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Neil Evans's Selections For Moruya Races (Thursday)

By Neil Evans

Track is rated a Good 3 and rail out 3m from 1000m to 380m, into a cut-away for Moruya Cup day.

Race 1 (1:04pm) MORUYA FORD MAIDEN HANDICAP (1020M)

An even and competitive maiden to get us rolling. This looks a lovely second-up assignment for lightly raced Canberra filly 2. Pandering ($2.90 favourite on TAB) who hit the line well splitting a couple of useful ones at home. Draws to box seat behind the speed, and leading jockey sticks.

Dangers: Local mare 1. Sifu ($3.50) resumes with no public trials but sure to be well advanced and showed enough in her first prep to be a threat. Kembla filly 6. Deepfield Magic ($4.60) didn't finish it off first-up from a wide draw here but can improve back on firm footing and jumping from a better barrier. Stablemate to top selection 7. Gambler's Quest ($5.50) drops back sharply in trip after a string of handy spaced runs and gets good weight relief, but would need a ton of speed on here to get over the top.

How to play it: Pandering to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 2 (1:39pm) APPRECIATION OF BRIAN COWDEN CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1020M)

Loved the way Goulburn three-year-old 1. Giftgiver ($2.25 fav) took control of his maiden on the point of the turn second-up at Nowra and was strong right through the line. Little surprised trainer has brought him back in distance, but still has plenty of scope and can take another step towards a metro start.

Dangers: Perennial placegetter 2. Salome ($4.60) draws to get a soft run right behind the speed and can peak here third-up. Gap to the rest, although keep safe 6. Huxton Creeper ($6.50) who charged home for a stylish win on debut at Wagga and is drawn to get a soft run on the inside. Another one from a strong Keith Dryden-trained team 7. Capalise ($5.50) is best of the rest after claiming his maiden at third start.

How to play it: Giftgiver to win and quinella 1 and 2
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 (2:14pm) BL&A MAIDEN PLATE (1435M)

Big field but they're all seemingly out to stop progressive home track filly 13. Boomahnoomoonah ($1.70 fav) who looks ready to win after going close in her last two. Drawn to get a more economical run from this gate than at the Sapphire Coast and top metro hoop (Tommy Berry) makes the trip south to ride.

Dangers: Doubt there are any if the main fancy gets a clear run from the turn, although improving three-year-old 6. Philipsburg ($5.50) did her best work late behind Giftgiver in her first run this side of the Tasman and for a year. Had originally gone to Qld before settling at Goulburn. Enough to like about four-year-old 4. Stays On Tour ($7) boxing on after leading early in a good quality maiden here 10 days ago, while expecting Canberra three-year-old 8. Sweet Cheval ($7.50) to be ridden just in behind after wilting late leading in a handy maiden at home.

How to play it: Boomahnnoomoonah to win and trifecta 6,13/4,6,8,13/4,6,8,13
Odds and Evens: Split a special

Race 4 (2:49pm) HAPPY 90TH YEAR POP WILLIAMS CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1660M)

Very open battle. Keen at the value on consistent local four-year-old 1. Clem Fandango ($6.50) striking fifth-up. Finished hard to win a handy race at Canberra three runs back before again doing his best work late at Wagga as a short-priced favourite. Has been given five weeks between runs and well treated under the set weight conditions. Scratched from Canberra on Wednesday to be saved for this.

Dangers: Improving four-year-old 2. Hot Bahama ($4 fav) carried this weight to win his maiden at Orange two runs ago before leading for a long way at the Sapphire Coast. Back a little in grade and will give a big sight. Kembla-based 5. Sir Eagle ($5) can peak out to this distance after finding the line well here in two runs back. Include Kembla filly 11. Yoto Amo Maria ($11) who swept home to beat Boomahnnoomoonah two runs back before luckless here in a Class 1. Draws well but likely to need it wetter. Improving mare 7. Misty Brook ($5) got the benefit of a wide bias at Nowra to finish over a good galloper third-up and while she too is better on rain-affected ground, is drawn to get a nice trail.

How to play it: Clem Fandango each way and trifecta 1,2,5/1,2,5,7,11/1,2,5,7,11/1,2,5,7,11
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 5 (3:25pm) MITRE 10 MORUYA AND ULLADULLA BENCHMARK 66 HANDICAP (2010M)

Over the longer trip now and should be just enough pressure on up front to be truly run. Tough Canberra five-year-old 3. Dip Me Lid ($3.40) put behind him a string of frustrating second placings to dominate a BM 65 at home from the front and the recipe will be the same here from the inside barrier.

Dangers: Honest four-year-old 2. Microna ($3.20 fav) also likes to find the lead but may have to sit outside here from the wider draw. Has progressed okay after consecutive wins in late spring. Keep safe Nowra six-year-old 7. Bulwark ($4.60) who has only been out of a place once in his last five and has run into some promising stayers in his last couple. Local six-year-old 4. Hemmerle ($8) wants this trip after finishing well enough third-up at the Sapphire Coast. Include in wider exotics Kembla mare 6. Genoveffa ($8) if she backs up well in the space of four days.

How to play it: Dip Me Lid to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 (4:05pm) KICK ON AT THE MORUYA WATERFRONT HOTEL BM 58 HCP (1210M)

Canberra six-year-old 5. Romeo Vella ($2.80 fav) only needs to find cover from the tricky draw to be the one to beat. Bolted in this grade at the Sapphire Coast two runs back before a little plain here last start. Leading rider sticks and the trainer has tinkered with the gear.

Dangers: The same gear change is also significant for local four-year-old 1. California August ($5) who has been tardy at the start in both runs back yet has finished off okay. Obviously suited back on home track and just needs to jump cleanly to be in the finish. Another one trained on the track 2. American Genius ($4.60) finished hard at huge odds in the stronger Xmas Flying here, but a drop in class negated by a 5.5kg weight hike. Keep safe local five-year-old 3. Chairman's Choice ($8) who resumes from a soft gate for strong trainer/jockey combination, while Kembla filly 8. Shipierro ($8.50) steps up in trip after two moderate efforts over 1000m.

How to play it: Romeo Vella to win
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 7 (4:45pm) NORTH RYDE RSL SHOWCASE MORUYA CUP (1435M)

Take 2 of the Showcase Cup is naturally wide open, but Canberra mare 10. Perfect Pitch ($7) is the value after banging on the door all prep. Charged home late in a metro BM 72 before again finishing on well in a Highway. Drops 4kg from that run and drawn to stay clear of traffic.

Dangers: Canberra 5YO 4. Gunga Din ($4 fav) was impressive at home in a BM 70 sailing home from well back under a big weight. One of the better-weighted runners carrying 4.5kg less, especially with a significant jockey change. Local 6YO 7. Whisky'n'diamonds ($14) has won his last two here, including last-start Xmas Cup when he motored home from well back. Drawn off the track, but should be right at his peak fourth-up. Home track 7YO 5. Hay Bale ($12) can also figure despite drawing the extreme outside barrier. Run down late in the Xmas Cup but has only missed a place once in seven starts here, although would prefer it wetter. Include in exotics another Dryden-trained runner 11. Balonne ($11) who rocketed home to win a Federal two starts back before again hitting the line in an even higher-graded Federal, but is now nearly seven weeks between runs, while five-year-old 1. Peyton Place ($6) can roll forward from a low draw and is best of the rest off a freshen-up.

How to play it: Gunga Din to win and Perfect Pitch each way
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 8 (5:25pm) FAREWELL & GOOD LUCK BRIAN COWDEN BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1435M)

One of the more open races of the day to finish. Nowra five-year-old 4. Kentucky Award ($6) can win again from the good gate after finishing best in a Class 1 here 10 days ago. Both career wins have come at this track and a top jockey takes over.

Dangers: South Coast five-year-old 2. St Anton ($5) rushed home resuming here to win at big odds in a Class 2. Draws well again, but not a noted second-up performer. Local four-year-old 5. Pahang ($7) is over the odds on a quick back-up after making late ground here, and leading metro hoop takes over. Outside of a heavy track failure in a Highway, the form of five-year-old 1. Sebago ($4 fav) is strong enough, although the handicapper hasn't missed him with 61kg.

How to play it: Kentucky Award each way and box trifecta 1,2,4,5
Odds and Evens: Split

BEST BETS
R1 2. PANDERING ($2.90 fav)
R5 3. DIP ME LID ($3.60)

BEST VALUE
R8 4. KENTUCKY AWARD ($6)

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