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Neil Evans' Tips For Canterbury (Friday night)

By Neil Evans

Track likely Good 4 and rail out 3m, so again expected fairly on pace before levelling out late.

Race 1 2YO MAIDEN HCP (1100m):

We start with the youngsters, and it's an intriguing battle. Godolphin colt and former Victorian 1. Jerle had a testing first run in Sydney battling on after leading in the heavy at Warwick Farm, but that was a handy pointer for this, and back on firmer footing will be hard to beat from the inside draw. Was close-up in two black-type sprints at Flemington in spring.

Dangers: Randwick filly 2. Dubai Star resumes for the Waterhouse-Bott stable, and is the one with superior potential after two smart efforts late last year. Was less than two lengths off Hanseatic on debut in Listed grade, but first time on this track from a tricky draw will be a test. Expect Chris Waller-trained colt 3. Castlecomer to improve on firmer footing at only third start after outclassed in a Group 3 at Caulfield, and finished off well in a trial with a gap back to the third horse; while another filly resuming from two runs in spring, Snowden-trained 6. Close To Me has looked forward enough in two trials, and gets the blinkers on.

How to play it: Jerle to win and box trifecta 1,2,3,6. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split

Race 2 3YO BM 64 HCP (1200m):

Now the 3YOs' turn over slightly longer trip, and it's a good quality contest. The Freedman-trained filly 4. Juan Diva can grab a second win at only her fourth start. Careered away to win her maiden second-up before sticking on strong here on a Heavy 9. Should get a nice trail just off the speed, and seemingly has more scope than the rest.

Dangers: Watch the betting closely on resuming Warwick Farm filly 7. Steel Diamond who hasn't started since well beaten in the Group 2 Silver Shadow last August, but two recent trials in strong company have been good. Rival Farm colt 1. Quiet Riot is drawn to be in the finish again after a strong debut win before battling on in a BM 64 here two weeks back that aided those on-speed. Better ground this time is a plus. Randwick colt 3. Warfare has found the line well in last two at BM 64 level, although a little disappointing last time after a charmed run. Back to own age, and again drawn to get a soft run behind the speed. Kembla filly 6. Electric Girl won her maiden on the Kensington track two runs back before no match for the star fillies in the Group 2 Light Fingers, but this is an obvious big drop in class.

How to play it: Juan Diva to win and first four 1,4,7/1,3,4,6,7/1,3,4,6,7/1,3,4,6,7. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 3 BM 70 HCP (1550m):

Competitive race over that renowned tactical distance, and it's rewind time on the quick back-up for 5YO mare and perennial bridesmaid 8. Austria who was a certainty beat here over the same trip last Friday night when bailed up behind the leaders all the way down the straight, and only got out when they were virtually on the line. Again looks beautifully placed from the inside draw, and more aggressive rider back on is a big plus.

Dangers: Improving 4YO Rosehill gelding and ex UK stayer 2. Yonkers relished the heavy track and inside draw resuming here three weeks. Firmer track, wider draw, and up in weight all combine to bring him back to the field, although won second-up in first Australian prep last spring. Progressive 3YO gelding 4. Olympic Legend controlled the race and won accordingly on the Kensington track at only third start, but getting the on-speed favours here will be tougher from a wider draw.

How to play it: Austria to win. Odds and Evens: Evens


Austria runs fifth at Canterbury on February 21

Race 4 3YO & 4YO BM 64 HCP (1900m):

Wide open affair, with plenty of chances, but well bred Waller-trained colt 2. Impactful looks headed for bigger prizes after a terrific maiden win here at only his second start a fortnight ago powering home completely against the pattern. Will be forced a long way back from wide barrier again, but extra distance looks ideal. Is by Japanese super sire Deep Impact out of Lucky Raquie who won the 2014 Black Opal in Canberra.

Dangers: Improving 4YO Newcastle gelding 7. Bedivere is working towards another win, and looks suited here fourth-up. Finished hard in a Class 2 at Kembla before working home okay this track a fortnight ago when winning from well off the speed was extremely tough. Will also go back from a wide draw, but should be right at his peak. Randwick gelding 1. Frenzied can figure fourth-up, although looks harshly treated under 61kg for a horse whose only win in more than nine months was the Bong Bong Cup; while 3YO filly 10. Happy Candy from the Mark Newnham stable also faces a tougher test after dominant maiden win and close-up in a Class 1 at the provincials, with form apprentice taking 1.5kg off.

How to play it: Impactful and Bedivere both to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 BM 70 HCP (1900m):

While the more seasoned gallopers do battle over the same trip, ironically the least experienced and lone 3YO in the field looks to have their measure on ability alone. John O'Shea-trained gelding 6. Opacity charged home to win his maiden at Gosford before an effortless win in a BM 64 when well backed. Still on the up, and draws to get a lovely run in behind. The one to beat!

Dangers: Wyong gelding 3. Seeingisbelieving didn't run on in the heavy at Warwick Farm last start, but previous form in deeper company was sound. Drawn right off the track, but stable is starting to hit its straps again. Kembla 4YO gelding 4. Power Lift has swept home to win his last two convincingly in weaker grade, but is up to this class, and draws to do little work in behind the speed. Warwick Farm 6YO 1. Impavado is better than his strike rate suggests and has been freshened up with a trial after a nice closing run in the Magic Millions Trophy at the Gold Coast.

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


Opacity wins at Gosford on February 15

Race 6 BM 74 HCP (1250m):

Another competitive and open sprint. Godolphin colt 11. Knickpoint can rebound big here second-up down in weight. Just couldn't produce the big finish from a tougher draw resuming in the heavy as a hot favourite at Warwick Farm.

Dangers: Warwick Farm 5YO 4. Super Ex returns off a long break as a gelding, and has trialled well.

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

Race 7 BM 74 SPRINT SERIES FINAL (1100m):

Strong feature race of the night, with typically plenty of hopes. Smart 4YO Rosehill gelding 7. Perigord is asked to step up again, but he's in terrific form and represents great value. Raced closer than normal when finishing too well at Gosford before charging late to win a BM 72 on the heavy here running down Buckin' Beauty who then won in mares' company last week.

Dangers: Another talented and emerging 3YO from the O'Shea yard, 9. Intrepidacious will be tough to beat over this distance from a useful draw. Missed by a long head resuming this track off a long break, and even stronger second-up off a recent trial win. While tough Wyong mare 4. Buckin' Beauty defied all the challengers leading all the way here seven days ago, and will try to dictate from the inside again, but this is harder.

How to play it: Perigord each way and quinella 7 and 9. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 8 F & M BM 70 HCP (1200m):

The girls wrap up the meeting in a good quality and wide open sprint. Big fan of emerging 3YO Hawkes-trained filly 12. Valdostana who strolled up to win a BM 64 here two weeks back, but couldn't finish off in ground that heavily favoured those on the inside. This is a tougher test, but she has real carnival potential.

Dangers: Smart Warwick Farm filly 9. Turnstyle will need the outside to hold up late in the night drawn right off the track and up significantly in weight. Another 3YO filly returning from a good spring prep is Waterhouse-Bott trained 7. Dorothy Of Oz whose been fitted with two trials, and won first-up at Hawkesbury last time in.

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

All the fields, form and replays for Friday's night meeting at Canterbury

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