ASCEND TROPHIES AND SALES BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP Tips (Race 5)
Newcastle Value Bet - Race 5 No. 8 Tri Nations
This honest gelding was brave first-up over the 1300m at Newcastle, sustaining a wide run in a race that was set for for the off-pace runners, but he managed to box on well for second.
Given it was quite a tough hit out, that space between runs isn't all that surprising for Tri Nations who won in this grade back in December, a performance that followed a luckless second-up effort at Wyong when forced to endure a wide run from the rear.
The four-year-old only just missed in a close finish on that occasion with Trajection and Margee Bee, both subsequent city winners and he only needs to perform to that last second-up attempt to be in the mix here.
THE PRINCE OF MEREWETHER MAIDEN PLATE Tips (Race 6)
Newcastle Next Best Bet - Race 6 No. 9 Wicklow
On Australian debut is this Chris Waller-trained import, a galloper that was competitive in three outings over similar journeys in Europe and off two good trials, can break the Maiden first-up.
After working to the line under a good hold on April 27, Wicklow responded to riding via his latest heat at Rosehill, making ground from the rear in an eventual fourth-place finish at Rosehill on May 11 (fastest of three 1030m heats that morning).
With 10 winners in May at a strike rate of 22%, jockey Brenton Avdulla is in form and while he's drawn out on this gelding. the big Newcastle circuit should suit in what is a rather thin Maiden line-up.
IER - FOCUSED EVENT THINKING CONDITIONAL BENCHMARK 68 HANDICAP Tips (Race 7)
Newcastle Best Bet - Race 7 No. 1 Henschel
While he was no match for Blondeau third-up on Wyong Cup Day, this four-year-old did look a false favourite coming from a Provincial 68 to Saturday 78, but is back to the same track, trip and grade which saw him bolt in second-up.
What is also worth noting is that the overall time for that 1200m contest stacked up superbly for that Metropolitan program, a meeting that had five six-furlong sprints including a listed race and Henschel's 78 has gone significantly faster than the other four races.
The son of Smart Missile does appear to be much better suited on a Soft 6 or better with his Heavy 8 victory coming 14 months ago in a Dubbo Class 1 by a narrow margin, so his decent wet track record is perhaps a little misleading.