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Neil Evans' Tips For Hawkesbury (Thursday)

By Neil Evans

Track improving to Soft 6 and rail out 3m from 1100m to 450m and True the remainder:

Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1500m):

The middle distance maidens get us underway on an improving track. Tough filly 8. Poetic Drama has been in and around the money on wet tracks all prep, and gets her chance to finally break through at her eighth attempt. Gets a nice trail right behind what will only be a fair speed, and gets back down in the weights.

Dangers: So You Think filly 5. Denarau closed off okay on debut under a big weight when well supported, and senior hoop takes over carrying 2.5kg less. Gap to the rest headed by Dundeel three-year-old 2. Willunga Rufio on debut behind two trials; while 6. Uncaged and 7. Facetious who are both second-up; go in wider exotic plays.

How to play it: Poetic Drama to win and trifecta 5,8/2,5,6,7,8/2,5,6,7,8
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 2 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (2100m):

Imported and progressive four-year-old 3. Funambulist broke through at his third Australian start at this track in emphatic fashion, tracking the speed before careering away by several lengths, and carrying only half kilo more can take care of this higher opposition. Irish-bred and loves rain-affected ground.

Dangers: Doubt there are any, but improving metro filly 5. Nyota also comes off a last start maiden win here, and can run the quinella; while 6. Aurora Florentina and 8. Noble Cause are the best of the rest.

How to play it: Funambulist to win and quinella 3 and 5
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 3 MAIDEN PLATE (1800m):

Always tricky speed affairs maidens at set weights over this sort of trip, but shapes nicely for progressive Tavistock filly 8. Queenmaker who is trained on the track. Was eight weeks between runs when stuck on well in a maiden here a fortnight ago, and key gear changes accompany a significant and suitable rise in distance.

Dangers: Down sharply in weight, consistent ex-Victorian based filly 9. Whata Fox is well placed from a soft draw ahead of her second start in NSW. Honest three-year-old 3. By Nine will roll across from a wider gate and either lead or sit outside, and if the tempo is only modest, he'll be ultra tough to get past fourth-up. Similarly having his fourth start this prep, 5. Global Sensation likes to push forward, and stable has swapped blinkers for visors. Keep safe 6. King Charles rising in trip at his third start.

How to play it: Queenmaker to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):

Back to the sprint trip for another very testing maiden which may prove to be a strong form race, with plenty of improving talent going around. One of those is Deep Field three-year-old 3. Diamond Flare who resumes as a gelding exactly a year after he debuted in smart metropolitan company on the Kensington track. Has been given two heavy track trials, winning the latest by nearly six lengths, and looks ready to erupt.

Dangers: Plenty of them headed by eye-catching dual trial winner 8. The Rockwell Scale who resumes for only his second start. Has shown plenty of ability, and draws to get a handy trail. Godolphin-trained 7. Shirshov is a typically powerful Exosphere three-year-old, resuming off an eight week break for only his sixth start via a recent trial win at this track. Another fresh one, well-bred Vancouver filly 9. Glacier Queen is also first-up behind a smart trial win, with key gear changes; while keep watch on 10. Miss Tambo who resumes off two quiet trials; and at big odds home track three-year-old 2. Boston City who debuts behind a quiet trial.

How to play it: Diamond Flare to win and quinella 3 and 8
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):

We might be looking at a carnival winner down the track here with Capitalist three-year-old 2. Conspiracist who starts his career behind two strong trial wins. The latest over 900m saw him virtually pull his way to the front; before cruising away from the chasers under a tight hold.

Dangers: Keep safe improving three-year-old 3. Easily Offended who worked home nicely on debut in a handy provincial maiden; while home track three-year-old 6. Secret Hunter second-up and Xtravagant filly 10. Extraweird on debut; are both capable of running into the minor end of the prize.

How to play it: Conspiracist to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 PROVINCIAL & COUNTRY MAIDEN HCP (1400m):

If the inside ground holds up, improving provincial three-year-old 4. Tiva Bay has this at his mercy second-up. Had no luck resuming when $2.90 into $2.50, slow to begin and then held up at crucial stages before laying in. The one to beat!

Dangers: Progressive three-year-old 1. Avvertimento was ridden just off the speed second-up before closing hard to miss by a whisker in a more than handy maiden. Hasn't missed a place in four career starts for an underrated country stable. Keep safe 7. Poseidon Jewel fourth-up with a much superior rider taking over; and 8. Star Mission who has been close-up at the provincials in her last two.

How to play it: Tiva Bay to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 7 FILLIES & MARES CLASS 1 HCP (1400m):

Returning from a six month break and via a strong trial win, locally-trained So You Think mare 3. Good Omens looks ready to rock having tackled much stronger metro opposition last spring. All her best form is fresh, and she was competitive enough at metro BM 72 level over further last prep.

Dangers: Capable metro filly 1. Riduna is naturally a threat resuming behind two improving trials for a powerful trainer/rider combination. This looks a suitable task too for Newcastle mare 5. False Step who went down narrowly first-up in a tight finish at Muswellbrook, but second-up form is sound and will relish a drying track; while last start heavy track maiden winner 4. Hinchinjive is the clear best of the rest fifth-up this prep.

How to play it: Good Omens to win
Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 8 COLTS, GELDINGS & ENTIRES CLASS 1 HCP (1400m):

This shapes nicely for talented metro colt 4. Nashira over 200m further second-up. Hit the line late in a handy CL1 at Kembla, and will certainly appreciate getting off a Heavy 10 surface.

Dangers: Watch the market on 1. Security Advisor who did enough to win as an odds-on favourite first-up over this journey. Capable four-year-old 5. Sabino has been a bit disappointing since a smart provincial maiden win three strats back, but has the ability and comes out of that same recent race as the top selection; while 6. River Snitty must be included in exotics.

How to play it: Nashira to win
Odds and Evens: Split

Race 9 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m):

Hard to go past resuming home track three-year-old 4. Sepoy Star who comes off two progressive trials, and ideally suited on soft ground over the short course. Can settle a few lengths from the speed and finish over the top. Was preferred here to the Kensington meeting on Wednesday.

Dangers: Lightly raced local four-year-old 2. Tocomah resumes off a long break and trial win, with visors replacing blinkers; and another fresh provincial winner 9. Lily Elsie is on the next line.

How to play it: Sepoy Star to win
Odds and Evens: Split

BEST BETS:
R5 2. CONSPIRACIST
R6 4. TIVA BAY

BEST VALUE:
R7 3. GOOD OMENS

All the fields, form and replays for Thursday's Hawkesbury meeting

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