Wednesday night means thoroughbred racing under lights in Launceston and we have another strong 8 race program for punters to sink their teeth into. The track is expected to be reasonably firm as it can handle a couple of showers that are forecast for Wednesday but any more than that, especially during the night, may cause the surface to be a bit softer than usual. The rail goes out to the 6m position which generally allows for good racing but can slightly disadvantage those making their runs wide.
Race 1 6:30pm Longford Cup New Years Day 3yo Maiden (1200m)
Newcomer Valerius looks to have plenty of speed from the trials and may hold the lead from an inside draw here but expect Zatacla to come burning across from an outside draw to challenge. Belrock Boy, Annie’s Shiraz, Mag Wheels and possibly Trophy Legs with blinkers on look the other on-pacers but with many lightly raced gallopers here there could always be one or two ridden more aggressively if they begin well.
9. Zatacla: Resumes here after a solid 2yo campaign where he was placed at both outings early in the season. Comes back as a gelding and has had two good trials under his belt, the latest a narrow defeat behind Hard Empire after showing good speed. With Carr in the saddle and the winkers on he should have the speed to overcome the wide draw and land near the lead. 1200m first-up can test but he looks one of the leading hopes.
7. Valerius: A nicely bred 3yo who makes his debut here for Adam Trinder with two trial wins under his belt this prep, the first one being over Liffeybeau. Hasn’t jumped great both times but looks to have excellent early speed which has allowed him to drive through to the front quite quickly. The inside draw may be an issue if he doesn’t jump cleanly but if he does he may find himself in front without too many dramas. Looks a nice horse and expect him to run a race first-up.
4. Liffeybeau: Was a very nice run here at his debut when 2nd behind La Chica Bella over 1100m. Found some trouble in the run and arguably would have won with a clear crack at them but the winner had built up too much momentum. That was a very fast race so he should come right on from that and the form can stand up. The outside barrier is his major obstacle here but with luck in running he is a genuine hope.
8. White Hawk: Has had a freshen up since running 2nd over this course behind Under Milkwood when sent out a short priced favourite. Had a quiet trial to keep him ticking over but think being fresh at this 1200m trip is ideal as he will be looking for further soon enough. Previous run behind Kepta in Hobart was very good but this is his first look at a dry track. Has blinkers on for the first time to sharpen him up and gets in well with Clark’s claim. Definite chance, especially if the pressure goes on up front.
13. Trophy Legs: Ran a nice race from the back when resuming with a 3rd over this course behind Banca Dream. The form out of that race is looking strong, with Lucky Option winning and Della Terra running a close 2nd at their next outings. The blinkers go on here for the first time so she may be able to take advantage of the good draw and settle closer to the speed. May get the right run to be right in the finish here.
Next best Annie’s Shiraz (10) (much better last time ridden a bit quieter in fast race, drawn well and in light).
Very even race with 6 genuine winning hopes. Going with the on-pacers Valerius (7) and Zatacla (9) who may control the tempo and prove hard to run down.
BACK (WIN) Valerius for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Zatacla for 3 units
Race 2 7:10pm Book Your Xmas Function Class 2 Handicap (1200m)
Greensborough can drive out from an inside draw to be among the leaders here and look for Fill Ya Boots and Chelsarli coming across from their wide barriers. Geegees Drummerboy can push forward while the likes of Willby Rules, The Master Speed and possibly Sea Ruler will look to box seat. Elegatano is capable of going forward but they may look to ride conservatively again from the wide draw.
3. Elegatano: was a little disappointing first up in C3 grade when he didn’t finish off behind Livermore but did over race early when restrained. Should be fitter here and appreciate the slight drop in grade. Doubt they will try and hold him up early again but he should be able to relax better with a stronger tempo likely in this. Wide draw may be an issue but if he can slot in with cover he will run a much better race. One of the better chances in a wide open affair.
2. The Master Speed: resumes here after a disappointing winter campaign where he had to contend with wet tracks and always seemed like he was a run behind. Previous preparation was very good against the best 3yos in the state, including two wins at this track (including one first-up over this course) and a close 3rd in the Tasmanian Guineas behind Jerilderie Letter. Has trialled, drawn well and has McCoull aboard. Might find his old form here and will be hard to beat if he does.
1. Greensborough: won well over this course in C1 grade two starts ago before running down the track last time when things didn’t pan out his way. Has a tongue tie applied this time and draws to get a similar run to his first-up win. Yet to prove himself in this grade but should get a nice claim and should have every chance. In the mix.
8. Fill Ya Boots: comes back from a couple of good runs in C3 company and will find this slightly easier. Drawn out but can work across to be in the first few without too many problems. Consistent mare who makes her own luck and has genuine winning claims.
7. Willby Rules: is a promising 3yo who resumes here after a successful winter campaign where he won his two most recent starts at Devonport in impressive fashion. He sat wide on both occasions there and they followed a good 2nd behind smart filly Life On The Wire. This is his hardest test against the older horses but draws beautifully and can show up.
Next best Nissky (4) (hasn’t won for a long time but likes this track and has had two trials, would prefer sting out) and Magnacash (5) (smart mare resuming, gets back and will need luck from possibly tricky inside draw).
Very good race with many winning chances. The Master Speed may well go around over the odds here coming off a disappointing preparation, but should be ready to go this time in and will be very hard to beat on his best form.
BACK (WIN) The Master Speed for 3 units
Race 3 7:50pm Luxbet Class 1 Handicap (1400m)
Looks good speed in this. Schillie Billie looks to only know one way, while Gemini and Slinky Malinky are drawn in the widest half of the field and may have to go forward to get over. Sunset Party and I Love This Bar can kick up from inside draws, while Gallow Gate and Commanding Dash shouldn’t be far away. Could be a lot of pressure as a result which may suit those ridden quietly.
5. Speed Force: ran very good races at both runs over this course before stepping up to the mile last time with a strong closing 3rd in an unsuitably run race. Comes back to C1 grade but also drops back in distance. Suited by the expected strong tempo but some worry he might not have the dash in his legs coming back to this trip. His recent form reads very strongly for a race like this but from an inside draw he will need luck from back in the field. If he gets the right run he will just about win but there is risk there.
8. Gemini: is a promising 3yo filly who gets out to 1400m for the first time after running three good races here over 1200m. Finished a close-up 4th last time behind Mensa Magic and finished alongside or in front of many of her rivals here. Draws well in the middle of the line to go forward and make her own luck. First go this trip is some query but if she runs it strongly she appeals as one of the better hopes.
3. Steel Dan: made the leap into C1 grade in good style last time, running a close-up 3rd behind Mensa Magic after enjoying a good run just behind the speed. Has run reasonable races over 1300m in Victoria and racing like 1400m will suit. Gets a nice claim for Thornton and should be suited by the good tempo. Needs luck getting cover from the gate but looks one to be finishing hard late and will be in the finish.
1. Banca Dream: won his maiden impressively last time thanks to a beautiful Raquel Clark ride, running down impressive subsequent winner Lucky Option in the process. Clark’s claim will help in what is a pretty strong C1. Looks well drawn to get a soft run midfield and the extra distance looks very suitable on his last win. Still has a bit to learn but looks a very nice horse in the making and he has the talent to be very competitive here.
Next best Gallow Gate (4) (close up against many of these last time, likes this track, also needs luck from the barrier) and Schillie Billie (7) (gave a dashing sight in front last time, Impulsive Lager has won since, may find more pressure in front this time which could bring about her undoing).
Giving Speed Force (5) another chance here with the expected good tempo. Look to save on the recent maiden winner Banca Dream (1) who might get the right run to make the leap in grade.
BACK (WIN) Speed Force for 4 units
BACK (WIN) Banca Dream for 1 unit
Race 4 8:30pm Great Northern Experience Maiden (1400m)
Very little exposed speed here so Mighty Hoffa may roll to the lead from his wide draw. Newcomer New Release may kick through to take up a spot with Blushing Pink, while Kirby Jane can go forward and Fashion Tycoon may land near the speed fresh with blinkers on for the new stable. Hard to see them going at anything faster than an average tempo.
9. Trippin Away: has his first run in the state for Team Wells who have had a lot of success in recent times with ex-Victorian gallopers. Has run a number of placings on the provincial circuit from 1400m to 2400m which looks good enough form for a very limited maiden like this. Coming back from 1800m off nearly four weeks between runs looks ideal. Watch betting but suggest she is hard to beat here.
4. Lord Derby: has his first run as a gelding here after a brief 2yo campaign where he did enough for a horse who will be better suited as he matures. Trialled alright last month and the 1400m fresh looks ideal for him. Still looks to have plenty of improvement to make and will be better over further but finds a weak race and might have enough talent to show up fresh.
3. New Release: is an interesting runner who hasn’t raced since January 2015. Form wasn’t hopeless in decent provincial maidens in Victoria at this trip and longer. Big ask to win this first-up off such a long break but has had a trial and Raquel Clark booked indicates he might be ready to go. Watch the betting but if he’s ready he’s found a pretty easy race to win.
8. Fashion Tycoon: has her first run for the Adam Trinder stable here after racing previously for John Blacker. Has had two trials leading into this so while 1400m is an ask fresh you would suggest she is just about fit enough. Has shown glimpses of ability, mainly at the trials, with her two efforts this time in relatively handy. With blinkers on first time she is a big betting watch in the new camp.
2. Mighty Hoffa: hasn’t shown a whole lot of form but not many of these have. In his favour is the fact he possesses early speed, which should see him lead or be right there on the pace. In a race lacking quality it may be the case he can battle away near the lead and nothing is good enough to run past him. Limited but finds his race.
Next best Watertail (5) (hasn’t done much at the trials but blinkers first time and couldn’t ask for an easier place to kick off, watch betting).
Low standard of maiden here. Trippin Away (9) won’t need to be much good to show up here and she looks the best option, especially if the market is with her.
BACK (WIN) Trippin Away for 2 units
Race 5 9:00pm St Michaels 50th Anniversary Maiden (1200m)
Pistol Jack will be out looking for the lead here but may have competition from Kyogle Son drawn underneath him and Bella Francesca looking to get across from the outside gate. Plenty of these want to be close, including All About Elouise, Gee Gees Rusty, Silver Reset and possibly Pop A Lefty and Liffey Lad, so the pressure could be on.
4. Pistol Jack: was very well backed first-up when he led at a strong tempo but found Killin Falls too good late. That was over 1200m which is always an ask fresh so he should be much fitter for that outing. Looks to be good speed here again but capable of dominating from the front and gets a nice claim with Clark staying aboard. Wider draw suits as he can work across to take up his position without doing too much work early. Sure to be fancied again and looks hard to beat.
7. Kyogle Son: was also heavily backed when resuming but he was caught three-wide outside a very hot speed and understandably faltered from the turn. Has since been back at the trials where he ran a good 2nd and looks ready for the step up to 1200m. Trinder has tinkered with his gear and he should get a much better run from barrier 2. Take the lead from the betting move last time and he can be given another chance here.
1. George’s Gambol: ran his usual solid race first-up behind Killin Falls to finish 3rd. Likes this track and has run 8 placings in his 14 start career. Always in the betting but has tended to do things wrong and find a way to get beat in the past. Has the ability and looks suited if the pressure goes right on up front. Should be around the mark as always and if things pan out his way he can win.
6. Gee Gees Rusty ran a game 4th first-up behind La Chica Bella when caught wide early although he was able to tuck in behind the leaders to get a break. Was the best effort of the on-pacers there and comes up with a much better barrier this time. Likely to get a gun run just behind the speed and although he goes to 1200m for the first time it looks fine at this stage of his career. Honest type who should get the right run to be in the finish.
8. Trusted Warrior: wasn’t suited first-up on a Hobart track dominated by on-speed runners but did enough to run home into a reasonable midfield finish. Up to 1200m suits and he ran a close 2nd at this track in the Sires’ Produce over 1400m. McCoull sticks with him and he looks most advantaged if the pressure goes on up front. Want to see horses able to run on to give him his chance but he is a real knockout chance if the pattern is suitable.
Next best Bella Francesca (12) (can forgive last start when caught in the speed battle with Kyogle Son but outside draw looks difficult to overcome in a race with a bit of pressure).
Pistol Jack (4) was very good first-up and looks hardest to beat here despite the expected pressure. If things get crazy up front look for Trusted Warrior (8) to be flashing late.
BACK (WIN) Pistol Jack for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Trusted Warrior for 1 unit
Race 6 9:30pm Tas Hospitality Association Class 5 Handicap (1200m)
Hot race but not much by way of genuine early speed. Bideford and Treasury Bond like to go forward without being mad speedsters by any means but could well lob in the first couple and control the tempo. Trot On Candy, Harvey Bay and Geegees Brightstar can all be thereabouts in the run with the rest of these preferring to race back in the field. The on-pacers look advantaged.
2. Treasury Bond: is a very promising galloper who resumes from a spell here after winning four races in his first season at the races as a 4yo. Has trialled twice leading into this, the latest in blistering fashion when beating Jerilderie Letter by 5 lengths running slick time. Interestingly only his debut run was over this distance range, when he comfortably beat The Captain at Devonport. Races well here, can get a good run on speed in this and gets in well with Clark’s claim. Expect him to run a big race fresh.
3. Bideford: is also a lightly-raced older galloper with plenty of ability who resumes here. Has also had two trials and is presumably in good shape with the bar plates being removed. Placed in open grade last prep and ran 4th at WFA behind Admiral. Loves this course and races well fresh. Looks hard to beat in a hot race.
4. Concentrate: has been very impressive since arriving in the state, with his most recent win over this course being his best display so far. He ran home in the fastest splits of the meeting there but was well suited by the tempo of the race. Goes up in grade here and may not get the tempo to suit this time around. Has the talent but will need the right run. In the mix.
7. Trot On Candy: resumes here after an excellent first preparation as a 3yo where she raced her way through to open grade in the autumn. Has a liking for this course with a win and two 2nds from three runs, including a half-length 2nd behind Tshahitsi. Well drawn here and will appreciate firm ground. Should be ready to go having beaten Gee Gee Top Notch in a trial. Definite winning hope.
5. Harvey Bay: is another horse resuming here, but has had a shorter break than some of the other fancies and is coming back from slightly longer races. All runs at this distance range have been good and it looks suitable for him first-up. Drawn to get a great run near the speed but this is clearly his toughest test so far. Might find this a bit tough but should get every chance and he will be thereabouts.
Next best Stella Etoile (8) (smart mare resuming, should be ready to go with 3 trials under her belt, probably wants a bit further and more pressure up front) and Livermore (6) (up in grade after impressive first-up win, might be giving some smart horses too much start here in a race with little pressure but can win).
Hot race. Going to play with the on-pacers Treasury Bond (2) and Bideford (3) who have the required class and also the chance to control the race from the front. If the pressure goes on however any number of these can win.
BACK (WIN) Treasury Bond for 3 units
BACK (WIN) Bideford for 3 units
Race 7 10:05pm Launceston Mitsubishi Benchmark 62 Handicap
Big Pegg and Miss Choosey look most likely to take up the running here with Sh’bourne Dylaca right there on speed but the rest of these like to find their feet early. As a result, the on-pacers do look capable of controlling the race.
3. Big Pegg: backs up from last Friday’s meeting at Hobart when she looked the winner before Electric Crimson fought back to beat her narrowly over 2100m. That followed a good 2nd here behind Remorse when she did a lot of work outside the leader on a strong tempo. Her developed ability to race forward is proving valuable over these staying trips and looks especially advantageous here. Looks very well placed and will take plenty of beating.
10. Sh’bourne Dylaca: was extremely impressive last start in easier grade when winning by a big margin in a race run in very fast time. She is another who has improved off the back of being able to race closer to the lead. Her previous run in BM62 was good and she arguably should have beaten home Big Pegg there, albeit after enjoying a softer run behind the lead. Looks up to the jump in class and is a leading chance.
6. Island Tiger: is also on the quick back-up from the staying race in Hobart on Friday, where she never really got into the race behind Electric Crimson. Previous run here behind Remorse was good and that run ties in with the two leading chances in this. In well with Thornton’s claim and would appreciate any extra rain. In with a hope.
1. Miss Choosey: gets out to 2100m for the first time this prep after racing consistently but without success this prep. Had two runs over this trip as a 3yo filly – a close-up finish in the Strutt Stakes when she led at a moderate tempo, before being well beaten in the Oaks which was run much more strongly. On those efforts she shapes as a query at the trip but at least has a base of two mile runs from which to attempt it off. Has been racing in better races than most of these and can feature if she runs the distance out strongly.
5. Prominent Star: was better last time in a slowly run 1600m, working home ok despite having no chance of winning due to the tempo. Raced well when he got out to the staying trips last season and is more seasoned this time around. Will find this easier than the races he has been contesting and might just be needing the extra trip to show his best. Not without a hope.
Next best The Princeling (2) (mixes his form but has won over 2200m and might be looking for it, hard to trust).
Think one of Big Pegg (3) or Sh’bourne Dylaca (10) will be winning. Slight leaning to Big Pegg (3) as she should be rock hard fit if she backs up, but if she doesn’t take her place very happy to back Sh’bourne Dylaca (10).
BACK (WIN) Big Pegg for 3 units
Race 8 10:35pm Tas Hotel & Club Supplies Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m)
Can’t see them going too quickly in the last here, with Bidirectional likely to roll to the lead from his wide draw and Zipped Up happy to land in the first couple. The rest of these are proven to prefer racing back in the field so they can control the speed. Interesting to see where Siorca ends up from the wide draw – they may look to roll forward to slot in just behind the speed otherwise they may have to go right back to last.
1. Siorca: couldn’t have been more impressive last time when back from a short break to win in this grade over 1400m. Step up to 1600m is even more suitable and he looks to be realising the potential he has always promised as a young horse. Tempo in this looks pretty plain but that was the case last time and he won in devastating fashion. Expect him to have far too much for his rivals at the business end and whoever beats him will win.
6. Speckie: has come back in very good touch and the mile looks ideal for him at his fourth run in this prep. Both runs over this course have been very good and he is proven to be competitive in this grade. Doesn’t win out of turn but if the favourite has issues he looks best placed to cause the upset.
4. Bidirectional: was well beaten first-up behind Siorca but looks much better placed here over the mile. Should be able to roll forward to the lead from his wide draw and can get a comfortable time of it from there. Doesn’t have the sprint of a few of these and is on his way through to the staying events but if he gets his own way in front and can take the dash out of his rivals he may take some running down.
8. Zipped Up: steps up from BM62 grade where he ran 2nd behind Sentry Duty after sitting outside an incredibly slow tempo. Doesn’t look to be much pressure for the lead here also so expect her to get a comfortable run near the lead. Has jumped in grade pretty quickly but gets down to the minimum weight and Pires sticks with her. The cheap run on speed gives her the chance to be somewhere in the finish.
7. Ocean Star: recorded a good win here second-up over 1400m and looks suited out to the mile now. Yet to win at this trip but has run four placings from her five tries. Up in grade but gets in super light with Punch’s claim and may be capable of box-seating on a slow tempo. Hard race to win but she can run well again.
Next best Keukenhof (2) (going ok but doesn’t win often and this grade seems to find him out, can run into a place).
Won’t be any price but hard to see Siorca (1) being beaten here.
BACK (WIN) Siorca for 6 units