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Neil Evans' Tips For Newcastle (Saturday, Provincial Championships)

By Neil Evans

Track likely Soft 6 and rail out 4m

Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):

We start with a potentially strong maiden at set weights. Godolphin filly 5. In Flanders has been bursting to win one this prep, placed in all four when right in the market. Drawn to get a good trail, and finally getting on to a big track and back up to 1200m can prove the key.

Dangers: Big watch too on debutant two-year-old Pride Of Dubai filly 10. Antarctic Pride who has won both lead-up trials in smart fashion; while three-year-old filly 8. Yumi can improve second-up.

How to play it: In Flanders to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 2 2YO MAIDEN PLATE (900m):

Now the babies over the short course, with most on debut. Godolphin colt 1. Athelric is the one to beat back in grade and distance second-up. Has taken on much deeper metro fields in three runs so far, and showed speed fresh at Randwick before over-racing and weakening. Handles rain-affected ground.

Dangers: Stablemate filly 16. Glittery was held up badly on debut at big odds, and has ability. Half sister to Group 1 star Bivouac, and draws to get ideal cover. Big watch too on debutant Hinchinbrook filly 10. Latino Blend who has been fitted with two recent trials, and bred to handle wet tracks. Local Press Statement filly and first starter 12. Miss Statement has also shown up at the trials, winning her latest in heavy going; while included in exotics 13. The Storm In Me who was close-up on debut at Scone.

How to play it: Athelric to win and first four 1,10,12,16/1,10,12,13,16/1,10,12,13,16/1,10,12,13,16

Athelric runs fourth at Randwick on February 13

Race 3 MAIDEN HCP (1500m):

Hawkesbury five-year-old 6. Lava is suited coming back in distance off a six week freshen-up. Didn't quite run out the 1900m third-up, and has trialled since. Carries 2kg less, and is drawn to find a trail.

Dangers: Resuming filly 7. Moremi has trialled quietly and draws a soft gate. Include improving three-year-old 2. No Question who can peak at his third start over a little more ground; while watching the betting on three-year-old first starter 1. Who Fancies You who has been taken along slowly at the trials.

How to play it: Lava to win. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 4 BENCHMARK 68 HCP (900m):

Competitive dash, with a stack of chances. Like the value about Scone mare 9. Bit Of A Beauty who is ready to win again fourth-up, and down in weight. Has been close-up in strong form races at Tamworth last two, and has key tactical speed over this short trip.

Dangers: Scone four-year-old 1. Air Marshal hasn't raced since an outstanding Highway win from well off the speed in October, but comes to hand quickly. Has been given a soft trial, and 3kg claiming rider is a significant booking. Home track five-year-old 4. Omar hasn't won for a long time, but two of his three career wins have been fresh, and also gets a 3kg allowance. Honest local four-year-old 7. Mr Polar has been in or around the money most times in a long prep, although may prefer it drier. Include progressive filly 10. Slice Of Heaven who led all the way in a BM 58 two runs back before close-up in a CL3, and is drawn to get a soft run on the inside.

How to play it: Bit Of A Beauty each way. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 CLASS 1 HCP (1200m):

Plenty of three-year-old potential on show here. Keen on exciting filly 9. All Hallows' Eve second-up. Hit the line resuming as a well backed favourite in a BM 64, and is ideally placed on the bigger track carrying 2kg less.

Dangers: Big market watch on Godolphin filly 10. Eleusa who resumes off a quiet trial, and beat a good maiden field on debut here last spring. Smart gelding 1. Yardstick resumes under a big weight, but he's trialled well, and bolted in on debut last winter leading all the way in heavy ground. Local four-year-old 4. Oslo resumed with a bang at Scone sweeping home to easily win his maiden.

How to play it: All Hallows' Eve each way and box exacta 1,9,10. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1400m):

Strong race for this grade, and they will back any number of runners. Despite a tricky draw, four-year-old mare 6. Happy Candy is well over the odds resuming off two impressive winning trials. Loves it rain-affected, and has a 2kg claim.

Dangers: Home track four-year-old 5. Favra is ready to peak fourth-up well treated at the weights after the young rider's 3kg claim. Was right behind a smart winner this grade here last start, and draws to get a very economical run. Promising provincial filly 9. French Bonnet strangely put in a shocker in metro company last start after a slashing CL1 win at Gosford. Better off on a softer surface, and if the real grey turns up she'll be in the finish.

How to play it: Happy Candy each way. Odds and Evens: Split


Feature race of the day and opening qualifier in this series is typically wide open at Class 5 level. Smart local four-year-old 1. Animate returns home off a six week break via an easy trial. Won the Magic Millions Country Cup on the Gold Coast before having little or no luck getting home late in the stronger MM Cup. Naturally back up in weight, but this is his pet trip, and cruised home only previous start here.

Dangers: Plenty of them headed by local four-year-old 5. Pandano who has gone to a new level this prep finishing less than a length from Brutality at Randwick, then convincingly winning a BM 88 there after trailing the leader. Back up in weight for this, but likes it soft and should be in the finish again. Home mare 14. Electric Girl is much better suited this grade and distance second-up after being out-sprinted in a Group 3 at Randwick. Big watch on five-year-old 2. Bombasay who resumes off a nice trial win, and stable has a tidy strike rate bringing them back; while included in wider exotics, smart five-year-old 4. Cristal Breeze third-up; lightly raced six-year-old 9. Safado resuming, and ultra consistent four-year-old 10. Awesome Lad who hasn't finished further back than second in four runs this prep.

How to play it: Animate each way. First four 1,5,14/1,2,4,5,9,10,14/1,2,4,5,9,10,14/1,2,4,5,9,10,14. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 8 CLASS 1 HCP (1600m):

Why not another open one to finish a big meeting. Going with lightly raced Randwick filly 12. Land Ahoy who did her best work late resuming at Hawkesbury after missing the start and on a day when it was hard to make up a lot of ground. Will relish this trip and softer going being by Dundeel.

Dangers: Another filly on the rise 13. Vintage Harvest was heavily backed leading all the way to claim her maiden second-up at that same meeting, and is ideally drawn to roll forward carrying 2kg less. Progressive local three-year-old 2. Saquon was just edged out first-up at Muswellbrook, and gets his chance with a 3kg provincial claim in play.

How to play it: Land Ahoy each way. Odds and Evens: Split

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's Provincial Championships meeting at Newcastle

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