By Neil Evans
Track Good 4/Soft 5 with chance of showers and rail out 3m
|Race 1 3YO MAIDEN HCP (1550m):|
Good competitive battle over the middle distance, although likely dominated by the Chris Waller stable. Talented Savabeel colt 1. Mightybeel impressed on debut rattling home late at Newcastle after being heavily backed. Drawn to get crucial cover back in the field, and just needs to get around the smaller and tighter track carrying 1.5kg more.
Dangers: Improving colt 3. Zudin had no luck here last start from the inside draw in a maiden with good depth. Can peak with the blinkers added. The third of the stablemates, filly 7. Big Angel improved sharply at the provincials second-up, and should appreciate the longer journey.
How to play it: Mightybeel to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Mightybeel runs second at Newcastle on January 30
|Race 2 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1250m):|
Now the older mares do battle. Highly capable four-year-old 2. Miss Sure Shot never got a proper crack at them this grade at Warwick Farm after consecutive BM 64 wins at the provincials. Draws to get a gun run just off the speed, and can hit straight back.
Dangers: Hard-fit 4. Brazen Gem is bursting to win one this prep after chasing home the smart Vreneli last start, although still looks under the odds up in weight from a tricky draw. Newcastle mare 1. Frozen In Time has built a tidy record, with a 30 percent win rate from 17 starts. Finished close-up in her last few, and draws to get plenty of cover off the speed. Provincial mare 6. Diva Bella was very good first-up here hitting the line late after copping a check on the turn, but rises sharply in weight.
How to play it: Miss Sure Shot each way and box trifecta 1,2,4,6. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 3 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1550m)|
Same grade for the fillies and mares over further, and a three-year-old stepping up in class can strike third-up. Nicely bred 7. Harmonium has found the line well in two runs back at the provincials and screaming for more ground. Sneaking down in the weights and draws to get a sweet run right behind the speed.
Dangers: This is a near rerun - same trip, weight, rider and draw - for improving mare 6. Joliette except coming off the Kensington track where she was beaten under a length. Will be right there, but may need it well into soft range to win. Wyong mare 1. Miss Redoble stalked the speed before bursting through late to claim a similar race here last time. Stays at the trip, but not as effective on firmer ground, and will carry 2kg more. Inconsistent mare 3. Foxborough got way too far back here last start in that same race before making up late ground. Hard to see him improving enough on firmer ground and up in weight, but can settle closer from this draw.
How to play it: Harmonium to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1900m):|
Keen on Newcastle mare 2. Game Of Thorns who is ideally placed back in class fourth-up. Charged home in two provincial runs before again hitting the line late to miss by a long neck in a stronger metro BM 78. Confident she can make light of the 61kg.
Dangers: Ultra consistent four-year-old 1. Amoretti has won three straight, last two this grade and track. Did miss a run, but still only three weeks between starts, and carries only half kilo more after rider's claim. Include tough five-year-old stayer 7. Jungle Book who finished strong here last start, although would prefer it wetter.
How to play it: Game Of Thorns to win and quinella 1 and 2. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1200m):|
Widest and toughest race on the card for the three-year-olds, tailor-made for exotic players with a stack of chances. Emerging filly 10. Blossom Star returns off an eight week break and good trial for her first try over this distance. This is tougher, but the way she gathered up a speedy one at Goulburn before Xmas stamped her as one with a heap of progression. Over the odds!
Dangers: Improving gelding 6. Hinchbeast can peak third-up after chasing home a smart filly at the provincials, and drawn to get a soft run. Promising filly 11. Expat has taken impressive strides already winning two from three to start her career, latest leading all the way at Newcastle. Steps up another notch, and getting over from a wide barrier here will be no easy task. Another lightly raced one on the rise, 12. Head On Up hung on in good time to score first-up at Kembla. Draws well for this deeper test, and the Headwater stock is going great guns. Godolphin-trained 4. Marnix hasn't started since early June, but has been fitted with two trials, and motored home to win on debut at Geelong 13 months ago; while keep safe Pierro filly 8. Darling Diamond resuming off two trials for a smart stable.
How to play it: Blossom Star each way and first four 6,10,11,12/4,6,8,10,11,12/4,6,8,10,11,12/4,6,8,10,11,12
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1550m):|
It doesn't get much easier here, so again the betting will be pivotal. Like progressive three-year-old 6. Major Artie shooting for three from his last five. This is his toughest assignment, but the draw suits him here where he can go forward, travel easy and slip them on the turn.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 7. Kaptive scored a tough maiden win here getting home hard after coming off the bit before the turn. Sharp rise in class but looks up to it. Must include five-year-old 3. Above And Beyond back in grade after three solid closing runs in Saturday grade, including a dominant BM 78 win when sailing home from midfield, but naturally up a stack in weight.
How to play it: Major Artie to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Major Artie wins at Gosford on January 27
|Race 7 BENCHMARK 78 HCP (1200m):|
Tough sprint for the older horses. Keen on lightly raced six-year-old 2. Starspangled Rodeo second-up from a nice trailing draw. Was specked in the market when getting home late in Saturday grade resuming off a lengthy break, and is already a second-up winner.
Dangers: Consistent enough five-year-old 5. He's A Hotshot has been up for a while, but his best is good enough in this company. Came off two tidy and somewhat luckless Saturday runs to win a BM 72 at Warwick Farm, and only needs to find cover from a middle gate. Talented five-year-old 3. Lancaster Bomber was very strong late fourth-up in Saturday grade. That said, he broke a run of outs being ridden in front three starts back at this track, and from the inside draw suspect he will be ridden closer again; while 10. Kawaikini (scratched from race 2) and 11. Nictock are best of the rest.
How to play it: Starspangled Rodeo to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 8 BENCHMARK 72 HCP (1100m):|
We close a very competitive card with an open Heat of the Sprint Series. Newcastle seven-year-old 4. Nosey is in career best form this prep rattling home to claim a provincial BM 64 fresh before again charging late to just miss in a similar race here. Reacts in any type of ground, and top metro jockeys sticks.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 10. El Cohete did his best work late behind Marway last start, and even better suited from the draw here over a bit more ground. Consistent mares 11. Invincible Kiss and 12. Lunar Tramp can both be included in wider exotics.
How to play it: Nosey each way. Odds and Evens: Evens