By Neil Evans
Track likely Good 4/Soft 5 and rail True so fairly even early before gradual trend towards the middle
|Race 1 2YO MAIDEN PLATE (900m):|
We start Round 1 of the 5-week Provincial C'ship Qualifying Series at Newcastle with the babies over the short course, with a mixture of those on debut and the rest having their second start. Another Paul Messara-trained first starter from highly-touted Japanese sire-line at Scone, colt 3. Tempel One (Real Impact x Only Roses by Redoute's Choice) debuts off two trials, winning the latest in strong fashion after sitting at the back, although was pushed out to the line. Will appreciate the big run home this track.
Dangers: Godolphin filly 4. Bastaki backs up from a disappointing debut run at Gosford a fortnight ago when heavily backed; while home track filly 6. Snitzari will find this easier after racing wide and wilting in Listed metro company on debut.
How to play it: Tempel One to win. Odds and Evens: Split.
|Race 2 CLASS 2 HCP (900m):|
Competitive dash over the same trip. Godolphin filly 2. Lesage is smart, and liked the way she took early control of a recent synthetic trial, before over-run late, but was never let go at any stage. Won on debut beating a smart one at Cranbourne last May before quickly tackling metro company. Is by supreme sprinting sire out of tough Group 1-winning mare Beaded, and this looks ideal sprint to commence her second prep.
Dangers: Another filly from the local Kris Lees stable, 5. Frozen In Time looks the immediate threat after a dominant first-up win at Scone as hot favourite. Won second-up in first prep, and gets in nicely at the weights after rider's 2kg claim. Be surprised if one of those two doesn't win, although resuming local 4YO gelding 1. Calipari can be a danger. Hasn't publicly trialled but done plenty of work, and only career win so far was first-up in a maiden here last winter. Drawn off the track, but in-form apprentice claims 2kg. Another one resuming 3YO Cessnock gelding 6. Luff is also at his best fresh, and bolted in a recent heavy track trial.
How to play it: Lesage to win and quinella 2 and 5. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 3 MAIDEN PLATE (1200m):|
Back to the maidens at set weights, and keen on well-named and expensive Snowden-trained colt and first starter 2. Brabham (Snitzel x Go Indy Go x Bernardini) off two winning trials. Loved the way he accelerated off a mere squeeze at the 250m to round them up in the latest trial beating Destiny's Son who then was a strong winner at Thursday's meeting on the Beaumont track.
Dangers: Debutant 3YO gelding from the Chris Waller yard, 1. Activation (I Am Invincible x Dual Diamond by Redoute's Choice) has a sense of timing through three trials, improving to win the most recent ridden out. Wears blinkers, but has a tough first time draw. From that same trial, 4YO Anthony Cummings-trained mare 8. Dame Margot sat wide, but cruised to the line under a nice hold. Hasn't raced for more than a year, but has good ability. Rosehill gelding 4. Hardedge chased okay on debut at Gosford when heavily backed, and should naturally improve; while 3YO 5. Kirwan's Lane from the John O'Shea yard at Randwick returns as a gelding off two trials, and was scratched from the Beaumont card on Thursday to be saved for this.
How to play it: Brabham to win. Odds and Evens: Split
Brabham wins a trial at Randwick on February 17
|Race 4 CLASS 2 HCP (1600m):|
Even contest over the mile. Progressive 3YO Rosehill filly 3. Express Princess toyed with her rivals in a BM 58 at Bathurst two runs back before no match for a smart horse at Gosford after leading. Looks well in the weights, and draws to find a cosy position on speed.
Dangers: Randwick 3YO gelding 1. Get The Idea has made a flying start to his career upsetting a smart horse on debut at Kembla before bolting home here in a BM 64. Bred to get over much further, although inside draw doesn't help his pattern, and has to give some handy gallopers plenty of weight. Rival Randwick 3YO 2. Sciconic didn't finish it off second-up this track and grade as a heavily backed favourite, and draws wide, but does get a luxury weight drop. Warwick Farm filly 6. Latina Beauty can improve sharply back on firmer footing after dropping out badly on the heavy at Goulburn and pulling up with a slow recovery; while improving 4YO local mare 4. Toe Tapper didn't do much resuming in a good quality Class 2 here, but won only previous second-up run.
How to play it: Express Princess each way and trifecta 1,2,3/1,2,3/1,2,3,4,6. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 5 MAIDEN HCP (1500m):|
Plenty of hopes here in the toughest race of the day, with most of the fancies drawn wide. Not so emerging 3YO Hawkesbury gelding 5. Liam's The Boss who can be tucked away off the speed getting to an ideal distance second-up. Was well beaten resuming behind a dominant and red-hot favourite, but progressed well enough last prep in spring to tackle Listed grade, and can stretch out down this long straight.
Dangers: Improving 3YO Randwick filly 8. Shining Eagle has had two runs back, and comes out of that same race well behind Pride Of Adelaide on the Beaumont track. Was out the back in Group 3 company during spring, and trainer has removed the winkers. Improving 3YO Rosehill gelding 1. Unamerican has found the line okay at bigger odds in two runs to start career, but faces a task under 59kg from a wide barrier. Watch the betting on 3YO Warwick Farm gelding 2. Son Of Duke (Rhinebeck x Zero Interest by Danzero) who has had four quiet trials since spring to fit him for this trip on debut wearing blinkers. Another one from the Farm with each-way claims, 4YO 3. Affogato stuck on well at Gosford in his first run for a year, and improves significantly, although also drawn off the track; while filly 10. Startalk has taken on two handy fields to start her career, and can improve.
How to play it: Liam's The Boss each way. Odds and Evens: Split
|Race 6 CLASS 1 HCP (1200m):|
Another wide open contest, with a stack of chances. Talented 3YO Godolphin filly 9. Lavande can step up from a maiden win despite being drawn near the outside. Chased home a promising one here two runs back before storming late at Gosford. Will need some luck from back in the field, but can run a cracking final 400m on this course.
Dangers: Randwick colt 1. Warfare was a touch disappointing second-up in a handy BM 64 at Gosford, and has a tough draw here, but the opposition is a little thinner and this is his pet trip. Lightly raced home track colt 6. Mandirigma can strike third-up over a little further ground after tackling a stronger Class 1 at Wyong. Rival local 3YO gelding 3. Reveal The Magic hasn't missed a place in four runs back. Gets in well at the weights after 2kg claim, and best performances have come on this track. Improving 4YO Hawkesbury mare 8. Carte Blanche beat a talented one to land her maiden second-up at Gosford, and has early gate speed. Will be hard to run down if she gets across okay; while Randwick filly 7. Al Snip is also ready for the step up after finishing hard to win her maiden at only third start, and draws well.
How to play it: Lavande each way and first four 1,3,6,9/1,3,6,9/1,3,6,7,8,9/1,3,6,7,8,9. Odds and Evens: Odds
|Race 7 BM 64 HCP (1400m):|
It doesn't get much easier here, although keen on emerging 4YO gelding 2. Classic Gaming for the Maher-Eustace stable. Has won two of his last three on the Beaumont track and Canberra powering home from just off the speed, and is well up to this grade.
Dangers: Promising 3YO local filly 6. Cafe Royal is unbeaten from three starts, progressing quickly to BM 64 winner. Loves to settle behind the speed, and has a great turn of foot, although this is toughest test so far. Another home track filly resuming 1. Game Of Thorns is the class runner having rattled home late to beat all but the winner in the Group 3 Spring Stakes. Has trialled well, and only win so far came fresh, but wide draw under a hefty weight is a tough first-up assignment. Scone gelding 3. Ibini was disappointing second-up at Bathurst, but overall record is sound, and trainer has made significant gear changes. Improving 4YO Randwick mare 10. Lady Legend rocketed home to win her maiden second-up at Wyong, but will nearly have to pass them all from this draw; while lightly raced Randwick 3YO 8. Dominus can also progress off a dominant maiden win as a well backed favourite here three weeks ago.
How to play it: Classic Gaming each way and first four 1,2,6/1,2,3,6,8,10/1,2,3,6,8,10/1,2,3,6,8,10. Odds and Evens: Evens:
|Race 8 PROVINCIAL C'SHIP QUALIFIER (1400m):|
We save the best for last at Class 5 level, with the top three sealing a spot in the final at Randwick, and there's any number of candidates. Sparingly raced 5YO stallion 3. Occupy - one of four Kris Lees-accepted runners - is the one to beat on his home track. Flew late from well back to win both Heats of the SPS Series before working home in a strong BM 74 at Randwick over 1800m. Freshened up for the shorter trip via the trials, and he'll be charging home again.
Dangers: Stablemate mare 5. Stella Sea Sun is knocking on the door after two good runs in BM 78 metro grade, and draws to get a lovely trail. Include emerging 6YO Wyong gelding 6. Designated from the soft draw after putting a BM 64 field at home to the sword fourth-up. Talented Wyong mare 12. Joigny can power into the finish back from metro company and dropping sharply in weight. Smart local gelding 2. General Soho steps up to this trip at the right time after hitting the line late in consecutive BM 72s at Canterbury; while tough Wyong gelding 1. Manhattan Mist has been honest all prep in a string of good class metro races, but draws the outside gate.
How to play it: Occupy to win; quinella 3 and 5; trifecta 3,5,6,12/3,5,6,12/1,2,3,5,6,12. Odds and Evens: Split.
Occupy wins at Gosford on December 27
SERIES CALENDAR (Top 3 from each race qualify for the C'ship Final):
Mar 07: HAWKESBURY
Mar 14: GOSFORD
Mar 21: KEMBLA
Mar 28: WYONG
Apr 11: RANDWICK (C'ship Final)