By Neil Evans
Track around Soft 7 and Rail True
|Race 1 2YO MAIDEN PLATE (1250m):|
The babies kick start a competitive card at set weights, and with only a handful of runs between them, it's a very tricky and tactical affair. First starter colt 3. Revivalist is by renowned wet track Irish stallion Shalaa, and should relish this rating coming in off two progressive trials in similar ground.
Dangers: Debutant colt 2. O'President travelled a lot better in his most recent trial on firm going than when he did trialling on a Soft 7. Draws to find a nice trail, but a query in the conditions; while expect improvement from Godolphin filly 8. Larkspur Run who worked home okay on debut here in similar ground.
How to play it: Revivalist to win and box exacta 2,3,8. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1550m):|
Shapes as a head-to-head battle between the top two, but leaning very much towards four-year-old 1. Kaptive third-up in suitable ground. Got a long way via an interrupted run at Wyong before charging home late behind a runaway winner, and can make amends settling closer here.
Dangers: Kermadec filly 2. Comporta is the obvious threat after consecutive metro second placings to start her career, but she was beaten a fair way and is drawn outside in a small field. Improving filly 7. Narrated is the best of the rest at third start.
How to play it: Kaptive to win and trifecta 1,2/1,2/7. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 3YO MAIDEN HCP (1250m):|
They could back a few in this one, but an easy and impressive trial from debutant Rubick colt 2. Teleporter was a strong pointer for his first start over this distance. Sat off the speed covering ground before cruising home with plenty in the tank in one of the quickest trials that morning, and bred to eventually get further.
Dangers: Pierro gelding 6. Grenado is the most experienced horse in the race, and worked home nicely third-up over a bit further. Has an obvious fitness edge, but back in trip in this going is questionable; while filly 9. Zouflu hasn't started since an average metro debut last May, but her latest trial suggests she's come on plenty.
How to play it: Teleporter to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 4 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1900m):|
Fairly even battle here over the longer trip for the older gallopers. UK-bred five-year-old 6. Mubariz is the one to beat in these conditions. Trounced a similar field at Warwick Farm two runs back on a Heavy 9 before working home late at Canterbury. Much more effective on this sort of rating, and significantly on the seven-day back-up.
Dangers: Consistent four-year-old 2. Lando Bay fought hard to finish right behind Amoretti. Couldn't be fitter, draws the inside, and all three career wins from 17 starts have come in soft going. Can't dismiss five-year-old 7. Jungle Book after a last-start BM 72 win at the Farm, and even more at home on rain-affected ground.
How to play it: Mubariz to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
Mubariz runs fifth at Canterbury on January 22
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1250m):|
Good sprint for the three and four-year-olds only. Progressive filly 8. Newsreader let down powerfully to bolt in her maiden first-up on Magic Millions day at the Gold Coast. Took on black type opposition last spring, and she's the one to beat over this trip carrying only half kilo over the minimum.
Dangers: Got plenty of time for promising three-year-old 2. Vreneli who has won two of three, and was dominant from barrier to box at Warwick Farm. As long as it doesn't get well into heavy range, he will take some gunning down again. Honest mare 7. Brazen Gem hasn't won for a while, but never far away in some deeper races and has a 50 per cent winning record on soft tracks from just 13 starts. Watch the betting on talented Canberra mare 5. Exotic Deel who comes to town off a nine week freshen-up, and well back in trip.
How to play it: Newsreader to win and quinella 2 and 8. Odds and Evens: Evens
Newsreader wins at the Gold Coast on January 16
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1550m):|
Similar grade over further for the Three-Year-Olds & Up, and it's the most testing race on the card, where nailing the trifecta might be easier than finding the winner. Tough provincial six-year-old 7. Miss Redoble is much better placed here back in trip and from Saturday class where he made little impression behind an emerging front-running stayer. Drawn to get a soft trail around midfield, and can bounce back hard.
Dangers: Provincial six-year-old 3. Casino Mondial finally got going late second-up at the Farm when well supported, and can peak over a little more ground. Another six-year-old 1. Zoffany's Lad has built a rock solid strike rate, and will find this a bit easier than his last two metro runs. Generally finds his best on a soft rating, but the handicapper hasn't missed him up sharply to 61.5kg. Trusting the real mare 4. Foxborough turns up. Led all the way in Soft 7 ground at the Farm three runs back, but has been flat in his last two; while five-year-old 10. Silent Agenda steps up in grade third-up after two good closing efforts at the provincials, and drops sharply in weight.
How to play it: Miss Redoble each way and trifecta 1,3,7/1,3,4,7,10/1,3,4,7,10. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 7 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1100m):|
It does get much easier in Heat 3 of the Sprint Series. Like the value here about lightly raced six-year-old mare 9. Lunar Tramp second-up. Made up a stack of late ground behind a speedy winner first-up at the Farm, and she's a good second-up performer in these conditions.
Dangers: Dubbo four-year-old 3. Cardiff makes the long trip to town for his first start in nine months. Looks ready to go off two smart winning trials, and stable has rung the gear changes, including blinkers going on. Easy to forget he ran in a Group 1 sprint at Flemington as a three-year-old when based in Sydney, but must be some query in the ground. Capable four-year-old 6. Born A Warrior generally comes to hand quickly, and resumes off a quiet trial; while watch the betting on resuming filly 11. Nicci's Fling who has trialled okay and thrives in soft ground.
How to play it: Lunar Tramp each way and box trifecta 3,6,9,11. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 8 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1250m):|
The older sprinters, 5YO & Up, bring us home in another open affair. Sneaking down a touch in weight, honest seven-year-old soft-tracker 7. Accelerato is ready to win fourth-up. Did his best work late in heavy ground two runs back behind a smart one before chasing home Vreneli under 58kg last time. Drawn to find cover, and the "Gun" is back in the saddle.
Dangers: After four runs back, six-year-old 5. Sedition is a clear threat in this ground from a low draw. Powered home to win a similar race here two runs back, and this is his pet trip. Lightly raced five-year-old 6. Blazing wasn't far off Sedition second-up and can improve further; while must include tough mare 8. Kawaikini who is screaming for more ground after attacking the line late in her last few.
How to play it: Accelerato to win. Odds and Evens: Split.