What can Punters Intel tell us about the chances of the 15 horses to do battle in Saturday’s $500,000 Provincial Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick?
The five Qualifying races were staged at Wyong, Hawkesbury, Gosford, Kembla Grange and Newcastle.
Three of them were run over 1400m, one at 1350m and one at 1200m and all bar Kembla Grange (heavy 8) were run on good surfaces.
Obviously comparing different days, conditions and distances isn’t always relevant but the Punters Intel data from the provincial tracks can give plenty of insight into each horse’s performance on the day.
Wyong (1350m), March 3
Provincial Championships favourite Just Dreaming showed why she’s holding top spot in the betting with a come from behind win, sitting midfield and wide and storming home.
Punters Intel showed she covered an extra 10.9m and produced a last 600m of 35.31. Runner-up Manhattan Mist hit the lead early in the straight and ran 35.77 for his last 600m.
There were two eye-catching closers from the back, Witches ran third with a 35.30 last 600m and the fastest last 200m of 12.27 while Kool Vinnie (fourth) clocked the best last 600m of the race in 35.20.
All four horses have raced since – Just Dreaming finished seventh in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic; Manhattan Mist beat subsequent city winner Marsupial at Gosford; Witches was unplaced in the Group 3 Birthday Card while Kool Vinnie contested two more Qualifiers.
Hawkesbury (1400m), March 10
Uptown Lad, the winner of the second Qualifier, was withdrawn from the Final with injury.
Second placed Plaisir made his run in the straight with the winner, covering an extra 13.7m and clocking an impressive 34.21 for his last 600m and 11.50 the last 200m.
Bastia ran on from midfield on the fence to finish third, running 35.01 for his last 600m, while It’s So Obvious sat three wide throughout and clocked 35.18 (11.97 last 200m).
Gosford (1200m), March 17
Serene Miss took her record to five wins from six starts as she rounded up the field from worse than midfield, running 35.31 for her last 600m. She covered a bit of extra ground, 9.6m, and was about as strong as anything on the line running 12.01 for the last 200m.
Runner-up Newsfan was a shade unlucky as he went looking for runs through the field. Her last 600m of 35.40 was matched by fourth placed Pomelo and her last 200m was 12.06.
Third placed Can’t Find Snippy hit the lead 100m out and battled on well though the last 200m of 12.36 suggests she was stopping. Pomelo, who qualified being the highest rated fourth placegetter, hit the line with a last 200m of 12 seconds.
That quartet have not had another run into the Final.
Kembla Grange (1400m), March 24
The only qualifier to be run on a wet track, front running filly Mandylion proved a bit too slick as she controlled the race and opened up a big enough lead to hold them off.
Her last 600m was run in 36.82 and the last 200m in 12.89 but she was being reeled in by runner-up Old Man Sam, who covered an extra 13m as well, running 35.93 for his last 600m.
Third placed Tawfiq Boy was also feeling the pinch late with a last 200m of 13 seconds while stablemate Hallelujah Boy rocketed home in 35.74 for his last 600m and a 12.53 for the final 200m.
Newcastle (1400m), March 31
A first-up win for Princess Posh and it was a game effort after drawing barrier 15 and racing around midfield. She covered an extra 9.5m and hit the line in a strong 35.33 for the last 600m.
Runner-up Bon Amis had a hard luck story after missing the start but he gained inside runs and while his last 600m of 35.41 was slower than the winner his final 200m of 12.02 was the best of the race.
Kool Vinnie earned his spot, having missed out at both Wyong and Kembla Grange, with another fast finishing effort in third. He ran the fastest last 600m of 35.14 and was also quickest from the 600m-400m (11.48) and the 400m-200m (11.47).
Watch Punters Intel with Gerard Middleton, Brad Davidson and Brad Gray on Sky Thoroughbred Central at 7pm Tuesdays.