ANZ BLOODSTOCK NEWS HANDICAP Tips (Race 3)
Warwick Farm Best Bet - Race 3 No. 2 Harpo Marx
He was ultimately just a run short second-up at Canterbury but it backed up a strong fresh return at Hawkesbury and with a big drop in grade at Wyong on December 10, got a much-needed kill when circling the field and putting a big margin his opposition late.
Harpo Marx made ground without the favours both first and second-up where firstly he found a leader dominated affair behind the in-form Montserrat (two seconds and a city win since then) and sustained a long run when motoring home at Canterbury on November 27 behind Kutayha, who he meets here fitter and with a little weight swing.
Like many imports, they generally come on further in their second Australian campaigns and with a great platform for this staying contest on Wednesday along with being prepared by the Bjorn Baker stable (14 winners at an excellent strike rate of 31.8% at Warwick Farm over the last 12 months), this gelding can progress further here.
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RANVET HANDICAP Tips (Race 5)
Warwick Farm Next Best Bet - Race 5 No. 10 Shaik
Having her first start for Team Hawkes on Wednesday is this daughter of Sebring, who was a drifting favourite fresh at Newcastle and did have excuses after racing three-wide throughout that 1000m journey when reeling in all bar Miss Dior (meets again but with a 4.5kg swing at the weights).
Shaik only had the one public hit-out leading into that attempt and has since has been back to the trials where she cruised to the line for a third in a 900m heat at Randwick on December 18, so should only strip fitter from that first-up attempt and Tommy Berry now takes the reins.
Although well held for third behind the smart North Pacific at start two, this filly backed-up that up with a close second to Smart Image (on a Soft 7) who was a very impressive first-up winner on December 11 and both of them references read very well for this Fillies & Mares contest.
IMPENDING @ DARLEY HANDICAP Tips (Race 6)
Warwick Farm Value Bet - Race 6 No. 3 Exceltic
Returning as a gelding on June 11 from a long lay-off, he closed strongly over the five furlongs and with good late market support ($7.00 - $5.50), arguably should've beaten Invincible Lad ($9 chance here) and did defeat Salina Dreaming in the process (won her next two including a Benchmark 72 in town).
Exceltic got the victory he deserved second-up at Gosford and although had some excuses following that at Canterbury, was much more dynamic over his first two performances, so catching him early in a campaign could be the key (both career wins have come either first or second-up).
The likelihood of a Soft 7/Heavy 8 surface shouldn't bother the son of Excelebration who has trialled up twice ahead of his return and although has drawn out, they do tend to fan wider at Warwick Farm deeper into a card on a wet surface and with the speed on up front, he can chime in late at good odds.