Racing returns to Launceston this Wednesday night for another 8 race card with plenty of depth for punters to sink their teeth into. With little rain forecast in the lead up to race time the track should get its chance to improve from its current Soft 7 and may end up in Soft 5 range. The rail goes from 6m out to the 9m position, which can often suit the on-pacers when the track isn’t too rain affected.
Race 1 6:20pm Walk The Boardwalk @ Launceston Seaport Maiden (1220m)
Stablemates Annie’s Shiraz and Gemini look capable of pushing forward to lead but can have competition from the likes of Turbogoesbananas, Gee Gees Talk Fest, Static React and possibly the newcomer Radiate. On-pacers seem likely to get their chance here but worth noting there are a number of debutants and resumers who may show more pace than expected.
10. Gemini: Resumes after a brief 2yo preparation where she ran two respectable races here over 1100m in reasonable company. Last run was 3rd behind Chillout who won impressively here last week in 3yo grade. Trialled impressively at Devonport leading into this and she gets in very light with Clark’s claim. Drawn out but has early speed to overcome the barrier and should be right in the firing line. 1220m may test her fresh but she appeals as a leading chance.
8. Amaword: Showed a bit in his 2yo preparation, especially at his second run when he ran a good 4th behind the smart Hard Empire at Devonport. Has trialled very nicely this time in and looks a strong type suited by this trip fresh. Wide draw and likelihood he goes back may make his task hard but he looks to have plenty of potential and if he can get the right run into the race he can make his presence felt.
1. British: Another resuming from a spell here after racing fairly well here last season for three top 4 finishes in four starts. Looks like he will give these a start and will be better over a bit longer but does have Maskiell on and did enough in a recent trial. Might be a bit of an ask here from back in the field but his form looks strong enough to show up in this.
9. Annie’s Shiraz: Makes her debut here so watching the market will be critical. Trialled very nicely leading into this and worth noting other trials last season were also decent. With no weight for Philpot and the inside draw she can take up the running and give a big sight if left alone. In the mix.
11. Khatun: Wasn’t fancied on debut in Devonport but ran a handy race from back in the field when a distant 3rd behind tearaway winner Ty Dash. Had the favours working up the inside there but that form measures up ok for a race like this and the extra trip should be in her favour. Maybe a run early but she wouldn’t need to improve much more to be a winning hope here.
Next best Static React (had plenty of chances but better back in trip and isn’t hopeless with the right run) and Argillite (first-starter who trialled fairly behind subsequent winner last time, watch market).
Tricky race with a few chances but want to work around a couple of 3yos resuming here. Gemini (10) can get a good run on speed for Clark and take some catching. Amaword (8) isn’t as well suited from the draw but has plenty of ability and will be charging home late if he gets the right run.
BACK (WIN) Gemini for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Amaword for 1 unit
Race 2 7:00pm CUBE Seaport Class 2 Handicap (1220m)
Exclusive Saturday can work across from his wide gate to take up the running here. Geegees Drummerboy and Before All can kick up from inside draws while Tuscan Classic and Gee Gee Sun Valley will push forward from wider out. Tempo should be genuine but these on-pacers will get their chance.
5. Cameo Kiss: Resumes from a spell here but has had two trials to prepare her for her return, the latest a nice effort when 3rd behind Admiral. Very good fresh last time when a fast finishing 3rd and all six of her runs over this course have been good efforts. Very consistent mare who gets in well with Maskiell’s claim and comes up with a nice draw. Would like to see her settle around midfield in the run with the rail out and if she does she looks hard to beat.
12. Gee Gee Sun Valley: A nice type of mare who found things a bit tough in a good C3 last start behind Concentrate. Previous runs were good in C1 grade and she should find this a little easier. Placed at all three runs at this track as a 3yo behind some handy horses, including a couple over this trip. Main obstacle here looks the wide draw but if she can get across she should be right in the mix.
2. Exclusive Saturday: Comes back in grade slightly after a couple of runs in C3 company, and wasn’t disgraced last time behind Hello Gertie and The Captain in Devonport. Won his only start here in impressive fashion on heavy ground. Drawn out but can get a cart across with Cuban Missile and should end up in a good spot on speed. Hasn’t been out to this trip yet which is a little query but with a comfortable run near the lead he can show up at the finish.
7. Hushama: Can be forgiven for her last run at Devonport when trapped wide throughout behind Aquila Reale. Stays down in the weights with Clark’s claim but does come up with a tricky draw if a few look to kick up inside her for a similar spot just behind the speed. Proven on wet ground but still yet to do it on a firmer surface so the track conditions may hold the key to her chances. Up to this if the ground is to her liking.
Next best Tuscan Classic (not bad resuming, drawn out but can go forward to slot in for Carr, first start on turf in this state, in with a chance) and Rougeau (maybe better suited getting back on turf and drawn well) but there are another four or five here with winning claims in the widest race of the night.
Very hard race here with many chances, keen to have something on potentially the best horse in the race in Cameo Kiss (5).
BACK (WIN) Cameo Kiss for 2 units
Race 3 7:40pm Seaport Restaurants Maiden (1420m)
No genuine leader but a few on-pacers who can roll forward to ensure some tempo. Look for the leaders to come from No Alibi Needed, She’s Rosie, Stem Cell, Totally Wicked and Smart Selection and whoever lobs near the lead should be advantaged.
9. Tough Vic: Steps up to the 1420m here after a good first-up effort over 1100m on heavy ground in Hobart when he got going late to only just miss behind Alexander Benjamin. Extra trip will definitely suit and he wasn’t disgraced at his only run on this track despite being well beaten behind Hot Dipped. Looks a promising 3yo but may have a task ahead of him getting back from the widest gate. Rates highly but will need luck in the run.
4. Saint’s Quest: Has been racing well at Devonport since joining the Rowan Hamer stable and is looking for the 1420m now after three runs at 1150m. Draws well for a nice run behind the speed and ran a very good 4th over this course late last year in a strong maiden behind Kissed By Fire. Hasn’t run a bad race this prep and with luck in running he is a leading chance.
3. No Alibi Needed: Had some support when having his first run for Tegan Keys in Hobart on heavy ground over 1200m. Was well beaten behind Kuusela there but wasn’t hopeless after getting well back in the run. Draws nicely here, David Pires takes the ride and the blinkers go on so no surprise to see him much closer in the run which could be the place to be. Expecting sharp improvement and definitely in the mix.
5. Totally Wicked: Comes from the Lloyd Kennewell stable to join Graeme McCulloch and has run a couple of handy races in South Australia. Nice booking of Raquel Clark should suit as he looks to have the ability to roll forward in his races and he would be well served in this to do so. Sting out looks fine and he should be fit enough with less than a month between runs. Watch the market but suggest he’s up to this.
7. She’s Rosie: Resumes from a long spell here without a trial under her belt. Did a pretty good job last prep with a number of placings over this trip and longer and was far from disgraced in the Strutt Stakes at the end of her campaign. Has the ability to race forward which can suit in this. May need the run fresh but if she’s up to the mark she can win.
Next best Fought For (racing OK at Devonport, this looks his right trip but may find this a bit tougher than what he has been competing against).
The two favourites look hard to beat but disadvantaged by the way the race will be run, so happy to have something on the improver No Alibi Needed (3).
BACK (E/W) No Alibi Needed for 2 units
Race 4 8:20pm Luxbet Benchmark 72 Handicap (1420m)
Himation and Maccy Fields can roll forward here in a race without pressure. Just Call Me Fred and Dillon Hall will look to box seat as can O’Reillys Geegee. Expect a genuine tempo at best.
2. Magnasa: Hasn’t put a foot wrong this prep, running very well in two unsuitable 1000m races before getting to 1350m last time and running down the in-form My Paige Three. Looked like he was going to win easier than what he did so suggest there was still a bit of improvement there. Has only placed 1 from 6 at this track but a few of those runs were alright earlier in his career so the track should hold no concerns. In well with Maher’s claim and should prove hard to beat provided horses can run on from back in the field.
4. O’Reillys Geegee: A hard horse to catch but did win well enough at Devonport two starts ago before a plain effort in this grade last time on heavy ground. Appreciates the sting out of the track and this distance range is his best. Has good stats over this course and can get a nice run just behind the leaders from the good draw. Doesn’t win often but expect him to be right in the finish as he generally is.
5. Maccy Fields: Has had a short break since a handy first prep racing at Devonport for Marion Dalco which included a win in this grade. Fitness may be a query at this trip without recent racing but she looks to get every chance on speed with Siggy Carr on top. Adelaide form reads well so possible she improves onto the turf. Should get her chance with the right run so if she’s ready to go she is capable of winning.
1. Just Call Me Fred: The class horse of the race but hasn’t been racing at his best in three runs back this prep. Gets out to 1420m after finding them too sharp for him over 1000m and looks better suited at this trip. Should get a gun run behind the lead from the inside draw but the 59kg does tend to pull him up a little. Should be fitter and just about ready to show his best but might want to see him do it first?
6. Himation: Comes back to the turf after a battling prep racing in Devonport. Last time at this track he ran a good 2nd behind Cheryl’s Horse on heavy ground over a mile. Wet conditions would definitely suit his cause and he gets in with no weight for Maskiell and a good run near the lead. Hasn’t won for a long time but if he is still in the mood he gets his chance.
In an even race happy to stick with Magnasa (2) who looks a horse on the up and suited by the small field.
BACK (WIN) Magnasa for 4 units
Race 5 9:00pm MUD Bar & Restaurant Class 1 Handicap (1420m)
A few who are capable of leading here with Ariconte, O’Lonh Star and Chelsarli all looking to go forward from wide draws and the emergency Mel Loves Vodka capable of kicking up from an inside gate. Emergency Slinky Malinky can box seat if she gets a run. If they sort themselves out early these on-pacers may dictate but if they don’t play fair those back in the field will get their chance.
2. Ariconte: Has put together three good runs in Devonport this prep, all in higher grade than this and placed on all three occasions. Ready for 1420m now and both runs over this course last season were very good in strong races in this grade. In well with Maskiell’s claim and is versatile enough to take up a spot near or behind the lead depending on the tempo. Looks so well placed and should be very hard to beat.
1. O’Lonh Star: Very good on debut at Devonport when he led all the way before failing on heavy ground in Hobart when sent out a warm favourite. Up to this trip is a query until he does it but he shapes as if it will suit. Can work into a good spot on speed from his wider draw and should get every chance from there. Looks a genuine danger.
9. Gee Gees Cool Gal: Has strung a couple of good runs together and now gets to the distance over which she broke her maiden last prep. Generally races well at this track and rarely runs a bad race for Carr. Has a few options from a middle draw depending on the tempo so expect her to get every chance in the run. Consistent mare who should be featuring in the finish.
3. Into The Night: Gets back on the turf after an extensive prep racing on the Tapeta surface in Devonport. This looks his pet trip and with Clark on he should be able to find a good position from a middle draw. His turf form at the start of his career was awful which is a little concern but he may have just needed racing for the penny to drop. Honest type who should be thereabouts.
8. Strathalbyn: Was much better second-up over this distance range at Devonport when 2nd behind Genuine Art. That race was run in pretty good time so should have brought him along nicely for this. While he has only placed once in 9 tries here you could argue it is his favourite track as he has run some nice races just behind the placings. Getting back from the wide draw might make things tough but if the inside is going off or he can get a nice cart into the race he’s capable of picking them up late.
Next best Speed Force (resumes, had two trials leading in, broke maiden over this course and potentially nice horse in the making) and Life’s Quest (honest and racing well in easier company but this is a big ask).
Very keen on Ariconte (2) here who is racing in excellent form and expect the extra distance and drop in grade to bring about a change in his fortunes.
BACK (WIN) Ariconte for 8 units
Race 6 9:30pm Fish ‘N’ Chips @ Launceston Seaport Class 5 Handicap (1120m)
Bella Venus and Teriki can push on from their wide gates to take up the lead ahead of Beluga Miss and Caffeine Hit. With no obvious pressure outside of them the on-pacers look advantaged.
2. Teriki: Has been racing in tremendous form on the Tapeta surface at Devonport with two wins and two 2nds from four starts this prep and now comes to Launceston where she was well performed last season. Drawing out appears to suit her and gives Raquel Clark options depending on how she jumps, and without huge speed in the race she can work into a good position near the lead. She is clearly up to a race like this and isn’t badly in with the claim. Looks very hard to beat again.
3. Concentrate: Has created a big impression since joining Graeme McCulloch, with a good first-up second followed by two big wins from the tail of the field, all at Devonport. This doesn’t look much harder and while the on-pacers will get their chance to control the speed, the smaller field means he shouldn’t be as far off them in the run. Muhcu has his first ride on him and has a lot to live up to with Darmanin having ridden him beautifully recently, but if he can produce something similar there’s no reason he can’t win again.
6. Beluga Miss: Has run well at both starts this prep, the latest being a good 2nd behind Gee Gees Jet in Hobart when she didn’t really appreciate the heavy conditions. Firmer ground should help here and she gets in light with Graham’s 4kg claim. Should find a gun spot from the good draw and wasn’t too far behind Teriki fresh. Genuine hope.
5. Caffeine Hit: A tricky mare to line up here, having raced in super fashion on heavy ground but having no real form on anything firmer. Given a break since a disappointing run at Devonport when she lacked early speed from an inside draw. Pires sticks with her which is a good sign and she should get the sting out of the track at least. Her chances look to appear on how wet the track is and she is very capable if genuinely rain-affected.
7. Bella Venus: Looks better suited getting onto firmer ground here and should be ready to fire third-up. Likes this track and did beat Issawi over this trip last prep. Drawn to find the lead if she wants which could be an advantage with the rail out. Finds a pretty competitive race but she’s not without a chance, especially if the track continues to dry out.
This race looks pretty dependent on pattern. Should the on-pacers be advantaged then Teriki (2) does look hard to beat again. Should horses be making ground then Concentrate (3) is going to be hard to hold out.
BACK (WIN) Teriki for 4 units
Race 7 10:00pm Levee Food Company Benchmark 62 Handicap (1220m)
Not much natural speed here which should give Gee Gees Blondie her chance to work to the lead from the wide draw. Turtles Nest and Sunset Party probably look to box seat from good barriers while the emergency Morgatoche can push forward. Hard to find many others going forward here so those landing near the lead should get every chance.
5. Turtles Nest: Has returned in good style with a strong win in Hobart before a close-up finish at Devonport last time in this grade behind Aquila Reale. Draws inside again which looks a bonus without much pressure to his outside, unless the inside is chopping out by this stage of the night. Slightly extra trip suits and he races well at this track. Looks well placed and a top chance again.
3. Gee Gees Blondie: Has been racing in good form in Devonport this prep in this grade and above. Has plenty of weight here which is a concern but with little pressure up front here she can push forward from her wide gate and control the speed. Wet or dry ground isn’t a concern and she won her maiden impressively over this course. Got plenty going for her if she can handle the big weight and looks an excellent winning hope.
1. Son Of Faith: Starts again this prep after two runs at Devonport where he didn’t appear to handle the surface. Trialled in Hobart to prepare for this and has won three of his four starts on this track – with a 2nd behind Gee Gees Jet the other run. Looked a horse going places last prep and isn’t in too badly with McCarthy’s claim. If you can forgive his Devonport runs then he would be a clear favourite in this and rates highly as a result.
6. Hello Gertie: Racing in super form and was quite impressive last time at Devonport when running down The Captain despite having to change course in the straight. Stays down in the weights with Maher’s claim and capable wet or dry. Track pattern will be crucial for her with the wide gate a disadvantage if the inside is holding up, but should it be chopping out then she may get the right run wide with cover. A genuine chance in an even race if conditions suit.
7. Crystal Flame: Another mare racing in excellent form and has been most consistent since developing the speed to take up a position closer in the run. Broke her maiden back at the start of her prep over this course so coming back to the turf isn’t an issue. Should get a nice smother in behind them from the good draw and has a big finish under those circumstances. Needs luck but is another in with a hope here.
Next best Speckie (resuming with big weight and better over slightly further but very good last prep and comes into calculations if swoopers are featuring).
Open race here with many good chances. Turtles Nest (5) looks well placed to sit just behind the speed from the inside draw and should be hard to beat but won’t be scared to back a few of these should he get into a silly price.
BACK (WIN) Turtles Nest for 4 units
Race 8 10:30pm Dine Out At Launceston Seaport Maiden/Class 1 Handicap (2130m)
A number of these get out to this staying trip for the first time which may result in a bit of tempo but there isn’t a great deal of speed on paper. Rialto Jess can run to the lead if desired with Northern Command and Geegees Lillybet likely to be near the speed. The rest of these tend to be midfield or worse but with a very steady tempo likely any of these can settle closer to the front than usual with a bit of intent early.
3. King Shaka: Appreciated getting out to the mile and back on the turf last time with a solid (yet distant) 2nd behind Island Tiger in Hobart. Gets out to this trip now for the first time but shapes as though he wants it. Arguably has the right form lines for this and has run handy races on the turf so he looks a good chance in an even race.
1. Geegees Lillybet: Ready for this trip now after a narrow 2nd behind Appmat over a mile in Devonport. Has raced fairly at this distance range without placing in 7 tries, with this looking her easiest attempt at it thus far. Would be suited if the track was genuinely rain affected and is capable of rolling forward which may be a big help. Definite chance.
7. Treat Me Right (7): Was her first time out to 1880m for the Trinder stable and now she goes out to 2130m which should suit considering she has finished close-up on numerous tries at 2000+ in provincial Victoria. Should get a gun run from a good draw and expect her to be in the finish.
8. Sh’bourne Dylaca: Ran very well at Devonport over a mile two starts back before a disappointing effort on face value last time in the race dominated by Ronaldo’s Goal. Wasn’t suited by the tempo there and Maskiell sticks with her for this. First go at this trip is an obvious query but bred to run it and was strong enough late last time to suggest she’s ready for it. In the mix here.
5. Rialto Jess: Also comes through the Ronaldo’s Goal race at Devonport where she was able to dictate terms in front but had no answer to the finish of those ahead of her. Looks like getting a good run in or near the lead again and now gets onto the turf which may bring improvement. First try over this distance is a query but with a soft run near the lead she can be thereabouts at the finish.
Tough way to finish the night. Going with King Shaka (3) who looks suited up to this trip and has different form to most of these chances but hard to have much confidence in a race like this.
BACK (WIN) King Shaka for 2 units