By Brad Gray
Tips and race by race preview by Brad Gray for Scone on Saturday.
The track currently in the Soft range, with light showers forecast for Friday.
|Race 1 - 12:15PM INGLIS 3YO GUINEAS (1400 METRES)|
Small field but there’s still no shortage of speed which plays into the hands of 1. Military Zone . As does the set weights conditions being a last start Group Three winner with the highest benchmark rating in the field. The three-year-old jumped well in the Hawkesbury Guineas and was able to settle midfield. He won’t get that luxury here drawn widest with plenty of pace inside him. That said, he’ll be given time to balance up and should get his chance on the big Scone track. He ticked the 1400m box there last start holding off Trope and running fast time, albeit after the leaders ran along. Military Zone has won four of his eight starts and looks to have returned stronger again. He’s the horse to beat.
Dangers: Military Zone’s stablemate 3. Signore Fox will also be motoring home. Peter and Paul Snowden have always held this son of Exceed And Excel in high regard and it all clicked for him at Hawkesbury last start where he blew his rivals away. There was plenty of quality about his closing splits there, running a last 600m of 33.07s (Punters Intelligence), which was the second quickest across the entire meeting. He is a dead set dry tracker so it’s critical he gets a good deck. 2. Wild Planet beat home Signore Fox in the South Pacific Classic by a length but it was a Soft 5. The form out of that race is strong despite the blanket finish. 6. Bare Naked Lady next best.
How to play it: Military Zone WIN ($2.30 TAB Fixed Odds)
Military Zone winning the Hawkesbury Guineas
|Race 2 - 12:50PM SEGENHOE STUD BENCHMARK 78 HANDICAP (2200 METRES)|
Punters were left scratching their heads with the run of 6. Fairlight last start. The Kris Lees-trained stayer was heavily supported on the back of a dominant provincial win at Kembla Grange but he only plugged home into fourth at Warwick Farm. Both were on heavy tracks so it’s hard to blame the wet. The four-year-old import wasn't able to build his momentum turning for home like at Kembla when back and wide. Drawn wide and on the Scone track, he'll be given plenty of time to click through his gears and bounce back. Keen to see him on top of the ground for the first time in Australia. He has more upside than his rivals and want to give him another chance.
Dangers: 10. Lord Gododdin is a good roughie to throw into the mix off two pretty inconclusive Australian runs. The latest he was being eased down having never got clear before having to avoid a fallen runner. Has trialled well since. 1. High Opinion has always raced well deep into his preparations and went super last time out in the Wagga Cup, despite being wide throughout. 11. Screamarr for the multiples. Rarely wins but he’s always thereabouts. Can make a case for 4. The Bandit too.
How to play it: Fairlight WIN ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Fairlight at Warwick Farm last start
|Race 3 - 1:25PM YARRAMAN PARK WOODLANDS STAKES (1100 METRES)|
She’ll be skinny odds and giving away a start but 1. Libertini is a special talent. The Anthony Cummings-trained filly ran the fastest closing splits of any runner across the entire meeting on Day 1 of The Championships. That was in the Kindergarten Stakes behind Bivoac. And she did it on debut! She proved that was no fluke last time out at Randwick belting her rivals despite travelling wide the trip. The times on the day compared favourably to the boys division won by Reloaded but what stood out for Libertini was her devastating last 400m. She possesses a brilliant turn of foot. If there is a knock, apart from her being out the back from the wide draw, she drops back from 1200m to 1100m but not overly concerned by that. She has the class to overcome it. There looks to be a couple of talented first starters but they’d need to be very, very good to knock Libertini off.
Dangers: One of those debutants is 9. Egyptian Missile for Bjorn Baker. The half-sister to Egyptian Symbol has looked the part in her four trials. Two of those before a break. She went to the line with 8. Cloud Spririt in a Canterbury trial where there was a huge gap back to third. Thought Egyptian Missile went a touch better. Have been waiting for her to make her debut however not sure where she gets to from the wide draw. 11. Persepolis beat older horses on debut at Canberra despite making a mess of the start. It was a good win, despite the narrow margin. 5. Just Field was sent to Muswellbrook by Peter and Paul Snowden on debut but she towelled up her opponents in good style.
How to play it: Libertini WIN ($1.55 TAB Fixed Odds) and EXACTA 1,9
Libertini winning at Randwick last time out
|Race 4 - 2:05PM VINERY STUD BENCHMARK 78 HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
History to repeat with 1. Akasaki? The five-year-old won this race last year off a near identical lead up, which included the Wagga Town Plate into the Hawkesbury Gold Rush. Last start in the Gold Rush he was chopped out when looking to pinch runs up the fence before being eased down. Don’t read anything into him running ninth. The run had as much merit as his lead in last year when fourth. Akasaki has won two from three at Scone, albeit the first of those being a 900m scamper as a two-year-old. This isn’t an easy race but carrying less weight than he did last year, courtesy of the 3kg claim of inform apprentice Chris Williams sees him in with 58.5kg. The middle draw is perfect to give him time to balance up and let rip down the middle of the track, as he did 12 months ago to win going away. $15 into $6 since markets opened.
Dangers: Expect 15. Three Sheets to run well here second up. He was first up for eight months at Muswellbrook and found the line okay. He’ll strip fitter and looked good behind Soothing at Randwick when second up last campaign (off a 38 week break). He ran in Group races thereafter attempting to catch the eye of Kosciuszko slot holders and wasn’t disgraced behind the likes of Le Romain and Redzel. 9. Oneness has her first start for Bjorn Baker and looked strong in her trials. Can certainly make cases for 5. Southern Lad, 2. Star Of Monsoon and 6. Wagner in a tricky race..
How to play it: Akasaki EACH WAY ($6 TAB Fixed Odds)
Akasaki was luckless at Hawkesbury last start
|Race 5 - 2:45PM EMIRATES PARK DENISE'S JOY STAKES (1100 METRES)|
3. Prophet’s Thumb was brilliant in beating Trope in the Fireball over 1100m three runs back before striking two wet tracks. Jason Collett rode that day too, and stays on here. Prophet’s Thumb laboured in the heavy ground in the Darby Munro before that gut buster looked to take its toll in the Arrowfield. That latest effort was only a Soft 5 but she raced flat. Trainer David Pfieffer has freshened the filly up since then with a strong trial at Warwick Farm keeping her ticking over for this assignment. The month between runs suits as does the 1100m on a wide, open track. There is a bit of class at the top of the weights here but she is the one with the sharpest turn of foot. This race looks to set up well for her speed-wise, she just needs a dry track. And I stress, needs!
Dangers: 2. Pretty In Pink is the best horse in the race, confident of that, but she isn’t the best suited. She has been on the sidelines for a while, last seen at the races in September, so imagine the instructions will be to let her find her feet from the wide draw and work home with bigger targets in mind. Her trials have been excellent. She’s very good, and won the Woodlands here as a two-year-old, but will need to be. It’ll pay off to stick with her through the winter. 1. Madam Rouge has been plain in her last two runs but on the strength of her Light Fingers run, she’s in this and draws to be closest of the three class runners.
How to play it: Prophet’s Thumb WIN ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Prophet’s Thumb winning the Fireball
|Race 6 - 3:25PM TAB LUSKIN STAR STAKES (1300 METRES)|
3. Brave Song was beaten by the barrier first up at Randwick in the G3 Hall Mark Stakes. I just hope it doesn’t beat him again here having drawn wide once more. The four-year-old put the writing on the wall with three eye-catching trials before rattling home fresh. Punters Intelligence reveals his last 600m split of 32.98s was the fastest of the entire meeting, some 2.5L quicker than 2. Trekking. The trick will be how much start Brave Song has to give away again. The pair have met four times already and there is rarely much between them. Brave Song meets Trekking 1.5kg better off from the Hall Mark. If Glyn Schofield can get a cart into the race, he’ll take holding out as convinced he’s airborne. He is better on top of the ground so monitor the track rating.
Dangers: Trekking’s stocks rise considerably on the back of drawing inside. It played out perfectly for him last start and he got the job done in good style. If there is a slight query at 1300m it’s offset by the soft run he should get throughout. 8. Intuition was outstanding spearing through the pack to win the Hawkesbury Rush last start. That’s three on the bounce. He closed in 32.91s there last start, according to Punters Intelligence. The quickest of the meeting. It could take another duck and weave ride from Rachel King to keep the picket fence going. 1. Deploy shouldn’t get too much pressure on speed but want to see him first up.
How to play it: Brave Song WIN ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds)
Trekking and Brave Song in the Hall Mark (look for Viridine too)
|Race 7 - 4:05PM ARROWFIELD DARK JEWEL CLASSIC (1400 METRES)|
9. Organza really jumped out of the ground last preparation. Prior to that she looked a provincial/midweek level mare. The four-year-old found all sorts of trouble first up last time in at Rosehill over 1300m and probably should have won. She made amends winning second up. She was tested in Group company fourth up and was only beaten by the muddling way the race was run finishing fourth behind Sexy Eyes and Irithea. Have liked the strength she has displayed through the line in her trials and without a lot of speed in the race, at least on paper, jockey Rachel King should be able to use the soft draw, ideally having her parked a couple of pairs back. Tricky race but in her favour, Organza is versatile enough to settle just about anywhere.
Dangers: Princess Posh has beaten 3. Savatiano home in five of their six meetings yet she still remains underestimated! The form guide reads two duck eggs for 2. Siren’s Fury but her latest run was in the G1 All Aged Stakes and her last 200m of 11.43s was the fastest in the race (Punters Intelligence). She won this race last year. 5. Con Te Partiro is a fascinating runner for Waterhouse and Bott. Formerly trained by Wesley Ward in the US, the five-year-old is already a Listed mile winner and ran fourth in the G1 Del Mar Oaks over 1800m. Was really strong late in her latest trial at Gosford. 10. Aqua D’ivina’s first up effort was much better than it reads after finding herself three lengths last after 100m. Probably wants a mile now though. 6. Moss Trip will bounce back from her Coolmore flop. 8. Sweet Scandal looks the only obvious leader so has to be respected on that alone.
How to play it: Organza EACH WAY ($13 TAB Fixed Odds)
Organza’s luckless first up run last campaign
D’Bai’s last start Group Two win in Dubai for those that haven’t seen it
|Race 8 - 4:45PM COOLMORE ORTENSIA STAKES (1100 METRES)|
2. Viridine won’t get a better chance to break his run of outs. The four-year-old was gelded before this campaign offering hope that it’d be the making of him. Alas, he remains a tease! He won his first four careers starts but has been winless in 11 starts since. However, 10 of those have been in Group company. Here he is back to a Listed race and he doesn’t look too badly treated with 58.5kg. He hit the line last start behind stablemate Trekking despite being crowded late. The 1100m is his ideal trip (4:2-0-1, with the third a Group One placing in The Galaxy) and the Scone track should suit him down to the ground. There is good speed in the race, he draws a middle gate and although Jason Collett has never ridden him before, they appear a perfect match. We just have to muster the courage to trust him one more time.
Dangers: 12. After All That is outrageous odds here and won’t be going around without me. His last three fresh runs, all over the 1100m trip, have been rippers, two of them in the G2 Shorts. Splitting them was a near miss to Marsupial at Warwick Farm. He has 53kg on his back and this would have been a target race for local trainer Rod Northam. The last time he raced at Scone he won like Winx, covering ground before charging clear. 3. Victorem looks to be humming off his trials albeit against inferior opposition. Can’t afford to fluff the start here over 1100m as it’s already as short a journey as he wants. 11. Junglized had no right to finish as close as he did after a torrid run in transit at Hawkesbury. 1. Dothraki was plain last start but when he puts in the rare below par run he generally bounces straight back. He is a must for multiples, while 8. Magic Alibi is the best blowout.
How to play it: Viridine WIN ($4.20 TAB Fixed Odds), After All That EACH WAY ($17) and 2,8,11,12 BOX TRIFECTA
After All That first up in The Shorts in September