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Canterbury Winners - Tips For Friday 8th January

By Brad Gray

Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Canterbury.

The rail is out 3m and the form has been done for a soft track.


6. Festival Dancer got a long way back on debut in the Inglis Nursery but rattled home to run sixth, clocking 32.89s for her last 600m. That was only bettered by the brilliant winner Acrobat, arguably the standout two-year-old we’ve seen so far in Sydney. It was a hidden run. The Matthew Smith-trained filly has drawn a touch wide again but out to 1200m looks to suit now. It’s been four weeks between runs but she has had a tickover trial since and cruised to the line to run third without being asked to do much by Keegan Latham, who rides the daughter of Choisir at start number two. It’s a race difficult to be bullish about given the amount of first starters but confident the market has been a touch generous with Festival Dancer given the depth of race she comes through.

Dangers: Off the trials, 10. Ruinart stands out. She romped in her heat to win it by an increasing five lengths as she roared clear across the line. The time wasn’t as exceptionally as the win was to the eye but happy to overlook that. Being a daughter of Hallowed Crown, the wet track shouldn’t bother her. The only knock is how well found she is. Liked the way 3. Dethroned trialled too and we know how deadly Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are with their youngsters. Seeing their name in the form guide warrants instant respect. Godolphin will be represented by Shamardal filly 9. Larkspur Run, another that has trialled up nicely.

How to play it: Festival Dancer EACH WAY ($17 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVENS

Festival Dancer's debut behind Acrobat


6. Velorum was posed wide throughout on debut back in May and cornered like a crab. That was despite being kept very safe by the market against the likes of Macroura and Wild Ruler. The son of Not A Single Doubt, trained by Team Hawkes, jumped $6.50 having been so impressive in his trials prior. He was tipped straight out after that. He reappears 36 weeks later with another trial under his belt and the three-year-old wasn’t asked to do a great deal, coasting to the line in a typical trial for the stable. Velorum doesn’t have a wide gate to contend with this time coming up with an inside marble. Tommy Berry does the steering and shouldn’t be far away from the action. Has found the perfect race to chalk up his maiden win.

Dangers: 2. Not Another Reiby is much better than what she produced first up at Newcastle when a labouring fourth, despite plenty of market confidence. The blinkers go on for the first time and she drops back to 1100m. Both positives. She ran second to It’s Me on debut back in August, underlining her talent. It looked a race in three until Mount Fuji was scratched so these two should fight it out now.

How to play it: Velorum WIN ($1.95 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: EVENS

Velorum trialling at Rosehill recently


Have been looking forward to the return of Tracey Bartley’s speedy filly 2. Barossa Rosa. She has defied her pedigree to date, showing plenty of zip for a daughter of Adelaide, out of a Testa Rossa mare. She won’t be a maiden for very long. The three-year-old was heavily backed on debut at Wyong but having sat outside of the leader was left a sitting shot for Yangarra Rose to pick her off on the line. She was then well supported again despite going straight to town yet was restrained to take a sit and never got a clear crack at her rivals in a race won by Godolphin’s handy filly Tiny. She was spelled after that and returned with an effortless trial win on her home track at Wyong. Tom Sherry rides first up and shouldn’t have any trouble parking her in the first couple given her gate speed.

Dangers: 5. Windsweep has been around the mark this preparation without ever threatening though. That said, she has run in a couple of handy maidens. She hit the line with Virgo in the latest of those and Virgo subsequently trounced her rivals in a Canterbury maiden. This could be Windsweep’s best chance to crack her maiden. 8. Tight Ropes falls into a similar category. She’s had plenty of chances but keeps bumping into a couple better. She is speedy but can be weak late. Last start the intention was to ride her with cover yet she was too naturally brilliant to restrain. Perhaps those are again the intentions here to help her finish off.

How to play it: Barossa Rosa WIN ($2.70 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS

Barossa Rosa trialling at Wyong this time back


6. Joliette has been up a while now but this is perhaps the most suitable set up she strikes all campaign. The four-year-old mare is perhaps more comfortable on top of the ground, but a soft deck at Canterbury should be fine for her. The daughter of Irish-bred stallion Charm Spirit got a long way back on the Kensington track last start before making steady ground down the outside. She should stalk the speed drawn barrier 1 here. Two runs back she split Ellsberg and Toscanini in a BM72 that was much deeper than the one she faces tonight.

Dangers: 1. Celtic Love had to duck and weave home first up behind Dunbrody Power at Randwick but it was a terrific return over 1200m. The evergreen seven-year-old just keeps turning up preparation after preparation and on the strength of that effort and the gun run she gets on the map, she is a big hope in this. 4. Strange Charm got on pace favours to scramble home last start yet there could be a touch more pressure in this. He is very well found in early markets which has me looking elsewhere.

How to play it: Joliette WIN ($3.40 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT

Joliette hitting the line last start


1. Tochi loves Canterbury. It suits his front-running style, especially out to this trip where she can pinch a little break at the top of the straight and at this benchmark level over middle distance trips, not many horses possess the acceleration to pick her up. The mare’s track record reads 6:3-1-1. Her record over this distance is 5:4-0-0. Her record over the Canterbury 1900m is 4:3-0-0. Not sold yet? At the time of writing she is double figure odds. She was simply out of her depth last start in the Belle Of The Turf at Gosford, run at Group Three level. She did her thing, getting up the front but was swamped by better horses. She was still only beaten 3.8L and her run prior to that was great when third behind On The White Turf.

Dangers: 2. Dylan’s Romance is another galloper that loves the Canterbury 1900m, boasting a 13:4-1-0 record. Just went down at big odds behind Strange Charm last start and he looks just about ready now third up. 3. Main Stage has had three runs for Gwenda Markwell and the latest of those suggests that another win is close. He hit the line solidly behind Amoretti over this track and trip last start. The knock is where he gets to from the wide draw. His form isn’t superior enough to give away five lengths to round these up, hence the big advantage of Tochi being able to sit handy.

How to play it: Tochi EACH WAY ($10 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT

Tochi in the Gosford Guineas last start


9. Pyrmont has been a tease for much of his racing career but the three-year-old gelding won’t get a better chance to crack win number two than this. He carries just 51kg after the claim of Cejay Graham, draws low to stalk the speed and strikes a very evenly matched field. He hasn’t had much luck in his past two outings, firstly behind Cultural Amnesia at Rosehill when dissapointied for a run. He may have even won with clear running. Then again he went to the line with gears still up his sleeve, this time behind Tiny on the Kensington track. That was five weeks ago so he’s had a little freshen up since we last saw him. Is he the type of horse I’d ever have my last dollar on? No. However, the stars may have finally aligned.

Dangers: On the topic of bad luck, surely 1. General Soho is due a change of fortune at this track. He hasn’t won in eight cracks at Canterbury but he’s had plenty of hard luck tales to tell. He is lumped with the 60kg top weight but his last run was great when back in trip. Stays at the 1250m now. 5. Sedition went to the line untested last start and could be the sleeper here, coming through the same form line at 3. Rabbit Clause and 4. Blazing, with the latter sure to give another sight from in front. 8. Revitup Rednut will be savaging the line out to this trip and with the blinkers going on for the first time. Look for him late.

How to play it: Pyrmont EACH WAY ($8.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS

Pyrmont was luckless last start


Wouldn’t be surprised to see 2. Chocolatier improve sharply on a forgivable first up effort at Newcastle where he was posted wide throughout before knocking up to finish last. He might have to work to cross again here but if he finds the front he has shown in the past he is up to winning a race like this. He won a Canterbury BM70 only back in May, sitting outisde of the lead over 1150m on a heavy rated track before kicking clear to win in dominant style beating Chalmers. His record at this track is 4:1-1-1. Throw into the mix that of trainer Jason Deamer's last five runners, three of them have been winners. Worth an each way ticket at double figure odds.

Dangers: 1. Bergen tops early betting after he swept home to win last start but punters are being asked to take a short price about history repeating and his record on wet tracks is ordinary. The John O'Shea-trained  five-year-old is the only last start winner in the field and can most certainly win but there are risks to be considered. 4. Think Free gets the blinkers on for the first time which could spark her back into action. Her best goes close in this but she hasn't shown much in three runs back this time in. Prefer 8. Maui Girl on top of the ground but she's close to another win.

How to play it: Chocolatier EACH WAY ($10 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT


In a race with so many exposed horses that have reached their limit inclined to go with the lightly-raced improver in 12. Hurt Money . The three-year-old colt with Peter and Paul Snowden jumps from a provincial maiden to a BM72 in town but he did it well first up and already boasts a second to The Face form back in July. The son of I Am Invincible shouldn’t have too many excuses out to 1100m, from a perfect draw and with Kerrin McEvoy doing the steering. This is an extremely open race so you’d want to be getting $5 plus about anything and Hurt Money fits that criteria too.

Dangers: 7. Kawaikini always races well at this track and comes off a luckless last start fourth behind Shaik. She’s always a risky betting proposition given her get back style but if the race falls into the lap of a swooper, she comes into play. 10. Estrado is better than what she produced back in November. Has trialled well since and if she brings her best, she’ll be thereabouts. Like the booking of Rachel King too. 3. Kosciusko should ensure a genuine clip up front and if he’s taken too lightly, could give them the slip from up front coming back in trip.

How to play it: Hurt Money EACH WAY ($5 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT

Hurt Money winning his maiden

All the fields, form and replays for Canterbury on Friday night


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