Race 1 - 11:40AM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP Tips (1000 METRES)
1. AHEAD START won three of his first starts, including a Highway before an Inglis Guineas attempt where he had some excuses. Is up in the weights now, but J-Mac sticks from the Randwick victory back in April and his two biggest wins have come first-up. With a soft run in transit off two decent trials, he'll aim to have the last look at the favourite at an each-way price.
11. Nandaraja is that short favourite and he booked a Kosciuszko berth following a dominant Class 2 win at Scone. There's a chance he doesn't start here and stays home (Scone have a meeting next Friday). I wasn't keen on diving in at the short odds irrespective.
10. Private Agent has clearly had setbacks, having not raced since October last year and off June and July trials, wasn't seen again until September 11. I couldn't fault that hit out though, albeit we're going back to a two-year-old win in March, 2020 to find a peak figure.
6. Shelby Sixtysix is a stable mate to our top selection, a lightly raced five-year-old that has always shown some ability. The dreaded bar plates have been removed for this fresh tilt.
Race 2 - 12:15PM PEACHESTER LODGE SHOOT OUT MILE Tips (1600 METRES)
7. CISCO BAY is a consistent gelding that stormed home fresh to score and as he did throughout his prior prep, has held his form well since without winning. Six of his seven wins have come on soft ground and he is looking for the mile now after a somewhat chequered passage home last start at 1500m. With the ability to dash home off any tempo, he's a chance in a very open race.
1. New Arrangement was one I was keen at big odds-on September 4 and for whatever reason they scratched. Stays up in the weights, but is another looking for a mile and is racing very consistently. Can he settle closer from gate three here?
8. Kordia was 20/1 when beating Yiyi last start in a BM78, so the sub $4 now up in grade appears short, but he drops in the weights and that was a big win (raced wide throughout). Many of these don't salute out of turn and he brings winning form.
4. Bigboyroy is a Waller-trained gelding that I couldn't back with stolen money at around the current $4 quote, a runner that has had every chance this prep. He now gets J-Mac on and admittedly this looks winnable on paper.
Race 3 - 12:50PM MIDWAY HANDICAP Tips (1600 METRES)
15. LOVE ME QUIETLY was one we were with a fortnight ago and she should've been in the finish. After travelling like the winner until the 250m, the momentum just simply wasn't there late after being caught behind runners, so never really had a genuine look at them. Hard fit with four runs now under her belt and having gone 1400m to 1800m there, she now gets the winkers applied.
4. Bowery Breeze got back to no man's land at Kembla when beaten two lengths and now gets to the mile (has won over this track/trip). All of her wins have come on soft or heavy tracks and off her first two runs this prep, she's probably the one to beat here.
9. Big Surprise bolted in last start at Gosford in his first 1600m attempt, although was gifted the race on a platter early. He's putting together a very tidy record, makes his own luck and carries 57kg once more for Hugh Bowman.
6. Tampering is in great touch, but the 1800m on September 4 was just a touch too far for him. Back to a mile and getting some relief with the 2kg Brock Ryan claim, he has to be a leading chance.
Race 4 - 1:25PM THE AGENCY HANDICAP Tips (1400 METRES)
5. HIGH SUPREMACY has plenty of raw ability and is one I've always had time for. He could've won twice at stakes level in the autumn (flashed home behind Equation/very unlucky in the Carbine) and the blinkers didn't work in his most recent trial (good heat prior to that on August 13). On a QLD Derby path last prep. he simply just didn't stay in his last two efforts, which were both at 2000m.
9. Super Effort has recorded two wins and two seconds since joining the Alexiou & Ryan stable. Appeared to have every chance on September 4 when runner-up to Brigantine, although he was spotting 7.5kg to that winner and may be looking for 1400m now.
3. Soami had won three of four attempts in the winter before stepping up to BM78 level at Kembla last start in a narrow defeat, working home in what was the worst part of track late in the day. Barrier 15 is sticky, but he's flying.
11. Tony Be caught the eye in his Australian debut, balancing up late over the 1300m. He'll be winning races very soon (if not here), but just feel he may be one run short at 1400m second-up.
Race 5 - 2:00PM BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP Tips (1400 METRES)
5. PRIVATE EYE won on ability first-up over 1200m and although the 1300m of the Theo Marks should've suited more, he settled in the next postcode early under Jay Ford, before making inroads up the inside, but was never in winning calculations. Blinkers go back on now and a Soft 5/6 suits, as does the step up to 1400m. Is much better than what he showed last Saturday and can bounce back.
11. Atishu was aiming for her fifth successive win on September 4 and should've got it, with the ex-Kiwi rattling home. I felt she may have been looking for further, not coming down in trip now, albeit it's a very winnable stakes race, being half a kilo over the minimum.
4. Amarelinha will improve off this, but she oozes class and the NZ Oaks winner has proven to be effective over these shorter trips. She travelled well when not knocked about in a September 2 trial at Randwick and McEvoy sticks from that.
12. Harmony Rose is talented, but a false favourite for mine, coming off an Oaks campaign in the autumn (didn't stay). Did salute fresh over 1400m last time in (her last win), although beating Faschanel and Brookspire is far from a strong reference for this.
Race 6 - 2:40PM DARLEY TEA ROSE STAKES Tips (1400 METRES)
1. FOUR MOVES AHEAD has been targeted towards the Flight Stakes, so while she was the best of this bunch as a two-year-old, John Sargent was never going to have her peaking early. Fitness gave out fresh when a drifting favourite and the daughter of Snitzel was working home in the worst ground on September 4. It's not quite D-day, but third-up and at 1400m, it's awfully close.
4. Mallory arguably should've won the Silver Shadow fresh in a luckless return and sustained a wide run when coming from the rear a fortnight ago. From barrier one, we need a more positive Jason Collett as it could get messy otherwise.
5. Robodira was 50/1 in the Furious Stakes and produced arguably run of that event, doing all the donkey work first-up by dragging the field up and was still only narrowly beaten. It's no surprise to see her much shorter in the betting this time around.
6. Latino Blend had excuses first-up in a Provincial Class 1 and then ran on as runner-up to Swift Witness in the Silver Shadow. Has had a tick-over trial and with a more genuine tempo here, she could be a big player.
Race 7 - 3:15PM FUJITSU GENERAL GEORGE MAIN STAKES Tips (1600 METRES)
7. VERRY ELEEGANT is following the same pattern as last spring in going from the Winx Stakes to the George Main Stakes second-up and both fresh runs were similar (wide each time). This year, Kolding and Star Of The Seas aren't going anywhere near as well and she's much better suited going from good to soft ground. Looks the obvious and it may well play out that way.
9. Hungry Heart
was okay fresh in the Winx Stakes when clearly nowhere near wound-up and was good late in a recent trial. There's plenty of improvement to come and at a double figure quote ($14.00 @ Palmerbet
), she's worth a saver.
2. Think It Over is another that performed fairly in the Winx Stakes and has an extra run under his belt, taking out the Chelmsford Stakes a fortnight ago. I can't see him rolling Verry Elleegant if she's anywhere near her best though.
8. Shout The Bar
is one of the outsiders of the field ($41.00 @ bet365
), but has recorded two upset Group One victories and the return behind Zaaki had some merit. Can finish top three/four for the exotic players off a good map.
Race 8 - 3:55PM BOWERMANS COMMERCIAL FURNITURE SHORTS Tips (1100 METRES)
3. GYTRASH could well be the forgotten runner if the early market is any indication. One of Australia's most consistent sprinters, this gelding is yet to finish outside the top three in seven first-up attempts which includes a Lightning Stakes win over Nature Strip and an easy victory over the champion at Randwick last spring. Camping off a hot speed and launching late....we've seen this play out before.
1. Nature Strip finally got the job done as an odds-on favourite, putting aside a poor field in what was no more than a track gallop fresh via the Concorde Stakes. If it wasn't for Eduardo having a birthday and breaking a track record, he'd be undefeated this year.
4. Masked Crusader could be ready to overtake the likes of Nature Strip, Gytrash etc, a now five-year-old that should be near the peak of his powers this spring. The return victory at Caulfield was nothing short of outstanding.
5. Rothfire is perhaps the most interesting part of this fascinating affair, with injury robbing him of dominating a modest three-year-old crop last season. The two August trials have been strong and he's already locked in an Everest slot.
Race 9 - 4:35PM TAB KINGSTON TOWN STAKES Tips (2000 METRES)
14. SHE'S IDEEL is the best weighted horse on the card, carrying just 53.5kg under set weights and penalties for a mare that has placed twice at Group One WFA level in her last four runs, including a slashing fresh effort behind Verry Elleegant and Mo'unga. She was a little flat second-up, but can spike now, with the winner of this ballot-exempt from the Metrop, a Group One she's already favourite for.
3. Montefilia is classy and the dual Group One winner returned with an eye-catching third in Chelmsford Stakes. Won the Spring Champion Stakes last year in her only attempt over this track/trip and is on a Caulfield Cup path this spring.
4. Spirit Ridge was excellent on return in the Premier's Cup, chasing a hot speed and providing a perfect tow into it for the winner, who he was giving 6kg to. Is unbeaten over the Randwick 2000m, but needs to overcome a horror draw.
7. Best Of Days finished next to Superstorm first-up before just a fair effort second-up behind that same runner in the Feehan Stakes. He nearly won the Australian Cup in his last 10-furlong attempt, so certainly needs to be respected here.
Race 10 - 5:15PM HEINEKEN HANDICAP Tips (1100 METRES)
12. EQUATION hasn't trialled publicly, so the market is likely to be your best lead, although J-Mac wouldn't be taking this first-up engagement for a laugh. This talented entire hasn't looked back since a poor debut, recording four stylish wins on end, finishing his autumn with victory in the Canberra Guineas. It's a handy enough BM88, but he could well just be better than this lot.
5. Lord Olympus
is a good each-way chance at decent odds ($12.00 @ PlayUp
). A very honest sprinter, he was thereabouts in some handy company last prep and did win at listed level in Brisbane, albeit not a vintage event. Has looked very forward in two trial wins ahead of this.
3. Marway created a strong impression in his first NSW campaign, with the ex-North QLD galloper winning four races for Mark Newnham this year, including a gap job in the Wagga Town Plate. Is a proven weight carrier and this is well within his reach.
11. Blondeau is a pest, but there's no denying his talent when he brings his A game and this gelding arrives here off a little freshen up. He recorded some very slick times when winning first-up at Gosford over this trip back in May.