By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Saturday’s Polytrack Provincial Championships meeting at Hawkesbury. Selections based on a good track.
|Race 1 – 1.34PM LIVING TURF PLATE (2000 METRES)|
Looks a two horse race. 7. Sacramento Joe is a French import who appreciated getting up in distance in his second local start where he charged home to go under half a length at Newcastle. Both runs have been on wet tracks so interesting to see him on dry ground but looks on the up.
Dangers: 11. Oceanic Flash is another lightly raced horse and he also showed plenty of purpose late at his second start over a mile at Gosford. Appears the major threat. 9. Ausbred Cooee might appreciate the 2000m after his second second at Bathurst a month ago. Has trialled again since and drawn to get a soft run. No surprise if he’s in the placings again. 2. Calm The Fire comes through the same race as Sacramento Joe where he ran on okay into fourth, some four lengths astern at $91. Could find himself in the placings.
How to play it: Sacramento Joe WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Sacramento Joe runs second at Newcastle on February 20
|Race 2 - 2:09PM SUPERIOR TURF SERVICES HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
8. Hirondelle has shown some ability with placings in three of her five starts. Only had the one run last prep and ran on for a close third at this trip. Recent trial fine and drawn nicely. Sure to be in the finish.
Dangers: 3. Latin Lyric has the blinkers on now and if they switch her on she might well break that maiden status here. Beaten favourite two runs back at this track when making ground late from last then in a solid maiden at Canterbury beaten a length. Barrier the only negative. 5. Gulf Of Thailand trialled okay prior to leading them up on debut at Warwick Farm but couldn’t go with Head Of State. Takes on older horses but this might actually be an easier race. Keep in mind. 11. Hibiscus ran a promising race on debut then only fair in two subsequent starts. Two trials, the latest a handy enough one here. Could surprise.
How to play it: Hirondelle WIN ($2.20 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Hirondelle’s latest trial at Hawkesbury on February 15
|Race 3 – 2.49PM WASTEFLEX PLATE (1100 METRES)|
3. Beyliks was a promising two-year-old but fair to say didn’t live up to it. He returns as a gelding and his two trials have been excellent, particularly the latest of them where he led and cruised in. He might take control of this and if he runs up to his trials he’ll take beating.
Dangers: 11. Argyll Gardens went well back from a wide alley on debut and really charged at the line in a close fourth at Goulburn. An extra 100m is a plus, probably gets back again but well worth including. 14. A Very Fine Red is a two-year-old filly on debut and comes through a trial which has produced a little bit of form. Any support would be significant. 1. Green Kudos was beaten as a $1.40 favourite over this course on February 9 after leading. Had his chance there but kept fresh, will go forward and is worth another chance.
How to play it: Beyliks WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Beyliks wins a trial at Hawkesbury on February 26
|Race 4 – 3.29PM THE BIRD IN HAND HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
8. Zou Island went straight to the front first-up at Muswellbrook and put a big margin on maiden rivals. Up in class and back to the provincial level but that win was so impressive she should give a decent sight.
Dangers: 3. Obvious Step has had a few chances and was a well supported favourite first-up at Newcastle two weeks ago. Just didn’t pick up when needed there, she’s going to have every chance from gate one. 2. Jeronimos made a handy start to his career with a placing then a win – the win was over Brutality – but subsequent three runs just fair at best. Not asked for anything in recent trial and might pay to keep safe. 4. Sian was competitive in all four runs in 2020 culminating in a win over this course. Latest trial was in open company behind Trumbull. Capable of being competitive.
How to play it: Zou Island WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Zou Island wins at Muswellbrook on February 15
|Race 5 – 4.09PM CASTLEREAGH FEEDS HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
Have to be with 7. Close To Me who returned from a break with a dominant win at Canberra sitting behind the lead and sprinting nicely through a gap. Edges up in class now but between her two wins is a third to Elizabeel (G1 placed) and Sweet Reply (G2 placed) over this course and that reads pretty well now.
Dangers: 4. Military Academy doesn’t have a great first-up record but he does have a great record at his home track with only two unplaced runs in 12 starts. Easily won a trial here leading into this race, will improve on whatever he does but can run well. 1. Shadow Bridge might appreciate coming back in grade after a few unplaced efforts in town sincer his close second at Canterbury on January 1. On pacer so will go forward from the wide gate and can give a sight. 8. Beauchamp didn’t do a whole lot when resuming on a soft track at Newcastle so prepared to forgive that given we’ll be on a good track this time. Won well at Kembla before a break so capable of improving.
How to play it: Close To Me WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Close To Me wins at Canberra on February 19
|Race 6 - 4:49PM JENNIFER CHURCHILL MEMORIALHANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
The racing styles of the major chances suggest 7. Vittoriosa is capable of backing up her easy debut win at Goulburn. She led there and did it very easily off a wide gate, drawn one up in trip and will be the one to run down.
Dangers: Hard to miss the finishing burst of 2. War Baron when he resumed at Goulburn on the same day running a close fourth in slower time than the maiden winner. Has run some handy races in town but still only one win from 17. 3. Whelk wasn’t overly fancied in the betting on debut starting $10 but proving a bit too strong late. That was at Newcastle over 1400m on a soft 7. Have to keep her in mind. 9. Choosday Nights was a drifter in betting but dominated the race late to race well clear at Bathurst second-up from a long break. Can only be fitter and trained here. Could run into a placing.
How to play it: Vittoriosa WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Vittoriosa wins at Goulburn on February 21
|Race 7 – 5.24PM ROYAL RICHMOND HOTEL HANDICAP (1800 METRES)|
8. Prompt Prodigy is enjoying a very good preparation at present and it took a potential Derby contender to run him down at Canberra over a mile last time out. Should land in a good spot from the inside gate and only has to hold form to be competitive at each-way odds.
Dangers: 10. Rondino is a progressive type who kept chasing down the leader to score a maiden win at start three at Goulburn. Has a wide gate so probably goes back but sure to appreciate the extra ground. Keep in mind. 5. Vucetich is a superbly bred gelding who is starting to hit his straps with successive Newcastle wins on wet tracks. Has to do it on a dry track but heading the right way. 6. Macleay has a negative pattern and that’s the major worry about him. Otherwise there’s nothing wrong with his form with placings to Zing, Always Sure and Ruddock in town.
How to play it: Prompt Prodigy E/W ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Prompt Prodigy runs second at Canberra on February 19
|Race 8 – 6.05PM POLYTRACK PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIER (1400 METRES)|
8. Gemmahra had some nice city form last time in and has warmed up for this race with two strong trial wins. The negative is the wide alley but she does roll forward and if she can find the lead or a good spot handy she should take plenty of beating.
Dangers: 4. Noble Soldier was excellent second-up at Goulburn then backed it up with a close fourth at Canterbury when hitting the line well at 1250m. Ready to peak and looks capable of showng up. 3. Frozen In Time is another racing well in town of late and is back to the scene of her first-up win here. Since that win she’s run a couple of city placings and been just behind the first few in the others. Has the inside alley and is well worth including. 9. Grace Bay finished ahead of Frozen In Time when they met at Canterbury on February 12. She’s a lightly raced mare whose only poor run came on a heavy track and she certainly won’t strike that here. Definite chance.
How to play it: Gemmahra E/W ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds); Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Gemmahra wins a trial at Gosford on February 17