to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1800m):|
Another heat of the Wagga Stayers Series set up nicely for Goulburn seven-year-old 3. Defy who hasn't won for a while, but draws to park in a lovely trailing position around midfield. Worked home well behind the stablemate here last start, and carries 4kg less.
Dangers: Improving mare 6. Fiorzana led all the way to claim her maiden here third-up over a mile, and is bred to run much further. Local mare 5. Mahsinger can improve after an ordinary effort in that same BM 58 as the top selection after being very well backed. Tough local eight-year-old 4. Willy White Socks also finished off okay in that same race, and is drawn to get a soft run, with good weight relief; while 1. Boogie Woogie can mix his runs, but did sweep home to win a BM 66 at Albury three runs back.
How to play it: Defy to win and quinella 3 and 6. Odds and Evens: Split
Defy runs fourth at Wagga on January 7
|Race 8 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1400m):|
Progressive four-year-old 4. Tickler is ready to win again out in distance fourth-up, and with blinkers going on. Worked home nicely in consecutive stronger Highways before a big effort in a CL3 at Moruya charging home to beat all bar the winner after being slow to begin.
Dangers: Wodonga visitor 1. Chipsaredown was terrific here in the Summer Sprint, fighting on into a place after covering plenty of ground. Drawn to get a far more economical run right behind the speed, but goes up a whopping 7kg in weight. Include 2. Scout who was right on the place-getters' heels in the Summer Sprint third-up, and draws the inside; while watch for Canberra mare 5. Ons Vier running on late.
How to play it: Tickler to win. Odds and Evens: Split.