Double You Tee has the $100,000 Cups Double bonus in his sights but will have his work cut out having risen 4.5kg from his win in Hobart. The majority of his opposition he will be familiar with from last start with the exception of Runaway from the powerful G Waterhouse & A Bott stable and the progressive Supalopo for Adam Trinder.
Punters were robbed off the Deroche vs Still A Star match-up in Hobart but it appears they are set for that in the Armidale Stud Vamos Stakes. Interestingly both horses now enter the race with some question marks, Deroche was well below her best in the Bow Mistress and it will be over 12 months since Still A Star last raced.
Newhart will have a lot more supporters in the Steve's Liquor Mowbray Stakes than he did when upsetting Mystic Journey in the Thomas Lyons in Hobart. His opposition includes last year's winner Mandela Effect and Guineas winner Swoop Dog
The forecast is a pleasant 21 degrees for Cup day and the rail moves to the +4m position after being +1m on Sunday. It was last in the +4m for the meeting on 11 December.
R1 Shedcorp Tas Maiden, 1400m
Merv Decides (8) has his hoof firmly on the till having placed in all three career starts. His last start in Hobart rated highly and the winner Fighting Frank came out and won again on Sunday. Forex (10) had her first start in Tasmania in the same race and led the field at a solid gallop. You would expect she'll be better for that and the stable have now had a bit more time with her. Louisville (1) is racing consistently and should enjoy a good run from the barrier. Bold Magic (9) and Incriminate (7) worked home without threatening the placings in the same race behind Crackerjack Lady. Excuses were there for Gee Gee Silentnite (4), Gee Gee Spice Boy (5) and Heza Charmer (6) who were in a maiden where Fun 'N' Frolic pinched it from the front. A form turnaround for them wouldn't be a total shocker. Stepaside Rousey (17) had no chance settling well back in a slowly run race first-up but was doing her best work late.
R2 Neville-smith Forest Products Maiden, 1200m
Tough race with a big field and a number of lightly raced runners. Boris The Blade (1) and Society Bill (3) rounded out the placings to open Hobart Cup day with that winner Amancaya subsequently running well on Sunday. Zeva Royale (14) got a mile back on debut but caught the eye rattling home. Winkers go on and she may be able to settle closer with that run behind her. Bynance (10) was a big price on debut but ran better than that and has the blinkers for the first time. Watch the market on Shake Your Tooshy (9) who is a 4YO on debut with a nice trial behind a handy one back in early December. Mrs Whitten (8) makes her way to the Seven Mile Beach stables of Joel Flannery having formerly been trained by Cindy Alderson. She has a host of gear changes for the first Tassie run. At just start two Gee Gee Baracus (6) and Zaheeli (13) have scope to improve but draw complete opposite sides of the track.
R3 Kevin Sharkie Class 1 Hcp, 1200m
Hot Wired (1) was saved from a 1100m race on Sunday to run here. He was heavily backed in Hobart before finishing strongly to just miss with Swingin' George (5) and Perfect Words (9) also among the beaten brigade in that race. Blushed (7) returns without a trial so it will be worth watching the market. She's a much better filly than what we saw of her last time she raced back in August. Crackerjack Lady (6) won at her first Tasmanian start with that form to be tested in the first race on the program. I'm A Floozy (8) has good early speed and will need it to cross the field from out wide. Perkins (3) has continued his bizarre run of drawing the inside gate and maps for a good run behind the leaders as a result.
R4 Launceston Floorworld Benchmark 70 Hcp, 1100m
Bandinelli (2) is gunning for four straight wins but has had a few minor setbacks since we last saw him including after travelling to Moonee Valley for a 955m race. The market hasn't always gotten him right, but he's shown he's hard to catch if he finds the front. Gee Gee Queen Bee (3) raced right up to her excellent trial with a strong win in 74 grade last time. She mixes her form, but she can win again with a repeat performance. Julius (4) made a real splash in two career wins to start his career but was well below his best at his one and only Launceston run. Like stablemate Blushed in the prior race, he enters this without a trial. Gee Gee True Story (1) returned to a bit of form in a four-horse field in Hobart. He gets in well with the claim for Peter Lui given his rating in this race.
R5 Pfd Food Services 3yo Classic, 1200m
War Correspondent (1) was sent out a short price favourite after a let-up in Hobart and did the job, albeit by a small margin. I doubt he was suited in the wet conditions there and he'll be a better horse back in Launceston. He does meet Thunberg (5), Gee Gee Josie (2) and Hot Relation (4) all worse at the weights from that run so he will need to be at his best. Thunberg may be better suited by the wide gate as she had to absorb pressure on the inside in Hobart. Warrior Prince (3) has had a freshen and now drops back to the sprint trip after getting out to a mile in the Tasmanian Guineas. He was no match for War Correspondent in the 3YO Cup where he started a $2.40 favourite but like the others, does have the weights swinging in his favour.
R6 Dulux & Inspirations Paint Royal Rambo Qlty, 1200m
Street Tough (8) has failed to do the job as a short favourite at his past two runs which came off the heels of an unlucky third in the Newmarket. He tends to run very well fresh so the break between runs may be to his advantage. Lim's Cruiser (1) is one of the more interesting runners of the day, the 8YO is a Group 1 winner and has nearly $2 million prizemoney in the bank. Connections have long targeted this race for his resumption, and he has jumped out even though no official trials are listed. Liffeybeau (4) defeated Gee Gee Lanett (7) in Hobart but he seems to be a significantly better proposition over 1100m. Fragment (5) returns with a good first-up record and should do little work from the draw. Blaze Forth (2) has seemingly been reinvented as a leader but I'm not sure those tactics will be attempted here. He was beaten narrowly in this race two years ago. Gee Gee Secondover (3) is a quality performer but seems to race best with weight off his back which enables him to use his sharp turn of foot.
R7 Steve's Liquor Mowbray Stakes, 1600m
Interesting race with some strange setups. The logical progression to this race comes from Newhart (2) who was a dominant winner of the Thomas Lyons. Connections targeted this race along with the last start win after his Devonport Cup triumph. He's never won at a mile, but I suspect it may be close to his best distance. Mandela Effect (1) won this race last year which was also his last win, now nine starts ago. He didn't run the trip out in the Hobart Cup, hence he is back to 1600m, as is stablemate Sir Simon (5). Expect the grey to run them along in front and interestingly Pires takes that ride when you would assume he had the pick. Swoop Dog (8) has been the dominant local 3YO stayer this season and tackles the older horses. I have some queries on the strength of his wins, but he certainly loves Launceston with three wins from four attempts.
R8 Ladbrokes Launceston Cup, 2400m
View the runner by runner preview for the Ladbrokes Launceston Cup here.
R9 Armidale Stud Vamos Stakes, 1400m
Bow Mistress winner Ethical Solution (4) has remained in the state looking to complete the sweep of the state's two main fillies and mares races. She was impressive in Hobart but without taking anything away from the win, arguably the bigger story was the flop of $1.35 favourite Deroche (1) who won this race last year as a 3YO. She has a sensational Launceston record and I'd be expecting something more like her track record performance two starts ago than what we saw last start. Still A Star (2) is now officially in the All-Star Mile so attention now turns to what she can show on the track. It's been over 12 months since she last raced with a number of setbacks in between including her scratching from the Bow Mistress. Mystical Pursuit (3) wasn't far off the top 3YO's last season but she'll need to lift off her Thomas Lyons run where she was no match for a horse like Manilenya (6) who comes through the same race. Trainer Charlotte Littlefield ran second in this race last year with Miss Mandito and she returns this year with Melodeon (5). Her first-up run wasn't as bad as it looks on paper and this distance appears more to her liking.
R10 City Of Launceston Benchmark 66 Hcp, 2100m
Tough race for the punters to finish on. The Risk Factor (7) made a mess of a pair of maiden/class 1's, running good time in the process. Those performances suggest he'll be fine with the rise in class, but this is a deep race, and the inside gate could potentially be tricky. So Astounding (10) covered ground in Hobart but was too good anyway, beating a pair that ran well on Sunday. Reports from Tegan Keys after the race is that the horse is looking for this trip. Elisavet (2) was given the best ride in the race by Craig Newitt to win in Hobart. Poole Harbour (14), Rodessa (12), Odin's Folly (3) and Rhode Away (8) were also there with Poole Harbour backed from double figures into $3.80 favourite. Stormont (6) has acquitted himself well in better grade than this and is potentially looking for the distance at this stage of the campaign. Some hope to Encosta Fiorente (11), Perun (5) and Raghu (1) in a race that is complicated if looking past the last start winners.