There’s no doubt the carnival has arrived up north and this is a cracking Hollindale Stakes meeting, though the first is a deadset race in two. PROMPT RETURN resumes here off a short break and with an outstanding fresh record I’m leaning towards him over the mare. Graduated into open class with flying colours last campaign
back to back victories in town beating some very smart types over the short trips. He did seem to train off at the end of his long campaign, and push out to 1200m probably didn’t help things, but over the sub -60 second journeys he is very strong and from gate four will get every chance in running. Unbeaten at the trip with J Lloyd on top I think he entitled to be outright, so good value at $3.30. HIDDEN PEARL is in the right race here as she really does go like a bat out of hell. She only had two runs last prep, rolling along in front all the way in the Falvelon Quality before having excuses on Magic Millions day. There’s plenty of speed here, even if it’s a bit weak, and she has a ton of weight for a mare up against the boys tomorrow. She will earn every penny of the $48,000 prizemoney if she can hold my bloke out. Throw a dart for the minors, maybe NICCONI LEGGERA who is a handy three -year- old who ran out of luck at the draw, but with some good fortune early on will be hitting the line.
SONY LEGEND typically goes very well on wet ground but he stumbled quite a bit on the Eagle Farm track last weekend and I’m happy to give him another chance here on a firmer track in against a much easier line -up. He was also surprisingly close to the speed last week which isn’t his best m.o., he prefers to take a rest back in the field and fly home as he did behind Too Good To Refuse couple of runs before the spell. This is a very winnable race for him and at the $7.50 I’ll stay with him. LONDEHERO does need a solid tempo on up front to unleash his big finish and has been weighted up to his best in this restricted affair, but he ultra- consistent and deserves another win. Beaten less than a length in the Weetwood last time has been given a freshen-up for this. IRISH CONSTABULARY had to settle for a minor placing in the ascot Quality last start as favourite but it stands him in good stead dropping back to the Bm90. Up in weight that man J Lloyd retains the ride and there’s no doubt he’ll finish somewhere in the placings.
TAKING AIM is still a maiden but surely it can’t be long before he breaks through. Beat all but an in-form Menari in Sydney, beat all in-form Ducimus in the Talindert at Flemington before an honest effort in the Blue Diamond even if he was a little outclassed. This is not a strong two - year- old race and from the perfect draw with Hugh Bowman on top this could be his day. The $4.60 marks her as nominal favourite but there’s a bit of value in the quote. CHAMP ELECT won her first two impressively and did make ground in the Magic Millions after drawing a shocker covering extra ground. No luck with this draw either but she has the runs on the board and will make her presence felt. DISSOLUTION didn’t do a great deal at his only run in the Kindergarten at Randwick but with stable change, jockey change and a firmer surface to - morrow he could be an improver. He cost a squillion as yearling and will need to lift his game but has been given freshen-up and the spidy sense is telling me he will go better.
I know why we’re getting $4.80 about CANDIKA here but we shouldn’t be and at that quote is the bet of the day up here. She has won three of her last four starts including a runaway three length victory in the P rincess Stakes at Doomben a fortnight ago and gives every indication she will relish the extra journey here. Drawn awkwardly but she is a versatile filly and Damien Browne has plenty of options here to rack up even more black type for her. The presence of DAWN WALL is one of the reasons we’re getting such amazing value about the top one but I think she is overrated and will struggle here to live up to wrap. Won three in a row earlier this prep including a blacktype pickup at Kembla but she beat nothing across the hat-trick , and the only time she has faced quality op - position was beaten easily in Vinery. Perhaps the heavy-9 didn’t suit her, though she did win at Kembla on the soft-6, but I think she is favourite on hype and with a shocking draw to boot she is real risk. BENFICA PRINCESS stepped up to the mile second-up and showed some zip be - fore battling on behind Candika. She, too, scored a hat-trick last prep beating nothing and will likely appreciate a drier surface tomorrow, and looks better value to me at $21 than the fave.
There was a time when I didn’t think RELIGIFY would be able to pick his feet up beyond 1200m, but it seems he was just waiting to pushed out to the longer journey come of age. Since being sent out over the 1400 and 1600m journeys he has knocked up winning races and first-up here over 1400m will be hard to run down. Scored back to back wins over a mile earlier this year winning by big margins and with all 10 of his successes coming on good tracks, if he presents well in the yard they won’t get near him. There’s value in the $3.50 but wait until you get a report on how he looks fitness -wise before you jump on. SIEGFRIED continues to pay his way and Jeff Lloyd has now chalked up four wins on him this prep including a tidy threequarter lengths win in town last time over 1350m. It’s hard to knock him and I don’t know why he is $7.00, that does look very generous. I’d have much closer to the top pick in the market. JOPA continues to race well, even if the wins have dried up for him this prep, picking up a cheque at all but one of his six outings to date and that was still a close -up seventh on a heavy-8. Down on the limit here
worth inclusion in your multiples at the double figure odds.
Going with another southern raider here in NANCY who performed very well at Group Three level against the girls over the autumn carnival and will find this easier. Better on top of the ground and at her last dry track run she was beaten a lip in the Tris - cay Stakes under 57kg. Hugh Bowman jumps her out from the perfect gate here and looks a fair price at the $4.00. DIVINE CENTURI looks as though she doesn’t like shifty ground and will go better back onto a good track here at big odds. Three runs ago she beat all but the flying Pinch River and already has a stakes win to her credit, taking out Mick Dittman up here this time last year. ELEGANT COMPOSURE looks a touch short for mine at $6.00 but is unbeaten fresh and knows where the line is. First-up last prep she beat P rivate Secretary at Listed level and with only 54kg will give a great sight.
IT’S SOMEWHAT hasn’t tasted de - feat this prep and I can’t see anything here that will stop him bringing up his hat-trick in a cracking Hollindale Stakes. Hit the line strongly to win the Ajax first-up, then mixed it up running them along up front in nothing less than the Doncaster and defied all efforts to run him down. I would have thought he’d be closer to $2.30 or so here so the $3.50 will do very nicely. SENSE OF OCCASION was beaten four lengths by the top pick in the Doncaster and meets up several kilos worse at the weights for the flogging, though he did perform very well in the Queen Elizabeth last time beating all but Winx and Hartnell. He’s underrated for sure will likely place again tomorrow. MCREERY is another who has to meet It’s somewhat worse at the weights for getting beaten a long way but he, too, ran an improved race last start running on nicely behind Tivaci in the All Aged. Hard to believe he is within $1.50 of the favourite and at his current quote is poor value.
I’m a big fan of RIVER RACER and on the back an enormous run firstup in Mick Dittman I am jumping
with confidence. She has a big finish on her and although she only won one race to date run some cracking seconds behind very good horses. She could be a real force this prep against the fillies and I’m very happy with $9.00. If there’s going to be an upset here it could be the only below her THUNDER RAIDER. She set the pace first-up before knocking up in straight but with three shocking performances on wet tracks from three attempts it’s fair to say she should be a marked improver on top of the ground tomorrow. Notched up a hat-trick against her own age when last in work and from the inside draw and soft lead could give them some - thing to catch. Worth a saver and inclusion in your quaddie at the $61. ATTENTION has touch of class about him, but he doesn’t convert all that often and takes a run to find his feet. Won the Sires Produce up here last winter will go well, but even J Lloyd may not be able to boot him home fresh from barrier 14.