Tempted to jump off 1. TYCOONIST, but hard fit and perhaps ridden a little colder with speed drawn out, he gets the nod. A certainty beat two starts back, he was there to win if good enough on June 19, but was nailed late by Papal Warrior and well beaten in third was Count De Rupee who is rated well above anything here. He now comes back to a BM72.
4. Sir Davy crosses the border for the Maher & Eustace stable, a three-year-old with suspect form lines prior to his Listed attempt at Flemington, a race he should've gone close in (held up in the run home). He can get a suck run behind a good speed.
As a dual runner-up at Group level that then can't win a BM68 a prep later, 8. Bazooka
is a strange galloper, but I wouldn't be shocked if he lobbed here at a price ($16.00 @ PlayUp
). He was well backed fresh ($12-$7) when only fair, but the extra furlong here is a tick.
I've got time for the lightly raced 2. Rustic Steel who returns as a gelding and straight to 1300m is interesting. I wasn't in love with either trial ahead of this return, albeit both were still fair. Watch the betting with him.
Race 2 - 11:35AM TAB HIGHWAY CLASS 3 HANDICAP Tips (1100 METRES)
Going the way of 2. ABSOLUTE TRUST in a raffle of a race. A first-up Highway winner in September, this lightly raced five-year-old is better suited to these shorter trips. Drawing for a soft run here off a good speed, he was brave for second after doing plenty of work in his one Heavy track attempt, which was in a 1500m Highway. The June 16 trial leading into this was faultless.
At the end of her first prep, they had a shot at the stumps at Listed level with 13. Very Sharp who was then a little disappointing in the spring although she's improved this winter, with a slick Scone win second-up. She's got a turn-of-foot, but I'm wary of 900m form.
Cody Morgan has prepared 11 winners from 26 starters over May and June, but he can be a really hard one to catch in these Highway's. He saddles up 4. Anethole who was awful fresh then rattled home on June 5. He's a very good chance off that most recent run.
3. Hellenism is back in grade after dropping out late in a Metro 72 and she's now third-up from a long spell, so not far off a peak. All things equal, she's the best horse in the race, but all of her winning form is on good tracks which is the main knock.
Race 3 - 12:10PM THE AGENCY REAL ESTATE HANDICAP Tips (2400 METRES)
Plenty of chances here and one of them is 9. ADMIT IT, a gelding that did relish the step up to 2400m on June 14, but that event was ultimately taken off him with the jockey weighing in light. Drops further in the weights on Saturday and will land close to the speed under 3kg claimer Tyler Schiller. He's one-paced, but can continue to grind away from a favourable map.
13. Poulton Le Sends
could well be the blowout ($17.00 @ bet365
), with the son of Camelot making ground into fourth on the Kensington circuit at his third run back from short spell. He defeated Kaapfever and La Grisa fourth-up in January on a heavy track, and is nicely weighted off that.
2. No Compromise beat Stockman two starts back although the 6kg weight pull was the difference. He's up 6kg off that 2400m effort and rises 3kg off his June 19 win where there wasn't much in the locker late. Inclined to trust the late betting with the favourite.
Joe Pride has had success with runners on the short back up this winter (Stockman, Brutality) and he's attempting the same with 5. Kaapfever who has won on the seven-day turnaround. He'll need the breaks getting back from gate one though.
Race 4 - 12:45PM RANVET HANDICAP Tips (1100 METRES)
Open race and one that sees 8. YARDSTICK return, a gelding that showed promise early, but was a little disappointing earlier this year. His trials have been stronger ahead of this assignment and the last those was a very testing heat in slick time on June 21, so suspect he's fit enough. Wide gate with speed around him is the knock, but Nash will put the foot down early.
is fit, in-form and third-up, ticks plenty of boxes at the price ($10.00 @ TopSport
), especially if they can blend in late off a strong tempo. He did find the right part of the track second-up, but having not raced since September, there's potentially improvement to come.
This is about D-day for 7. Sixgun, a three-year-old who returned as a gelding this campaign after contesting some handy races last time in. He had excuses off a wide run fresh and had to lump 62kg when runner-up to Kinloch, so back to 57kg is decent relief.
I've always had time for 11. Isalute, a runner that is big odds ($31.00 @ Sportsbet) due this steep rise in grade, but the Provincial form behind Triple Ace in the spring reads well and he's clearly improved this winter. Has trialled well since the June 1 victory at Scone.
Race 5 - 1:20PM MIDWAY HANDICAP Tips (1100 METRES)
Returning after recording back-to-back wins over the summer is 2. CATAPULT, a five-year-old that just doesn't run a bad race and competes well anywhere in the 1000m-1400m range. He hasn't finished further back than fifth in 20 starts and the furthest beaten margin is 3.6 lengths which was fresh last prep after missing the start. Ideally from midfield, he can blend in late.
As a 78 winner in December and with that recent city class form, 9. Our Bellagio Miss is the deserved favourite and north of $4 quote is fair. She was three-wide the trip when defeated a few lengths by Malkovich fresh, a subsequent Melbourne winner.
is a proven weight carrier and with the 3kg Patrick Scorse claim, he gets in okay with 59kg. Although he's a big price ($26.00 @ Palmerbet
), this six-year-old is generally thereabouts and he'll push forward early. The two June trials were quite good.
Respect any money for three-year-old filly 14. Nicci's Song, who hasn't been sighted at the races or trials since early April. On the 54kg minimum and either from the box-seat or leading, she's one of the more untapped runners in this field.
Race 6 - 1:55PM LYNETTE LAMPHEE MEMORIAL HANDICAP Tips (1500 METRES)
Struggling to find a big reason to jump off 9. CISCO BAY who is entitled to be favourite here over Canasta, a galloper he went straight past fresh and there's no swings either side at the weights here, while from a better gate, he wins that June 12 clash by a bigger space. Although classier, you could use the gist of Catapult the description to describe this six-year-old, i.e. just very consistent.
The massive weight swing for 1. Grand Piano over New Arrangement should at least see him turn the tables on the fifth market elect from their June 12 contest and that did follow a much-improved effort in Brisbane. He's the class runner in the field.
8. Canasta is an honest front-runner backing up from last week where he recorded a third straight placing for the campaign. Down to 56kg and with Parr aboard, he'll certainly get his chance, but at $3.50-$3.60, is short enough here.
7. Oscar Zulu has recorded back-to-back wins after two preparations where he was very hit or miss and although drawn out, can cross and land outside Canasta early. Up to 88 grade is the test albeit he comes down 2kg for the rise in class.
Race 7 - 2:35PM QUAYCLEAN HANDICAP Tips (1500 METRES)
With a better gate, you'd nearly declare 4. LA CHEVALEE here, a mare that was building well in two Victorian efforts prior to her Randwick attempt on June 12 at Randwick, a race she should've easily won, but was all cluttered when it mattered. Zing franked the form from that last Saturday and if Louise Day can find get a pinch of luck early, she's the one to beat.
5. Papal Warrior broke a big winning drought a fortnight back when upsetting Tycoonist and the first two home were clearing out from the rest of the field. The knock here is the 5.5kg weight penalty, but he is technically dropping a little in grade.
8. Bethencourt has been very costly, mixing some brilliant performances with some big flops and after being a good thing beat on May 19, let the punters down again in early June. He's still very lightly raced and the recent trial win was strong.
Respecting the Hawkes-trained 12. Kaptive
at a long quote ($26.00 @ bet365
) despite finding a strong 72 here. A progressive middle-distance type, the return behind Vitesse was fair and the extra furlong second-up is a tick.
Race 8 - 3:15PM ACY SECURITIES HANDICAP Tips (1300 METRES)
While she can be a little hard to catch, I do concede the safest way to go here with the Waller-trained 6. VITESSE, an honest mare that handles any conditions and she can find the front from gate one. She was there to be run down on June 16 with 59.5kg on the Kenso circuit but kept finding and if Nash Rawiller is able to dictate, then she'll be the one to catch.
Although three-year-old 2. Smart Image hasn't been able to progress off the early promise that was on display last winter, he's more talented than our top elect and is closing in on a win. His two plain performances on heavy tracks are a worry.
You couldn't back ex-Victorian 11. Taksu with stolen money off his stable debut for Joe Pride a fortnight ago, however the blinkers do on, a gear change that has made immediate effect with him in the past. His 78 form down south is good enough for this.
14. Mollycoddle is a Godolphin filly who was an eye-catching fresh winner before she was run off her feet at Listed level. She was only fair behind Vitesse last start although was in the inferior going and has a 3kg weight swing on the favourite from that clash.
Race 9 - 3:50PM ELITE SAND & SOIL HANDICAP Tips (1800 METRES)
Stepping up to 78 level is 13. WICKLOW, an import that is undefeated from three Australian outings and he's improved with each start. While this is his sternest task to date, barring perhaps Berdibek who has 66kg, I do think most of this field are at their ceiling whereas this gelding could well be Stakes class. Carrying 55.5kg again, there's no reason the winning streak can't continue.
Drawing kinder third-up is 5. Criminal Code and with a better run in transit, he looms as the biggest threat to the favourite. The four-year-old was enormous fresh before being wide throughout on June 19. He's still yet to tick the soft or heavy track box, however.
While he lost again as favourite here two weeks ago, we did finally see some fight from 7. Lackeen who was only edged out late by No Compromise. Don't mind him back to 1800m, but the wide gate with speed drawn inside is my main concern.
6. Harpo Marx is a handy enough stayer who despite finding the 1500m too sharp first-up, got home nicely from the rear. He may still be a run short, but this son of Galileo is very genuine and a strong speed will give him a sniff.
Race 10 - 4:30PM XXXX HANDICAP Tips (1400 METRES)
I felt this looked a little too messy for 9. STEEL DIAMOND, but after key scratching's where she now jumps from five, it appears a really good set up for this mare. Her two trials leading into her stable debut for Waller were excellent and she was honest for second behind Gravina, who bolted in the start prior and would be odds-on against these. She'll have the last look at the favourite.
That market elect is 8. Expat, a filly that is on the seven day turnaround after a third-up victory last Saturday and although this does look very winnable again, she has a 2.5kg weight penalty. The daughter of Mafki can be hard to reel in and Parr will try to dictate this early.
12. Miss Einstein was very costly for punters last year although was still very competitive and she's backing up as well, with a second to Expat a week ago. There's a little weight swing in her favour on the favourite, but she may spot them a start.
2. Cafe Royal lacks some class on the above selections although she is brave which was evident on June 14 at Warwick Farm in what was a fighting win. The tactics will be interesting early (does Tyler Schiller kick-up and make Expat work?).