Turk Warrior and Miss Charlie Brown have established themselves as the standouts so far this season and expectedly betting markets have it as a race in two between that pair.
The support card is strong with two $50,000 races. The Scott Brunton-trained Hela attempts to continue the unbeaten start to her career in the Steve's Liquor Thousand Guineas and the field for the Tasmanian Bloodstock Summer Cup wouldn't look out of place as the final line-up for the Ladbrokes Hobart Cup in a fortnight.
Sunday will be the first meeting in Hobart since 29 November and the rail position is +11m for the entire circuit. Punters can use the 15 November meeting as a reference for a similar rail position as it was +11.5m that day.
R1 Milton Pettit Benchmark 84 Hcp, 1400m
MYSTICAL PURSUIT (1) was excellent in the Conquering before a plain run in the Tas Stakes last start. She drops back in trip now rather than progressing to the Summer Cup and her one run here was a slashing second in the Strutt Stakes. MANILENYA (4) acquitted herself very well at WFA and I don't think the drop to 1400m is a big negative, particularly with some weight off her back. BALEARIC (2) found the 1100m a bit sharp first-up and has an excellent second-up record. PAION (5) loves the Hobart 1400m but may be racing as if he is looking for further now and THE MASTER SPEED (3) is the logical leader and always gives cheek when left alone in that role.
R2 Ladbrokes Maiden, 1200m
MERV DECIDES (7) went around a big price on debut but after covering ground in the run still had the audacity to be in the finish. He won't be $41 this time and RED OCTOBER (11) had good support in the same race to finish a spot behind. That formline looks as good as any for this. LUCKY BUCKY (4) resumes having been held together in a trial behind Sparkling One who subsequently won by a space. The form from his last run back in June is strong. GEE GEE REAL DEAL (14) was scratched Wednesday night when a $5 chance. DON'TBUCKME OFF (2) has been racing better than his prices indicate but both John Luttrell runners have had little luck with the barrier draw. MISS ENTHUSIASM (10) retains the services of Newitt who almost got her across the line on Devonport Cup day. Watch the market for a lead on the Brunton runners but I thought TRAVELLING GIGOLO (8) had a bit more to offer in his trial.
R3 Hygain Mdn/cl1, 1600m
WELDBOROUGH (4) and ENCOSTA FIORENTE (6) were forced to find a passage from back in the pack in Launceston last Saturday. Weldborough has his first start down south and Encosta Fiorente has won here previously. SO ASTOUNDING (3) closed well at his Tasmanian debut to suggest the mile will suit him and Pires stays aboard. LITTLE HOT MISSILE (2) finally got the win he deserved and now is out to this trip for the first time. He may need luck working through the field from an inside draw. In that same race CHI MAZEL (13) was caught off the track but his shocking run with barrier draws continues. STELLADONI (10) drops significantly in class after being solid behind a handy stablemate. GAIUS JULIUS (1) has placed in four of five runs at the distance and was the best closer in the race last start. Big queries on the strength of the maiden that PORT BERRY (8) won where ROSEHAVEN (12) and SCOTS WHA HAE (9) weren't far away.
R4 Wakeful Club Class 1 Hcp, 1100m
SPARKLING ONE (6) blew the field away first-up and while the strength of those behind her needs to be proven, it doesn't matter that much when the margin is over six lengths. She had some excuses at her one run in Hobart. REWARD ACHIEVER (5) and I'M A FLOOZY (4) come through a strong Class 1 won by And Beyond. I'm A Floozy was tiring late after leading and Reward Achiever was very strong through the line. BRONZE STAR (1) didn't flatter at his first Tasmanian run but may improve on the grass with the blinkers reapplied. Stablemate HOT WIRED (2) is very honest and will be rattling home late. GEE GEES DOUBLEYOU (7) has issues with the barriers but ran well at cricket score odds last time in Devonport against some of the key chances here.
R5 Tasmanian Bloodstock Elwick Stakes, 1100m
MISS CHARLIE BROWN (5) has won both her starts and was arrogant the way she won the Alexandra Plate. That race being moved to Launceston means she hasn't raced in Hobart though and she looks a big striding filly who may be sweating on room from an inside draw. TURK WARRIOR (1) missed the Alexandra Plate and instead went to the trials at Longford where NEUTRALIZE (7) and KISSLESS (8) ran behind her. His only start came in Hobart where he showed good speed before powering away in the home straight. GEEGEE LUCKY JESS (6) has been a rung below Miss Charlie Brown at their two meetings but has the advantage of winning here previously. She's drawn wide. GEE GEE ALS PRINCE (2) defeated LACERATE (3) in Devonport where the latter started much shorter in betting. I tend to think that's a weaker formline but they're both a chance if it isn't.
R6 Steve's Liquor Thousand Guineas, 1600m
HELA (3) remains undefeated after she beat THELMA (6) in a slowly run affair in Launceston. That pair controlled the race in front and the winner won on her merits. They both draw wide so you would expect them to go forward again. VIVILICI (1) comes via the 3YO features where she has a win in the 3YO Trophy to her credit. She has the grounding of a mile run this campaign. MYSTICAL BEAUTY (5) received a tactically great ride in Devonport when Bulent Muhcu went to the front and gave nothing else a look in. She was tiring late with LADY OF FORTUNE (7) among those taking ground off her but will no doubt strip fitter for that run. ASSARANCA (4) is 43 days between runs where she was a touch plain in the 3YO Trophy. That break makes her a query at 1600m for the first time.
R7 Tasmanian Bloodstock Summer Cup, 2200m
Four of the first five across the line in the Tasmanian Stakes are here with that race won by TOORAK AFFAIR (9) who also won this race last year. She's flying and has won her only two starts on the redeveloped Hobart track. EASTENDER (2) won this race in 2019 on his way to winning the Hobart Cup. Impossible to miss him working home first-up to suggest he has plenty of good racing left. MANDELA EFFECT (1) interestingly steps up to the staying trip, seemingly bypassing the Thomas Lyons and Mowbray Stakes that he won last year. He's a class performer. CAPTAIN COOK (4) was fifth in the Stakes, closing off well in a good run for further which he gets here. SUPER SWOOP (5) won the Brighton Cup but this is harder getting to WFA against some of the state's best. SHADY HUSTLE (10) meets him 7kg better for a margin of just over a length in that race. GLASS WARRIOR (11) was second in this race last year behind Toorak Affair and is on a Cups path. She was scratched from the Brighton Cup and may need this one as a result. GEE GEE FIORENTE (7) had excuses in the Devonport Cup and his form was faultless prior to that.
R8 Summerofracing.com.au Benchmark 66 Hcp, 2100m
This is a big drop in class for the 76 rated SIR SIMON (1) who has started odds on at his last four starts and won only one of them. He'll carry 62kg even after the claim for Codi Jordan and while he was taken on in front last time, he is still to prove he can win at this distance. ODIN'S FOLLY (2), BANCA SYD (4) and TORICAIN (7) also ran in the Brighton Cup with Banca Syd since running last Saturday where he was bottled up for the home straight. Toricain was one out of the box, the Brighton Cup represented his first placing since October 2019 and it was a clear spike on his recent performances. COSTERO (5) is racing in good form and the Hobart track holds no fears while stablemate GENERALMAINTENANCE (6) drops back to his rightful grade. RODESSA (10) and BANCA NIP (3) enter the race via the synthetic, but both seem well equipped to handle the rise in distance back on the grass.