By Neil Evans
Track Good 4 and rail True
|Race 1 3YO MAIDEN HCP (1600m):|
We start over the mile in a good race. US-bred filly 5. Diorissima was well supported first-up when hitting the line from a long way back in a competitive maiden at Kembla. Drawn to get plenty of cover, and shapes to run the best final 400m. Was scratched from Warwick Farm on Tuesday to race here.
Dangers: Progressive filly 2. Cabarita is on the cusp fourth-up in her first real prep. Was impressive hitting the line late to miss by a long head in that same provincial maiden, and should be right at her top for this journey. Well bred filly 4. Yggdrasil led for a long way this trip at Kembla in only her second start. By a two-time Doncaster-winning mudlark out of a mare by Queen Anne winner Cape Cross, and form metro hoop goes on. Will be charging home late. Improving 1. Sarandos gets the addition of blinkers after sticking on okay leading in a handy metro maiden.
How to play it: Diorissima to win and box exacta 2,4,5. Odds and Evens: Split a special
|Race 2 PROV & CTRY 4YO & UP MAIDEN PLATE (1100m):|
Modest sprint. Debutant four-year-old 2. Loch Lomond steps out for the leading provincial stable off a couple of very handy 1000m trials when allowed to find the line under his own steam, and looks ready to go.
Dangers: Nowra mare 4. Are Zhu Ready did a good job getting home first-up at Moruya after making a mess of the start, and from the inside draw with a better release, she can drive into the finish. Expect local mare 7. Rubielle to improve sharply with blinkers on, and dropping back from a smarter metro field; while five-year-old mare 8. Spanish Pearl has been freshened via a quiet trial after three consecutive placings in provincial company.
How to play it: Loch Lomond to win. Odds and Evens: Evens
Loch Lomond runs second in a trial at Gosford on January 19
|Race 3 PROV & CTRY MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Love the first-up placement here of three-year-old provincial filly 9. Silent Tryst off two steady and easy trials. Found the line strong to beat all bar the winner in two spring starts at the provincials, and winkers have been added.
Dangers: Improving filly 7. Arimathea is a big threat at only her second start. Bounced to the front on debut at Taree, and took some running down. Can be even more effective on firmer ground around a smaller circuit. Provincial three-year-old 4. Rusconi can improve sharply getting back on firm ground from a soft draw.
How to play it: Silent Tryst to win and quinella 7 and 9. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 4 CLASS 1 HCP (1600m):|
Keen on progressive three-year-old 2. Major Artie getting out to the mile fourth-up. Finished well to beat a handy metro maiden field two runs back before doing his best work late in a BM 64 at Kembla.
Dangers: Improving mare 4. Duchess Marizza is also searching for more ground third-up after working home nicely in a BM 64 at Wyong behind a smart filly. Include four-year-old 5. Underboss who was close-up on a Heavy 10 at Port. Much better off back on drier ground, and drawn to get lovely cover right behind the speed. Lightly raced four-year old 1. Deadly Impact has been freshened up with a quiet trial after dropping out in a provincial BM 64. His previous form up to Highway grade had been strong enough, and likely to roll forward here. At bigger odds keep safe four-year-old 9. Landstrasse who boxed on well after a wide run at Muswellbrook, and drops down sharply in weight over a suitably longer trip for this tougher test.
How to play it: Major Artie to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Major Artie runs fourth at Kembla Grange on January 16
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (2600m):|
A rare battle over this arduous distance, and there are a stack of chances. Tough four-year-old 2. Gunaluva did too much work at Kembla after a fighting win in a similar grade at Newcastle. Importantly, backs up much quicker here and already a strong winner at this track.
Dangers: Hard fit seven-year-old 4. Shadow Flight is ready to win, finishing strong from well back in a BM 64 at Kembla. Drawn to get an even softer run here, and the longer trip is a further plus. Overdue four-year-old 6. Savvy Valentino has been just behind the place-getters all prep, working home well at his latest in similar provincial grade. One-paced but can figure. Big forgive on six-year-old 3. Yuralla Boy who did it tough at Warwick Farm in heavy ground, and better suited back in this grade despite going back up in weight. Lightly raced mare 8. The Fringe has been disappointing in her last two when well backed, and needs to find more, but drops in weight with a significant jockey change. Include in exotics honest mare 7. Joe's Joy who did her best work late at Kembla, and will be running on again from the inside draw.
How to play it: Gunaluva to win and first four 2,4,6/2,3,4,6/2,3,4,6,7,8/2,3,4,6,7,8. Odds and Evens: Evens
|Race 6 BENCHMARK 64 HCP (1100m):|
Back to the sprint trip for another open affair. Speedy three-year-old 1. Belieber has been given a month between runs via a runaway trial win since being outclassed in the Listed Guineas here in heavy going. Asked to carry 60kg, but much more at home on firm ground, and this is her easiest graded race since a dominant all-the-way maiden win in late spring.
Dangers: Capable four-year-old 4. Coco Cuber can be hard to catch, but peaks fourth-up with winkers added. Likely to push forward from an awkward draw. Fresh mare 3. Ballistica was given a quiet trial behind Belieber, and all three career wins have come on a firm surface; while Scone mare 5. Spirinac will likely drift back from a wide draw, but can charge home late with a 3kg claim.
How to play it: Belieber to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 CLASS 1 HCP (1200m):|
Fairly tough one for punters to finish, but keen on three-year-old 6. Kahaylaan second-up off a long break getting out to his right distance. Came from an impressive SA winter campaign, and worked home fairly over 900m here in his first run as a gelding in NSW. The 12 day back-up is a big key.
Dangers: Talented provincial filly 7. French Bonnet is the clear threat a month between runs, and kept ticking over with an easy trial. Was enormous on debut after blowing the start before rubber-stamping her ability with a dominant front-running maiden win at Newcastle in good time. Bred to get over further being by a multiple Group-winning stayer, and destined for bigger prizes. Progressive local four-year-old 1. Pumba Rua broke through at his third start sweeping home in a good maiden at Newcastle, and he'll be the one charging late. Improving three-year-old 2. Hinchbeast is best of the rest second-up off a long spell.
How to play it: Kahaylaan each way and box exacta 1,6,7. Odds and Evens: Split.