The rail is in the True and the form has been done for a good track.
Race 1 - 12:55PM THE AGENCY REAL ESTATE HANDICAP (1100 Meters)
The covers finally come off 7. Remarque and unsurprisingly, the market opened the Sniztel colt very short with bookies taking no risks. He had plenty of punters talking after brilliantly winning a Rosehill trial back in early January and TAB reacted to it by tightening his Golden Slipper quote from $26 into $17, before he had even had a start. On the topic of the Slipper, he is a full brother to gun two-year-old Estijaab and is also trained by Team Hawkes. In that latest trial win, the acceleration of Remarque was exceptional. Tommy Berry tucked him in behind the leaders and when he clicked him up half way down the straight he brushed straight past his rivals and put four lengths on them. It was one of the more impressive trials we've seen from a youngster this season. All he has to do is bring that to the races now.
Dangers: 1. Arthur Francis was asked to find the line in both of his heat wins but liked the way he responded under pressure. His pedigree, at least on the damn side, suggests he'll be better over further than 1100m but you can be sure the son of Foxwedge will be strong through the line. Jason Collett sticks with Coolmore-owned colt 2. Cork Harbour after he caught the eye late when finishing a narrow second in a Rosehill trial. It was an encouraging piece of work from the Chris Waller-trained son of Snitzel. Of the rest, Godolphin's representative 11. Zethus, a full brother to Gimcrack winner Calliope, ran on late behind Remarque in his most recent hitout and warrants inclusion in exotics.
Race 2 - 1:30PM SKY RACING ACTIVE HANDICAP (1100 Meters)
It's only a small field but there is no shortage of speed! If you are wondering why we are seeing 7. The Bopper again so early in the year, he is being aimed at the 3YO Inglis Sprint on February 6th given it's $1 million carrot. That's only three weeks away so you'd expect this talented youngster to be pretty forward, albeit with some improvement still to come. The Nicconi gelding has won three from four and it took Black Magnum breaking the Canterbury track record to end his unbeaten run. The last time we saw The Bopper he went to another level again in winning the Listed Brian Crowley. Despite leading, Punters Intelligence shows that he still clocked the fastest last 200m split in the race. His recent Wyong trial suggests he has come back just as well and although 3. Tailleur isn't far off him talent-wise, he's the one with more upside.
Dangers: More was expected from Tailleur first up as an odds on favourite. Snapdancer was exceptional in winning but she was entitled to beat the likes of Starla and Intrepidacious a little more comfortably than she did. Here she is again off a five week freshen and a tickover trial under her belt. She is a talented mare but will need to run up to her best to beat The Bopper giving him 3.5kg. Speedy American import 2. Bulletin adds plenty of interest and showed enough in his two trials for Waterhouse and Bott. The jury is still out on just how well 5. Lashes is going while a couple of others here will be better over further second and third up into their preparations.
Race 3 - 2:05PM TAB HIGHWAY CLASS 3 HANDICAP (1500 Meters)
4. Proven Class is back from 1800m to 1500m but has had a six week break between runs to negate that. The four-year-old mare, formerly with Mark Newnham, already has a dominant mile win to her name under the care of James Ponsonby. The daughter of Smart Missile won a Highway Handicap three starts back while the last time we saw her she ran a luckless fifth behind Eva's Deel. She'd just about won with any luck but instead found herself climbing over heels to get out before flashing late. She'll drift back in the field, particularly from the wide draw, but this isn't a particularly deep Highway and as the market suggests, a very even one. Expect her to be thundering home and she only has to hold her recent form to be competitive.
Dangers: 7. Mother's Mercy opened odds on for a Highway a fortnight ago before jumping $2.40. She failed to handle the heavy track running seventh of nine. She'll improve sharply back on top of the ground. Keith Dryden's four-year-old mare 2. Rockarosa was 1300m back to 1200m second up at Wagga but it was a huge improvement on first up. Has run well in a Highway at this track and trip before when third behind Ready To Humble and Art Cadeaux. There is arguably less depth here. With Lord Heron scratched, 10. Successful Day could get a very easy lead. 6. King's Trust ran well last start despite not being comfortable in heavy ground. He'll relish getting back on top of the ground, as will 9. Rich And Shameless.
Race 4 - 2:40PM PRECISE AIR HANDICAP (2000 Meters)
2. Criminal Code is on the seven day back up after running fifth to Sacramento at Randwick. Chris Waller has found a very winnable race for the four-year-old who looks desperate for more ground. It's only an extra 200m going from 1800m to 2000m, and the son of Maschino, who placed in the WA Derby in April last year, might be looked for a mile and a quarter but he only has to hold his current form to be fighting out the finish. There was a change of tactics for Criminal Code to be ridden closer last start yet he still found himself shuffled back in a fast run race. This will be much more gently run. Berry has ridden Criminal Code in his last five starts and will know full well that he is on a rock hard fit one pacer getting out to his right trip so expect him to be put into the race early.
Dangers: 5. Harpo Marx is racing well but he drops back from two 2400m runs on wet tracks. Two weeks later he presents on a firmer track back to 2000m. Will he be sharp enough? 1. Vadiyann, meanwhile, has never looked likely in his three runs back. The latest of those was at Group Three level but it's impossible to back him on what we've seen from his recently. Melbourne visitor 3. Zachaz offers up a different form line but he was poor last start, albeit coming off back-to-back wins prior. Perhaps 6. Merlinite is ready to win fourth up dropping down to 54.5kg.
Race 5 - 3:15PM SCHWEPPES HANDICAP (1200 Meters)
10. Count De Rupee goes up in grade to a BM78 but slips down to 52kg and this is no harder than the BM72 he contested two weeks ago. The three-year-old got too far back in the run, but chased to the line to claim third. Punters Intelligence reveals that there was very little between the closing splits of Count De Rupee and the winner Private Eye, who was able to settle a pair closer before taking the short cuts home closer to the fence. That's no knock on the win of Private Eye more a nod to the effort of Count De Rupee in defeat. Prior to that he found a Wyong Magic Millions feature too hot while first up he won brilliantly at Kembla Grange having sat handy, and on a good track. It's been two wet tracks since then.
Dangers: 2. Starspangled Rodeo is perhaps the most talented horse in the field but he is his own worst enemy as he has the tendency to fiercely overrace. Has been allowed to stride forward in his two trials this time back which could be a pointer to the possible tactics here. Big watch on British import 1. Cognac having his first run in Australia for Richard and Michael Freedman. Got out to 2000m in England but has a win over 1400m to his name (6:3-1-2 overall record) and looked sharp in his latest 1030m trial behind Irithea. 7. Monte Ditto ran on well behind All Time Legend last start and this is his right grade and distance. He can only run well again. 5. Charretera has worn me down. Multiples only.
Race 6 - 3:55PM TAB HANDICAP (1500 Meters)
After the key scratchings of Ellsberg and Oscar Zulu, 4. Trajection all of a sudden finds herself in a very winnable race. The four-year-old mare trained by Kim Waugh failed in heavy conditions at Wyong last start but she has never been comfortable in such going. She was hard in the market on that occasion too in the Wyong provincial feature. Forgive her that and instead judge her off the form she showed in winning her two starts prior. She reeled in Margie Bee at Wyong two starts ago, a mare that has won two of her subsequent three starts before spearing clear of her rivals on the Kensington track. My Demetera ran second, beaten 1.3L, and has since ran very well behind Sacramento.
Dangers: 5. Zoffany's Lad wasn't far away from Ellsberg last start, and although that runner is scratched, he was the early favourite which offers some guide on the chances of this six-year-old gelding now with Grant Allard. He lost his was a little at the backend of last preparation but earlier in the campaign he did win at a Rosehill BM78, albeit over 1900. Will give check from in front. 2. Radipole has trialled well since running fourth at Doomben back in early December. 1. Monegal comes out of a Group Three race where she was only beaten 2.9L at Gosford but she raced like she might want 2000m now. It's the opposite for 10. Above And Beyond with 1500m stretching him.
Race 7 - 4:35PM RANVET HANDICAP (1300 Meters)
Have always had an opinion of 6. Blaze A Trail from his two year old days. He was transferred from Peter and Paul Snowden to Matt Vella last preparation which saw the powerful chestnut colt win both of his starts for his new stable. The latest of those was a dominant win over the mile at Newcastle. The figures out of the race were plain but he did win by 2.5L going away so it's hard to be too critical when assessing him here. Vella has labelled the Queensland Derby as a potential target for the son of Criterion yet on the back of two great trials (he always trials well), he'll show up fresh over 1300m from a middle draw with Rachel King in the saddle. Is desperate for dry tracks and he'll get that come Saturday.
Dangers: 7. Bazooka has strong form lines coming back to a BM72 with his strike rate the only thing stopping him being top pick. The gelding has won one from 10 but in his defence, his last four runs have all been black type company. First up he ran fourth behind Forbidden Love and The Face in the Gosford Guineas. At the back end of last preparation he ran second to North Pacific (albeit beaten 5 lengths), second to Holyfield before being beaten two lengths by Mo'unga. 8. Shaik won well at Warwick Farm last start but second and third have since failed and she is on trial at the trip. 14. Satin Ruby is a massive price, a silly price really, and like that she has been kept fresh.
Race 8 - 5:20PM IRON JACK HANDICAP (1100 Meters)
Is 6. Never Talk a wet tracker? That's the gamble with this three-year-old filly. She has won five from six and would be near unbeatable if another wet track greeted us on Saturday but we'd be forced to take a considerably shorter price. If she can reproduce her brilliant last start win on a firmer surface, she'll win again so the temptation is there to give her the opportunity. In the back of my mind though, and I'm sure many other punters' too, is that two back she was very plain on a Good 4 at Warwick Farm, her only defeat to date. The market didn't like her that day so perhaps she wasn't quite on her game. We'll know once and for all after this race but given how strong she was through the line, it was a win of a filly destined for better than benchmark company.
Dangers: 3. Madam Legend knocked up behind Dunbrody Power first up. Having paraded with plenty of improvement, she'll strip fitter but don't like the drop back in trip for her.It might suggest that she is still one run away from being at her top. That said, she is a quality mare and there are certainly plenty more wins ahead of her. 8. Hibiscus Lady ran second to Never Talk last start which warrants respect while 5. Lillemor will be burning along in front making her own luck. Over the Rosehill 1100m there are worse places to be in the run. 9. Sally's Day is better suited back out to 1100m. She was beaten by Lillemor and Hibiscus Lady first up, which suggests there isn't a lot between these fillies and mares.
Race 9 - 6:00PM ROSEHILL BOWLING CLUB HANDICAP (1350 Meters)
8. Private Eye has won four straight and there's no reason why he can't make that five now as he works his way through the grades. The most promising part about the three-year-old's progression is that every time he steps out, he improves. That was again evident a fortnight ago when sitting worse than midfield in a slowly run race yet still pulling clear of his rivals. His acceleration between the 300m and 200m mark saw him pick up a couple of lengths in just 100m. It was all over from there. This is his stiffest test to date in BM78 company but it's another winnable race, he has drawn well and should appreciate a slight rise in journey. The son of Al Maher handles on surfaces too. Hard to knock.
Dangers: We found out once and for all last start that 5. Smart Image doesn't handle heavy tracks. He gets the blinkers on for the first time here too. Big watch on British import 6. Starla is capable but the barrier hurts her chances. A couple of scratchings help her cause but she'll still need a few things to fall into place for her to turn a string of placings into an overdue win. She is racing as well as ever, though. 3. Outback Diva was plain in first up return but it's worth noting that she is undefeated second up so could improve sharply. 11. Catapult has form around the right horses to potentially run another placing.