TAB LONG MAY WE PLAY HANDICAP Tips (Race 2)
Canberra Next Best Bet - Race 2 No. 8 Island Bay Boy
Despite going down as odds-on favourite via his fresh attempt on February 21, there were some excuses in that performance and from a better draw second-up, he did look the winner before being reeled by outsider Chapelis in that March 11 event from Goulburn.
Off the debut victory when defeating Invincible Jet (subsequently won a Provincial Maiden by nearly five lengths) and Loving Cilla (won a strong Maiden the start following), Island Bay Boy does look the runner with the most upside in this Benchmark 65.
Stripping fitter third-up and with his main threats in Shenandoah (drawn wide) and Hezredhot (hasn't won past 1200m and goes up 2kg) both having a few knocks, he can get a soft run in transit and with a little more improvement here, can go one better.
AFFINITY CONSTRUCTIONS AUSTRALIA PLATE Tips (Race 5)
Canberra Best Bet - Race 5 No. 9 Californian
With 15 winners at a strike rate of 28%, the Bjorn Baker stable has been hot form in March and while this representative is coming out of Maiden grade, it is only arriving to a Set Weights Class over 2000m, a race with very little depth.
A full-sister to three Stakes winners including the 2012 Queensland Derby winner Brambles, Californian was honest for third in a Provincial debut over 1400m before stepping up to the mile on March 21 where although the margin didn't necessarily reflect it, the victory had plenty of merit.
After working early to find the lead, this filly was pestered up in front throughout by Timatsi, who in turn was beaten a huge margin for attempting those tactics, so she was entitled to be vulnerable, but pulled out plenty to be going away again on the line.
IRON JACK HANDICAP Tips (Race 6)
Canberra Value Bet - Race 6 No. 5 Beauchamp
Following a pair of ordinary runs to start his career last winter, this gelding had a few gear changes before coming out at Kembla Grange in late August to winning at 100/1 and defeating quite a handy field in the process (runner-up Argenteus won his next two in town).
Spelled following that victory, he simply didn't handle the Soft 7 in his first-up attempt back in February but backed-up that up with a fourth-place finish at Hawkesbury at Benchmark 68 level, much stronger grade than the Country Class 1 he faces at Canberra this Wednesday.
It's well worth forgiving the last attempt when hampered at the start by the handy Loch Lomend, who was the eventual winner in that March 13 affair and passing the 200m, Beauchamp was badly held-up and effectively put of the race, so there were definite excuses.