Chooks Little Wine Tours / SABOIS Maiden Plate Tips (Race 2)
Strathalbyn Best Bet - Race 2 No. 6 Celestial Illusion
The Phillip Stokes yard is striking at 26% from their last 50 runners and they bring this three-year-old to Strathalbyn for start two following a decent debut effort for fourth at Gawler, albeit he did find the 1100m a little too sharp around that tight circuit.
Celestial Illusion was backed into favouritism prior to that initial outing but was beaten for speed early and coming off the bit a fair way out, never balanced up until late where he was only a stride off grabbing a subsequent winner in La Rapide whilst it's worth noting that Maiden went around five and a half lengths faster overall than the Benchmark race that followed it.
With the blinkers now going on and stepping up to 1350m which should suit, this gelding looms as one the big improvers in a thin line-up and although drawn out, has shown an ability to settle on the speed in his two trials, so there's definitely options there for jockey Paul Gatt.
Northpoint Fleurieu Class 2 Handicap Tips (Race 4)
Strathalbyn Next Best Bet - Race 4 No. 1 Hushiano
Always have to respect the local gallopers at Strathalbyn and third-up here with a nice drop in grade, this mare does look very well placed on Wednesday with the 2kg claim from Margaret Collett.
Although she needed the gallop first-up, it was a fair return at Morphettville where she peaked 100m out and followed that with a strong chasing performance for third behind the speedy Mrs Hyde, an event she's finishes much closer in if afforded a better a draw albeit the 900m was a little on short side.
The step up to 1100m is ideal now for Hushiano and from barrier three where she should settle much closer from, it's a good chance to record win number three with more improvement predicted on Wednesday.
Talking Hair and Beauty Benchmark 54 Handicap Tips (Race 6)
Strathalbyn Value Bet - Race 6 No. 2 Vivaldi's Quest
Recording three wins last campaign was this honest seven-year-old (including one over this track and trip) who finished off rather well when resuming at Murray Bridge over 1200m and the step up to 1350m here is plus.
With 47 winners this season and currently sitting third on the South Australia Jockey Premiership for 2020/2021, Jessica Eaton has really improved her craft in recent months and while she has a wide alley to overcome, this galloper is capable of settling forward or back in the run.
The two favourites in Sylvan Crest and Magic Dee were both plain in their most recent outings and with Vivaldi's Ques recording scalps of higher rated opposition that include The Ant's Pants, He Will Boom and Mabel Josephine via his last two victories, he finds a very winnable assignment here of those form lines.
Goolwa Hotel Rating 0-58 Handicap Tips (Race 8)
Strathalbyn Each-Way Bet - Race 7 No. 8 Wicked Whitt
Despite being safely held, this mare to stuck to the task well fresh as runner-up behind a dominant winner in Our Deep Agenda and although not disgraced when holding her ground for a midfield finish following that, I suspect that first-up effort perhaps took the edge off her in that January 1 attempt.
Trainer Travis Doudle enjoyed a good 2020 calendar year (33 winners at 19%) and he prepares this four-year-old that did show ability early before heading north, but with two uncompetitive showings on the Darwin dirt, was sent back to race in South Australia.
The experienced Barend Vorster, who was aboard for that first-up tilt, takes back the reins on Wicked Whitt here who drops in grade from a Benchmark 64 to a 0-58 and also comes back in distance to the six furlongs, with the majority of her better form having come around the 1100m-1200m range.