By Neil Evans
Track likely Heavy 9 and rail true so pattern generally edges further away from the fence as the meeting wears on.
|Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (2000m):|
Very testing opener over the staying trip at set weights. Improving 3YO Godolphin filly 10. Maia Nebula looks hard to beat - certainly on the score of potential - fourth-up over this distance. Had no luck when heavily checked at a vital stage in a handy maiden at Newcastle when well backed, and has solid wet track breeding on both sides.
Dangers: Warwick Farm 4YO stallion 2. Supra Marnium is yet to run a place in five starts, but last effort getting home at Newcastle showed he's ready for the longer journey, and this is a little thinner. Kembla 3YO 4. Our Bambino will also find this more to his liking at third start after after finishing well at big odds in a Class 1 at Canberra. Also facing the starter for only the third time, Chris Waller-trained 3YO 6. Rusty Hawk is also better placed out to this trip off that same form-line as the top two selection, and draws the inside; while 3YO Randwick filly 9. Aunty will be ridden quieter from a wide draw at fourth start, and has shown a leaning towards rain-affected ground.
How to play it: Maia Nebula to win. Odds and Evens (First 2): Evens a special
Maia Nebula runs third at Newcastle on February 22
|Race 2 BM 70 HCP (1100m):|
Small, but ultra competitive and even field. Smart 5YO Bathurst mare 3. Jetgirl has a good strike rate, and chased hard all the way in a strong BM 82 at Dubbo run in record time. Only has to handle the conditions to be the one to beat.
Dangers: Rosehill gelding 4. Chewbacca is ready to peak after four improving runs back, and dropping in weight, but all three wins and four placings have come on firm ground. Stablemate mare to top selection 2. Worldly Pleasure can mix her form and is also some query in the ground, but did beat a smart BM 70 metro field four runs back, and was even to the line in that same race at Dubbo. Wyong 6YO mare 5. Dual Escape only needs to improve a little off her last couple of efforts in deeper company, and best form is clearly on rain-affected ground; while Kembla stallion 1. Grand Bernini comes back in trip and down in weight after failing in the heavy at Warwick Farm.
How to play it: Jetgirl to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):|
Another high pressure dash for some handy gallopers headed by smart filly 4. Wild Fortune from the Kris Lees yard in Newcastle who was terrific first-up in the heavy at Muswellbrook careering away to win with ease. Not much tougher here, and supremely in at the weights carrying 2kg less.
Dangers: Resuming Wyong mare 2. Bare Naked Lady is a clear threat in this ground off a quiet trial. Best form generally is early in the prep, and last time on a genuine heavy was close-up behind smart sprinter Sir Elton. Be surprised if one of those two doesn't win, but Warwick Farm gelding 1. Shadow Bridge is already a second-up winner.
How to play it: Wild Fortune to win and quinella 2 and 4. Odds and Evens: Evens
Wild Fortune wins at Muswellbrook on February 18
|Race 4 CLASS 1 HCP (1600m):|
Up to the mile on a big spacious track, promising 3YO Newcastle gelding 2. Pride Of Adelaide looks a good thing after charging away to win his maiden by more than seven lengths on the Beaumont track in Soft 7 ground. By the 2014 Cox Plate winner out of a Pentire mare so is bred to get much further, and blinkers have been replaced by winkers.
Dangers: Impressive filly 4. Oaksastar from the Snowden camp at Randwick is progressing nicely in her second prep, and bred to handle these conditions. Bolted in her maiden at Muswellbrook before again finishing strong this grade at Bathurst, and down 2kg in weight. Lightly raced Gosford mare 7. Blazing Babe easily won her maiden in heavy ground at Muswellbrook, and breeding suggests she's a real wet tracker.
How to play it: Pride Of Adelaide to win and quinella 2 and 4. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 5 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
Very tricky affair at set weights, with a few key debutants and many chances. Keen on progressive 3YO Randwick gelding 4. Missile Magic resuming for only his third start after two solid closing runs at Kembla in spring, and should handle the ground being by Smart Missile out of a NZ-bred Sebring mare whose best form was in the wet.
Dangers: Debutant filly for the Hawkes stable, 12. Fast 'N' Forward (Foxwedge x Biscuit Biter by O'Reilly) wasn't overly impressive in the second of two recent trials run on a moderate tempo, but breeding suggests will get through this ground. Godolphin filly and first starter 10. Emanate (Lonhro x Guelph by Exceed And Excel) looks a nice one in the making, bred on multiple Group 1-winning lines on both sides. Was never tested in behind the pack in the second of two trials, although will have a tough task in this ground from the extreme outside barrier. Stablemate filly 11. Farnese got back on debut at Gosford and never improved when heavily backed, and drawn the inside here must be a risk on a heavy rating. Stablemate gelding to top selection 7. Ranges failed to run on third-up at Newcastle after two fair previous efforts, but is also a query in the going. Debutant 3YO gelding and $330K purchase 9. Shadow Crush (Per Incanto x Inertia by Danasinga) from the Mark Newnham yard has had three trials, the latest sitting just behind in a field of four and working home well, although trial winner Cathars was very disappointing a week later at Canterbury. Draws right off the track. Watch the market on resuming home track 3YO gelding 2. Foxy Rocket who won a recent trial here, and has a liking for wet tracks.
How to play it: Missile Magic each way and first four 4,10,11,12/2,4,7,9,10,11,12/2,4,7,9,10,11,12/2,4,7,9,10,11,12. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 MAIDEN HCP (1300m):|
Keen on 4YO Newcastle mare 2. Dreaming Of Gold who has run three seconds to start her career, and resumed with a tidy effort on the Beaumont track behind Icebath who has since won convincingly again.
Dangers: Home track 4YO mare 12. Moinda is close to breaking through after three runs back and dropping in weight. Hit the line hard behind a smart duo at Gosford before only average at Muswellbrook, but one of the more experienced on rain-affected ground. Godolphin gelding 1. Cathars has ability, but hasn't quite taken his trial form to the races this prep. Flew home two runs back at Canterbury before trialling well, but was poor under the lights last start, and must be a risk in the ground. Local 3YO filly 5. Diva Bella was good resuming at Moruya missing by a long head; while Kembla filly 7. Vinaigrette also comes of that same Moruya race when just even through the line, but drops significantly in weight.
How to play it: Dreaming Of Gold to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 CLASS 1 HCP (1300m):|
Another tough one to dissect. Going with improving Godolphin gelding 1. Secretively who resumed in good style powering home to win his maiden on the Kensington track. Always shown ability, and went off a short-priced favourite in three of five runs in first prep, and should get through the heavy.
Dangers: Big watch on 3YO Snowden-trained 4. Industrial who came back off a long break as a gelding with a convincing maiden win at Bendigo, and looks ready to take the next step, although like most untried in any sort of wet ground. Capable 3YO Rosehill gelding 5. Spartan was no match for the winner second-up under 60kg in the stronger Canberra Guineas Prelude, but won on debut in soft ground at Wyong last winter. Include Wyong filly 10. Trajection who resumes off a trial, with a handy fresh record.
How to play it: Secretively to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 8 POLYTRACK PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIER (1400m):|
Feature race of the day at Class 5 level, with the top three all earning a place in the final at Randwick, and as always it's a deep and open battle. Newcastle 5YO mare 11. Intrinsic from the Kris Lees stable returned off a lengthy break with two solid metro placings, and can peak here third-up. Drops significantly to the limit weight, and best form by far is on rain-affected tracks.
Dangers: Hawkesbury 4YO gelding 8. Munich is way better than his one win and six placings from 17 starts suggests, and really attacked the line in his last couple up to BM 70 grade. This is another step up, but also suited in the conditions.
How to play it: Intrinsic to win. Odds and Evens: Split
SERIES CALENDAR (Top 3 from each race qualify for the C'ship Final):
Mar 14: GOSFORD
Mar 21: KEMBLA
Mar 28: WYONG
Apr 11: RANDWICK (Provincial C'ship Final)