By Gary Harley
Warwick Farm trainer Clare Cunningham heads up the M1 on Thursday with two well-fancied runners at the Wyong race meeting. The Queensland-owned Big Lion ($3.10 on TAB) with Keagan Latham aboard is the one to beat in the opening event, the 1350m Sicame Australia Maiden Plate. Big Lion has been placed in five of his six starts and he was narrowly beaten in his only Wyong appearance on November 26.
Cunningham’s mare The Fringe ($6) put the writing on the wall when runner-up to the promising Shamani on this track on November 26. The daughter of Adelaide finished strongly and will be fitter after the first-up run. The mare runs in the 1600m The Energy Networks Metro & Prov Maiden.
Bjorn Baker' s Irish stayer Harpo Marx ($1.50 favourite) will be hard to beat in the International Poles Class 1 & Maiden Plate (2100m). He was narrowly beaten second-up at Canterbury on November 27 and he is well placed under the set weights conditions.
The Snowden camp has accepted with five runners, all with strong claims. Yangarra Rose ($4.80) will be good value in the Fire & General Class 1 Handicap (1200m)
RACE 1, SICAME AUSTRALIA MAIDEN PLATE, 1350M: Big Lion ($3.10) has been placed in five of his six starts and he put the writing on the wall here on November 26 when beaten half a length. From the soft draw he won’t be far off the pace and he runs on strongly. Resilient Star ($3 fav) is a threat after two nice performances at Warwick Farm and Gosford. Saint of Katowice ($3.70) is having his first Australian start and his recent trial was good.
SELECTIONS: 1 BIG LION, 4 RESILIENT STAR, 2 SAINT OF KATOWICE
RACE 2, LAWRENCE & HANSON MAIDEN PLATE, 1000M: Pacific Ocean ($5) was a close second first-up for his new trainer on this track on November 26. He races on the speed, has drawn nicely and he has a 2kg claim. That’s Better ($3.40) has had three starts this prep for three placings. He has led in all three starts and was only beaten half a length on this track last start. Perlant ($5) is on debut after a nice Gosford trial.
SELECTIONS: 1 PACIFIC OCEAN, 2 THAT’S BETTER, 10 PERLANT
RACE 3, THE ENERGY NETWORKS METRO AND PROV MAIDEN PLATE, 1600M: Chenin Blanc ($3.80 fav) wasn’t far away first-up at Kembla recently and she had sound form last prep. The mare finished fourth behind All Saints Eve at Warwick Farm in January and she wasn’t far away on the same track before a spell. The Fringe ($6) hit the line well when runner-up to the smart Shamani on this track last meeting. Teronito ($4.80) was a beaten favourite first-up at Muswellbrook but his provincial form last prep was okay.
SELECTIONS: 7 CHENIN BLANC, 9 THE FRINGE, 4 TERONITO
RACE 4, INTERNATIONAL POLES CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE, 2100M: Harpo Marx ($1.50 fav) is well placed here and this is his race with the in-form Rachel King in the saddle. He made up many lengths when fourth first-up over 1600m at Hawkesbury then last start he was beaten less than a length over 1900m at Canterbury. Kippax ($6) has been placed in his past two starts at Canberra and Scone and he is second best. Persian Front ($11) won well at Gosford last start.
SELECTIONS: 3 HARPO MARX, 4 KIPPAX, 5 PERSIAN FRONT
RACE 5, FIRE & GENERAL CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1200M: Yangarra Rose ($4.80) is a classy filly with a good record and she has drawn perfectly. She won a Wyong maiden in July and she resumed with a close second to Ready To Soar, a horse that has won three on the trot. Rachel King's booking is a positive. Nelspruit ($4) was an easy winner here on November 26 and he is very quick. Stoltz ($4.40) was impressive in winning on this track on November 26.
SELECTIONS: 10 YANGARRA ROSE, 2 NELSPRUIT, 5 STOLTZ
RACE 6, FULTONS FLYING FETLOCKS BENCHMARK 64, 1600M: Shamani ($3 fav) is highly promising and she lines up here in her third race start. The New Zealand-bred mare caught the eye with a slashing close second coming from last on debut at Kembla on November 12. She then put up a super performance to come from last and win by 3 lengths at Wyong on November 26. Margie Bee ($4.80) should lead and she has won twice on this track. Aesop’s Fable ($8.50) is a winner here and is ready to fire after three runs this prep.
SELECTIONS: 9 SHAMANI, 4 MARGIE BEE, 5 AESOP'S FABLE
RACE 7, SYSCON BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1000M: Miss Dior ($4 fav) is flying with recent wins at Kembla and Wyong. She has a nice barrier and she races on the speed. Stablemate Coco Cuber ($4.40) is first up after a nice trial and he is a winner on the track. Mr Polar ($7) blitzed a smart field at Muswellbrook first-up.
SELECTIONS: 7 MISS DIOR, 4 COCO CUBER, 2 MR POLAR
1 BIG LION – THIS IS HIS RACE. PLACED 5 OF 6
4 RESILIENT STAR – IN TOP FORM. BIG PLAYER
2 SAINT OF KATOWICE – PLACED ALL 6 STARTS IN IRELAND
3 JUST A JEDI – 1ST START. TRIALS OK
1 PACIFIC OCEAN – PUT WRITING ON THE WALL FIRST-UP
2 THAT’S BETTER – ALWAYS LEADS. CHANCE
10 PERLANT – ON DEBUT TRIALLING WELL
7 RUBIELIE – PLACE
7 CHENIN BLANC – NOT FAR AWAY METRO TRACK
9 THE FRINGE – WENT GOOD 1ST-UP THIS TRACK
4 TERONITO – KEMBLA FORM GOOD. WATCH
5 YES NO MAYBE SO – WILL IMPROVE ON ONLY RUN
3 HARPO MARX – LOOKS TOO CLASSY FOR THESE
4 KIPPAX – RUNNER UP LAST 2. READY
5 PERSIAN FRONT – CAN’T FAULT FORM
2 EVERY EFFORT – BROKE THROUGH LAST START
10 YANGARRA ROSE – 3 STARTS. A WIN & 2 2NDS
2 NELSPRUIT – BOLTED IN HERE ON DEBUT
5 STOLTZ – STRONG LATE WINNING HERE
4 LAND OF VALENS – HAS TALENT. WATCH
9 SHAMAN – CRACKING WIN THIS TRACK LAST TIME
4 MARGIE BEE – SHOULD LEAD. 1600 A WORRY
5 AESOPS FABLE – READY TO IMPROVE
1 AYTOBE – PLACED LAST 3
7 MISS DIOR – CHASING HAT-TRICK. HARD TO BEAT
4 COCO CUBER – 1ST UP. FORM OK BEFORE SPELL
2 MR POLAR – BEAT SMART FIELD AT MUSWELLBROOK
5 KEY LARGO – RESUMES WITH A CHANCE