By Neil Evans
Track likely Good 4 and rail true
|Race 1 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1700m):|
We start Cup day over a very testing middle distance where tempo will be crucial. Tough six-year-old 1. Chuck 'n' Paul has been battling to the line okay in tougher races, and coming back to this grade from a soft draw, and with a 2kg claim off-setting the weight, makes him a\the top rater.
Dangers: Improving 2. Fenerbache is well up to this after a stylish CL1 win at Gunnedah. No doubt 3. Flying Mojo is better placed from the draw here on a tighter track after working home from a long way back in a stronger race at Port. Must include lightly raced mare 5. Wazena who did beat Fenerbache on a heavy track three runs back, and drops in weight, but will need some luck to slot in from a wide barrier.
How to play it: Chuck 'N' Paul each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN PLATE (1440m):|
Very keen on Scone four-year-old 1. Capital Venture who has been working towards a break-through win all prep. Hit the line hard in a handy maiden at Tamworth first go at the mile, and importantly is drawn to get a handy trail. Was scratched from a stronger maiden at Gosford on Thursday to run here.
Dangers: The long-priced effort of 2. Clogs to beat all bar the promising Smart Fashion last start at Muswellbrook belies his ordinary record. Hard fit and can roll forward from a middle gate. Include in exotics Victorian four-year-old 4. High Commission who hit the line well resuming in a handy maiden; while expect Tamworth four-year-old 6. Rockdog to improve over more ground after a tidy effort in that same maiden at Armidale.
How to play it: Capital Venture to win. Odds and Evens: Split a special
Capital Venture runs third at Tamworth on January 21
|Race 3 CLASS 1 HCP (1200m):|
Progressive Scone three-year-old 5. Nicator just needs to find some cover from the tricky draw to be the one to beat third-up. Finished too well for a handy sprinter at Orange before finishing strong late in a much deeper CL1 at Tamworth.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 2. Kinship is way over the odds here second-up off a lengthy break. Faded after leading first-up in that same CL1 as the top selection. Likely to be ridden a little quieter here from the draw, and sharp improvement awaits. Was preferred here to the following race. Capable four-year-old 3. Another Arli is not a noted first-up performer, but this isn't overly strong. Has had a quiet trial, and draws to control the tempo up front. Consistent mare 6. Sunstone resumes off a quiet trial and comes to hand quickly. Has only missed a place four times in 12 starts. Gap to the rest.
How to play it: Nicator to win and trifecta 2,3,5/2,3,5,6/2,3,5,6. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1200m):|
Consistent five-year-old mare 4. Nicola has rock-solid sprint form for a race like this. Swept home for a dominant CL1 win two starts back before only a head from the winner in a race with more depth at Cowra.
Dangers: Tough six-year-old 6. Kensington Kid keeps on measuring up around this grade, and was only swamped last start in the closing strides. Well weighted after the claim, but faces a tough task from a horror draw.
How to play it: Nicola to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 5 MAIDEN HCP (1000m):|
Scone three-year-old 4. Foxbreak has been given plenty of time at the trials, flexing his ability winning one at home comfortably over over 1000m. Looks ready to go from the inside draw, and significantly debuts in blinkers.
Dangers: Improving mare 12. Smart And Sassy has had two fair runs back from a long break; while still winless ahead of his 44th start, seven-year-old 16. Kennywyn has found the line well last two in deeper company. Taree filly 9. Austeja is best of the rest resuming with a claim.
How to play it: Foxbreak to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 6 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):|
Good sprint for this grade with plenty of chances. Talented and sparingly raced four-year-old 2. I'm On Break lines up for his easiest race in a long while, and is already a second-up winner. Closed off okay in a deeper race at Tamworth resuming and continually took on much stronger Highway opposition last prep.
Dangers: Speedy mare 6. Kinjina led all the way at Armidale last start, and has only missed a place once from her last five. Drops in weight and sure to give a big sight from the inside draw. Scone mare 3. Moetta has a tricky gate to overcome, but it suited coming back in trip after dropping out in a stronger provincial race second-up.
How to play it: I'm On Break to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
I'm On Break wins at Tamworth in March
|Race 7 WALCHA CUP (1440m):|
An open feature race with some very handy gallopers at big prices. One of those Scone seven-year-old 3. Aristograts can settle back off a solid speed and rip home. Hard fit, and has finished off strongly in his last three, two of them against superior provincial opposition. Way over the odds.
Dangers: Plenty of them headed by progressive mare 12. In Heart's Wake was only a long neck away at BM 66 level after being outclassed in a tougher Highway at Randwick over further. Has good tactical speed, but will need it all from a wide draw around here. Tough Tamworth eight-year-old 5. Call Me Brad is in the best form of his long career. Won three of his last four, including that BM 66 last start holding off In Heart's Wake, and again is drawn to go forward, and be hard to peg back. Include 6. Kacper Boy at big odds after working home from a mile back in the Inverell Cup; while consistent mare 10. Annie's Street was a dominant heavy track winner three runs back, and rarely puts in a bad one.
How to play it: Aristograts each way and trifecta 3,5,12/3,5,6,10,12/3,5,6,10,12. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 8 LIGHTNING HCP (1000m):|
We close the meeting with a wide open feature dash, and they'll leave nothing in the tank. Scone mare 4. Bryan's Babe found it a bit rich in BM 72 metro grade, but previously had won the BM 83 Sizzler at Muswellbrook in what has already proved to be a strong form race.
Dangers: Ultra consistent six-year-old 13. Wallace Street will get a charmed run just off the speed from the inside draw, and was a strong BM 66 winner at Dubbo carrying 3kg more two starts back. Tough seven-year-old 1. All Stand can improve fourth-up, and will find this a bit easier than his last couple. Short-course specialist 6. Sir Donald charged home to win the Inverell Shorts before holdinghis ground in the Sizzler; while 10. Cocky Rocky at the weights after a 3kg claim; and 14. Tallis fourth-up also down sharply in weight; are both each way chances.
How to play it: Bryan's Babe each-way and first four 4,13/1,4,6,10,13,14/1,4,6,10,13,14/1,4,6,10,13,14.