By Brad Gray
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Friday’s meeting at Newcastle.
The rail is in the True, the track is in the good range (Thursday morning) and the first set to go at 1:50pm.
|Race 1 - 1:50PM STARR FACILITIES SERVICES 3YO & UP MAIDEN HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
2. Dunbrody Power gets her chance back to provincial company. The All Too Hard filly was sent around $3.50 first up on the Kensington tracks after impressing in her trials. She just missed before tackling the Magic Millions maiden. There were no excuses for her but she finished fourth behind Terminology and Rock. That’s deep form for this. It was then off to Canterbury third up, off a six week freshen, and after half bungling the start she was asked to loop the field giving Mizzy a cart into the race, before peaking on her run late. Back to this company, drawn barrier 2 and out to 1400m should see her knock off her maiden.
Dangers: 1. Royal Captain worked to the line well first up over 1200m behind Airwing. That winner has since failed, running fifth at Gosford, but it was due to a heavy track. Having debuted in the Breeders’ Plate back in 2017, this colt has bumped into some pretty handy gallopers in his four starts. This is his most suitable assignment to date.
How to play it: Dunbrody Power WIN ($2.10 TAB Fixed Odds)
Dunbrody Power last start at Canterbury
|Race 2 - 2:25PM MOET & CHANDON MAIDEN PLATE (1200 METRES)|
5. Watching was beaten fair and square at Nowra first up when $2.35 favourite but he was only beaten half a length and I’m putting the defeat down to fitness. The three-year-old loomed like the winner at the top of the straight but hit a wall. He’ll strip fitter for that and Anthony Cummings slipped a Hawkesbury trial in between runs to keep that fitness level topped up. He ran fifth in the trial but with any late room he could have zipped past his rivals. Tommy Berry takes the ride and should be able to park in behind the speed. He’s the horse to beat.
Dangers: 6. Oxford Bella has come up the early favourite. The four-year-old was sound at Hawkesbury first up running fourth. Just would have liked to see a touch more from her late. Very wary of 7. Vendella. She is a seven start maiden from New Zealand and with no official trial for Kris Lees is very hard to line up. The four-year-old is being kept safe in the market due to the unknown element. Big watch on late betting as it will tell the story with her. 1. Chauvinist has never looked likely in his three runs to date but gets the blinkers on for the first time. It could spark some improvement.
How to play it: Watching WIN ($3.80 TAB Fixed Odds)
Watching peaking on his run at Nowra
|Race 3 - 3:05PM REWARD HOSPITALITY NEWCASTLE CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2300 METRES)|
5. Shaman relished the extra trip last start at Gosford to bolt in over 2100m. The official margin was 7.7 lengths. Prior to that the three-year-old ran on at Canterbury over 1900m, placing third behind Alier and Savigne. Anthony Cummings has him nominated for the G1 Rosehill Guineas and G1 Australian Derby so don’t be surprised if he finds himself in the deep end after this start. He has to transfer that winning form onto a firmer surface, that’s the only query, albeit a minor one. Shouldn’t be a problem. The further the better with this son of French sire Dalghar so he’ll eat up the 2300m.
Dangers: Fellow three-year-old 4. Eugenio was a strong winner at Hawkesbury last start out to 1800m beating Brilliant Mind. He jumps straight out to 2300m so might lack the fitness base of Shaman but under the guidance of John Thompson, he’ll have him primed. 6. Diamond Star Halo doesn’t have a turn of foot so Tim Clark will be out to grind his rivals into the ground. She was well beaten first up but it was over the mile. The mare is 2300m second up but Gai Waterhouse is one of the few trainers who pulls this off time and time again.
How to play it: Shaman WIN ($2.30 TAB Fixed Odds)
Shaman bolting in at Gosford
|Race 4 - 3:40PM GUARDIAN SAFETY SOLUTIONS MAIDEN PLATE (1600 METRES)|
This is 1. Elgin’s race to lose. The four-year-old has been costly to punters in his two starts for Kris Lees, starting $2.20 and $3.50, but out to the mile the son of Rip Van Winkle will come into his own. Prior to being transferred to Lees, he had the one run for Lloyd Williams’s trainer Liam Howley at Ballarat. That was over the mile on debut which gives an indication of how much more comfortable Elgin will be over this trip. First up over 1150m he worked to the line nicely before being edged out over 1400m by Be Mindful. There was four lengths back to third and Be Mindful has since won again, beating Schnapps at Kembla Grange in a Class 1.
Dangers: 7. Head Up High was the horse that ran third behind Be Mindful and Elgin and looks to have scope to close that gap. The Pierro gelding, trained by Lee Curtis, was warming to his task nicely late. He appears big odds in this. The $6 a place is very tempting. 12. Diamond Pedrille is a filly up against the older males but she did enough on debut behind Mr Dependable. She’ll improve sharply from that outing.
How to play it: Elgin WIN ($1.70 TAB Fixed Odds) and 1,7 QUINELLA
Elgin (2nd) and Head Up High (3rd) meet again
|Race 5 - 4:20PM KAM-COOL REFRIGERATION POSTHASTE - BENCHMARK 78 HANDICAP (900 METRES)|
7. Nick On The Run always fires fresh and on the back of an eye-catching trial at Newcastle behind Group class mare Star Reflection, that doesn’t look set to change this time back. The six-year-old is 4:2-1-0 first up and already has a 900m win at Newcastle under his belt. They’ll charge along in this and although Shaun Guymer will have to keep his wits about him trying to push from the fence, having drawn barrier 1, with any room to move late he’ll be charging to the line. The last time we saw the horse he was beaten 3.6L by Bon Amis at Rosehill.
Dangers: 1. Invincible Gangsta also brings recent city class form to this assignment. First up he ran second at Warwick Farm before winning at Gosford. Then third up he just missed at Canterbury over 1100m. The four-year-old never looked likely last start, again at Canterbury, but was only beaten 2.9L by Torpenhow. In five previous runs over the 900m scamper he has won two. The query is 1100m back to 900m this time as opposed to tackling them at the start of his campaign. That’s enough of a knock to look around him at even money. 2. Don’t Tease Me lumped 60kg at Walcha last start which took its toll late. 9. Vincero is one to keep safe back to this company, despite his recent poor form.
How to play it: Nick On The Run WIN ($5 TAB Fixed Odds)
Nick On The Run’s Newcastle trial – Feb 27
|Race 6 - 4:55PM PRIME SEVEN BEAUMONT HANDICAP 2YO (1400 METRES)|
8. Mesmer wasn’t the best into stride first up at Canterbury and it cost her any chance of winning. The daughter of Sepoy rattled home to snatch fourth though, with Punters Intelligence revealing her last 200m of 12.06s was clearly the fastest in the race. That was on a Soft 7. In her trial prior to that she jumped quickly to take up the running. Expect her to be in the first couple in this, drawn well in barrier 5. That first up run was the second of her career having debuted at Randwick behind Anaheed. She failed to fire but was in the market at $14. Worth another chance.
Dangers: Found it hard to split 3. Bullet Fly and Mesmer but the barrier and price swayed me Mesmer’s way. Bullet Fly will give these a start from the wide draw but he was very good on debut behind Deep Chill and Still Single at Warwick Farm. Still Single has since placed in the G2 Sweet Embrace. Big threat. 5. Daumier profiles like he’ll want every inch of the 1400m but respect the early move in betting for the John O’Shea trained debutant. 1. Fortress Command won with authority at Wyong on debut and is one of only two winners in the field.
How to play it: Mesmer EACH WAY ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Winx winning the Apollo Stakes
|Race 7 - 5:35PM SUEZ NEWCASTLE NEWMARKET HCP [GROUP 3] (1400 METRES)|
1. Siege Of Quebec went enormous first up last preparation. If you need a refresher, he finished second to Le Romain. That was despite sitting wide the trip outside of the leaders. Yes, Le Romain lumped 8kg more but take nothing away from the runner up. Despite the torrid run, on a day when the wind was hammering him down the side, he still ran his last 600m in 33.97s (Punters Intelligence). He then flopped when $3.70 in the Theo Marks but he floundered in the heavy ground. He bounced back to beat a luckless Pierata third up before contesting three Group Ones at his next four starts including the Epsom where only beaten 2.6L. His two trials have been solid enough, he can settle anywhere in running and kicking off over 1400m suggests he’d ready to go.
Dangers: 4. Savatiano loomed like the winner in the Millie Fox first up with Punters Intelligence highlighting a big 400-200m split of 10.91s before peaking on her run. That sectional was two lengths faster than I Am Serious in the race. She is a top class mare over 1400m and fits into a race like this nicely. 2. Lanciato is back to defend the race he won so brilliantly last year. This year’s edition is deeper and he carries 4kg more. It was a pass mark first up but we know his second up record is outstanding (4:3-0-0). He’ll be last spotting another big start. Must also mention 6. Invictus Prince. Has a huge spike run behind Winx over the spring but hasn’t replicated it since.
How to play it: Siege Of Quebec WIN ($5 TAB Fixed Odds)
Siege Of Quebec first up against Le Romain last preparation
|Race 8 - 6:15PM PRO-RIDE SERVICES CONDITIONAL F&M BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Would love to see 8. Alternative Facts ridden with intent here from the good draw. She has run in two Highway Handicaps at her last two outings but has been spat out the back early and never looked likely. In the first of them she made late ground behind I Am A Cool Kid before last start she never got a crack behind Noble Boy. We’ll never know where she would have finished but tipping it would have been in the money somewhere. Prior to those two runs she won comfortably at Grafton and Armidale. In one of those she led, in the other she came from last. If Jay Ford can have her at least in the first half, her rivals will find it hard to hold her out.
Dangers: 1. Miss Redouble didn’t fire a shot at Newcastle last start. She was nine weeks between runs so perhaps needed the hit out. She is too talented to dismiss off that effort alone. The Kris Lees-trained 2. Time And Again didn’t look at home on the heavy track at Gosford last start. She can bounce back from that. Time And Again’s stablemate 5.Mimic was tried in town last start having won two on the bounce. She found it too tough but shouldn’t be discounted back to this company.
How to play it: Alternative Facts WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds)
Alternative Facts at Warwick Farm last time out