TAS Racing Expert Preview

Tristan Heffernan is a horse racing expert who delivers an insight into all Tas Racing meets where he previews the entire card each week and gives you his betting strategy for every race.

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TAS Racing: Hobart, Saturday 17th October

Racing returns to Hobart this Saturday with an 8 race program set to coincide with the big Caulfield Cup meeting. Race 2 is an exciting Class 2 Handicap featuring lightly raced sprinters Street Tough, Gee Gee Queen Bee and Clever Charlotte taking on the promising mare Manilenya. The stayers hold centre stage in race 5 where Up Cups looks to avenge his unlucky defeat at the hands of Perun and Appmat last time, while Flash Missile looks to bounce back after being a well beaten favourite. Race 7 also sees the return to the track of smart gallopers Gee Gee Lanett and Nunivak in Benchmark 76 grade.

Race 1 – 13:19 Michelle’s Birthday Maiden (1100 METRES)

Speed comes out wide on the track here from Divi and Gee Gee Top Tip. Debutants Criterium and Star Terra look to have the speed to be handy in the run while Mistress Of Design and Golden State can also get into the firing line out wider on the track.

Divi (9) resumes from a break here after a good debut showing when 2nd behind Miss Mamosa over 900m at Devonport. Trialled nicely here last week behind Gee Gee Queen Bee and beat home Gee Gees Doubleyou easily, who won impressively on Wednesday night. Loaded with speed and probably drawn the right spot so appeals as the obvious favourite but the question mark will be if she can run out a strong 1100m on wet ground.

Gee Gee Top Tip (10) trialled well enough leading into her debut run in Launceston where she started favourite but she over raced throughout and disappointed behind Party Planner. Should benefit from the experience and now returns to her home track with Carr aboard. Drawing the outside may prove to be a big advantage so sharp improvement won’t surprise.

Criterium (5) is a debutant from the Crook & Miller yard who has been given plenty of time before kicking off her racing career. Has trialled five times, with two of those coming this preparation and after beating Gee Gee Top Tip she was given a soft time here last week. From a very good family, she looks to have plenty of early speed and debuts with the visors on so expect her to be ready to go here. Inside draw may be a negative but she is a definite chance if fancied.

The Last Godfather (4) resumes form a spell after failing in his only start here last prep. Hasn’t had much luck with the barrier draws here, drawing inside on rain affected tracks a couple of times and again looks disadvantaged coming up with gate 1 in this. Will be better over further but did sprint well fresh two preps ago and he should be strong late.

Star Terra (12) is a first-starter from the Scott Brunton yard who was scratched from Wednesday night to run here. Wasn’t bad at the trials last week when she chased home smart 3yo Gee Gee Secondover. Has speed and can get out to the right spot from a middle draw so keep safe if there is money to say she can win.

Next best Gratius (3) (horse with ability resuming with two trials under his belt, gets back and can do things wrong but has shown enough to be a knockout chance fresh).

Verdict: Divi (9) looks well placed here and if she runs out the 1100m she should just about be winning. Gee Gees Top Tip (10) can improve while The Last Godfather (4) is some chance if the track is firmer than expected. Respect any money for Criterium (5) and Gratius (3).

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Divi (9).

Race 2 – 13:54 Seppelt Class 2 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Three genuine speedsters here in Gee Gee Queen Bee, Street Tough and Clever Charlotte so expect a fast tempo but with no obvious pressure outside of them they should have every chance.

Street Tough (1) resumes here after one run in the winter where he ran an impressive close-up 3rd at Flemington behind Brave Song, who won in Listed company on Wednesday at Caulfield. Won easily at both starts here in his previous prep at long odds-on, including once on genuinely rain affected ground. Has to give his rivals plenty of weight which will be a task on wet ground but a very promising galloper who deserves to run favourite.

Gee Gee Queen Bee (5) is a very fast 3yo filly who gave a good display in front first-up to lead all the way over 1000m in good time, defeating subsequent winner Zuberina. Trialled strongly here last week to keep her up to the mark and did win over this slightly longer trip before she went for a spell. Hasn’t seen wet ground which may blunt her speed but if she gets through it she will give them something to catch.

Clever Charlotte (4) was a big betting drifter first-up but defied the market to lead all the way over this course to remain unbeaten. A lot more depth here but Newitt stays with her and her debut win came here on rain-affected ground. Wide draw could be an advantage and should strip fitter for her first-up win. Ticks a lot of boxes here so she shapes as a genuine danger.

Manilenya (2) is a talented mare who resumes here without a trial. Generally sprints well fresh and wasn’t too far away first-up last time in here on heavy ground in BM70 company. Drawn out suits and will be strong late after settling behind the major chances. If they overdo it in front she is the swooper who can knock them all out.

Next best Odessa Lad (8) (not hopeless fresh, blinkers go back on and has won here on heavy ground so presents as the best chance to show up at odds).

Verdict: Quality race. Hard to go past Street Tough (1) despite the big weight as he looks to have bigger things in store. Gee Gee Queen Bee (5) has a good chance if the track is better than expected, while Clever Charlotte (4) and Manilenya (2) are in the mix if jockeys are scouting wide.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on Street Tough (1).

Race 3 – 14:29 TASkeno Class 4 Hcp (1400 METRES)

No obvious leader here so Westerly Haze may take up the running from his outside gate. Balearic and Balestrand look to take a position behind him. Expect a basic tempo without pressure.

Balearic (1) has been racing in super form and has put three wins together while carrying 60kg on each occasion. Showed an excellent turn of foot last time so dropping back to 1400m doesn’t look an issue. Hasn’t seen wet ground in Tasmania but raced well on the heavy in Queensland. Up in grade again but doubt he has reached his mark yet and is the logical top pick once again.

Qui Samer (4) is a renowned wet tracker getting his favourite conditions here should he back up. Had little chance on Wednesday night given the pattern and slow tempo ahead of him. Drawn inside which won’t help but shouldn’t have too many issues getting to the right spot in the small field. Bolted in over this course beating Balestrand earlier this year so a similar performance gives him a live chance here.

Balestrand (2) gets out to 1400m now after rejuvenating himself as a sprinter this prep. Raced well on heavy ground here through the winter so the ground is of no concern and was placed twice over this course in slightly easier grade. Tough galloper who doesn’t know how to run a bad race and he appeals as an obvious chance.

Westerly Haze (3) was very good last time off a short break when he flashed home into 3rd after being knocked over at the start. Had a few weeks between runs which might not be ideal going into a wet 1400m but only run over this trip was honest and small field and soft tempo may make it easier for him. Will appreciate the big weight drop and draws to run to the right spot early. This is strong at the top end so may test but respect him off his latest performance.

White Hawk (6) is a handy stayer resuming from a spell with a trial under his belt. Clearly better suited over further and probably needs it weaker also but can pull out a run fresh and has performed well here on wet ground in the past. Will be doing his best work late and may sneak into a place.

Next best Go For It (5) (game win fresh but found them too slick last time, extra trip suits but this is considerably tougher than what he has been contesting).

Verdict: Balearic (1) keeps stepping up to the mark and with proven form on wet ground he looks the logical winner again. If the ground is heavy Qui Samer (4) presents as the danger, while Balestrand (2) and Westerly Haze (3) are going well enough to figure in the money.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on Balearic (1).

Race 4 – 15:04 FROTHY Mdn/CL1 Hcp (2100 METRES)

Kandahar has his tricks but is capable of leading here if his mind is on the job. Kingsclere and He’s Rushin’ are likely to go forward as may Chief Navigator and potentially Smooth Pebbles out to the longer trip.

Chief Navigator (1) scored first-up from a spell last time over this course in an excellent training effort by Carr. Found the line very strongly to nose out Kingsclere and it is reasonable to expect he may improve further off that run. Has a few tricks but placed on wet ground and will stay all day. No reason he can’t win again.

Kingsclere (3) is an honest stayer who ran a close 2nd behind Chief Navigator last time and then wasn’t suited dropping back to 1600m last time. Back to his right trip and his previous attempt over this course was a game 2nd on heavy ground behind The Grey Crusader. Races on speed and will appreciate the strength of Maskiell so has strong each way claims.

Kandahar (2) is a temperamental galloper who has been ok at his past couple of runs over 1600m with an eye to getting to this trip. Only win came in this distance range and his best runs have been when he has been able to race near the lead so Carr on will help. Ran a reasonable 4th on heavy ground here over 1400m so wet track shouldn’t be an issue. Definite chance if he is in the right mood.

He’s Rushin’ (4) jumped sharply to 1600m second-up and did a good job to finish 3rd behind Ramaadi Bullet. Now gets to 2100m third-up which is a query if the ground is particularly testing but he does his best racing over this trip. Unknown on wet ground but in light with Smith’s claim and can win with the right run.

Shivida (6) hasn’t won in 31 tries but often finds the line well and did exactly that last time in Launceston when coming from last to finish midfield behind Ramaadi Bullet. Has only placed once in four runs over this trip but hasn’t been too far away and one of the best runs of his career was on heavy ground. Hard to have any confidence but could at least run home into a place.

Next best Sharing Secrets (5) (gets to 2100m for the first time and will find this easier but needs to improve) and Smooth Pebbles (9) (racing ok and has raced well over this longer trip in Queensland so can be thereabouts).

Verdict: Even race. Lean to Chief Navigator (1) and Kingsclere (3) while Kandahar (2) brings different form and could be the leader.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units each way on Kingsclere (3).

Race 5 – 15:44 FOXTEL for Business Benchmark 80 Hcp (2400 METRES)

Expect Appmat to lead as he did last time. Flash Missile, Demons Run and Up Cups should take up the trailing positions. A slow pace looks likely with a lack of pressure on the front.

Appmat (5) ran a typically game race in front last week in Launceston as he was challenged strongly down the side but boxed on to run a close 2nd behind Perun. Goes to 2400m for the first time but looks a genuine stayer and has raced well on wet ground. Sure to give a big sight on speed again and with the added distance and testing ground he may finally get his chance to hold them all at bay in an even race.

Up Cups (1) has been very good at his two runs for John Luttrell since a spell and arguably should have won last time after being held up behind the on-pacers when the race changed complexion on turning. Obviously the class horse in the race and proven at 2400m but does give the rest of them plenty of weight again. His three runs before a spell were all on wet ground and quite poor so getting back onto heavy ground is a potential concern but if he goes on from his last run he will take a power of beating.

Perun (4) appreciated the pressure unfolding ahead of him in Launceston last time to pounce on them late to get the prize. Promising stayer on the up going to 2400m for the first time but racing like it will suit. Has won here on heavy ground and obviously beat them all last time so no knock on him again.

Demons Run (2) comes through the same races as Up Cups and hasn’t been too far behind him on both occasions. Proven over this trip having won a St Leger earlier in his career and also placed at Sandown last season. Thrives on wet ground and won here on a heavy track earlier in the year so the change of conditions gives him his chance to make up the margin he was beaten last time. Another with a genuine winning chance.

Flash Missile (3) was backed as if unbeatable last time in Launceston but was disappointing and found to be in season. Obviously tackles the same field again so has a great profile and last run can be forgiven. The difference this time is her form is much better in Launceston and now she has to go to 2400m for the first time which may not suit her as well as others in the race. Combine that with the fact she is unknown on genuinely wet ground and she has a number of queries against her. Clearly the market showed last time she is right in this at her best but there are a few reasons why this may not suit.

Next best The Grey Crusader (7) (wasn’t too far away last time and loves wet ground so not without a place hope).

Verdict: Very competitive race with every horse having some hope. Appmat (5) will get every opportunity again from the front but if the old boy Up Cups (1) handles the wet ground he gets his chance to return to the winner’s circle.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Up Cups (1) and 2 units to win on Appmat (5).


Race 6 – 16:26 Tasmanian Hospitality Association Maiden (1400 METRES)

Big field but no obvious speed. Pace looks set to come from the likes of Gee Gees Magic Man, Rubikat, Digger’s Girl and Ronny Zapaca providing they begin well. The opportunity is there for others to race near the lead should they desire as the pace doesn’t look overly strong on paper.

I Am The Dude (2) failed here on heavy ground first-up but his two subsequent runs have been exceptional after jumping awkwardly. Arguably should have won both times with even luck and hit the line well enough last time to suggest 1400m is within his scope here at his first try. His first-up failure on heavy ground is a concern but that may have been due to fitness as he placed on heavy ground last prep. Only has to hold his form and handle the ground to be hardest to beat.

Digger’s Girl (10) was very well supported here three weeks ago but after driving through to race outside the lead she tired late to finish 3rd behind Orphanali. That horse ran well on Wednesday night and the time was fast so that form looks solid at least. Longer trip looks suitable and her mother was adept on wet ground. Improving filly who looks one of the better chances.

Special Moment (12) has been heavily backed at both runs this prep but has disappointed on both occasions while having excuses. Goes to 1400m for the first time but racing like she wants it and she has placed on heavy ground. Drawing out suits and this may be her most suitable assignment so far so while she has been costly she is capable of bouncing back.

The Sword (5) is an interesting newcomer to the Brunton yard after racing in Victoria for Robbie Laing. Coming back from a staying preparation where he has mixed his form but has only had a month since a run over 1600m so expect him to be close to the mark. Has a 4th at Sandown to his credit and Maskiell is a positive booking so respect any strong market moves.

Rubikat (6) has struck interference at the start at both Tasmanian runs but while she found the line nicely here first-up she was only fair last time in Launceston. Gets out over a bit further this time and if she begins well she may be able to take up a much more forward position. Unknown on wet ground but ran ok at only start past 1200m so if she gets luck in running she can improve.

Next best Aquietword (1) (last couple have been ok, rarely too far away, failed only try on heavy ground earlier in his career, best may be good enough but generally needs everything in his favour).

Verdict: I Am The Dude (2) is flying and looks well placed here, especially if drying ground. Digger’s Girl (10) presents as the main danger while Special Moment (12) may improve getting onto wet ground.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on I Am The Dude (2) and 1 unit to win on Digger’s Girl (10).


Race 7 – 17:05 Tabcorp Benchmark 76 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Nunivak may lead them wide out on the course here with Apriano and Gee Gee Lanett also capable of going quickly near the front. Savs Finale, Mr America and to a lesser degree Geegees Brightstar can be on their hammer which should result in a strong tempo. Happy Halloween and Scrutineer are the wild cards in the speed battle but can be slow early.

Nunivak (7) is an enigmatic galloper with plenty of ability but has had problems. Has won three of his five starts here on his home track and loves racing on wet ground. Generally races very well fresh and trialled well enough to say he can be back to his right form now. Drawn perfectly and won’t know himself carrying 54kg so looks a leading chance in his toughest test to date.

Gee Gee Lanett (5) is a very talented mare who is resuming and won a trial here last week. Hasn’t missed a place here on her home track in 12 runs including 5 wins. Proven against the best of her age and wasn’t disgraced against WFA company last season so looks well up to this grade. Handles wet ground but potentially awkwardly drawn in gate 2 which could be a major obstacle. If Carr can get to the right part of the track she has obvious claims.

Apriano (3) was much better second-up when he boxed on after setting a good tempo in open grade before racing well in front last time but ran into the star Mandela Effect. Arguably doesn’t race quite as well here but he did win over this course last season in BM84 grade on heavy ground so he is very capable when he gets the right run. Has some competition for the front here against some good gallopers but if he can find the front he will give a big sight.

Savs Finale (6) just failed to run down Weekend Whisky here on firm ground two starts ago and then found My Biddy too slick in Launceston on Wednesday. Form on heavy ground was strong through the winter in easier company and should relish these conditions. Has to go to a new level to win here but can be around the mark if they choose to back up.

Scrutineer (8) is a nice mare who resumes here after a short spell. Showed much better early speed on a few occasions through the winter when she ran some good races here on wet ground without winning. This is pretty tough but she is talented and will be strong late so shapes as a knockout hope.

Next best Geegees Brightstar (1) (resumes here, likes wet ground and draws the right side so may finish off into a place).

Verdict: If the outside is the spot to be then Nunivak (7) is going to be hard to run down. Gee Gee Lanett (5) is a smart mare with obvious claims and if her inside draw isn’t a disadvantage she will also take plenty of beating.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Nunivak (7).

Race 8 – 17:44 Women in Tourism & Hospitality Benchmark 64 Hcp (1600 METRES)

Gee Gee Wynett and Heza Heart Throb look the likely leaders ahead of It’s A Battle and Boart. Doubt they will go fast but there looks to be enough on-pacers to ensure a reasonable tempo.

Trusted Warrior (2) won well two starts ago over this course before finding the slow pace against last time when 3rd behind Balearic. Looks like he will get his preferred wet ground here and should also get a tempo more to his liking in the bigger field. Has been racing very well in this grade on firm ground so looks very hard to beat if he gets his favoured rain affected conditions here.

It’s A Battle (3) continues to improve steadily this prep and boxed on reasonably last time to hold 3rd after coming back in trip and being outsprinted off a slow tempo. Much better suited getting back up to the mile and has placed in heavy conditions previously. Has a nasty habit of laying in which could be a big disadvantage if the better ground is out wide however Newitt can ride with the whip in the left which may help. Tough on-pacer who should be right in the mix.

Gee Gee Wynett (7) is a rapidly improving filly who broke through for a gutsy win two starts ago but was then most impressive last time when she sat outside the lead and dashed clear to win by a space. Goes to the mile for the first time which looks suitable but also has to deal with wet ground for the first time also. Harder again but makes her own luck on speed and is the untapped runner in this field.

Boart (1) was unsuited here two starts ago when left in front and then can be forgiven last time when he over raced behind a soft tempo and then had trouble getting a run in the straight. Wasn’t too far behind It’s A Battle and beat Trusted Warrior here three starts ago so form lines up strongly against this field. Has won on heavy ground but has only had one run over 1600m and was well beaten so this extra trip is a definite concern. Racing well so if he runs it out he can be in the finish.

Heza Heart Throb (4) did a good job to lead all the way second-up in Launceston with the rider commenting he would appreciate softer ground which he gets here. Did have every chance in front there in maiden grade and now makes a substantial leap in grade into BM64 company. First go 1600m but it should suit and makes own luck on speed but this class may test at this stage of his career.

Next best American Sunday (5) (very good run in C1 grade first-up but disappointed behind soft tempo on Wednesday, this is harder but extra trip and wet ground in his favour so respect if he backs up).

Verdict: Trusted Warrior (2) gets his preferred wet ground here and can bounce back. Gee Gee Wynett (7) may be the main danger on the basis that we don’t yet know how far she can go.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Trusted Warrior (2).


Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival 2018


Race 9 – 18:14 Sky Racing Launceston Cup (2400 METRES)

Speed Map

Looks to be more natural speed here than the Hobart Cup and a bigger field should aid a stronger tempo too. Earl Da Vinci led in Hobart and will probably have to roll forward again from his outside draw but will have more competition from the Victorian The Mighty Jrod who likes to run along, Kanji and Gallow Gate. Pretty Punk may elect to take a trail this time from her inside draw while Geegees Goldengirl probably has to go forward from her wide gate. Expect a more genuine tempo than Hobart so another mid-race shake up looks unlikely.

Major Players

1. Berisha: Is the class runner of the field, having won a Mornington Cup and only three runs ago ran 4th in the Group 2 Zipping Classic behind The Taj Mahal, finishing alongside last year’s winner Big Duke. Had his first run for John Sadler last time in the Colac Cup and ran home strongly under 62.5kg to run 2nd in a nice lead in to this. Has plenty of weight but is a genuine stayer and should appreciate a strong tempo given he likes to race back in the field. Looks the best chance of the new blood.

2. Pretty Punk: Comes here in search of the bonus after scoring a gutsy win in the Hobart Cup. Gives herself every chance on speed and should get a nice trail from her inside draw. The concerns this time are the likelihood of a stronger tempo and the rise to 58kg which is a big ask for a mare at this trip. Clearly good enough to be considered a winning chance again but has a couple more questions to answer this time.

3. Andrea Mantegna: Was well supported to run favourite in Hobart and ran a narrow 2nd after enjoying a good run trailing the speed. That was his first 2400m run in Australia so expect he will be better for that run under his belt but this could be a much stronger test. Has the right trainer/jockey combo and still looks to have something to give so deserve to be top pick.

4. Geegees Goldengirl: Didn’t appreciate settling midfield on a slow tempo in Hobart so Carr whipped around the field approaching the 800m to lead and she stuck on well enough from there to run 5th, beaten 2 lengths. Still have concerns at the 2400m, especially with a stronger tempo likely, and she has failed in this race in the past after coming off good runs in Hobart. May also have to work early from her wide draw so minor place claims appear best.

5. Bondeiger: Is a former Victoria Derby placegetter who didn’t win for over 3 years before returning to the winner’s circle two starts ago at Moonee Valley and then strung two together with a win in Adelaide last time. Comes through easier races than some of the other mainlanders but wasn’t too far behind Pretty Punk three runs back when unsuited by the tempo and was within a couple of lengths of Andrea Mantegna the run before that. Runs the trip and stablemate to Andrea Mantegna. Needs to step up again but capable.

6. Fastnet Dragon: Was the first local home in Hobart, running on into 3rd out wide after enjoying a nice track up from the rear of the field. Peaked on his run late so should be fitter again and may have a little more improvement still to come. Was in the right spot last time and isn’t totally proven in a strongly run 2400m but if he goes on from his last run he is clearly in the mix here

7. Up Cups: Won this race two years ago and has started to hit his straps in recent runs after it looked like his career may be over. His 4th in the Hobart Cup was full of merit considering he was trapped away on the inside when the moves came wider out and was then forced to make his run home on the inside of the entire field in the straight when the ground was quite clearly better out wide. He did a great job to finish as close as he did and he appeals as a genuine each way chance at longer odds here.

8. Brilliant Jet: Had to cover a bit of ground early in Hobart from his wide draw but had a reasonable run midfield once he slotted in. Was out-sprinted on turning when the heat went on but kept finding the line to finish midfield and was running through the line so a stronger run 2400m doesn’t look an issue. Will get a softer run early from the inside draw but if the rain comes he might be at a disadvantage racing nearer the rail. Has to make a big leap to win but has a rough place chance.

9. Eastender: Was very well supported to run second favourite in Hobart but was disappointing on face value in finishing midfield. Newitt made a sharp mid-race move to get outside the leader but was then out-sprinted around the bend and only battled away in the straight. May be far better suited here with a stronger tempo likely, loves this track and any rain would be a bonus. Might be overlooked here on his Hobart run so may be the big value runner if you are happy to forgive his Hobart run.

10. Settler’s Stone: Went around at big odds in Hobart and wasn’t suited settling near the rear behind a slow tempo but worked home as he always does to finish within 4 lengths of the winner. Genuine stayer who lacks the turn of foot of the main chances but ran 4th in this race off a similar Hobart run after bombing the start and also ran 5th the year before. Stronger tempo will suit so has rough place claims at longer odds.

11. Gallow Gate: Beat Earl Da Vinci and Bidirectional here two starts ago when racing outside the lead before taking a sit last time and being shuffled back in a luckless 8th in the Night Cup when starting close to favourite. That was his first defeat at 2100m in four starts and now heads to 2400m for the first time. Clearly a big leap in grade here so while he deserves a spot in the field he will find it hard to finish in the money.

12. The Mighty Jrod: Comes here off a BM84 win at Flemington over 2000m last start where he gave a strong display from the front with only 52kg. This is a significant class rise and other mainlanders come through stronger form lines but he runs a genuine 2400m and is likely to get a comfortable run on speed. Will ensure a true staying test and sticks on so while he may be outclassed he has place claims on that basis.

13. Bidirectional: Raced his way into this race with a win last start in the Night Cup. Very versatile gelding who can roll forward or back which may help him overcome his wide draw. This is obviously much harder and this is more a stepping stone through to the St Leger which is more his grade but is a strong stayer who should finish in the first half of the field.

14. Kanji: Led in the Night Cup before finishing midfield and then finished down the track on Sunday behind Volcan De Fuego in BM72 grade. Very fit and can roll forward but is outclassed here.

15. Earl Da Vinci: Led them up in the Hobart Cup before losing his spot mid-race and wasn’t bad in sticking on for 6th, only 2.5L from the winner. Might appreciate taking a sit behind a genuine tempo and finished close enough in Hobart to suggest he has rough place claims with the right run.

16. Smoke ‘N’ Whisky: Ran 4th in the Night Cup and now backs up from racing on Sunday where he was also well held behind Volcan De Fuego. Has been well beaten in two previous attempts in this race and was going better leading into other tries. This looks far too difficult.

17. Wyuna (1st Emergency): Is a young staying mare on the up who ran a narrow 2nd behind Bidirectional in the Night Cup. First try at 2400m but races like she wants it. Badly weighted and tested in this grade but might appreciate the experience for next year.

18. Striking Prospect (2nd Emergency):  Bolted in here over 2100m in Maiden/C1 company two starts ago but this is obviously an astronomical leap in grade. Improving stayer but impossible to make a case for him this year.

Verdict

Andrea Mantegna (3) ran well when favourite in the Hobart Cup and deserves to be top pick again. Eastender (9) let the market down in Hobart but might find this much more to his liking and may be capable of sharp improvement. Berisha (1) is a stayer with a touch of class who may be good enough to carry the big weight, while locals Fastnet Dragon (6) and Up Cups (7) have chances at longer odds. Hobart Cup winner Pretty Punk (2) is in the mix but a stronger tempo and rise to 58kg is a big ask, while the other Weir runner Bondeiger (5) should be respected in a wide-open Cup.

Staking Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – Andrea Mantegna for 4 units

 BACK (WIN) – Eastender for 3 units

 BACK (WIN) – Fastnet Dragon for 1 unit

 BACK (WIN) – Up Cups for 1 unit

Race 7 – 16:12 Armidale Stud Needs Further Vamos Stakes (1400 METRES)

Speed Map

Not a lot of obvious speed here. Life On The Wire is capable of taking up the running while a couple of roughies in Miss Two Pairs and Secrets She Has can race near the lead. With most of these preferring to get back those who can land on speed or have a sharp turn of foot can be advantaged.

Major Players

2. Gogo Grace: Couldn’t have been more impressive in winning the Bow Mistress Trophy in Hobart, winning by over 4 lengths. Enjoyed a great run there midfield behind the fast pace but she showed a serious turn of speed and ran clearly the fastest sectionals of the meeting. Step up to 1400m seems fine given she has won at 1600m but she is unlikely to get the same strong tempo to chase this time. If she goes on from her last win she will be very hard to hold out again.

4. Life On The Wire: Was an unfortunate late scratching in the Bow Mistress when a clear favourite to take out the race. Given the market expected her to beat Gogo Grace there she looms as an obvious danger this time, especially considering she is probably better suited at 1400m. That said, that setback means she is probably a genuine fitness concern at this trip and she isn’t at her best on genuinely rain affected ground. If Brunton has been able to get her right she is a genuine chance to beat the Bow Mistress winner.

1. Gee Gees Top Notch: Comes through a different form line and ran a very solid third in the Thomas Lyons Stakes at WFA against the boys. Races very well at this track and has had this race as her target for a long time. Ideally drawn to get a soft run in behind the speed and wet ground is no concern. Tempo may be against but with luck in running she can definitely win.

3. Step The Pedal: Racing well and found the line alright despite being well beaten behind Gogo Grace in the Bow Mistress. Ran an excellent fourth in this race on dry ground last year and is the obvious one advantaged if the track is especially rain-affected. Outside draw is no help and doesn’t have the class of the top few chances but if the rain has hit and the inside is choppy she will be charging down the middle.

5. Jocasta: Caught the eye in the Bow Mistress when rattling home from back in the field to grab fourth. Hasn’t won over this trip but has won twice over 1300m. Has her work cut out to turn the tables on the winner but can find her way into a place, especially if the swoopers are advantaged.

Next best No Money No Honey (11) (still racing well out of her grade but better suited up to 1400m).

Verdict

Gogo Grace (2) may find a much different tempo to her last start win in the Bow Mistress but showed a great turn of foot there and is top pick to win again. Life On The Wire (4) is an obvious danger but missing the run last time might prove costly. Gee Gees Top Notch (1) shouldn’t be underestimated coming back from taking on the boys either

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – Gogo Grace for 4 units

Race 8 – 17:08 Sky Racing Hobart Cup (2400 METRES)

Speed Map

Tempo looks only fair here. Expect Pretty Punk to push forward from her outside barrier with Geegees Goldengirl and Dee I Cee setting close to the speed. Earl Da Vinci was ridden quieter last time but may elect to go forward this time with the lack of obvious speed.

Major Players

1. Dee I Cee: A tough NZ bred stayer from the Waterhouse & Bott stable who is the only runner in the field to be coming off a lead up run over 2400m. Fought on gamely last start to run a narrow 2nd in the Australia Day Cup at Warwick Farm. Draws for a beautiful run on speed for Corey Brown but has top weight of 59kg in a race where the majority are on the minimum. Has only won 3 from 23 but is a proven stayer with each way claims.

2. Pretty Punk: A South Australian mare who brings good Victorian metropolitan form into this. After winning easily at Morphettville she won over 2000m at Flemington and then battled away alright last time behind Night’s Watch. Has a good base to go to 2400m and won over 2500m last prep in Adelaide. Wide draw shouldn’t be an issue with Craig Williams on rolling forward and she looks set to enjoy a good run on speed. Looks a big each way chance.

3. Geegees Goldengirl: Continued her good form this preparation with a game second in the Summer Cup after being left in front a long way from home. Ran fourth in this race last year and second back in 2016. Races near the lead which could be an advantage in this and any rain would be a bonus. The 2400m is about as far as she wants so she might need a soft track to be a genuine winning chance but she is rarely too far away at the finish.

4. Fastnet Dragon: Jumped sharply to the 2200m of the Summer Cup but was most impressive in overcoming the slow tempo to win from last. Ran serious time at the end of his race but may have been flattered on the widest part of the track. Hasn’t been to 2400m and is a slight fitness query coming from a 1600m run and a slowly run 2200m. May be suited by a steady predicted tempo again and with Brenton Avdulla taking the reins he has a genuine winning chance.

5. Up Cups: Won the Cups double back in 2016 and is now starting to get back to something like his best form. Caught the eye from back in the field in the Brighton Cup despite being well beaten and then ran a solid 3rd in the Summer Cup when not really suited by the muddling tempo. Obviously proven at the trip and is reunited with his Cup-winning rider David Pires for the first time since 2016. A fairytale story which certainly isn’t impossible.

6. Brilliant Jet: Hasn’t raced since his dominant win in last month’s Devonport Cup over the 1880m. Has had an unconventional lead up into this race without a run since but blew the cobwebs out with a trial a couple of weeks ago. Goes to 2400m for the first time but has won at Moonee Valley over 2040m and placed at Doomben over 2200m. Against him is the wide draw, the rise in grade and that potential fitness query. Promising horse but will need to go to a new level to win this.

7. Andrea Mantegna: From the all-conquering Darren Weir stable and comes here off a very impressive win at Morphettville over 2250m. The strength of the form behind him there is questionable and his previous runs in benchmark grade in Victoria were honest more than brilliant. Looks ready to go to 2400m now and will appreciate a soft run from his inside draw for Damian Lane. Progressive type who looks set to peak here and is one of the major fancies.

8. Eastender: A very promising local stayer who has already been successful over 2400m in last season’s Tasmanian St Leger. Won his way into the race with a strong staying performance in the Brighton Cup as a short-priced favourite. Kept fresh since looks suitable to keep enough sharpness in his legs and he is unbeaten in four runs at 2100m and above. This is clearly his acid test but any rain will be a plus and is guaranteed to be still coming at the end of 2400m. Big threat and the best local chance.

9. Settler’s Stone: A local proven over this trip with multiple Victorian placings including 3rd placings in the Mornington Cup and Ansett Classic. Finished midfield in this race last year before running a strong 4th in the Launceston Cup. 1600m run two starts ago was promising before being well beaten in the Summer Cup last time when unsuited by the muddling tempo. Wants the 2400m but prefer to see him coming in off a better lead up run. Expect him to be one of the outsiders but with the right run he has a place chance.

10. Speed Force: An improving stayer who has been targeted towards the major Cups for his entire preparation. Was very impressive over a mile two starts back with blinkers on but over raced in the Summer Cup and could only manage a midfield finish. Blinkers come off here which should help him relax but the 2400m trip is a risk until he proves otherwise. Has plenty of talent but prefer him on a place basis.

11. Earl Da Vinci: Owned in the same interests as last year’s Cup winner Count Da Vinci and has had a wrap on him throughout this preparation as a result. Ran third in the Brighton Cup two starts ago but was comfortably held by Eastender. Dropped in grade last start with the visor on and was ridden quieter but was narrowly beaten after enjoying a good run. 2400m looks ideal and may roll forward this time so reluctant to pot entirely but has to run a clear career best to show up in this.

Verdict

Very even Cup with the entire field worthy of their spot in the race. Going to stick with the local Eastender (8) who continues to step up to the challenges that are put to him and think he can do so again. Andrea Mantegna (7) appeals as a stayer on the up from the Weir stable and looks set to peak here. Pretty Punk (2) and Dee I Cee (1) have proven interstate form and have each way chances, while Fastnet Dragon (4) is the untapped one with the big turn of foot who may cause a boilover at longer odds.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – Eastender for 4 units

 BACK (WIN) – Andrea Mantegna for 3 units

 BACK (WIN) – Fastnet Dragon for 1 unit

Race 6 – 18:54 Schweppes Tasmanian Derby (2200 METRES)

Speed Map

Expect Kugelblitz to take up the running and he can dictate terms under no real pressure. Overplay will likely settle handy with the rest of these generally happy to settle midfield or worse.

Major Players

1. Civil Disobedience: Comes here off three 2000m runs in Victoria, the latest two being a win and a third at Flemington. From the Weir stable who would have a good handle on this race with the stablemate Wolfendale winning the Hobart Guineas a fortnight ago. Beat home Chain Of Fools about three lengths last time who ran 4th in the Tasmanian Guineas without blinkers so the form lines up alright. Clearly has the strongest form in the race and deserves to start a short-priced favourite.

2. Wolfendale: Made the trip down a fortnight ago successfully to win the Hobart Guineas here over 2100m. Was shuffled back in the run but was very strong through the line when challenged late and should enjoy the slightly extra trip. Doubt he has the class of the stablemate but is a genuine stayer and appeals as the clear danger.

7. Kugelblitz: A son of Savabeel who has only had two career starts in Victoria. Got to 2030m last time and gave a dashing display in front in a Werribee maiden, winning by nearly four lengths. Suggest this is a big leap in grade but Damien Oliver takes the ride and may be able to dictate in front here. Untapped and might be the knockout runner.

4. Double You Tee: Racing very well, running on for a narrow second in the Tasmanian Guineas before coming home hard out wide to finish second in the Hobart Guineas. The extra 100m shouldn’t be too difficult but was outstayed by Wolfendale last time and isn’t particularly bred to run it. Looks to have solid each-way claims again.

5. Pennstock: Failed in the Tasmanian Guineas on softer ground but was much better last time in the Hobart Guineas, running home from last to finish third. No reason he won’t stretch out to 2200m off that effort but never really threatened the winner Wolfendale so hard to see him turning the tables there. Prefer him on a place basis.

Next best Overplay (3) (should get a good run near the lead but others may be better suited by the longer trip than him).

Verdict

Civil Disobedience (1) has the right form and looks the winner but will be a very short quote. Stablemate Wolfendale (2) was very strong in the Hobart Guineas and looks the obvious danger if you don’t like taking short odds.

Staking Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – Wolfendale for 1 unit