|Race 1 - 12:20PM ELITE SAND & SOIL HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
It's a lottery with so many first starters but would be surprised if this doesn't turn out to be a deep two-year-old race. Taking the punt on 11. Controlocracy for trainer Annabel Neasham. We've only got one 796m trial at Warwick Farm to judge her off but like what we saw from the filly there, settling in behind the speed before coasting to the line without being asked to do much when third to 14. Victorine and 12. Emilia Romagna. Both of those youngsters also line up here. The time of the heat was four lengths quicker than the trial won by 2. Affidavit , who is hard in the market after plenty of early support. Pedigree-wise, her sire is More Than Ready and she is out of a Not A Single Doubt mare that loved wet tracks herself. Draws to give Brock Ryan options.
Dangers: No knock on either Victorine or Emilia Romagna coming through that same heat. There's a question over the depth of the Max Lees Classic this year at Newcastle but luckless filly 16. Vancouver's Crown was the one to take away from the race. 1. Hard To Say kept closing over 1000m on debut in the Breeders' Plate and Sejardan subsequently franked that form line in the Golden Gift. Has trialled well since then too. 8. Vinnie's Spirit sees Waterhouse, Bott and Clark combine again and will be the one they all have to chase down.
How to play it: Controlocracy WIN ($14 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
|Race 2 - 12:55PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)|
Reluctant to get too carried away with the last start demolition 1. Participator produced at Wagga four weeks ago given the company but it was an arrogant display. And that's underselling it. On debut he knocked off Verbek (who is somehow still a maiden) so it was no fluke. The three-year-old son of Contributer looks a talent but we'll get a much better guide on exactly how good he is after Saturday. Playing devil's advocate, he hasn't raced away from his home track yet, hasn't seen a wet track on race day and carries 59kg. Furthermore, the 12 rivals he beat at Wagga last start have subsequently had 11 starts between them for a single placing. Most finished closer to last than first. So he'll need to be good, but all indications are that he is well above average.
Dangers: 16. Pruscino comes off a non-TAB win at Cowra over 950m! It's not the most conventional lead in, and on the week back up, but she is a talented mare still on the up. She won it by six lengths eased down so it was mission accomplished as far as giving her a shot of confidence before tackling her hardest test to date. Handles wet no problem. 5. Testator Silens found himself in behind runners for the first time last start in Highway company, proving not only his versatility but also that he can run 1200m. Mark Schmetzer has a big opinion of 2. Optimo while it's still all in front of 14. Limited Reality too. Of the exposed hard heads, expect 3. The Drover and 4. Costas to run well at odds.
How to play it: Participator WIN ($2.60 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
|Race 3 - 1:30PM MIDWAY HANDICAP (2000 METRES)|
3. Karmazone is going a lot better than his form on paper suggests. First up he only got warm through the line behind Dynamic Impact, running a sub 34s split for his last 600m. Only the winner clocked faster closing sections despite running ninth. He then raced over the mile at Newcastle at a meeting where it was near impossible to swing wide and make a sustained run to the line with the savage head wind taking its toll. It is probably fait to suggest that the inside was the superior ground too. Again, however, there was merit to what he did on the clock despite only beating two runners home. The six-year-old was $21 into $12 late in betting too. He has a heavy track win to his name and needs 2000m at this stage in his career. Will run well at odds.
Dangers: The wetter the better for 4. Rebel Rama. The Marc Conners-trained mare won first up on a heavy track at Warwick Farm knocking off odds on pop Daralina Belle. Has been getting back in her races recently and the draw dictates that'll be the case again here. 2. Jesse James settled outside of the eventual winner So United last start and had her chance. Preferred the run of Rebel Rama in the context of Saturday's set up. 1. Jazzland will zip along out in front and has a class edge on his rivals but pays the penalty with 61.5kg. Has won with big weights in the past, so it's the prospect of a heavy track that'd be more concerning for trainer Kristen Buchannan.
How to play it: Karmazone EACH WAY ($12 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
|Race 4 - 2:05PM ATC CUP (2000 METRES)|
Everything that could have gone wrong for 7. Grove Ferry last Saturday did go wrong. This import was having his second run in Australian for Waterhouse and Bott when sixth behind Steely but jumping awkwardly saw him settle well back in the run before he overraced in the early stages. In a slowly run race he was then dictated to by other horses at the 600m mark. That forced Tim Clark, who sticks with Grove Ferry here, to stick to the inside which started to chop out later in the meeting at Kembla Grange. His last 200m split, however, was the quickest in the race. That was after being heavily backed at Hawkesbury first up but failing to fire a shot. Out to 2000m looks ideal now, dropping to 53kg. His form suggests a preference of firmer ground but he handles all conditions.
Dangers: 5. Mightybeel earns a crack at Listed grade having won three of his past four starts as he tears through the grades, typical of a progressive Chris Waller-trained stayer. Hasn't had much exposure to wet tracks and has never raced on heavy ground. His turn of foot is his biggest weapon so curious to see how that transfers to softer ground. There's no such query around 1. Polly Grey. She's a swimmer. Comes off an inglorious last in the Hot Danish over 1400m and jumps straight out to 2000m, however. 2. Blue Soldier looked much more at home leading two starts ago at Hawkesbury, on a heavy track, so expect him to take up the running. Not sure about 3. Soldier Of Love getting a strong 2000m but he's a player, as is 4. Kiss The Bride.
How to play it: Grove Ferry WIN ($3.90 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
|Race 5 - 2:40PM ELITEGROUP. SYDNEY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)|
Love the pairing of Nash Rawiller with 3. Liberty Sun. The standover hoop will squeeze everything he can get out of this Greg McFarlane-trained six-year-old. The map looks favourable for this consistent gelding, with the draw allowing Rawiller to pop in behind the leaders. Three back Liberty Sun ran second in a Gosford BM78 won by Electric Girl with Quantico running on into fourth. He then beat Charmmebaby, who has won two races herself since then, before travelling wide at Rosehill when fifth behind On The Lead. He didn't shirk his task to be beaten just 1.6L. Won his only previous heavy track run so the ground won't phase him either. There's nothing flashy about Liberty Sun but would be surprised if he isn't poking around in the finish somewhere at good odds.
Dangers: Can see why the early market has gravitated towards 11. Bacchanalia (accepted for Canterbury) down on 52kg on the back of a fast finishing fourth behind Profiteer. 6. Prince Invincible will roll forward from the wide draw and with Mr Mosaic an early scratching, will get a much easier time up front than what it first looked. The 1100m is the right trip for 8. Irish Angel and she gets thhrough the wet and comes to hand quickly after a break. 2. Undeniable is super honest and as tough as a $2 steak. Only knows how to run well.
How to play it: Liberty Sun EACH WAY ($11 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
|Race 6 - 3:20PM ELITE HAULAGE HANDICAP (1800 METRES)|
9. Media Starguest has returned as well as ever and he gets an ideal set up now at his third run back to convert that good form into another win. First up the four-year-old covered ground throughout from a wide draw over 1200m in Midway company yet kept finding to run a gallant third. He was then cruelled by another wide draw second up out to 1400m in a race where the leader Zoushack got complete control in the middle stages. Blesk ran second in the race and will be the one most video watchers gravitate towards but there was nothing between their respective last 600m splits (33.63 vs 33.67s) and Media Starguest had to loop the field as opposed to go through it. Parks closer from the middle draw this time and loves the mud. Ready to win.
Dangers: 1. Cisco Bay should have won at Newcastle a fortnight ago. He just had nowhere to go. The seven-year-old loves wet ground and in BM78 company, despite the weight, can only run well again. 2. Lord Ardmore's recent form through Mightybeel looks a strong reference point for this. Has never seen a heavy track. 7. Born A King ambushed his rivals at Rosehill last start, at just his second Australian run. He still has untold upside. 10. Monsieur Sisu plays a key role in keeping 8. So United honest up front as there isn't a great deal of pressure outside of that pair. So United is racing as well as ever. Respect that James McDonald pairs with 4. Welsh Legend.
How to play it: Media Starguest WIN ($7.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
|Race 7 - 4:00PM CHANDON STARLIGHT STAKES (1100 METRES)|
The only knock on 9. Snapdancer is the wet track. She has never raced on soft or heavy ground. Otherwise, this is a lovely race for the lightly-raced five-year-old prepared by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. She is a mare that always showed glimpses of talent but it all clicked last preparation backing up a dominant first up win at Ballarat with an equally impressive win over Tailleur at Randwick. She then ran third over the Magic Millions carnival which saw her start equal favourite with Probabeel at Caulfield – such was the market respect for what she had done in the handful of starts prior. Perhaps the other niggle other than the likely track conditions is the 39 week break but the way she recently trialled at Rosehill suggests she's ready to go.
Dangers: 1. Southern Lad won well at Randwick first up, with Eleven Eleven franking that form line, and has been kept fresh since with a tickover trial. He is a proven mudlark and never runs poorly. Would be surprised if he doesn't finish in the top three. 6. Mamaragan, 10. Spaceboy and 8. Vulpine look to have a task turning the tables on him. 5. Dream Circle is always a sneaky knockout hope. He won first up last preparation over the Rosehill 1100m on a wet track, albeit in BM78 company. There aren't too many in this without some claim including the Queenslander 2. Tambo's Mate, 3. Edison and 7. Written Beauty.
How to play it: Snapdancer WIN ($4.40 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
|Race 8 - 4:40PM PETALUMA FESTIVAL STAKES (1500 METRES)|
All five of 13. Brutality's wins have been on wet tracks. Three on soft and two on heavy. That makes what he did last start at Newcastle on a good rated track even more meritorious. Sure, he stuck to the fence finding the shortest way home but he did it with 60.5kg on his back and clocked one of the fastest closing splits across The Hunter meeting. Everything falls into place for the five-year-old third up. From the weather forecast, to the timing of his preparation, to the 53kg he carries on the minimum and additionally, Joe Pride has thrown the blinkers back on. That's a signal of intent. The shades have been on for his Brutality's last two wins. The draw gives Kathy O'Hara the chance to settle midfield, yet still giving him plenty of room to attack the line.
Dangers: Wary of the Pride-trained stablemate 5. Stockman particularly if the track is deep into the heavy range. He doesn't have a turn of foot, but instead just keeps on finding the line so the wet track plays to that strength and takes the acceleration away from his rivals. His 12th in The Hunter first up was much better than it reads on paper. 10. Ellsberg has only ever raced on a surface rated worse than a Soft 5 on one occasion and it was his second ever start. Didn't appreciate being cluttered up in the Golden Eagle and we've seen that form franked through Count De Rupee. 2. Bandersnatch is best ridden aggressive but he still might be a run short while concede that 3. Order Again , 8. Art Cadeau and 11. Lina's Hero have claims too.
How to play it: Brutality WIN ($6.50 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: ODDS
|Race 9 - 5:20PM ELITE TURF PROJECTS HANDICAP (1300 METRES)|
11. Lady Of Luxury (accepted for Canterbury) has always been a real line chaser but she wasn't converting her talent into wins. That has certainly changed this time back. This campaign the four-year-old mare has won three of her five starts. Last start she made a sweeping run at Canterbury, running down the leader to win impressively. No easy task at that track. She steps back up to Saturday company but she's much better suited to the wider expanses of Rosehill and the wet track holds no fears for the daughter of Criterion. The Bjorn Baker-trained mare drops down to 54kg as she steps into BM78 company. Rachel King, who has ridden Lady Of Luxury twice in the past, will be tasked with balancing her up midfield and with a fitness edge on a couple of her key rivals, she's a big player.
Dangers: 12. Jump The Broom (accepted for Canterbury) is the wildcard. Just how good is this Hawkes-trained mare? She comfortably beat Toomuchtobear on debut at Geelong before being tipped straight out, yet she returned with an even more dominant win at Moonee Valley, on a Soft 7 surface, two weeks ago. 2. Expat is three from four on heavy tracks. She'll spear forward from the wide draw to make her own luck. Tackling 1300m first up suggests Mark Newnham has her ready to fire fresh. 4. Brookspire is equally adept in wet ground but it's been 11 weeks between runs now and five weeks since her latest trial. No knock on her talent, however. Of the rest 5. Kobe Rocks and 10. Loch Lomond appeal as place hopes.
How to play it: Lady of Luxury EACH WAY ($12 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT
|Race 10 - 6:00PM ELITE QUARRY PRODUCTS HANDICAP (1500 METRES)|
16. Sacred Command travelled into the straight like the winner at Newcastle last start but only whacked away at the finish to be beaten a length by Huetor. Want to be forgiving as the former Kiwi was exposed a long way from home with the brutal headwind having a huge impact on horses that swung widest and attempted to make ground without any protection. The winner Huetor was exposed much later. Prior to that, Sacred Command was luckless in two midweek defeats. The four-year-old sets up well to tackle a heavy track with 53.5kg on his back, a very solid fitness base and a proven record on wet ground. He has drawn widest, which looks tricky on paper, but come the last race that could be an advantage.
Dangers: 5. Blesk is airborne at the moment with a win and two seconds from three runs this time back. He is a five-year-old capable to rattling off huge finishes and on a dry track he'd be on top. That's the only niggle. He has won on soft ground before and his one heavy track failure came at a time where he was struggling for form even on firm tracks so willing to give him the benefit of the doubt ahead of Saturday. 9. Francesco Guardi was unlucky not to win at Rosehill last start when strung up on the fence. 10. Too Much Caviar comes through that same race and will roll to the front again. 12. Lease and 15. Bluff 'N' Bluster are worth consideration too.
How to play it: Sacred Command EACH WAY ($10 TAB Fixed Odds) Odds & Evens: SPLIT