Racing returns to the Tapeta synthetic surface on Friday with the popular James Boag Golden Mile meeting to be run at Devonport. The all-weather track should be in perfect condition following a couple of months’ rest, with the 7 race program set to kick off at 2:15pm.
Race 1 2:15pm Alan Keys Maiden (900m)
Good speed here as you would expect in a 900m scamper. Millie Mateba will look to hold the lead from an inside draw, but will have pressure from the outside from the likes of Bonjour Belle, Bushranger Boy and Woohoo. Annie’s Shiraz, Kyogle Son and Acronym can be close to the lead while Mulley’s Idol may be able to kick up from the inside barrier with the winkers on.
9. Woohoo: Makes her debut in the state for Team Wells after racing in Victoria for Daniel Bowman. Last two preparations have been exclusively in races 1000m or shorter so she looks suited by this trip. Looks to be loaded with speed and placed on the synthetic at Pakenham. Tricky draw but stable has plenty of success with acquisitions from the mainland so if the money is there she should be hard to beat.
8. Millie Mateba: A speedy filly who has placed 3 out of 4 on this surface and has the early speed to take advantage of her inside draw. Ran a couple of game 2nds here over 1000m and 900m run at the start of this prep was full of merit. Finds a pretty suitable race and can give a big sight near the lead.
5. Mulley’s Idol: Was in the market first-up over 1200m and ran a fair race behind Leconte. Should find this easier but does come back to a much shorter trip. Has winkers on to try and sharpen him up and if Clark can get him going early he can drive up into a good spot from the inside draw. Hasn’t raced here but has had a look at the trials before last prep. Will be strong at the finish and hard to hold out if he is within striking distance on the turn.
12. Bonjour Belle: Has plenty of speed and can be forgiven for her first-up run where she engaged in a speed battle which saw all the leaders drop right out at the finish. Performed well at her last preparation here in two short sprints, with her 3rd over 1000m behind Life On The Wire and Willby Rules looking like extremely strong form for a race like this. Gets in light with Steph Thornton’s claim and can definitely show up here.
11. Annie’s Shiraz: Ran a good 3rd two starts back behind La Chica Bella in a fast race before finishing midfield in what looks a good quality maiden behind Zatacla. Not sure coming back to 900m at this stage of her preparation is ideal but her best run was at the shorter 1100m journey and she does have speed to be in the first half of the field. Will find this easier than her last couple so she is in the mix.
Next best in an even race Bushranger Boy (capable on best form but not sure where he gets to from wide draw), Teddy’s Fault (was in the market on debut, first-up here, watch betting) and Kyogle Son (has speed but not finishing off, maybe an improver back to home track and short trip).
Even race here complicated by the former mainlander Woohoo (9). Suggest this is not a hard race to win so follow the market with her and she can win if fancied.
BACK (WIN) Woohoo for 2 units
Race 2 2:50pm Doug Brown Maiden (1150m)
Pistol Jack can hold the lead from the inside here with Liffeybeau capable of sitting outside after showing much better early speed last time. All About Eloise, Valerius and Gee Gees Rusty can be handy to the speed. Without too much pressure up front the on-pacers should get their chance.
3. Pistol Jack: Was very good first-up at Launceston when second behind Killin Falls before failing badly as an odds-on favourite last time when taken on in front. Both runs on this surface have been good and he looks suited if he can hold the inside draw. If you blame his flat run on being second-up then he looks well placed in this and he will take some beating on his best form.
6. Liffeybeau: Was very good on debut when he should have just about beaten La Chica Bella before going forward second-up to run a good fourth behind Zatacla. The form from that run is holding up nicely and the speed he showed there will suit him here for his first run on his home track. Trialled well here at the start of his preparation and looks set to get a good run from a middle draw. He’s a genuine danger.
7. Valerius: Comes through a similar line to Liffeybeau, having beaten him in a trial here before making his debut with a solid fifth behind Zatacla after being slow to begin. Looks like he will derive plenty of benefit from that run and now he comes back to his home track. Wide draw may be a bit tricky but he looks capable of going forward with a better beginning and he may be suited by a bit more room than last time. Looks a nice horse and right in the mix here.
5. Gee Gees Rusty: Wasn’t bad first-up behind La Chica Bella before failing last time in the same race as Pistol Jack. Likes this surface, having run 2nd behind Hard Empire as a 2yo here, and draws to get a beautiful run here. Has handy 2yo form under his belt and is capable of showing up in the finish with the right run here.
4. Biscay Barb: Comes back in trip from a 4th behind Impulsive Lager over 1400m, with the winner there winning again on Wednesday night. Raced over this course a few times through the winter and generally ran well although his racing pattern of getting back off the speed was no help. Has had a trial since his last run so he should be very fit and will be strong at the end here but might find a couple of these a bit sharp.
Next best Pelagia (resuming, had two trials, gets back which makes it hard here but raced alright over this course through winter).
Pistol Jack (3) will take beating but is likely to be short. Happy to work around the Liffeybeau (6)/Valerius (7) formline to beat him, as both come out of a strong race.
BACK (WIN) Liffeybeau for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Valerius for 3 units
Race 3 3:34pm Luxbet Benchmark 62 Handicap (1150m)
O’Lonh Star will try and hold the lead from the inside like he did when winning last start, with pressure most likely to come from Classic Outlaw and Bella Venus from the extreme outside barriers. Most of these can sit close to the speed so the speed should be on.
2. O’Lonh Star: Showed a ton of early speed last time when he won a C1 in Hobart on a day where on-pacers were advantaged. He won his debut here over this course so this surface holds no fears. He rises in grade again but gets in well with Steph Thornton’s claim. He is drawn to hold the lead but may face pressure in the run. Promising horse and if he gets a comfortable run in front he is going to take some beating.
8. Scouting Around: Returned in good style in Launceston when a narrow second in this grade behind Luxembourg. Likes this surface and both of his career wins were here. Hard to really peg what his ideal distance is as he can go a little further but he has also won here over the 1000m. Wider draw may be a bit tricky but if Carr can work across into a good spot then he only has to reproduce his first-up effort to be hard to beat in an even race.
4. Steel Brom: Arguably better suited over a little bit further but ran a good 3rd in the Luxembourg race in Launceston last week. Has the speed to find a good spot from a good draw and gets in alright with Boris Thornton’s claim. Both runs here have been good enough to say the all-weather surface isn’t an issue and she is proven in this grade. Consistent mare who should be in the finish again.
3. Bella Venus: Arguably the class horse of the race here but has the steadier of 59.5kg to show for it. Past three runs have all been very solid in finishing second in this grade and above. Hasn’t won on this surface despite racing alright but she may be a little better on the turf. Wide draw may be an issue but she does have the speed to track Classic Outlaw over and might land in a good spot. A bit of a risk on this surface with the big weight but has the class to be in the mix.
7. Rozzie Roo: Has a racing pattern which isn’t conducive to this course but the form out of her last preparation is standing up with horses like Concentrate and Watch Over Me going on to perform well in better races. This trip is suitable fresh and she draws to get a soft run doing no work nearer the inside. Her chances are dependent on the tempo but if the pressure is on and she can be produced to have the last crack at them she will be finishing hard and can win.
Next best Classic Outlaw (hasn’t won for a long time but has won 4 races at this track and finished close-up alongside many of these in the Luxembourg race in Launceston).
O’Lonh Star (2) can make the jump in grade with the right run here. Look to save on Rozzie Roo (7) who can swamp them late if the pressure goes on.
BACK (WIN) O’Lonh Star for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Rozzie Roo for 1 unit
Race 4 4:10pm Birdcage Tavern Class 1 Handicap (1150m)
Plenty of speed engaged here. Gemini has the blinkers on first time so may look to hold the lead from her inside draw but she may have some competition. Stablemates Hellmuth and Morgatoche are capable of being right on speed, while Our Queenie and What An Option can be close from inside gates. Bonify, Ty Dash and Top Draw can all be close also and keep working forward from wide draws.
3. Ty Dash: Potentially a smart mare who has had a short break since a good second in Launceston behind the good horse Count Da Vinci. That followed a devastating win over this course where she broke her maiden by 6.5L in fast time. Obviously rates very highly here but may have an issue with Punch having a wide gate to negotiate in a race with a number of on-pacers. If she can get across she’ll be very hard to beat but it is a genuine risk around this course.
6. Gemini: Was racing well over 1200m before finding the 1400m a bit tough for her last time. Better suited back to this trip and now the blinkers go on for the first time to tackle a race which looks a touch easier than what she has been contesting. First time on this track but she has trialled well here twice so it shouldn’t be an issue. With Pires aboard expect her to be ridden very positively and she should be hard to run down.
2. Hellmuth: Showed some good strength at the end of his race second-up in Hobart where he was able to sit outside the lead and prove too strong at the finish. Maybe suited by the on-pace bias there but his previous run also had merit when things didn’t go his way and his Victorian form was alright. This is harder and he gets considerably more weight this time but he may be suited if he can travel just behind a strong tempo. First look at this track is a concern but he looks in the mix.
9. Bonify: Resumes here after a good winter campaign where she raced consistently at this track without being able to crack it for a win. Both runs over this course were very good from very wide draws and she has the blinkers go back on which suggests she’ll be ready to go fresh. Gets a tricky draw so Darmanin may need a touch of luck getting in but if she gets the right run she’ll be in the finish and can win.
8. Top Draw: Didn’t do much first-up in Hobart when last behind Life On The Wire but that form is looking exceptionally strong and she was only beaten around six lengths. Hasn’t raced here but is trained on the track and has trialled nicely on this surface. Showed ability as a 2yo but still looks to have plenty to learn. Not the worst but looks to have the task ahead from the wide barrier.
Next best Miss Bluegrass (ran home well last time after a satisfactory effort first-up in open 3yo grade, won maiden on this track, is the swooper if the on-pacers carve up) and Greenmount Lass (resumes for new stable off long break, has trialled ok on this surface and both starts have been good but might need this run with the big weight).
Ty Dash (3) will take plenty of beating here but the draw is a concern. Gemini (6) may be a better option each way with the blinkers on back to her right trip.
BACK (E/W) Gemini for 2 units
Race 5 4:46pm Lending4u Benchmark 62 Handicap (1650m)
Many of these like to find their feet early so the pressure up front looks minimal. Zipped Up may take up the running but will be happy to take a sit should something want to run to the front. Ronaldo’s Goal, Elegatano and Dillon Hall look most likely to put speed into the race. Looks a good race to be settling near the lead.
5. Zipped Up: Was a bit disappointing on face value last time but that was in a pretty hot race and she will find this a lot easier. Previous form in this state was all very good and she looks capable of controlling the race up on the speed. Her first-up run at this track was very good so no issues with the surface and she has proven she can carry this weight when 2nd behind Sentry Duty. Does look a very suitable race for her and she will be very hard to beat.
3. Windell: Appeals as the improver here. First two runs have been quite plain but now he gets to his right trip and back to his home track. Has won twice over this course including one in this grade and if he can find his best form it would measure up very well for this. Lack of pressure up front looks an issue for him as he will probably go back from the wide draw but if he can get a good cart into the race he can be in the finish.
2. Elegatano: Hasn’t shown his best at two runs back from a spell and now jumps sharply from 1200m to 1650m third-up. Gets a tongue tie for the first time which may explain his below par run last time. Races well on his home track and has made a similar jump in trip at his first prep when he was placed 3rd at his only go over this course before heading to the paddock. Have to take on trust a bit here but gets the right run on speed and showed last prep he has plenty of talent. He’s the knockout chance.
4. Ronaldo’s Goal: Has had a couple of months off after a plain run over the mile in Launceston in this grade. Previous run was a dominant win here over 1880m, which followed a close-up run over the mile. This looks harder than he has faced and he might need this run but he gets the inside gate and is in light with Steph Thornton’s claim. Second pick from the stable but he can be thereabouts.
11. New Vision: Racing well in Launceston and will find this a bit easier than what she has been contesting there. Started to find some form on this track before heading to the turf this preparation so although she hasn’t placed here in six runs she isn’t hopeless on the surface. This is her right trip and she may be able to roll forward into a nice spot from the wide draw. On the minimum and not without a chance.
Next best Dillon Hall (1) (racing fairly in slightly harder races than this, has won twice at this track and better suited back to this trip).
Keen on Zipped Up (5) here and it looks her race. Look to save on Windell (3) who can be a big improver at odds.
BACK (WIN) Zipped Up for 6 units
BACK (WIN) Windell (3).1 unit
Race 6 5:26pm James Boag Golden Mile (1650m)
Sound Bar can run to the front here and may get a very comfortable run on speed. Kanji looks likely to push forward at his first run in the state, while Gee Gees Top Notch can take up a forward position. Private Currency and Magnasa can roll forward if the tempo is only steady. Hard to see them go at more than an average pace which may test the backmarkers.
5. Siorca: Has come back in fine style this preparation with two dominant wins in Launceston where he has recorded sensational finishing sectionals. Finished his last prep with a devastating win here in the Distance Final over 1880m but his run over the 1650m in the Prelude was very strong also. This is the hardest race he has contested since he was three but he looks to be improving all the time. The lack of pressure up front may be an issue but he has such a big finish that if he is within striking distance on the corner he will be very hard to hold out.
6. Gee Gees Top Notch: Dropped back to a BM82 last time after holding her own against the best sprinters in the state and ran well but couldn’t overcome a good on-pace galloper in My Paige Three who was suited by the pattern of the day. Ran a nose 2nd over this trip behind Jerilderie Letter in the Tasmanian Guineas so the extra trip should be right up her alley. Main query is the fact she has never seen this track but most of the Wordsmiths seem to handle it fine. Can get a good run from the good draw and appeals as an obvious winning chance.
1. Magnasa: Comes here in strong form having won his past three and the horse he has beaten at his past couple, Miss It And A Bit, won since at Launceston on Wednesday night. Has won four races on this surface, including three from four over this course. This is his toughest test so far and he comes up with top weight and a wide gate which will make things difficult but he is racing too well to pot completely. Should be thereabouts.
2. Sound Bar: Was suited by the pattern last time but still did a good job to run 2nd behind My Paige Three, beating home Gee Gees Top Notch in the process. Both runs over this course back in September were very good in easier grade with big weights. Looks to get a very comfortable run on speed here and proved he could run good time with his win here four back. Honest gelding who can give a big sight on speed.
4. Private Currency: Goes to the mile here for the first time in his career. Jumps sharply from 1200m but has been in work for a long time this prep so he should be just about fit enough to cope. Has been racing well since coming back from injury but his better form was when he got onto soft ground. Finds a tough race to attempt this trip for the first time but can race near the lead which gives him place claims.
Next best Geegees Baritone (not bad at two runs back, has won over this course, blinkers go back on and in well, not the roughest) and Vandemeer (sharply to the mile second-up, races well here but probably not suited by tempo and may need this run).
Siorca (5) will take plenty of beating here but is likely to be short odds and disadvantaged by the race tempo. Happy to work around Sound Bar (2) who can get a good run on speed and be hard to run down.
BACK (E/W) Sound Bar for 2 units
Race 7 6:10pm goracingtasmania.com.au Benchmark 72 Handicap (1350m)
Looks to be good pressure up front here in the last. Kool Kash, Underplay and Geegees Brightstar from the outside gate all look capable of pressing for the lead, while Red Eagle, Harvey Bay and The Captain can all be right there also. Although all six are also capable of taking the sit, there should be enough wanting the front to result in a strong tempo. Don’t We Love It and Zigold can also be in the mix if desired but expect them to sit behind the speed.
7. The Captain: Dropped back to 1200m at Hobart last time with a strong on-speed win although he was aided by the pattern. Had been racing well over 1400m previously and won at his only start over this course last season. Proven in this grade, likes this track, can take up a position and in well at the weights. Consistent type who looks one of the leading chances in an even race.
4. Underplay: Had excuses at two runs back from a break but improved last time with a solid fourth behind Beaufort Lad over 1400m. Won his only try over this course in very fast time back in August and that form looks very good for this. In well with Graham’s claim but he hasn’t ridden a winner since October. If he gets the right run he will be very hard to beat.
3. Geegees Brightstar: Has showed good speed at his two starts this prep and run OK in decent class races. Hasn’t raced on this surface before but if he goes forward again it should suit his racing style. Ready for this trip third-up and should be just about peaking now. In with a hope.
6. Harvey Bay: Did enough first-up behind Treasury Bond and now gets back to his home track where he has won three of eight. Has won twice over this course and is versatile enough to go forward or back depending on the tempo. Consistent 4yo who has run in the first two at both of his second-up runs in the past. Has to totally prove himself in this grade but has a chance here with the right run.
1. Red Eagle: A class runner in this field although he wasn’t won for over a year. Obviously likes this surface, having won a Devonport Cup here, and his first two runs back from a spell were good before finding them too sharp last time when back to 1200m. Up in trip suits and he can box seat from the inside draw. Has plenty of weight but hasn’t got down to this grade for a long time and can be in the finish.
Next best Zigold (came a long way last prep, better suited over a tad further but likes this track and capable in this grade) and Don’t We Love It (loves this course with 7 top 2 finishes from 8 tries but this class does test him).
Tricky race to finish. Underplay (4) has the right form and may be the one to break Graham’s run of outs.
BACK (WIN) Underplay for 2 units