By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Friday’s meeting at Kembla Grange. Selections based on a soft to heavy track.
|Race 1 – 1:15PM CLASSIC DAY PLATE (1600 METRES)|
3. Contract Signed looks well suited just coming back a notch from an even fourth at Warwick Farm earlier this month. Might have been a pair close in the run but if she can unleash the burst she showed at Newcastle on a wet track prior she should be going close.
Dangers: 1. Dear Sibling comes through the same race from Newcastle where he had his chance and finished a couple of lengths off Contract Signed. He was first-up there though so is open to some improvement. 6. Kobestar led them up in the Warwick Farm race and was only a length off Contract Signed at the finish so has to be considered. Only placing to date was on a heavy track so any rain might assist him. 2. Dr Evil was a beaten favourite at Gosford on heavy ground two runs back then a bit disappointing there a few weeks ago. Could get into a placing if the rain has arrived.
How to play it: Contract Signed WIN ($3.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Contract Signed runs fourth at Warwick Farm on March 3
|Race 2 – 1.50PM POLYTRACK PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 20/3 PLATE (1300 METRES)|
5. Stelvio is a very well bred now gelding back for his second campaign. He showed more than enough at his only start, a closing Kensington fifth, to say he has some ability and both his trials at Hawkesbury have been excellent. Hard to beat.
Dangers: 7. Vanderland was placed in two starts for the Hawkes stable at Warwick Farm and is now with Bjorn Baker. Nothing wrong with those efforts and has had a quiet trial for the new stable. Betting a good pointer but expect him to run another honest race. 2. Go Troppo was a big drifter at his only start and boxed on very well to hold a placing here back in November. Since then he’s trialled twice and the latest was quite eye-catching so he could put himself into the finish at odds. 4. Quest For Honor is a debutant from the Joe Pride yard who kept coming when second to recent winner Najmaty in his latest trial. The 1300m first-up is going to help looking at the trial and he’s another worth watching.
How to play it: Stelvio WIN ($2.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Stelvio wins a trial at Hawkesbury on February 26
|Race 3 – 2:25PM EVERGREEN TURF AUSTRALIA HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
4. Geist put together two impressive wins in December-January and has had some excuses for defeats in two subsequent starts. Went back to the inside at Kensington on an outside day and ran third then probably wasn’t going to win but had to be taken hold of near the line at Gosford. Runner-up since won in town. Handles all conditions, go well.
Dangers: 5. Mensa Missile settled a long way back when resuming at Wyong and you had to like the way he hit the line into fourth. From a better gate he’ll likely be closer to the speed so is one to be wary of. 2. Patrolling was a shade disappointing late when he resumed at Canterbury late last month but he can easily rebound. Will be fitter and if he’s solid in the market it’s a good sign. 7. Don Luigi was in the same race first-up, he sat outside the lead to the turn and weakened a bit late but wasn’t far off Patrolling at the finish. Back to his home track and if he gets a genuine wet one he could surprise.
How to play it: Geist WIN ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Geist runs fourth at Gosford on February 24
|Race 4 – 3:05PM PFD FOOD SERVICES AJ ‘BERT’ LILLYE MEMORIAL (1200 METRES)|
With little rain overnight 3. Subedar takes his place as the popular elect here. Big run first-up then far too good off a six week break at Flemington. He’s head and shoulders above this field and the one to beat.
Dangers: 4. Segalas is a very good wet track mare resuming from a break. Sound fresh last time in then won well on a heavy track at Rosehill. Not pushed out in her only trial this prep and she can be very competitive. 5. Kosciusko is racing in good form with two wins from his past three and kept them running to score an all the way win at Warwick Farm. Previous win on a heavy so track not important to him. Could take catching. 1. Munitions half loomed up on his Australian debut but flattened out late to run fourth at 1100m. Overseas form is at this trip and beyond so he could easily be an improver.
How to play it: Subedar WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Subedar’s first-up run at Randwick on January 9
|Race 5 – 3:40PM ASSET PROFESSIONAL SERVICES STAYERS CUP (2400 METRES)|
1. Main Stage has been threatening to win one and steps up in trip now after a close third at Canterbury over 1900m. Wet no worries, trained here and down in class. No good thing but gets a good chance to break through.
Dangers: 3. Shadow Flight has struck some consistency of late with a couple of nice placings in city company and so long as it’s not a bottomless track he’s an each-way chance again. 7. Notabadharada doesn’t win out of turn but if it’s wet this is the sort of race he could give some cheek in. Runner-up on a heavy over 2400m four runs back and ran on well from near last on a good track at Warwick Farm in his latest. Keep in mind. 6. Eugenio looks to be close to another win with his close up fourths at his past couple. Won his only attempt at the 2400m here and a soft track wouldn’t bother him. Has a show.
How to play it: Main Stage E/W ($5.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Main Stage runs third at Canterbury on February 26
|Race 6 – 4:20PM TAB HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
6. Blue Missile is in great form on wet tracks at present and while up in weight he’s a genuine chance if we’re dealing with soft or worse ground. Smashed them at Sapphire Coast then did a bit of early work but held on gamely in a TAB Highway at Rosehill. Sure to give a good account though a dry track is a small concern.
Dangers: 1. Golly I’m Lucky is an upset chance if there’s a bit of a speed battle on a wet track. Charged into second in the Bega Cup then again made plenty of late ground in the Canberra Mile. Back to 1400m but will be hitting the line strongly. 3. Media Starguest held of a promising galloper when scoring second-up at Newcastle on a soft 7 and will be close to his peak for this. Races in or near the lead and has to be respected. 4. Tectonicus tried hard under 60kg first-up at Wyong and will be fitter for this. Is a heavy track winner so any rain is in his favour and he can’t be left out.
How to play it: Blue Missile E/W ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: SPLIT.
Blue Missile wins at Rosehill on February 20
|Race 7 – 4:55PM CARLTON DRAUGHT KEMBLA GRANGE CLASSIC (1600 METRES)|
2. Elizabeel has the Group 1 form on the board and so long as it’s not a very heavy track she will take some stopping. Ran right up to her excellent first-up effort in the Light Fingers to run third in the Surround a couple of weeks back. Mile looks no issue and she’s the horse to beat.
Dangers: 4. Brookspire was scratched from a race she looked to have a mortgage on midweek to run here but she does show the kind of promise that says she can make it at stakes level. Chased home Harmony Rose first-up, G1 placed since, though the runner-up has since failed. Good chance. 11. Vittoriosa is right in the deep end here after a maiden win on debut then a gutsy second at Hawkesbury in her two starts. She’ll be better for that latest run where she worked a bit and while this could be too soon she’s worth keeping an eye on. 10. Chase My Crown is another promising filly going well in lesser grade but she was excellent in the Country Championships qualifier at Scone recently. Shapes as though she wants a mile and at good odds she has some hope.
How to play it: Elizabeel WIN ($2.90 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: EVENS.
Elizabeel runs third at Randwick on February 27
|Race 8 – 5:30PM CANADIAN CLUB HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
A small throw at the stumps here with 7. Readathon who has been quite good in two runs back especially here last time out on a good track. She’d likely need it to be wet and if it is come the last the wide gate will be a plus. Good each-way hope if that rain has arrived.
Dangers: 5. Favreau is likely Australian Derby bound and he needed every inch of 1600m to run them down at Canberra second-up in what has been a solid form race since. He doesn’t want it too wet but his talent could take him a long way if it is. 4. Club Legend has come back in career best form with wins at the Sapphire Coast twice, including a heavy track first-up. Far too good there last time and he could easily measure up to this. 6. Sidearm raced consistently last prep and returned in similar order with a closing second at Newcastle. Fitter and the conditions suit him at this stage.
How to play it: Readathon E/W ($14 TAB Fixed Odds). Odds & Evens: ODDS.
Readathon runs sixth at Kembla Grange on March 2