Strange old race to kick off the card, and PRUE’S ANGEL should bolt in. Beat a better field than this last start with more weight, and will appreciate as small field here jumping out from the inside gate. She definitely an odds-on pop around $1.80, so the $2.20 is a mile off the mark. FOXY HOUSEWIFE looks only possible danger but she is going to be doing it tough over the short course even on fresh legs. She has solid form, with a close-up run in the Listed Gai Waterhouse last prep and good lines thorugh Manaya Princess Posh, but she is more of a miler than a 1000m horse. AIMALAC MILLIE won a good sprint race at Tamworth in August, and ran well in the last race of the Grafton carnival both over this trip, but is eligible for easier races and has to give the favourite weight.
The youngsters are still sorting themselves out and we haven’t had anything jump out of the box yet. Best of these on paper is favourite BETAIMA who plugged through the heavy going on debut before a strong five length win here two weeks ago. Drawn well and Jeff Lloyd will take her to the front again and try to lead all way. The $2.90 seems about right but it’s not a race get excited about. OKEECHOBEE needed the experience when a good debut third behind The Odyssey and Guntantes and is likely to be better behaved tomorrow. Drawn out wide which is a real concern, and she will need luck early on from out there. STAGE PLAY is the third line after a tidy trial win at home last week. Drawn well and these fillies look to have it over the boys.
Tricky gate for MISHANI ROMAN tomorrow but if Jim Byrne can find a spot early he will be very strong at the end of a mile. Hit the line big odds behind smart pair in town last weekend after a solid maiden win at Toowoomba when resuming. He will be spotting them a start but has a long straight to run them down and looks a good bet at $7.50. A MAN TO MATCH is stakes-placed at this track and distance and didn’t have the best of luck last time behind Alpine Dancer. Drawn out with top pick and will be back off the speed but will also hitting line late. MYWIFESAIDNO went across the line with him back in September behind Belle Roc and hasn’t done too badly since, scoring a slim victory here last time running on from the back. While they’re unlikely to break any record there is enough speed engaged to ensure these backmarker types all get their chance
The restricted staying contests are always tricky up here but I’m not going to jump off SO YOU WISH after he filled our pockets last weekend. Stuck his nose out on the line to beat the favourite, bless his cotton socks, and can take a sit or push forward from the wide gate early if they’re not going fast. The $7.00 isn’t quite as juicy as last week but it’s more than enough to keep the faith. STANLEY was well supported up to open class last weekend and ran a good race, getting bloused by Eshtikraaj late in the piece. He has to be hard to beat back to Bm75 grade but he is up 5.5kg on the run. STRAIGHT HOME is pretty consistent and did show up in Grafton Cup prelude the last time he went beyond 1800m. Back down to a more reasonable impost tomorrow and J Lloyd jumps on. Each way hope from the wide draw.
Many chances here but the topweight ANOTHER SLIPPER is a crazy, crazy price at $41. I know this bloke and he doesn’t want it wet, but still stuck on last time at Ipswich after playing up at the gates. He had a long sequence of runs from his 3yo days to end last year where he didn’t reproduce early good form, but since switching to Tony Gollan he has been a much more genuine article, beating Valfierno here first-up over 1000m before a top effort in a good class three at the Gold Coast. He’ll sit off them and is genuine threat. Against these he’s more of an $8.00 shot, I am loading up each way at $41. Just crazy. GOOD TIME CHARLIE has been racing well in better company for Michael Lakey and will find this easier. Close-up behind Tawfiq Boy and Freddie Fox Trot at consecutive runs over 1200m, then battled on behind Courtza King class six level at the end of September. Freshened for shorter trip and from the wide gate will go back and be saved one run. He’s also over mark at $17, but not by as far as the top pick. BASARA is unbeaten first-up and has pretty good form, her two failures this year coming on heavy tracks. Good run here three starts ago behind Miss Exfactor and from the good gate is going to be very competitive, but just on the money at $4.60. VIENNA POWER should be easy to spot, he’ll be one going like the clappers from gate 18 to cross them early and will ensure those off speed get a fair crack at the business end. Knocked up a little last time in stronger company and back onto a dry track will give them something to run down. Worth inclusion in your multiples at 25/1.
Intriguing contest here with the Kosciuszko winner heading weights and several diverse formlines converging. Sticking with DREAMS APLENTY who is genuine stakes performer and a very tough nut to crack fresh. First-up last prep he was beaten half length over this trip in a decent open race, and his previous fresh run results in win at Ipswich. Gets conditions to suit and will roll forward from the middle gate and try to sneak some cheap sectionals. He only has one possible challenger for the lead and given that horse’s m.o. my bloke might well let him go and stalk him. He’s no good thing but will put himself into the race at the right time at around $6.00. SOLD FOR SONG is one of my faves and it’s hard not to be on her, but she hasn’t really come this prep despite a very encouraging first-up run behind Dal Cielo. Beaten a nose in the Gilgai at Group Two level last spring and less than two lengths in Tiara up here, but hasn’t done enough since to keep me on board. Should improve back to an easier level. BEL BURGESS is going to lead again from the perfect draw with just 52.5kg on his back and Dreams Aplenty will have to sort himself out with a trail. Well backed last start when left alone in front but this is tougher race and he will have quality horseflesh chasing him down in the straight. No knock on the price at $5.50 if you fancy him.
This is a pretty strong Bm70 but I can’t go past the Femme Fireball form and MASTERATI looks very hard to beat. Good debut run for the new stable here two runs back battling on well in an 0MW behind Divine Dice, then gave the very promising Femme Fireball a run for her money at Doomben before holding down second spot on the line. From the good draw he’ll be up there again and will look winner at some point. Very happy to take the $4.60. REMARKABLE SON is resuming straight up to 1400m which is some query, but he hasn’t done a lot wrong to date at six starts here on his home track. Easy winner at this track as a long odds-on fave last prep over 1800m before finding one better the same trip the following week. He did score a tidy maiden win firstup last prep and Jeff Lloyd is on again tomorrow, but against this grade he may just need the run and be worth jumping on up to a mile second-up. MR BELLAGIO is a rightful equal fave here at $4.60 after beating subsequent winner Bryneich last time. Has good form behind the right types and will be competitive again from the inside gate.
Super line-up here in just a standard 3yo race, it gives us the hint that the big races aren’t all that far away. Awfully hard to match up some of these formlines, but in the end I’m on one that is undoubtedly over the odds and that is SHAMURT at $17. She giving the boys weight but is a talent ran a big race in town last start. Utilised the favourable draw to push forward and although copping a bump on straightening she did look the winner until bloused by Light Up The Room. Incredible effort to do what she did considering they negative split the 1200m (by a significant margin) and those up front were always going to knock up. Showed up around the likes of Lean Mean Machine and Zousain in the winter with some natural improvement off her two runs back she will give a big sight. HOLD THE LINE faces acid test tomorrow after rolling couple of reasonable types to remain unbeaten. Too strong for Belle Roc when debuting on her birthday, then nosed out Defence Missile here three weeks later. Resuming and has to be some risk straight to 1200m against a solid line-up, she’s a bit under the odds at $3.30 but is genuine hope. AXELLA will drift back but should get a genuine tempo and will be running on. Flashed home in Listed grade here at this distance at her last run before the break to beat all but Granny Red Shoes. Scratched the other day in a winnable race and drawn badly 15, but will drop out be saved for the straight.
STANLEY PARK has won all four starts since transferring to Toby Edmonds and from the good draw looks every hope of continuing his great form. Latest led all the way here giving backers no cause for concern in the Bm70, with more than two lengths to spare on the line. There is an insane amount of speed engaged here and with more to lose than the others it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take a bit of sit behind leader and be strong late. Still learning the caper but I can’t complain with $5.00 about a horse going for his fifth straight win. ANNATIME is bound to get hectic tempo and she will be running on strongly over the last furlong. Beaten a half length by smart Desert Man last start and gets a nice weight drop tomorrow. On the money at $11 in an open race. ORADONNA has drawn a shocker but does drop back grade from her last couple. Stuck on behind Prue’s Angel last start but she is going to need some J Lloyd magic to overcome gate 19, or perhaps 12 scratchings.