Tips from Brad Gray
All your tips, form and analysis for Sunday’s Taree Country Championships Qualifier.
Winner: 3. Cogliere ($6) He is a very smart colt this three-year-old. The form guide reads eight last start at Port Macquarie beaten near four lengths by Ever So Natural but he never got a clear crack when the firm $2.80 favoruite. Prior to that he faced the breeze in a Highway Handicap but toughed it out to record a big win. Go back one again and he ran last of four at Randwick but was only beaten 3.5L by Tactical Advantage! As a two-year-old he wasn’t far away from Foxplay either.
The wide draw isn’t ideal but he’ll come in a few after the emergencies come out. Back out to 1400m and with even luck, he can win this.
What the trainer says (Marc Quinn): "The track was shifty, he was back in distance and up in class," said Quinn about Cogliere's forgivable last start run.
Cogliere's Highway Handicap win
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Quinella: 1. Ever So Natural ($4.20)
Impressively won the Country Championships Preview last start sweeping down the outside despite his 61.5kg impost. His benchmark rating is a massive 10 points higher than anything else in the race so he is exceptionally well in under the set weights conditions carrying 57.5kg.
It’s easy to forget that the now five-year-old ran third in last year’s Country Championship Final at Randwick behind Clearly Innocent having qualified with a second in the Taree heat. Ever So Natural is a genuine city-class horse which bodes well for this series.
What the trainer says (Cliff Bashford): “My horse has had a better preparation than last year, keeping him fresh and not overly doing it.”
Ever So Natural's big last start win
Related article A 'Natural' Fit For Country Championships
Trifecta: 9. Shotgun Roulette ($7)
This mare is the real x-factor in the race as she possesses a sprint very few of her rivals are capable of matching. What she will need though is luck in running and the speed to be on to allow her to rip home. Wayne Wilkes has managed to snag Corey Brown for the ride.
She towelled up her rivals at Port Macquarie first-up back in early February, in a brilliant display of acceleration. As a filly she ran in Group races such as the Surround, Keith Nolan and Adrian Knox so her connections have always had a big opinion of her.
What the trainer says (Wayne Wilkes): “She had a track gallop on Tuesday and is in great fettle… she is jumping out of her skin.”
Shotgun Roulette blew her rivals away last start
Related article Wilkes Has Two In The Chamber
Roughie: 6. Dubai Sights ($11)
He has drawn horribly for an on-speed galloper but he is such an honest horse that it is impossible to completely discount his chances. He overcame a similarly wide gate at Port Macquarie last start and despite looking beaten in the straight by I Wanna Be A Jeep, fought back to win. Nine weeks prior to that he was beaten by Free Standing, who has since run second (albeit a distant one) to Perfect Dare in the Grafton qualifier.
Most punters will be turned off by the wide gate so don’t be surprised if he creeps out to even bigger odds on the totes come jump.
Dubai Sight is as tough as nails
*All prices courtesy of TAB and are correct as of 11.30am Friday on 24 Feb.