By Neil Evans
Race 1 MAIDEN HCP (1280m)
4. French Comet hasn’t been overly convincing well into this prep but has generally kept improving and couldn’t be fitter. Gets his chance staying at the distance only 12 days after a tough placing here when carrying 1.5kg more.
Dangers: 1. Hallowed Son hasn’t raced since last spring but has more than enough ability in this company fresh. Consistently in the placings across his last full prep but still faces a task from a wide draw under 60kg. Palentino filly 8. Apparently can run into the money on debut. Gap to the rest.
How to play it: French Comet to win.
Race 2 FILLIES & MARES MAIDEN PLATE (1500m)
Randwick-based 2. Golden Passport returns behind two 1200m trials. Hasn’t raced for nearly a year, but should get a cosy run on-speed, and first-up fitness won’t be any concern from the Waterhouse-Bott stable.
Dangers:Must keep safe another metro raider in progressive 6. Highland Cathedral suited up a furlong in trip after hitting the line hard fresh at Kembla. From the inside draw, 7. Margaret’s Missile can improve further at her third start; while 8. Sunset Panorama fifth-up goes in exotic plays.
How to play it: Golden Passport to win.
Race 3 CLASS 2 HCP (1500m)
3. Fusaichi Family is screaming out for the bigger track fourth up off a six-week freshen. Like the way she’s finished off in her last two, having been forced to work back from wide barriers, and gets a much softer run here where she can settle closer. The best weighted runner in the race after the jockey’s 2kg claim.
Dangers: 2. Charlotting rarely runs a bad one and has held her ground OK in two recent handy country CL2 affairs. 4. Suva May is fit and has so much more to offer than her ordinary strike-rate suggests. 5. Cupid’s Kiss well into the prep, and 8. L’esperance Rock drops back from a slightly deeper race and draws to get cover.
How to play it: Fusaichi Family to win
Race 4 CLASS 1 HCP (1280m)
4. Koga Ninja was dominant first up as a heavily backed favourite when parking right behind the speed. This is tougher but has plenty of upward scope and again gets a charmed run camped right on the speed.
Dangers: 5. Shuttle Run made short work of a moderate country maiden field at his second start, and blinkers have been added. 1. Touch Of Navy ran home well when resuming in a handy race at Newcastle, and blinkers are off here. Was scratched from a deeper race at Hawkesbury on Tuesday to be saved for this. At bigger odds 6. Mystic Isle peaks third-up.
How to play it: Koga Ninja to win.
Race 5 FILLIES & MARES BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1280m)
Not much between the leading contenders here but 3. Cannoli rates on top from a soft trailing draw. Charged home to win a provincial class 1 seven weeks back before again making up plenty of late ground in a Highway at Randwick 34 days between runs. Goes best when her races are spaced, and this shapes ideally settling back with cover.
Dangers: The betting will tell a key story with 1. What A Peach, who returns off a 14-week break via a smart trial win, and big weight has been offset with the booking of a 4kg claimer. 2. Golden Gate has only missed by a whisker in two of her last three and is close to another win, while progressive mare 4. Powderfinger steps up from a strong-finishing country class 2 win.
How to play it: Cannoli to win.
Race 6 MAIDEN PLATE (1000m)
2. Invest in Love can peak here fourth-up at good odds. Finished hard from well back here in a similar race two starts ago before again working home in a handy maiden. Given an ideal 22 days between runs to offset the drop back to a distance over which she’s never missed a place from four starts.
Dangers: 10. Navy Blood starts his career off a narrow trial win, and is supremely bred by group 1 winner Merchant Navy out of fellow group 1-winning Strategic mare Platelet. There was plenty to like about the debut run of 11. Team America at the provincials, sticking on strong into a place despite being unwanted in betting. Carries the same weight here with blinkers going on. At much bigger odds 12. Felicity’s Fault, resuming off two progressive trials with blinkers coming off, is capable of running into the minor money.
How to play it: Invest In Love to win.
Race 7 MAIDEN PLATE (1000m)
11. Showboat should find a nice stalking spot in the race. Fitted with two easy trials, and can be very strong late being by Showtime out of a Foxwedge mare.
Dangers: 12. Torre Egger can progress off a solid country debut, with blinkers being added. Was scratched from Newcastle on Thursday to be saved for this. 10. Dylan’s Lad has been working well and had two steady trials, and draws to get a soft run. 7. Siteki resumes for the new Brett Cavanough yard at Scone. Has trialled OK and blinkers go on. 3. A Tender Lady is hard fit with the regular rider back on.
How to play it: Showboat to win.
Race 8 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m)
Off a dominant front-running debut win here, 5. Stensom Wallman is the clear one to beat staying at the trip. Looks way above average clocking a slick 32.88 secs for his final 600m that day with something in hand on the line, and again draws to roll forward with ease carrying 1kg less.
Dangers: 1. Spirit Of Venom is over the odds resuming from a nice trailing draw. Progressed quickly in a brief Victorian prep through autumn bolting in in a Pakenham maiden before spelling, and will come to hand quickly. 4. Sparkingly was in and around the money as a two-year-old last prep, and tuned up for this with a forward provincial trial. 2. Sightseer second up and 9. Naked Eye off a fourth-up maiden win head the rest.
How to play it: Stenson Wallman to win.
Race 9 CLASS 2 & ABOVE BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1000m)
3. Pliskova is a talented short-courser and suited here dropping back to the five furlongs third up. Was dominant over this trip resuming at Dubbo before not getting the best of luck late in a similar grade over 1100m.
Dangers: 4. Play My Song is a threat second up from a soft trailing draw after chasing home a smart win in tougher grade who has since scored again. 7. Rebel Dreamer resumes off a long break and a smart trial at the track. 1. I’m Not Slew back in grade third up with the big weight significantly offset by a 4kg claim is well in the hunt, although shapes under the odds from a tough barrier.
How to play it: Pliskova to win