By Neil Evans
Track Soft 6 and rail out 3m
|Race 1 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (2320m):|
We start over a testing staying trip, and there are plenty of hopes in a moderate affair. Local four-year-old mare 7. Chilli Chilli is still a maiden after 22 starts, but has worked home strongly in heavy ground last couple, and can strike here over more distance and drawn to get a cosy run back on the inside.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 3. Whiskey Jack got a long way back at Kembla before working home okay. Should be right at his peak fifth-up over this longer trip, although failed badly last time on rain-affected ground.
How to play it: Chilli Chilli to win. Odds and Evens: Odds.
|Race 2 F & M MAIDEN HCP (1350m):|
Back in trip for the girls, and there's a few who will roll forward and sit on-speed. That should provide a decent trail for five-year-old mare 3. Pirrama to finish over the top second-up. Made up a stack of ground resuming at Muswellbrook behind a handy one, and stable regularly places them well.
Dangers: Local filly 1. Mon Amore has had two runs back in slightly deeper company, and can improve back at home, but up sharply to 59kg. Watch the betting on debutant filly 2. Classic Train off two recent trials; while 4. Rebel Rama draws nicely, and can improve second-up.
How to play it: Pirrama to win. Odds and Evens: Odds
Pirrama runs second at Muswellbrook on January 18
|Race 3 C, G & E MAIDEN HCP (1350m):|
Now the boys' edition, and it's a more open affair. While the record of Wyong four-year-old 6. Rizzuto is only plain, expecting him to return a much better galloper this prep. Hasn't raced for more than seven months, but has been fitted with two 1000m trials, and this is a nice starting point jumping from the inside gate.
Dangers: Keep safe three-year-old colt 1. Mr Severino who debuts in blinkers after a couple of handy trials. Provincial colt 3. Sea Boss can improve sharply second-up off a long break after an even effort resuming at Quirindi, and took on better races last prep.
How to play it: Rizzuto to win. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 4 COUNTRY MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Lightly raced 8. Dulcero resumes off two quiet trials, and only missed narrowly fresh at this track last time.
Dangers: Improving three-year-old 6. Texan Windstorm made up plenty of ground at drifting big odds on debut at Muswellbrook after winning a trial on a Heavy 8 rating.
How to play it: Dulcero to win and box exacta 6,8,11. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1200m):|
Good value here, and again it should be very willing on-speed early. Liked the way five-year-old gelding 8. Heredero found the line resuming at Tuncurry. This is a bit tougher, but he draws to get plenty of cover back in the field carrying 2.5kg less after the claim, and his second-up record is sound.
Dangers: Big watch on local three-year-old 5. Okudah who hasn't started since an impressive debut win at Scone in early August. Won the second of two recent trials, and will roll forward from a middle gate. Improving filly 10. Ashra Jahre hasn't been far away in three runs this prep, but a query from the draw up in weight over a little more ground. Provincial five-year-old 2. In Fiore rarely runs a bad one, and draws the inside barrier.
How to play it: Heredero each way and box exacta 6,8,10. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 CLASS 1 HCP (1250m):|
Another open battle, with plenty of chances. Wyong mare 12. Trojan Angel has taken plenty of time to run into gear this prep, but the signs have been there in her last couple she's starting to attack the line. Drawn to get plenty of cover on the limit weight, and will relish a solid tempo up front.
Dangers: Randwick three-year-old 3. Media Starguest is over the odds resuming from a useful draw and two trials. His only career win from five starts came fresh last time sweeping home at Kembla in soft ground. Always had plenty of time for US-bred five-year-old 1. Tapiconic who resumes off a nine week break with important gear changes. Bolted in a recent Tamworth trial, but likes to settle well off the speed and inside draw is a query. Lightly raced filly 6. Expat handles rain-affected ground, and is the likely leader. Led all the way at big odds resuming before running out of steam in a stronger provincial BM 64.
How to play it: Trojan Angel each way and trifecta 1,3,12/1,3,6,12/1,3,6,12. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 7 CLASS 3 HCP (1350m):|
We save a very open battle for last. Liked the way local mare 6. Dundee Lee did her best work late resuming in a provincial BM 64, and can hold her form second-up back at home.
Dangers: Tough four-year-old 5. Camp Rifle has beaten all bar the winner in his last three, and will roll forward from a middle gate. Include at big odds improving five-year-old 9. Hercules Mo who was very good getting home second-up after a slow start; while five-year-old 11. Temperate is hard fit, and has been hitting the line impressively.
How to play it: Dundee Lee to win. Odds and Evens: Split.