By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Tuesday’s New Year’s meeting at Kensington. Selections based on a good.
|Race 1 – 1:35PM #THERACES HANDICAP (1800 METRES)|
3. Gayatri let punters who took the $1.45 at Kembla last start down as she could only manage third. She may not have loved the heavy track as it took her forever to wind up but she did close off well and meets the winner 2.5kg better, gets a good track and an extra 200m. If she can hold a reasonable spot from the inside gate Hugh Bowman can do the rest.
Dangers: 2. Miss Jenny deserves some respect despite not having everything to suit her this time around. All three wins have come on very wet tracks so that may be her edge. It’s fair to say she’s had her chance on good tracks but she’s drawn to stalk and has James McDonald to steer which is a big plus. 8. Rock Zone is starting to hit his straps and looks to be crying out for more ground. Left it very late but got the job done at Hawkesbury last time and he chased home Welsh Legend before that which isn’t bad form. Gets in with just 52kg and is an each-way chance. 6. Thunder Pace is the likely leader. He was put out of his comfort zone when the winner took off here last start and didn’t appreciate the chasing. Up in trip and if the track is leaderish again he could take running down.
How to play it: Gayatri WIN ($2.30 TAB Fixed Odds).
Miss Jenny wins at Kembla with Gayatri running into third on December 15
|Race 2 - 2:10PM 2019 MEMBERSHIP HANDICAP (1550 METRES)|
2. Love Shack Baby looks close to a win and maps well to sit just off the speed. Not a lot of luck first-up at Canterbury but attacked the line well late then didn’t love having to chase but stayed on well behind a runaway winner here second-up. This is his distance range and he’ll have his chance to break through.
Dangers: 6. Zeppelin is another likely to be just off them in the run and he comes off a solid win at Wyong as favourite where he wound up hard to win after being held up. Hard to see him not featuring somewhere in the finish. 3. Smiling Manolito has found his niche as a front-runner and if he gets control then he can be hard to catch. Run down by C’est Davinchi two back then got lucky as Welsh Legend blew the start and wasn’t able to reel him in last time. I wonder about the depth of his form but he’s sure to give a sight, particularly if left alone. 7. Chalk is a funny horse, he’d win this race on his best form. Last win was in October 2017 and he beat Redouble and Firsthand! Sound behind Poetic Charmer two back then had support on the heavy at Warwick Farm last start and just battled after settling at the tail. One to throw in the multiples.
How to play it: Love Shack Baby E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Love Shack Baby runs second on the Kensington track on December 21
|Race 3 – 2.45PM ANZ BLOODSTOCK NEWS HANDICAP (1550 METRES)|
There’s a chance 5. Maddison Avenue finds a soft lead here and that would give her an excellent chance to find her best. Two runs back haven’t been bad, particularly first-up beaten 1.6 by Sweet Deal. Off the bit chasing on the heavy last time so forgive that. Good each-way hope in a winnable race for her.
Dangers: 4. Via Veneto would be the logical danger with her form around Tunero standing up. Started a well supported favourite when runner-up to that horse at Canterbury and is drawn to get another nice run just behind them. Hard to beat. 2. Shantou had excuses last start at Wyong and was game in defeat running second to Spanish Dream. She raced wide and was left flat when the winner circled before the turn but kept coming suggesting the extra trip with an easier run would suit. Strong claims. 3. Ivy’s Court ran on from last into third in a similar race to this on December 21 over the same course. If she gets the race run to suit she’s a winning chance but either way she should be running on again.
How to play it: Maddison Avenue E/W ($8.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Maddison Avenue’s first-up effort at Rosehill on December 6
|Race 4 – 3.20PM TAB REWARDS PLATE (1400 METRES)|
1. Belladeel is an interesting first starter for the Waller camp. He’s shown speed in both her trials, winning the first then a close third in the second. Expect he'll be somewhere up on the speed and if he stays solid in the market should be hard to beat.
Dangers: 3. Jimmu has come up very short on the back of a solid debut second at Wyong behind a smart looking type in Nindamos. He raced wide there and was no match but fought on. Awkward gate again and while he looks under the odds he’s a contender. 4. Nobu is crying out for a mile but stays at the 1400m after his late closing third over this course on December 21. He’ll get back from the outside gate and be running on, if they overdo it up front he could swamp them. 10. Bring The Magic hasn't shown her true ability in three starts to date but finished off her trial at Canterbury recently in very good style suggesting she might step up this time in. Awkwardly drawn but one to keep an eye on.
How to play it: Belladeel WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds).
Belladeel's latest trial at Canterbury on December 20
|Race 5 – 4.00PM NEW YEAR’S DAY CUP (2400 METRES)|
3. Naval Warfare looks to have complete control in the five horse field and he only has to run out the 2400m strongly to win in a race with really only one, maybe two, serious threats. His last four runs have all been excellent and he was well ridden to score at Warwick Farm. Only attempt at the trip he was cut down by Destiny’s Kiss late in the McKell Cup in May.
Dangers: 2. Destiny’s Kiss is always a chance in these races and has seven wins at 2400m to his credit. His weakness is a flat spot he always hits around 800m-600m out but if he’s within striking range with 200m to go he’ll take holding out. 4. Earth Angel has been disappointing with only one win in 14 starts but if you overlook her last start flop at Flemington her two previous runs had some merit. Placed in a couple of weak G3 races last season and in the small field she’s the other chance. 7. Just Dylan won well at Canberra two starts ago then boxed on fairly behind Tunero on Boxing Day. Place hope if something goes awry with one of the above trio.
How to play it: Naval Warfare WIN ($1.45 TAB Fixed Odds).
Naval Warfare outstays them at Warwick Farm on December 22
|Race 6 - 4:40PM BOWERMANS OFFICE FURNITURE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
1. Fuchu looks a progressive type and he’s been strong late in his two provincial wins this time in. Super effort dropping 50m around Wyong and coming from last on the turn to score and he’ll appreciate a bigger track. He ran his last 600m at Wyong in easily a race best 34.04 and the last 200m in 11.26 (Punters Intelligence).There should be enough speed for him to be able to have his chance to pick them up again, hopefully he’s in the clear in plenty of time. Read jockey Robbie Dolan's comments here.
Dangers: 2. Great Job is well worth keeping safe at his first run for Clare Cunningham. He contested the Provincial Championship series in 2018 on the back of a string of wins and I could see nothing wrong with his two trials back. Probably goes forward from out wide and deserves respect. 6. Seahampton is an enigma, she looked so good winning back in July but the wheels have fallen off her. She was fair behind Seasons first-up and with much less depth here she has the chance to be competitive. 3. Moondancer disappointed before a spell but was fairly honest prior to that last time in. Quiet trial at Gosford and from the nice gate can feature fresh at this trip.
How to play it: Fuchu WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Fuchu gets the job done at Wyong on December 19
|Race 7 - 5:20PM TAB.COM.AU HANDICAP (1250 METRES)|
11. Seles is the lowest rated horse in this race but it’s no surprise she’s hard in the market here after a couple of rumbles with The Art Of The Bar at her last couple of starts. Improved almost five lengths back onto a good track last time as she closed off well and she gives every indication 1250m will be no hassle. Hard to hold out.
Dangers: 9. Osorno disappointed first-up against his own age then went to Wyong and didn’t have the best of luck there beaten a couple of lengths without the chance to wind up. Should be able to get to the outside this time and if he’s in the mood he’ll be running on strongly. 1. Pelorus Jack is a big query here first-up without a trial this preparation. He just didn’t come up last time in but it seems Les Bridge is trying something different with him. More than capable on his best form so if there’s an upset it could be him. 3. Clifton County is an honest galloper having his first metro start. Trialled fairly but might get some favours on the speed so worth keeping safe.
How to play it: Seles WIN ($2.80 TAB Fixed Odds).
Seles chases home The Art Of The Bar at Warwick Farm on December 5
|Race 8 - 6:00PM AUSTRALIAN TURF CLUB SPRINT (1000 METRES)|
9. Laburnum looks the good thing of the day off an outstanding trial and it’s significant she’s been kept fresh with three weeks since the trial. She mixed it with Smart Melody, Thinkin’ Big and company last time in and has found a race where she can sit midfield behind a good speed, get to the outside and run over the top. That’s the theory anyway, the only risk is finding 1000m too slick but happy to take it.
Dangers: 1. Nic’s Vendetta is a very handy horse and while he hasn’t won fresh he usually runs a good race then improves sharply second-up. His last couple of first-up runs have been at 900m at Newcastle so better suited here and with the claim and soft gate can be in the finish. 2. Vincero was wayward first-up but ran on very well for a close second at Gosford then flopped at Hawkesbury when second favourite to a promising type. Down to 57kg, drawn nicely and he’s more than capable of improving sharply. 4. Witherspoon was a beaten favourite first-up at Wyong and can’t really make too many excuses for her. On paper she’ll be in a speed battle for the lead which is a worry. If she lands in front uncontested then she can take running down.
How to play it: Laburnum WIN ($3.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Laburnum wins her trial at Warwick Farm on December 9