Thoroughbred racing in Tasmania starts to heat up this Wednesday night at Launceston with an eight-race card highlighted by the Listed $100,000 Launceston Mitsubishi Conquering at Weight-For-Age and the $50,000 Hesketh McCrimmon 3yo Cup. The rail returns to the True position after being out 9m last week and there should be plenty of fresh ground to give all horses their chance. With no rain forecast expect the track to again be a beautifully prepared firm surface.
Race 1 6:20pm Luxbet Maiden (1200m)
Expect Silver Reset to set a strong pace like he did first-up without too many looking to go with him. Quiet Wonder and Pop A Lefty can be on speed but prefer to take a sit than push the issue. Should be a genuine tempo but not much pressure on the front end so on-pacers should get their chance.
3. Silver Reset: Resumed in good style here a fortnight ago when running a game second behind Trusted Warrior. Sat outside the favourite Pistol Jack there at a good tempo and beat him off on the bend, only to be picked off just before the line. If they use his speed again here he can lead and give a great sight. One of the top chances.
2. Quiet Wonder: Comes here off a good second in Hobart when making ground from back in the field behind Hellmuth on a day where that was hard to do. Previous third behind Lucky Option was also good and this looks a little easier than that. Gets Newitt in the saddle, a good barrier and step back up to 1200m looks in his favour. Definite winning chance.
12. In Bloom: Resumes after a brief 2yo campaign where she was placed here at her 2nd start behind the smart Chillout. Didn’t show a whole lot in a recent trial but that was a month ago so likely to have improved off that. Gate 1 for Clark may help her find a spot around midfield and she can be running on at the finish. Watch the market to gauge how ready she is here first-up.
6. Odessa Lad: Wasn’t bad first-up when finishing midfield behind La Chica Bella in a race run at a very strong tempo. Will be fitter here and ready for the step up to 1200m. Well drawn for a quiet run in behind them and does look to have some ability. In with a hope.
Next best Mag Wheels (well beaten last time but did run home in decent splits).
Silver Reset (3) and Quiet Wonder (2) have the form and should get the runs to get their chance here. Silver Reset gets his chance to go all the way but if he gets it wrong Quiet Wonder can run him down.
BACK (WIN) Quiet Wonder for 4 units
Race 2 6:55pm Longford Cup New Years Day Maiden (1400m)
Mac ‘N’ Muhcu comes back in trip but may look to return to his front-running tactics here. Heaps Of Heart is likely to go forward from a wide draw to get across, while the likes of Cousin White Foot, Trophy Legs and Gee Gees Free Hero will be looking for a position near the lead. Big field so expect a solid tempo with a lot of these capable of settling a bit closer than midfield if desired.
4. Gee Gees Free Hero: Comes to the 1400m third-up here after two solid placings this time in. Ran home well last time behind Lucky Option when dropping back to 1100m on his home track in Hobart. First-up third behind Steel Dan doesn’t look bad with Killin Falls having won since. Has the speed to overcome his wide draw and land in a spot near the lead. Close up fifth in the Sires’ at his only run this trip. Has had a few chances but looks hard to beat in this.
13. Trophy Legs: Has run well at both starts this time in on this track in what look to be two good quality maidens. Was able to take up a position near the lead last time with the blinkers on and think that newly discovered tactical speed will help her find a good spot here from a wider draw. Ran third in the Sires’ here as a 2yo and should be spot on for the rise in trip third-up. Ticks a lot of boxes and will take some beating.
8. White Hawk: A promising galloper who ran well last time when third behind Zatacla here over 1200m. Step up to 1400m looks right up his alley and he is another who can push forward from his wider draw to find a decent spot. Has winkers on this time with the blinkers going off. Been crying out for this trip and now looks ready to tackle it. Definite winning hope.
9. Cousin White Foot: Has blinkers on for the first time here to try and sharpen her up for her fourth run over 1400m in a row. Racing very consistently and puts herself in a good spot in running every time she goes around. Yet to see this track but firm ground in Hobart hasn’t been an issue and she again gets in light with Thornton’s claim. Might not have the quality of some of these 3yos but very honest and will be thereabouts.
1. George’s Gambol: Has run two solid thirds this preparation and is now ready to tackle this trip third-up. Has had many chances but rarely runs a bad race but just can’t find the killer blow. Newitt goes on here and maybe he has the strength to find that extra length or so he needs to find the winner’s circle. Can get a soft run from an inside draw and be running on late. Always in the mix.
Next best Scott Market (not bad last time behind Lucky Option when well-backed, ready for 1400m) and Lemilkey (has run on well at both starts, wants 1400m but has some ground to make up on a few of these from last time).
Open race here with as many as 7 genuine winning chances. Going with Trophy Legs (13) who has put in two good runs so far this prep and gets the right run to show up here.
BACK (WIN) Trophy Legs for 3 units
Race 3 7:35pm Brooklyn Park Class 1 (1400m)
Schillie Billie should resume her front-running style now she returns to 1400m. Banca Dream will work across to be near the lead and they look the genuine speed. A few of these can box seat, with Sunset Party and Gallow Gate likely to kick up from inside draws while Tough Missile, The Desperate and the emergencies Commanding Dash and Gotta Have Vibe can go forward if they begin well. Should be a genuine tempo but without too much pressure at the front.
1. Banca Dream: Ran a good on-speed 3rd over this course last time behind Speed Force where he was clearly the best of those racing near the lead. Looks like getting a more comfortable run in the first few here and should be able to roll across into a good position near the front. Still learning the caper so has the scope to continue improving at each run. Looks well placed here and will take some beating with luck in running.
8. Kepta: Wasn’t bad last time when second behind Our Caption and stuck to her task well after never really travelling the whole race. Going to 1400m looks ideal on that run, and she has the blinkers back on to try and sharpen her up. Drawn nicely for a good spot just behind the speed, she can run a big race.
9. Korn Broke: Finished off very nicely first-up behind Our Caption after being hampered at the start and having the tempo against her. Jump to 1400m second-up looks pretty suitable and drawn out shouldn’t be an issue as she will go back. Form ties in well here through Kepta. Looks to have a bit of scope to her and expect her to be running on hard at the finish.
3. Gallow Gate: A very consistent galloper who has only won once in 15 tries but is always right in the finish. Good second last time behind Speed Force and that form ties in with Banca Dream. Races well over this course and should get a good run with Newitt on from a good draw. No reason he won’t be in the finish again.
2. Killin Falls: Did a good job to run third last week behind Time Commands after drawing wide and having to cover ground in the run. On the quick back-up and step up to 1400m should suit after three runs at 1200m. May find this a little tougher than what he has been contesting but has winning claims.
Next best Mannerelle (joins John Blacker stable after racing for Darren Weir in Victoria, consistent type of mare, watch betting) and Trusted Warrior (ran home hard to break maiden last time, up to 1400m suits but much harder here).
Good race with plenty of depth but happy to stick with Banca Dream (1) who looks a horse with a good future and he can dominate the race on speed.
BACK (WIN) Banca Dream for 6 units
Race 4 8:05pm Taste of Tam O’Shanter Maiden/Class 1 (1600m)
Another big field and expect the tempo to be decent at the very least. Lads Curfew can go forward and lead with blinkers on for the first time, while pressure comes from the outside gates with Rialto Jess, Marbel Duke and Vivre Star looking to work across into a position. Totally Wicked and New Release can get good runs from inside draws near the lead. All should get their chance.
1. Impulsive Lager: Broke his maiden last time out over 1400m here in impressive fashion, coming around the field from well back to get up near the line. Up to 1600m suits now and he should get a soft run from a good draw. His third over this course last prep was a bit plain when a short-priced favourite but he was subsequently spelled. In well with Thornton’s claim and he looks hard to beat.
7. Geegees Lillybet: Has put together a couple of good runs over this course, with her last start 4th behind Life’s Quest very good after running into some trouble during the race. Newitt stays with her and her middle draw looks ideal. Always needs luck in running with her racing pattern but is racing in career best form and if she holds her current level she will be right in the finish again.
3. Special Shot: Jumps from 1200m to the mile on the quick back-up here after a fast-finishing 5th in BM62 grade behind Scrutineer. This is much easier but obviously is a much different race going considerably up in distance. The added trip should suit and he did place over this trip in this grade last season in Hobart. With pacifiers on for the first time and Damien Thornton to ride he is the horse bringing different form here and can show up with luck from the back.
4. Tough Vic: Has been mixing his form but appreciated the pressure on up front last time with a fast-finishing win in Hobart to break his maiden status. After three 1400m runs the mile looks ideal although his form at this track hasn’t been as good as that on his home track in Hobart. He draws reasonably enough to get a decent run with cover back in the field so if he produces his best he can be running on into the finish with a few of these.
14. Vivre Star: Another going from 1200m to 1600m on the week’s back-up although he is coming off just a run in maiden grade. The booking of Pires indicates the stable is still keeping the faith with him and from a wide gate he may be able to work into a really good spot on speed in this. Best run was his second over this course on heavy ground last season so maybe the extra trip is the key to him. May get the right run to show up at longer odds here.
Next best Totally Wicked (very honest on-speed runs at his past 3 over this course, can get a good run again from Barrier 4 so should be in the finish again).
Verdict: Another even race with many chances. Going with two of these bringing different form on the quick back-up at odds in Special Shot (3) and Vivre Star (14) in what looks a tough race.
BACK (WIN) Special Shot for 1 unit
BACK (WIN) Vivre Star for 1 unit
Race 5 8:40pm Hesketh McCrimmon 3yo Cup (1200m)
Gee Gee Double Dee should find the lead pretty comfortably here and expect Chillout to push forward after doing likewise last time in the Vase. Zatacla and Count Montagu may go forward from their wide draws, while Life On The Wire and Hot Dipped can get good runs just in behind. Expecting a genuine tempo.
2. Hot Dipped: Was the state’s leading 2yo last season, winning her three starts in dominant fashion including the Gold Sovereign Stakes, before running a game fifth in the Group 2 Sires’ Produce at Flemington. Was set for a Thousand Guineas campaign but aborted those plans after a close-up fourth at Caulfield over 1400m. Comes here fresh at 1200m which should suit with a trial under her belt. Has the form on the board and is the one they have to beat here.
1. Hard Empire: Tasted defeat for the first time last start in Hobart in the 3yo Vase but his run was full of merit after being back and wide on a track favouring those on speed. Step up to 1200m is ideal and he won his only start at this track as a 2yo in the Sires’ Produce. Versatile type who is probably suited drawn out as he can take his time to work into a spot. Strong gelding who knows how to win and will take some beating.
4. Chillout: Has barely put a step wrong his whole career and did a good job in the Vase racing outside the lead before being grabbed in the shadows of the post. Better treated at the weights in this and that tactical speed may be a bonus in a race without many genuine speedsters. Was beaten at his only start over 1200m in Hobart but was unsuited on heavy ground there. Always in the finish and no reason he won’t be again here.
9. Life On The Wire: Brings different form here, having won first-up in C1 company where she comfortably beated subsequent upset Vase winner Giselle’s GIrl. Can put herself into a race so should find a great spot for Pires from Barrier 4. Step up to 1200m looks well within her grasp. Untapped and ticks a few boxes here. Definite claims.
6. Zatacla: Returned in very good style here a fortnight ago when he broke his maiden status despite having a few things against him in the run. Was strong at the finish there and looks to have come on this prep since being gelded. This is obviously a big step up in grade but Newitt takes the ride and he has speed to overcome the wide gate. May measure up.
Next best Gee Gee Double Dee (exciting 2yo who hasn’t finished off her races as a 3yo, won her early races without blinkers and they come off here so may improve and gets good run in front) and Giselle’s Girl (upset winner of the Vase, first time to 1200m but no reason it won’t suit, drawn for a cheap run again and may show up again at longer odds).
Intriguing race with a number of different formlines to weigh up. Think Life To The Wire can make the jump to this grade with the right run and looks a good each-way bet. The 3yo scene will become a lot clearer after this.
BACK (E/W) Life On The Wire for 3 units
Race 6 9:10pm Launceston Mitsubishi Conquering (1400m)
Hellova Street can roll to the lead pretty comfortably here, providing he begins better than he did in the Newmarket. Admiral and Tshahitsi look to sit on his hammer, while Jerilderie Letter and Geegees Goldengirl can settle closer from their inside draws. Doesn’t look like much pressure up front so the on-pacers may control the race and make it hard for those back in the field.
2. Admiral: The reigning WFA champ and gets back to these weight conditions after a game third in the Newmarket under the steadier of 59.5kg. Obviously meets most of these better at the weights this time around and he has won all three starts over this course, including this race last year. Should get a good run on speed, likes firm ground and knows how to win. Will take some beating here.
6. Tshahitsi: Caused a boilover in the Newmarket with no weight but had always shown he had the ability to get through to the top grade and did put the writing on the wall in the Goodwood. Weight-for-age is a new challenge again but he will enjoy the step up to 1400m as much as any horse in the race. Has won twice over this course and should be right on the speed again. Constantly improving type who might get out to silly odds with the weight turnaround. He can win again.
4. Hellova Street: Won two races over 1400m as a younger horse and it has always shaped to suit him bowling along out in front but he hasn’t had much of a look at it in the top grade. He ran a game third in the Thomas Lyons in 2015 where Admiral was second after being taken on in front and this time around he looks like controlling the speed in front. Newmarket run was alright after a poor beginning and a tough run outside the speed. WFA suits and he is very capable of winning this.
7. Powercharged: Showed last season he is up to WFA grade when he ran Admiral to a neck in the Thomas Lyons, and his fast-finishing 5th in the Newmarket only confirmed he has what it takes to be very competitive at the top level. Comes up with the outside draw here which may prove awkward but he has Newitt on to steer and has won three of his four starts over this course. Another not suited by the weight turnaround but loves this track and can’t forget that Lyons run last season. Definite claims.
5. Jerilderie Letter: Had no luck from the wide gate in the Newmarket and his run can be forgiven. Has been able to perform when second-up in the past, winning over this course in 3yo company last season after running third in the 3yo Cup and he should have just about won a race at Caulfield when second-up over this trip last prep. Up to WFA doesn’t help but gets a totally different look at the race from the inside draw. Darmanin sticks and he is not without a hope with the cheap run behind them.
Next best Geegees Goldengirl (did enough in the Newmarket and ran 2nd in this race last year, drawn for a cheap run, has place claims at least).
Good race. Admiral (2) and Hellova Street (4) look most advantaged by the WFA conditions but happy to stick with the Newmarket winner Tshahitsi (6) who can stamp himself as a genuine star and may be overlooked by the market.
BACK (WIN) Tshahitsi for 4 units
Race 7 9:40pm Veolia Class 3 Handicap (1400m)
A number of on-pacers here should ensure a solid tempo. One Shot Off may take up the running with the likes of Greensborough, Solomon’s Song, Reann’s Diamond and Hello Gertie capable of vying for the lead if desired. The Master Speed won’t be far away from his inside draw.
1. The Master Speed: Couldn’t have been more impressive first-up a fortnight ago when he scored a dominant win in good time here over 1200m. Goes to 1400m second-up here but followed the same path last season as a 3yo and won over this course second-up after a good fresh win also. Should get a gun run from the inside draw and won’t find this much harder than last time. Looks the one to beat.
6. Speed Force: Appreciated the drop back in trip to a fast-run 1400m last time when scoring an impressive win in C1 grade. This is clearly harder but he gets a drop in weight and loses nothing with Newitt taking the reins. Might not get the same level of pressure up front but if the speed is on or horses are coming down the middle later in the night then he has the scope to measure up here.
2. Greensborough: Wasn’t bad last time when third behind The Master Speed but was no match for the winner. Goes out to 1400m for the first time here but should get a good run on speed from a good draw and it may suit his on-speed racing style. Still lightly-raced and improving and gets in well with the claim. In the mix.
5. Solomon’s Song: Drops back in distance and grade since running a game third behind Magnasa in Hobart. Previous run over this course was fair in BM62 grade which reflects his time in Tasmania; running honest races without really threatening to win. Gets in very light with Thornton’s claim and can get a good run on speed. Can be thereabouts again.
Next best Hello Gertie (plain last run, this track and trip ok, capable this grade) and One Shot Off (didn’t do much first-up for new stable but better suited this trip and can give a sight in front with Pires on).
Can’t go past The Master Speed (1) here and he looks set to win again. That said, am wary of One Shot Off (11) up to her right trip with the booking of Pires and can look to save there.
BACK (WIN) The Master Speed for 6 units
BACK (WIN) One Shot Off for 1 unit
Race 8 10:10pm Toll Tasmania Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m)
Miss It And A Bit should find the front as she likes with Alilad the only horse likely to provide some competition in the lead. Red Eagle and Beaufort Lad can get good runs near the speed while Valdez may be able to settle closer from an inside barrier. The on-pacers may be advantaged without much obvious pressure up front but the leader will set a solid tempo as she always does.
4. Beaufort Lad: Did a good job to win in this grade last week over 1400m and looks very well suited here up to the mile on the quick back-up. Was able to race closer to the speed there and should be able to find a nice position just behind the lead here with the slower tempo at this trip. Has won all three tries over this course. This is a step up in grade but he looks well placed again and appeals as a logical top pick.
9. Speckie: Racing in excellent form and will enjoy not running into Siorca here after chasing him home at his past couple of starts. Hasn’t missed a top-two finish over this course in three tries, is well performed in this grade and stays down in the weights. The negative is his poor winning strike rate and he needs luck with his racing style but he should be in the finish here again as he generally is.
5. Miss It And A Bit: Has her first run here for the Paul Maher stable after consecutive seconds behind Magnasa. This is her favourite trip, having won the George Adams here (following Admiral’s disqualification) but she also has a poor winning strike rate and that was her only win in 10 tries over this course. Should get a good run in front and always takes some running down but might find one better here again.
3. Player One: Was much better second-up despite finishing second last in Hobart, running home in good time on a track that favoured those near the lead. Not sure he is well suited here with the inside barrier in a race that may be dominated on speed, and he is still yet to win on the Launceston track. That said, he is the class runner of the field and will be getting close to the mark here third-up. Sharp improvement wouldn’t surprise.
6. Valdez: Wasn’t bad last time when running on behind Beaufort Lad and was only a couple of lengths behind at the finish. Likes the mile trip, having won twice over this course, and can be more positive from a good barrier. Proven in this grade and ready to show something now. May be the knockout runner.
Next best Keukenhof (racing OK without winning, likes this course but may find a couple of these a bit better).
Beaufort Lad (4) is sure to be all the rage but does find a nice race to back-up in. Happy to save on Speckie (9) who is racing too well to ignore.
BACK (WIN) Beaufort Lad for 4 units
BACK (WIN) Speckie for 2 units