Racing returns to Launceston this Wednesday night with an 8 race card set to kick off at 6:25pm. While the track is reasonably firm there is heavy rain forecast later in the afternoon which could result in very wet ground, so the chances of many horses will be dependent on when the rain arrives.
The most competitive race of the night comes up in the first race, where promising, lightly-raced gallopers Nunivak and Fragment square off over 1200m in a big Class 3 field full of quality. Race 3 sees the return of last season’s Sires Produce winner Geegee Blackprince, the younger half-brother to the champ Geegees Blackflash.
Race 1 – 18:25 Steves Liquor Class 3 Hcp (1200 METRES)
Big field and tempo should be genuine. Steel Dan, Nunivak and Lonhwan are all capable of finding the front with Seajamm, Millmount and Flash Missile pushing forward.
2. Nunivak: Hasn’t raced for three months since scoring a dominant all the way win in Hobart in BM62 grade. Hasn’t trialled but has accepted to run a couple of times since so suggest he will be up to the mark. Draws ideally, 1200m is fine and his wet track form is very strong. Appeals as top pick here.
3. Fragment: Is a promising gelding resuming here without a trial, in contrast to his previous two first-up runs. All four runs at this track have been very good and won on heavy ground first-up last time in. Should get a soft run in behind them but can take a bit of winding up so will need luck to get clear running and momentum when he needs it. Definite danger with the right run.
6. Seajamm: Improved sharply back on the turf here last start with a close-up 3rd in BM68 grade after covering plenty of ground around the bend. Draws ideally it sit in behind the leaders and gets in light with Graham’s claim. Up to this grade on her best. Has a solid each-way chance.
7. Steel Dan: Has shown plenty of early speed this prep and should land in a good spot near the lead from an inside draw if he begins well. Devonport win was very good in C1 grade but tired late last time under similar conditions. Up in grade again so while he races well here he is a query on class. Can be thereabouts.
Next best Charlemagne’s Girl (10) (always needs luck from back in the field but better suited back to this trip and knockout hope if they go too quickly up front).
Nunivak (2) is a good galloper who should get a good run near the lead and will take plenty of running down, especially if the ground has softened up prior to the race.
BACK (WIN) Nunivak for 6 units
Race 2 – 19:00 Carlton Draught Maiden (1200 METRES)
Little Pumba showed enough speed at the trials to say he can lead here if he begins well. Mookcat looks to push forward from wider out while Anastasia and Fontein Harry may be handy.
3. Anastasia: Has her first run for Adam Trinder after racing in Victoria for Nikki Burke. Comfortably beaten at all three runs but hasn’t been disgraced and finds a race of questionable quality. In light with Graham’s claim and has blinkers on for the first time. Tricky to line up but big market watch.
5. Mookcat: Has been racing consistently and brought her synthetic track form to the turf last start with a reasonable 4th behind Mister Songman. That form measures up well here but she had every possible chance in the run. Drawn out but should roll forward into a positive position and very fit if the track is particularly wet. One of the better chances.
1. Little Pumba: Is a 5yo having his first start and comes here off two solid trials, the most recent being an all-the-way win when he was never really tested out in front. Well bred galloper who looks to be handling soft ground alright but 1200m on wet ground is a decent ask fresh for a speedy type. Should get every chance on speed so will be there to be run down late.
8. J’nine’s Delight: Ran home well first-up over 900m behind Nordic Thunder before disappointing second-up. Gets back onto the turf here and wasn’t bad at only run here back in March. Should be just about primed third-up after having time to get over her last run and extra distance should suit. Can run a better race this time
Next best Miss Brightside (4) (nicely bred 4yo mare who hasn’t shown much at the trials but wary of Pires booking so watch market).
Anastasia (3) finds a good race to kick off in with the blinkers on. Mookcat (5) appears best of those who have raced in the state, with a watch on debutant Little Pumba (1) off some handy trials.
BACK (WIN) Anastasia for 3 units
Race 3 – 19:40 Brooklyn Park Class 1 C&G Hcp (1400 METRES)
Global Squire and Ruthless Lover look most likely to take up the running in a race without an obvious leader. Doubt they go hard here which suits those on speed or with a good turn of foot.
4. Gee Gee Blackprince: Is a highly promising 3yo resuming here with a pleasing trial under his belt. Beautifully bred colt who showed a lot of ability in his 2yo campaign, punctuated by a barnstorming win over this course in the Sires Produce over 1400m, defeating Sunday’s impressive winner Gee Gee Lanett. Always looked like he would be much better at 3 but a decent ask at this trip fresh if the heavy rain has arrived. Leading hope.
1. Newts: Rarely runs a bad race and now has blinkers on for the first time. Gets to this distance range on turf for the first time and suggest it will suit. Wet ground is no issue and may be able to settle closer in a race of lesser tempo if the blinkers help him leave the gates better. Form is as strong as any of these and looks one of the top picks.
2. Island Pirate: Has a fitness edge over a number of these with two runs over this distance range under his belt including a game 2nd last time behind Earl Da Vinci. Handles wet ground and should be ready to peak third-up. Tricky draw but shouldn’t cause too much issues in the small field and capable of going forward if the pace is lacking. Solid chance.
5. Specialist: Was a bit flat down the side last week so he looks suited getting up to this trip. Yet to see genuinely wet ground but bred to appreciate it. Can go forward which would likely be an advantage here and is on the quick back-up. This looks harder but should be respected.
Next best Alexander Benjamin (3) (did little first-up but blinkers back on and only win came on wet ground so respect booking of Pires) and Mr America (7) (former King Islander who ran well at both starts here over carnival, may need the run so watch betting)
Couple of very strong chances here in Gee Gee Blackprince (4) and Newts (1). Both handle the wet so hard to split them but maybe lean to the 3yo who is loaded with potential.
BACK (WIN) GeeGee Blackprince for 3 units
Race 4 – 20:20 Tradies & Ladies 18th October Maiden (1400 METRES)
Little obvious speed on paper. Araya Hope and Plenty Of Bling can go forward but the opportunity is there for something to push for the front against their usual racing pattern.
10. Araya Hope: Was strong last time in Hobart when winning over this trip and should improve with that run under his belt. Hasn’t seen this track before but should race near the lead and no reason it should cause any issue. Carrying top weight hasn’t been an issue for him and seems adept enough on firmer ground if the rain stays away. This is a little harder but he looks top pick again.
2.Shivida: Got a long way back last time but found the line very strongly when 2nd behind Speedonova. Thrived on the wet ground there and this looks no harder. Concerning how far back in the run he can get and he always needs luck in running but if he runs up to his latest effort he is going to be hard to hold out late.
6. Kasuku: Ran home pretty well on debut when finishing midfield behind Mister Songman in what is looking to be a reasonably strong maiden. Suited with the step up in trip and with the race experience under her belt. Had shown a bit at the trials previously and wet ground appears fine. Can improve second-up and has genuine claims.
11. Need A Margarita: wasn’t far behind Kasuku on debut, running home in similar fashion. Bred to appreciate the extra trip and gets blinkers on for the first time. In light with Graham’s claim and may be able to settle a little closer from the good draw. Has a chance on an each-way basis
Next best Eight Capes (1) (first run in Tasmania for Alana Fulton, has no form to speak of but stable clever with acquisitions to watch betting).
Araya Hope (10) and Shivida (2) come through good runs on wet ground last time but with a slower tempo likely this time Araya Hope can turn the tables. Kasuku (6) and Need A Margarita (11) are improvers for those looking for different form to the favourites
BACK (WIN) Araya Hope for 4 units
Race 5 – 21:00 Luxbet Class 1 F&M Hcp (1400 METRES)
Gee Gee Rich Ruby can find the front but is happy to race outside the leader if Foreeva wants to kick up inside her. Argillite and Farewell Angelina look to come across from wider to be on speed so the race should be genuinely run.
4. Gee Gee Rich Ruby: Gets back onto the turf here after three solid runs at Devonport this prep. Has been freshened but trialled well last week and should be fit enough if the track isn’t too heavy. Looks to get a very good run on speed and this is her best distance range. Consistent mare who will be there to be run down if track is suiting the on-pacers.
1. Speedonova: Was quite impressive on debut when running on from back in the field to record a strong win here on the Heavy 10. Ran decent time in comparison to the rest of the night but did get the right run through on the inside down the side. Looks like getting a similar run again and only has to repeat her debut effort to be right in the mix. Definite hope.
3. Farewell Angelina: Failed over this distance range on the synthetic two starts back but might find the turf more to her liking. Generally appreciates wet ground and has the ability to roll forward on speed to overcome the wider draw. Races well here and looks one of the better chances.
2. Argillite: Hasn’t raced since breaking her maiden back in June over 1650m at Devonport. This trip probably suits fresh but hasn’t trialled so might be vulnerable if the ground is particularly testing. This is a little harder than what she has been contesting but can roll forward and ran well enough only start here. Few knocks but has each-way claims
Next best Foreeva (6) (beaten a long way at both runs this prep but maiden win came here and draws inside so capable if she finds her old form).
Speedonova (1) will be hard to beat off a good debut win but lean to Gee Gee Rich Ruby (4) at her pet trip with a good run near the lead.
BACK (WIN) Gee Gee Rich Ruby for 3 units
Race 6 – 21:30 Book your Christmas Function MDN/CL1 (2100 METRES)
Pinkeyes Pride can take up the running again if desired. Chief Navigator and Kingsclere should be on speed while Hot Chisel is capable of if they choose to go forward
1. Akbar Jay: Broke through for a deserved win two starts ago in Hobart before running well here with the right run last week behind Littlerayov. Suited getting to this trip off the quick back-up and only run over this course was better than it reads behind two handy stayers in Eastender and Matiano. Very wet ground is still a query but racing in great heart and appeals as top pick.
6. Kingsclere: Ran 2nd here a fortnight ago but was beaten out of sight behind Another Brother. Should benefit from that run under his belt but has been racing in very dour fashion which is a concern. Rolls forward to get every chance in the run and sticks on so looks one of the better chances again.
4. Chief Navigator: Wasn’t far away on debut in Hobart over 1600m when 3rd behind Akbar Jay and now gets to this trip at only his second race start. Tuned up with a 1400m trial where he was given a solid hit out and the 2100m looks right up his alley. Very one-paced type but can roll forward and will probably be advantaged by very testing conditions. Has to be given a chance.
8. Pinkeyes Pride: Ran 3rd last time behind Another Brother and finished about 4 lengths behind Kingsclere. That was her first look at the trip so reasonable that she improves again off that and has the speed to take up the running in front. Previous 5th behind Akbar Jay in Hobart was alright and continues to improve slowly. Has a place chance from in front
Next best Fancy Danz (7) (going ok but untried at this trip and must be big risk to run it out strongly, especially if rain hits).
Akbar Jay (1) is racing in great form and looks well placed here.
BACK (WIN) Akbar Jay for 8 units
Race 7 – 22:00 Foot and Playsted Benchmark 62 Hcp (1600 METRES)
Dalehill should find her favoured role in front under little pressure and should set a genuine tempo. Gallow Gate can roll forward with Lyndspur and possibly Rougeau
1. Gallow Gate: Thrived back on the turf and on wet ground last time when sitting outside the leader before careering away for a convincing win. Stays in this grade with a slight weight rise and gets a similar run on speed again. This looks no harder and while he goes to the mile for the first time, he was very strong through the line last time and has an excellent base of fitness to attempt it off. Looks a big hope to win again.
3. Gwemrae: Is down in grade here after running home for 2nd over this course behind the flying Underplay. Did have every hope in the run but that form reads stronger than her rivals here and she can benefit with the mile run under her belt. Gets back but might not be too far away in the small field and encouragingly handled the heavy last time. Appeals as the obvious danger.
7. Dalehill: Set a strong tempo out in front last week before fading behind Our Shanakee but that was a very fast race for this grade and she stuck on reasonably well under the circumstances. Carr takes the ride here which may suit the horse better bowling out in front and there doesn’t look to be much pressure on her for that role. Been up a long time and has had plenty of chances but has placed over this course on wet ground and may dictate in front so some hope on that basis.
4. Miss Bluegrass: Got back up to her preferred trip and ran home into 4th behind Our Shanakee, narrowly beating home Dalehill in the process. Generally races well at this track but gets back in her races and needs luck. Yet to prove herself in this grade but did enough last time to suggest she can at least finish off into a place
Next best Rougeau (2) (didn’t do a lot last week and not sure the 1600m will suit but best form stacks up well enough to figure if he gets the trip).
Hard to go past Gallow Gate (3) on the strength of his last win but Gwemrae (3) does get a nice drop in grade. Dalehill (7) can give a sight in front if on-pacers are featuring.
BACK (WIN) Gallow Gate for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Dalehill for 1 unit
Race 8 – 22:30 Judys Body Fashions Benchmark 68 Hcp (1400 METRES)
No obvious leader here so expect Vengeance Of Fury and Agree To to roll forward with possibly Gee Gee Sun Valley. Shouldn’t be much pressure so the on-pacers may get their chance to dictate.
1. Agree To: Won a strong race in Hobart second-up on heavy ground over this trip and looks well placed here third-up. Versatile type who can settle close to what looks a muddling tempo and has options to track wherever Pires likes from the wider alley. This doesn’t look too much harder so he should take a power of beating.
5. Taramaya: Was much better second-up with the addition of blinkers when running home to grab 2nd behind Box Of Frogs in open company. Clearly a big drop in grade this time but doesn’t rise much in the weights as a consequence. Probably settles just off the speed and drawn out suits. Talented mare who generally races well here and is the major danger.
2. Olly’s A Star: Loves this track and comes here fresh which is when he invariably races well. Likes this course having only missed a place once in seven tries and the 1400m fresh isn’t an issue considering he has raced well previously under a similar setup. Gate 1 might be a disadvantage earlier in the night and consider the conditions as very wet ground has never been his go. Capable around this shorter distance range and can win with luck in running.
6. Toorak Affair: Got back onto the turf last time and flashed home for 2nd on heavy ground behind Gee Gees Style over this course. Potentially not as well suited in this smaller field but might help her to settle closer in running. Always needs luck but possesses a huge finish and up to this grade on her best. Big hope with the right run
Next best Vengeance Of Fury (3) (better second-up but never been out to this trip in the past so might need one more).
Small but competitive field. Think Agree To (1) can dominate the race up front but very wary of the stablemate Taramaya (5) who will appreciate the extra ground.
BACK (WIN) Agree To for 4 units