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Rail Position: +6m | Expected Track Condition: Soft 5

Rail at the 6m pad, back to 3m in the straight.  I’m told it’s not a cutaway, but a sharp/sweeping turn? Who knows.

Rail was cooked at the 3m pad a week ago on the bog deck.  Interesting how it holds up a week later under a bit of sunshine.

Race 1

4. Generosity
1. Shell Bell
6. Hot Nova
2. Barney’s World

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #4 Generosity

Generosity couldn’t have done any more on debut. Missed the start horribly, found trouble in the straight and still nearly beat Shell Bell home. Gets a 3.5kg swing on her, maps to stalk her (or be 3 the fence) and there looks reasonable pressure from out wide to keep her honest. She backs herself. Like the look of Ginnivan and Hot Nova as types but can’t see a winning map for them here on debut (expect Hot Nova ridden cold?).

Race 2

1. Swim Through
4. Storm Commander
5. Little Strawberry
3. Final Authority

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #1 Swim Through

Swim Through has twice won with 60kg’s, all 4 wins of his have been at the 1000m and he maps to stalk a reasonably willing tempo with On The Full and Final Authority carting them along. Just needs to cross one of Symphony In Red or Storm Commander to avoid being deep from 4 and looks hard to hold out. Little Strawberry looks equally adept ridden on or off the speed. With the wide draw, expect she’ll float back and attack late. Storm Commander the big improver. Forget he went around first and second up from awkward draws. No star, but this isn’t a deep 60k race, will go close on map alone.

Race 3

2. Strike Now
3. Keep Attacking
1. Paddy’s Lad
5. Success Play

Betting Strategy

No Bet.

Strike Now is going far better than his numerical form. Has been held up the entirety both first and second up, and the way he’s been travelling suggests he’s had a fair bit to give. Wary of the senior hopping off for the apprentice, but he’s ready to win. Keep Attacking likely lands outside of (or could push on to lead) Success Play in a race devoid a huge amount of natural tempo. Has to be some query at the 1400m, but this should be a fairly sedate tempo. Hard to beat, but hard to back at the shorts. Paddy’s Lad was a far better run than it reads first up and I loved the trial. Again, just about trusting an apprentice on a sit and sprint type. Not a betting race for me.

Race 4

6. Outspoken Lad
4. Our Norman
6. Crescent City
4. The Spruiker

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #6 Outspoken Lad

Think the key to this race is the early mapping of Our Norman and Outspoken Lad. Outspoken Lad had a slightly sticky draw and was forced into the breeze when they met a fortnight ago. Our Norman stalked his every move and got the chocolates. Suspect CJP will be fully aware of this and should be able to tuck in behind the tempo here. Drops 4.5kg’s (2kg swing on Our Norman) in a race with no more depth and drops back 200m (ideal for a horse I am not convinced is a true stayer). The one to beat. Crescent City is as consistent as they come but finds it hard to win. Go back and watch all his replays over 2000m+ last prep and he would have traded $1.40 half-way down the straight. Just lacked the killer blow on each occasion. Pike often the one to deliver that blow. The Spruiker is following the Ex Sport Man path. Didn’t think the latter would stay and he proved me wrong. Has the best form lines by panels, just needs to get a strong 2000m.

Race 5

6. Red Fifty Three
9. Bread To Flirt
4. Hammarmill
2. Ginger Jones

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #6 Red Fifty Three

Damian Martin (Red Fifty Three – named after the Wildcats legend, obviously) was going to be anything early doors, before clearly not coming back the same horse. We often see this with 2yo’s and it tends to lights out for their careers. To Grant & Alana Williams credit they’ve got this bloke back on track after two failed preps and nearly 2 years since his last win. I would be wary about a fresh run after a lengthy lay off, but he was tuned up with 3 trials prior, all of which were equally impressive. Will need some luck from the inside alley, but this is Pike’s specialty and there is plenty of tempo in this. Very hard to beat. BreadBags To Flirt was an amazing drifter when winning third up despite half of WA being on. Map suits, class suits and has come back as well as ever. Hammarmill improves up to 1200m with the speed on.

Race 6

9. Starry Heights
2. Keytrade
11. Covert Rose
5. Tallangatta

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #9 Starry Heights

Starry Heights looks the type that’ll go through the grades quickly. Put the writing on the wall first and second up from sticky draws with the apprentice on, before being held up (on a cold rail) and accelerating off a dime to get the chocolates when Pike finally went on. If there was proper tempo/he had a lower draw he would be a far bigger investment, but there is a little bit of map concern here with no obvious speed engaged. With cover, confident he wins and once again, we’ll back in William. Found it hard to find a second elect. Keytrade looks ready to win one. Like the way he found the line behind First Encounter and is drawn to get a soft run. Just tough with the 59.5 when I think Starry has a far higher ceiling and carries 55.5. Galactic Storm has got two 10/10’s from Gaerth. Will be a few back the fence again here, will it be 3 in a row? Covert Rose was one of many rides Pike would have turned down to ride Starry Heights. She’s tractable and improved with the shades off. Beat nothing two back, but she’s shown enough to be competitive. Rare Encounter is a Pike off runner which worries me, while Tallangatta has drawn the carpark. Roll the dice and go forward?

Race 7

11. Arcadia Grace
4. First Encounter
3. Aztec Ruler
12. Zephyra

Betting Strategy

BACK (EACH WAY) #11 Arcadia Grace (EACH WAY)

First Encounter seems to be getting better each time he hits the track, making light work of very ordinary 60+ opposition a fortnight ago. This map does pose a few more questions however as Pike may need to either snag to last (preferred option) or does he use the bit of gate speed he showed first up and risk being caught deep? I’ve marked him in the low 2’s, but on map feels a little risky sub even money. Aztec Ruler is flying. His effort after missing the kick 3 weeks ago was the run of the day. Very tough from 11, do they look to stalk First Encounter or ping out, find the breeze and have a head start on the main danger? Under normal circumstances they should quinella this race quite comfortably, but the map for both is a definite concern. Arcadia Grace is the knockout and will probably get me for a small place heavy play. Liked the trial, love Clint going on and she had absolutely no luck first up. While the draw may look sticky, we do know she will only be ridden one way anyway (ice cold) and if the two fancies don’t get the softest of journeys, she will be motoring late. Clear third elect in my book. San Fabrizio punters are single handedly putting bookmakers children through University. Money keeps coming.

Race 8

3. Alaskan God
11. Multinational
4. Mood Swings
1. Buster Bash

Betting Strategy

BACK (WIN) #3 Alaskan God

Alaskan God is first up for 203 days without a trial, in an identical setup to last prep (first up 203 day break), when he was the run of the race in a Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes over this same journey. Clearly lost a few admirers in his next few outings, but I think it’s important to remember the level he was racing at. 4.8L from the winner in a G1 Railway, 2.9L off the winner in a WFA G1 Northerly. Not many of these get near that level (Buster Bash excluded). Love the look of this map with Buster Bash and Mood Swings rolling them along and Flying Missile/Let’s Galahvant/Multinational in behind with Alaskan God stalking that lot I don’t think he needs to get that far back. Pike on and I think the price is more than there. Like a lot of Neville Parnham runners, Multinational will be heavily supported off a 7 day break. Is ready to win one, but can he hold out Alaskan God if he’s right on his hammer? Excited to see what Buster Bash can do over East, but he’s never won below 1500m and carries 62kg’s. I don’t like losing, but will almost enjoy copping it if he beats me under these conditions. Mood Swings is race hard fit and won’t be easy to get past.

Race 9

8. Vast Art
2. Ginger Baker
11. Feels Playful
10. Multinational

Betting Strategy

BACK (EACH WAY) #10 All Day Session

All Day Session is bursting to win one. Was my best a fortnight ago ($4 a hole) when deep the trip and brave to hold on for third. I wouldn’t necessarily associate the word ‘tough’ with this horse, so to sit deep and travel so well tells me he’s going as well as I suspected. Going from a 66+ to a 72+, he drops 3.5kg’s, but this is a better setup considering he gave a probable black type Duchess Of Gossip 4kg’s and map position (and it was a rail heavy day to be deep the trip). Jumping well, lands behind the speed and should have all his main dangers chasing him. Marked a clear favourite. Colossal is flying. Just about how he wins from the river? Sunny Honey got a 10 from an in-form Joey Azzopardi. Harder from the sticky draw. River Rubicon may be the biggest threat. Loved the trial without winkers and goes super fresh. Just needs some luck from an inside alley. Nowhiteflag goes around $70+ but should go into quaddies for thrill seekers. Happy forgiving debut for the new yard, should lead/breeze here and recent trial was super.


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