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Neil Evans' Tips For Gosford (Thursday)

By Neil Evans

Track improving to around Soft 6 and rail True

Race 1 PROV & CTRY MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):

Promising three-year-old filly 6. Virtuous Miss draws the outside gate in a small field, but can get punters off on the right foot second-up off a lengthy spell. Was only collared in the last stride resuming here, and has a real liking for soft ground.

Dangers: Tough and consistent mare 2. Pragmatism comes out of that same maiden as the top selection when sticking on very strongly from a wide draw, and she naturally improves further third-up from a better gate.

How to play it: Virtuous Miss to win and quinella 2 and 6. Odds and Evens: Evens

Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1600m):

A few chances in this one over the mile. Improving three-year-old 1. Just A Jedi did his best work late stepping up sharply to this trip third-up, and this looms as a first prep peak, and can carry 59.5kg.

Dangers: Expect good improvement from 2. Chivalric who had a tough run on debut over this trip at Canberra.

How to play it: Just A Jedi to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1200m):

Still with the maidens but back in distance. Progressive three-year-old filly 5. Impressive Lass can strike third-up. Was forced back from a wider draw last time here in a good maiden field before making a long searching run to beat all bar the winner. Can settle closer this time from the draw.

Dangers: Highly touted Snitzel three-year-old 2. Bojack looks ready to roar off three trials, the latest crossing to the front here and careering away, breaking one minute for the 1000m. The Grundler, who was more than nine lengths away in this trial, then won his maiden first-up at Newcastle. Had previously won a trial on rain-affected ground, and debuts in blinkers. Resuming filly 4. Artic has trialled well; while 8. Iliana can improve sharply second-up after flopping at Kembla when heavily backed.

How to play it: Impressive Lass to win and quinella 2 and 5. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m):

Promising provincial three-year-old 3. Delexo had won all three trials before producing a big win on debut sweeping home by nearly three lengths under this weight despite a slow start. The Exosphere stock is starting to have a big say.

Dangers: Keep watch on improving colt 4. Star Magnum who had little or no luck resuming in a deeper BM 64 here; while 5. No Impediment has been consistent enough over this distance all prep.

How to play it: Delexo to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Delexo wins at Wyong on January 20

Race 5 F & M BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1200m):

The girls go at it here in a very even and open sprint. Nice filly 2. Cathay stuck on well through heavy ground four weeks between runs at Wyong behind a smart filly. Even more comfortable rolling forward on a soft rating, and big weight off-set by a 3kg claim.

Dangers: Lightly raced mare 4. Ja Ja Chaboogie hasn't missed a place in five starts, and was close-up resuming in a BM 58 at Muswellbrook. Even better suited around a tighter circuit from the draw, with senior metro hoop going on. Promising filly 6. Jeanne D'arc looks well forward for her first run since late September. Been fitted with two strong trials, just pipped in the latest by Group 1 place-getter North Pacific, and only needs to slot in from a tricky draw to be a force. Brazen Beau filly 5. Hybrid Theory can return with a bang off two controlled trials. Won on debut this time last year, and has a key gear change. From a nice barrier and off an easy maiden win, 9. Correlate is best of the rest stepping up sharply in class.

How to play it: Cathay each way and trifecta: 2,4,6/2,4,5,6,9/2,4,5,6,9. Odds and Evens: Evens

Race 6 C, G & E BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1200m):

Now the boys edition, and two runners can fight this out. Leaning to three-year-old 3. Conscript first-up as a gelding for a strong metro stable. Has trialled quietly, and both career wins from only four starts have come early in the prep.

Dangers: Smart colt 1. Equation resumes for a new metro stable off two trials. Hasn't raced since a dominant maiden win on the Kensington track in early June, and is capable of carrying the big weight from a low draw. Preferred here to Kensington on Wednesday. Improving four-year-old 5. Blue Sky Moon bounced to the front and repelled the challengers on debut, but meeting some better ones here; while 6. War Memorial is a big market watch resuming off two trials.

How to play it: Conscript to win and quinella 1 and 3. Odds and Evens: Odds a special

Race 7 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (2100m):

Same grade for all-comers here over the staying trip, and typically there are a few chances. Hard fit and from an ideal draw, like tough three-year-old 1. So United who has beaten all bar the winner in his last two. Can control a moderate tempo, and the rating is right up his alley.

Dangers: Capable mare 5. Duchess Of Windsor came back to this level last start and charged past the top selection. Draws to find a similar trail, but meets him a little worse at the weights. Honest five-year-old 6. Prince Camelot hasn't won since early August, but has closed off okay in his last three, and starting to sneak down in the weights; while 7. Savvy Valentino comes back in distance after hitting the line hard in his last two across similar company.

How to play it: So United to win. Odds and Evens: Odds

So United runs second at Wyong on January 24

Race 8 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1600m):

We finish over the mile. Progressive Scone mare 4. Birdonawinningpost steps up to provincial level after blitzing a CL2 field at Muswellbrook in heavy ground. Draws to get a lovely trail just off the speed.

Dangers: Promising three-year-old 1. Anotherthinkcomin' was unwanted in betting second-up, but jumped to the front and blew them away, and the luckless second horse then came out and beat a handy metro maiden field last Friday night. Wouldn't be taking too short a price, though, up significantly in grade, trip and drawn further out. Improving mare 6. Bizou is ready for the distance rise after working home okay in her last two this grade at Wyong. Was scratched from Kensington on Wednesday to run here.

How to play it: Birdonawinningpost to win. Odds and Evens: Split

All the fields, form and replays for Thursday's Gosford meeting

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