NOTE: RACES are assessed for a Good 4. All horses considered starters unless notified by Thursday at 1 PM. (N/R) denotes no rating.
WHAT an interesting TAB Highway this week! Five of the 11 are last start winners and we break new ground here with a horse on debut in a Highway which has never happened yet. That horse (a very impressive trial winner) is Another Sin from the Brett Cavanough yard was $14 into $7 with some establishments by Wednesday afternoon. Brett Cavanough is as smart as any trainer in the business so I respect his judgment but I just couldn’t sack 11. CARTEL (54), 8. SUPER TONIC
(58), 5. MARCO MAN (57) and 1. LIFESAVER (60) to find a spot for the unraced horse. Just on my top pick firstly, Cartel, trialled really well before his debut at home Goulburn which is why he was $2.70 into $1.95. He was last at the 800, second to last at the turn but finished fast win narrowly
memorably. He ran 57.65s and last 600m for the race was 34.77s he obviously went faster than that. Super Tonic and Lifesaver are both 2s 2 each so hard to leave out and I loved the race -fit Marco Man’s trial win at Wagga on Aug. 1.
8. MANHATTAN SON (70) was at the top of his game when he won Hawkesbury two starts back (great ride too). He was less impressive next time out when 12 of 13 at WF but he was 1800m back to the mile whereas this he is 1600m 2000m which I am sure will suit him better. The guide says 3s 0-0-0 but keep in mind he was less than 5th off winning a Tulloch Stakes. Good odds, he can pay out each-way or place especially. Waller stablemates 4. MULTIFACETS (75) and 1. VAUCLUSE BAY (77) are next in line. Multifacets has run 5th at his last three outings and it’s worth noting the margins are getting smaller each time. The Waikato Stud bred gelding is 4s 1-1-1 at the t/d, he has drawn 3 so I suspect he can park a bit handier if desired. My only reasons for not tipping the somewhat ‘obvious’ in Vaucluse Bay is that he goes up from 53kgs to 59.5kgs and that’s a big lift. On top of that, he just got that many favours last time won it made the 4-lens margin quite misleading.
3. MAGICAL STANCE (75) covered ground in the Vaucluse Bay race and will be closer than the 6-1ens between them from that day.
THERE was big money with the TAB on the Fixed Odds before Winter Challenge on 1. CLASSIC UNIFORM (98). I can’t remember the exact numbers but it was something like $17 into $7? On the day the horse was $5.50 to $6. What matters most is that Classic Uniform ran a nose 2nd to Shiraz; it was a very tough on-pace effort from the Gary Moore trained gelding. He drew 1 that day, he has 1 again to - morrow so I strongly suspect that he leads for as far as can over the 2000m. Classic Uniform has run 4th in a Canberra Cup and Neville Sellwood over the 2000m. Fourth-up, he is fit as hands can make him, he’s in form but he’s got some weight to carry even with the claim f or Andrew Adkins. Call me loyal stupid but I am giving 2. CENTRE PIVOT (95) one more chance. The Peter Robl trained 7YO is ‘970’ this prep. I can make a case for the ‘97’, less so the ‘0’ from last start in Winter Challenge. Centre Pivot is 2s 1-0-1 and was 4th to Stratum Star I the 2200m Magic Millions Trophy on Jan 14. 3. LOYALTY MAN (92) has been flying this prep, those three runs in Melbourne were all very good then he came up here and really stretched Sound Proposition who would go around $2 if he was here.
I WAS dying to make 3. DENMAGIC (94) a triple ex special in the Missile last week but she nomed and didn’t accept. Sad really, because she would have got the run that the winner Invincible Gem got and won. Now you would think this being a Bm94 I make Denmagic the bet of the century but not so. Reason be - ing, I actually think this is a harder race because despite the absence of Le Romain, his Kris Lees stablemate
2. ZESTFUL (97) scares me sense - less and not only because she is 3 for 3 first-up but on top of that she is flying! That said, I can say the same about Denmagic. As one her biggest sup - porters, confidently assert that she has never ever been going better through her trials. It’s a super quinella/ exacta option and one that I personally intend to do! of the rest, look out for a bold return from 8. DENPURR (84) who has trialled right up for a winning return and she gets the firm surface.
HERE is another one straight out of the trials. The great man Kenny Callander part owns 3. HOGMANAY (80) and I bet he’d be tipping it off the trials! They have been awesome and even though Waller is not necessarily a firstup trainer and Hogmanay will be better into this campaign, you have to - lieve what you see and this horse is in a very happy place right now. The huge danger is of course the uber handsome
4. PEACOCK (75) who has likewise trialled well. He is a Gothic Stakes winner and has been gelded since the last prep but I am just tiny bit concerned that he is beatable given his 4s 0-1-0 fresh record. Even so, he does l ook pretty wound-up for a big, big run. 1.
ROARING TO WIN (81) is a handy horse with the best first-up record of my three main picks (5s 2-0-2) and has trialled well enough to win. That said, I have been waiting rather impatiently for Hogmanay to front up on race day.
GOING into tomorrow I reckon the most underrated new season 3YO that is going to make some noise is 6. I AM EXCITED (69) and I reckon this the time back him because it is a case of if he wins, you’ll never get
price again and if he doesn’t you won’t want to back him in the Golden Rose or any other major race. He was awesome at Scone at stand-alone coming from a mile back to run third to Debonairly who was rocking. Then at his next/last start I Am Excited overcame difficulty to score like a good horse. His trials have been huge and I can see him rattling off a massive sensational and winning tomorrow. 3.
TREKKING (74) is a star. His Golden Slipper campaign was interrupted by wet weather mostly which is a pity be - cause he was THE Godolphin Slipper chance of the crop. He now might be their Golden Rose horse and off his trials, you’d wanna have a saver on him. 1. DIAMOND TATHAGATA (82) has She Will Reign form and has re - ally looked good in his trials. The only thing against him, the main thing anyway, is that he has 60.5kgs to burden him, a full and amazing — 7.5kgs more I Am Excited I just don’t think he can beat him with that sort of weight differential.
MY personal system in punting is to back a horse first-up out of a Derby or Oaks or Melbourne Cup. Mind you, it’s bit different here given that 8.
ETYMOLOGY (89) raced in the 2016 Queensland Derby finishing 7th to Eagle Way. He had run 2nd SAJC Derby before that. The consensus is that he is therefore a stayer and while I am not saying he is an Oakleigh Plater, you see so many 3YO’s go around in classics simply because they only get one crack at it. I don’t know what hap - pened to him to keep him on the outer for so long but if you saw his trials, you’d see why I have top firstup 1400m on the big track with no real weight. Oh and he’s been gelded since we last saw him. 3. SARRASIN (98) is a fascinating horse. He had the one run for the Freedman brothers and that was his 3rd in the Villiers he
spelled and since switched over to Waller. His trials have been excellent and you’d think he’s on a Epsom path. he could get there first! Wow, what about 4. TOM MELBOURNE (96)! He too has come to Waller and won that last trial by 3.3-lens with his head on his chest. he goes well fresh had a million gear changes. He is going to run race.
SURELY 11. MARIQUITA (66) will have an ounce of luck one day and win a race. The Gerald Ryan trained mare has been the eye catcher in all three runs this preparation but maybe that is more a case of the fact that she does nothing early and everything late. Be prepared for her to do the same to - morrow, she is quite one dimensional in that regard but with claim for James Innes Jnr who knows her quite well, she will at last give us something to cheer for late. 6. FAITH’S ENCORE
(72) was a dual acceptor but once again we knew very early which race she going for — kudos (again) to the Snowdens not keeping us in all in some unnecessary suspense! This daughter of Denman has beaten herself at her first two runs since bleeding in the Fireball by missing the start, she seems to have it ensconced in her makeup as a bad habit but she cancels it out by finishing so fast. 2.
SUSPENDERS (76) was very unlucky when 7th at the Farm a few Saturday’s before her last start win here beating a very brave 8. SLUMBER PARTY (71). 1. HETTY HEIGHTS (80) was only 0.6-lens away last start in a bunched finish; she is very fit, the right race but has plenty of weight.
TIM Martin has trained four metro winners out of is last seven runners going into the race (at time of publication) and he can make it a fifth winner this weekend hopefully with
13. MAPMAKER (77) who was trained for his first 22 starts by Tim’s brother Craig at Tamworth. Mapmaker had
23rd start at Canterbury on Jul. 26 off a nice/quiet trial and ran 11th of 15 but he was under 4-lens from the winner and doing his best work late. That race 1250m on a small track, this time it is 1500m big track which is of course is his new home. The worry that Mapmaker is 4s 0-00 when second-up but against that, he has 52kgs on his back and it’s been a long, long time since he ran a poor race. 5. FRANCESCO (74) is on the back up after a closing third to Tim Martin’s King Darci in a deep Bm81 at Randwick last Saturday. The Greg and Donna Kolivos owned galloper is fourth-up now at his first prep for the new trainer Mark Newnham who has him going great guns without winning buy without much luck on occasions. You can’t knock winning f orm and right now 4. SPECIAL MISSILE (76) is doing just that. He is aiming for four in a row and has been presented with every chance to do it with gate and The Gun.