By Ray Hickson
Tips and race by race preview by Ray Hickson for Wednesday’s meeting at Kembla Grange. The track will be good and the rail is in the 6m position.
|Race 1 – 12:55PM KANAHOOKA HANDICAP (1000 METRES)|
The market has a short priced favourite and while I’m not super confident it does look like 1. Rainover Manhattan can post back-to-back wins. She did take a while to reel them in at Muswellbrook second-up but looking at the make up of the field it wouldn’t surprise if she’s taken to the front and attempts to control. The horse to beat but far from an over-the-line good thing for mine.
Danger: I think the handicapper might have this race right. 2. Lewinski has had plenty of chances with just one win from 15 starts though it could be significant that her lone win was over this course when resuming last time in. She’s tackled a couple of reasonably strong trials and does have a chance to improve on her record. 3. Cozursmart was a drifter in betting but managed to get the job done with a burst along the inside to break through at Cessnock over the 900m. She’d run well at Newcastle over the same trip previously and given she’s in good form she has to be considered. 4. Hazlebrook was quite plain at Kempsey last time but she was quite honest before that, albeit in country maidens. It’s a small field and strange things can happen. Place chance.
How to play it: Rainover Manhattan & Lewinski Quinella.
Rainover Manhattan’s breakthrough win at Muswellbrook on January 12
|Race 2 - 1:35PM BERKELEY MAIDEN PLATE (1200 METRES)|
Happy to suggest any of the five can win this race without surprising at all. That said I thought 2. Golden Hits was excellent on debut at Gosford, running on strongly from last to be beaten 2.5 lengths and he did have to change course sharply late (Punters Intel fastest 400m-200m in 11.44m, 11.71 third fastest last 200m). The bigger track and extra 100m are definitely in his favour. I do note he was a $41 chance on debut but there was a short-priced favourite in the race and recent Warwick Farm winner Excellent Design ran second. Good chance.
Dangers: 1. Archedemus is the big threat looking at his latest trial performance where he did it easily by about five lengths. From the strong Gwenda Markwell stable and he should be strongly respected. My small query is that his trials have been on either wet or synthetic tracks but if there’s solid support he could be the one. 3. Hong Qigong has had the misfortune of bumping into the likes of Pierata and Paret so far in his five starts and this is definitely the most winnable race he’s contested. Only trial this time in was sound enough and he will have every chance to break through. 5. Pulang Pula disappointed at her only start back in September but he has trialled up quite promisingly on two occasions at Randwick. Suspect she may want a shade further and/or a genuine tempo but worth keeping safe.
How to play it: Golden Hits WIN ($6.00 TAB Fixed Odds).
Golden Hits finds the line strongly on debut in a strong maiden at Gosford
|Race 3 - 2:15PM UNANDERAA HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
1. Chavish is giving away 5kg or more to the entire field but with good reason and he appears well placed to win first-up. He did fail first-up last time in but that was in a BM72 at Canterbury and he raced consistently after that in races with a bit of depth to them. Only the one trial and it was a relatively quiet one but he really does stand out above this field.
Dangers: 3. Waltzing Willie has certainly had plenty of chances but he is in the placings more often than not. I’d be a bit forgiving of his Queanbeyan effort but the run before off a 10 week break was solid enough. I don’t think he’s a danger as such but looks second best. 5. Smiling All fared a bit better than his stablemate at Queanbeyan as he managed to run into third place but finished well astern when they clashed at Wagga. 4. Ammate has been poor in two runs since an easy Nowra win in a small field. He’s a chance of getting into third place but not entertaining him as a winning chance.
How to play it: Chavish WIN ($1.60 TAB Fixed Odds).
Chavish has a quiet trial at Rosehill on January 8
|Race 4 – BLG BUSINESS ADVISERS HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
The top three in the weights appear to be very good chances. Settled on 2. Smiling Manolito who resumes as a gelding after two runs in the spring. His debut was handy over 1400m at Newcastle and he then went to Canterbury and started $3.30 in a 1550m maiden won by Kaonic. His two trials have been somewhat typical of what we see from the Waller yard and he certainly wasn’t asked for a lot in his latest beaten two lengths. Lack of obvious speed could be against him if they go back from the barrier but otherwise happy to suggest he’ll go close.
Dangers: 1. Only Tiger was a massive drifter first-up for a year at Kembla a couple of weeks ago and he did stay on well, and looked particularly good late, in running third over the 1300m. He’ll probably lead or sit on the speed from gate two and the 1400m will suit. Decent threat. 3. Schoolmates was under a bit of pressure in running third in the same trial as his stablemate Smiling Manolito in what was a blanket finish. Aside from that he’s done nothing wrong in his trials and it’ll be interesting to see what support he attracts. His grand-dam is Prawn Cocktail whose foals have sold for some decent money over the years so he has a deep pedigree. Keep safe. 4. Baby Back Shak didn’t do a lot on debut back in September but has been gelded and wears the blinkers first time. Finished well back in two trials but if there is some interest in him close to race time he’d be worth considering.
How to play it: Smiling Manolito WIN ($3.20 TAB Fixed Odds).
Smiling Manolito’s quiet trial at Rosehill on January 22, also featuring Schoolmates
|Race 5 - 3:25PM DOMINIC BRADLEY HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
There was plenty of merit in the first-up effort of 1. Casino Angel and more than enough to have her on top with a degree of confidence, especially looking at the market. Sure she was a $19 chance at Gosford fresh but she hit the line strongly late (Punters Intel fastest last 600m 35.19) and the step to 1400m on a bigger track is attractive. Aside from her debut she hasn’t run a bad race and unless one of the first starters turns out to be smarter than they’ve looked in trials it’s her race for the taking.
Dangers: 4. Scratches is a well bred filly on debut and I don’t think we’ve seen what she’s really capable of in her trials so she’s a big yard and market watch. (Interestingly, her dam Kittens is a daughter of St Katherine whose own daughter Saint Katerina is also lining up in this race). 5. Wedgie failed badly on debut at Newcastle back in August after leading and was spelled. She has trialled a little better this time in though under some duress in her second trial at Randwick. Probable leader and certainly can improve on what we’ve seen to date. 7. Summer Solstice is awfully short in the market for a horse that appeared to be beaten on its merits first-up at Gosford in the same race Casino Angel came throught. And she started a $20 chance there. Note a couple of gear changes. Minor player for mine.
How to play it: Casino Angel WIN ($2.40 TAB Fixed Odds).
Casino Angel attacks the line strongly first-up at Gosford on January 18
|Race 6 - 4:05PM JACK PRIMMER & CO PTY LTD HANDICAP (1400 METRES)|
6. The Fox Effect looks the horse with the most upside and she shook off the maiden status with a strong win at Cessnock a few weeks back. On paper this is a bit of a step but there was plenty to like about the way she won last time stepping out in distance. She raced handy in winning that race and I’d expect her to be up there again here and having her chance in the straight.
Dangers: 5. Grand Theft Auto was a Nowra maiden winner first-up then ran on behind a smart one in Cradle Mountain at this track. Fair effort at Warwick Farm last time out at her first try at the trip and this is a great deal easier. Question whether she should be favourite but one of the main chances. 1. Jexerlent was always in the firing line and justified some good support in winning at Taree third-up from a break. Carried weight well to win there and off a wide gate too. Must be considered. 2. Calabash Express has been around the mark as usual of late but finds it hard to win them. Runner-up at both attempts at 1400m and is capable of being in the finish somewhere..
How to play it: The Fox Effect WIN ($3.70 TAB Fixed Odds).
The Fox Effect proves too strong at Cessnock on January 9
|Race 7 - 4:45PM RTS THOROUGHBREDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)|
Thought this looked a bit more open than most races on the card and happy to speck 3. Elatus at a price first-up. He’s relatively lightly raced for a five-year-old and has had two trials, the latest was a very handy gallop under no pressure, and is proven first-up. In fact he won fresh over this course and distance last time in and in quite easy fashion. Obviously at his best over a bit further but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t run well.
Dangers: 4. Great Job has a fantastic record and Tracey Bartley has found a good provincial race to raise the bar ever so slightly. He hasn’t been romping away with his Taree and Tamworth wins but he keeps winning and that’s all you can ask. Versatile type and he should be hard to beat. 5. Fleeting Stryke has been going around in stronger company and the efforts have been mixed though you can probably forgive a little given the quality. Every chance behind Sugar Bella but boxed on nicely when third to Travancore on New Year’s Day. Has a show. 1. Miami Dade has also taken on better company in his two runs back but up to a mile here gives him a better chance. Never travelling behind Flow last time, all four wins are at the mile so he can’t be discounted.
How to play it: Elatus E/W (1-2) ($10 TAB Fixed Odds).
What did you make of the trial of Elatus at Rosehill on January 22
|Race 8 - 5:20PM DAPTO MAIDEN HANDICAP (2000 METRES)|
10. Temolie is another lightly raced type from the John Sargent stable and looking at her second start at Wyong over the mile it appears she’ll relish the big track here and getting out further in trip. She had some specking there last time and her last 200m was very good work. Drawn to get a nice soft run and I’d expect her to be very competitive.
Dangers: 2. Plea Bargain is a 14 start maiden but has gone very close in his last couple. Boxed on strongly when run down over 1500m on January 3 then 10 days later led and was grabbed in the last 50m. Likely to be right up on the pace again and he can take running down. 8. Classic Thoughts comes through the same race as Plea Bargain over the 1500m where she had her chance but stayed on and looked to be getting stronger late. That suggests the extra trip could be what she’s looking for. In the mix. 4. Royalty Rising was running on without threatening when third in Pla Bargain’s latest start over the mile here on January 13. Fitter now after two runs back from a break, drawn the inside and has to be an each-way chance.
How to play it: Temolie E/W ($5.50 TAB Fixed Odds).
Temolie finds the line nicely late into third at Wyong on January 6