TAS Racing Expert Preview

Matt Reid 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: Devonport, Sat 17th August

In what shapes to be a big day for Tasmanian racing with Mystic Journey returning in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield and several other current and former Tasmanian trained gallopers racing in Sydney and Melbourne, local racing will be run at Devonport. We have an 8-race card with several small fields as has become custom in recent weeks. Glenn Stevenson will look to continue his great start to the new season and has strong winning chances in multiple races.

Race 1 – 12:03 Ladbrokes Benchmark 58 Handicap (1009 metres)

Prince of Virtue and Gee Gee Redhead draw opposite sides of the track but look the two set to vie for the lead. Stablemate to Prince of Virtue, Speedy Illusion is another that can be forward.

Bedrock Dreams (2) was arguably a good thing beaten a fortnight ago after missing the start and rattling home to miss in a photo. The 7YO mare has bombed the start at her last two runs though, which make it tough over a sprint distance. Claims to 58.5kg for Scarlet So and will take holding out if she keeps touch with the main pack.

Prince of Virtue (1) trialled last week in impressive fashion, breaking 48 seconds over the 800m. The 5YO gelding’s two runs back from a long break haven’t been anything special but this also looks the easiest competition he has faced. He won at his second race start carrying 59, so the big weight may not be an issue, and the Glenn Stevenson stable is in a hot patch of form.

Trojan Storm (3) has his first start for Cameron Thompson after previously being trained in Victoria by Matt Cumani. The 6YO gelding has been plying his trade on synthetic tracks over there, and has excuses for a midfield finish last start after racing wide. Tricky horse to line up and has the 61kg for Craig Newitt.

Next: Gee Gee Redhead (6) won a maiden very impressively over 900m, but this is a sharp jump in class. Only a new season 3YO and has to carry 57kg against much more experienced horses. Speedy Illusion (4) raced wide without cover last start, and a market watch is critical with two from the stable.

Betting Strategy

Only a six-horse field but four of them are less than $5 in early markets. I think Bedrock Dreams is the winner is she jumps with them, but with a query on that given recent performances, I’m siding with one who should settle near the lead.

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Prince of Virtue.

Race 2 – 12:38 RJ Print & Signs Class 3 Handicap (1150 metres)

The leader should come from Gasnier, Gee Gee Wynett, Hezalite or Miss Mamosa, with the other two happy to be ridden in the back half of the field.

Gee Gee Wynett (2) has returned from a spell with a pair of good runs, heavily backed at her most recent effort but couldn’t hold off Fighting Phoenix who runs later in the day. From a good draw Daniel Ganderton should land somewhere on-speed and with any luck be in the finish again.

Gasnier (6) has become a bookies horse this preparation, being very well supported on multiple occasions but hasn’t won since December 2017. The 5YO gelding was an unlucky third behind Gee Gee Wynett last time, checked for a run in the home straight when looking to be travelling sweetly. Racing well and another who seems unlikely to be far away at the end of the race.

Triple Strip (1) returns for her first run since November 2018. The 4YO mare has had two trials for the first-up assignment, finding the 800m too sharp on each occasion but finishing strongly. All three of her career wins have been fresh, but she has never raced at Devonport before. Plenty of ability, but she’s won twice over 1400m and may prefer that distance to the 1150m here.

Next: Miss Mamosa (5) was in a bunched finish last time. She loomed to win that day but couldn’t close it out. Drops 4.5kg from that run. Katy Kat (7) couldn’t make an impact in a race dominated by leaders and may be a better grass horse. Hezalite (3) is an interesting runner being class 1 eligible and racing well out of his grade at start number three.

Betting Strategy

Same as the previous race, another small field but multiple good winning chances. I think Gee Gee Wynett is a standout though and deserves to be favourite. 6 units to win on Gee Gee Wynett (2).

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on Gee Gee Wynett.

Race 3 – 13:13 Tas Racing Class 1 Handicap (1350 metres)

Not a lot of speed in this race on paper. Exceeding Virtue and Snippety Cat draw next to each other on the inside and I would expect the leader to come from that pair, but most of these generally race off the speed.

Elton’s Song (3) lines up for his third start since transferring to Adam Trinder, all being in this grade and over this distance. The 4YO gelding was slowly away last time and unable to be fully tested until well into the home straight when running third to Varekai. Getting back at both Tassie runs is a concern in a race without obvious speed, but a repeat of last effort will have him going very close.

Exceeding Virtue (5) is on the six-day back-up after finishing fourth over 1150m last Sunday. The lightly raced 5YO mare hasn’t raced over 1350m in her short racing career, but from the inside draw and with little speed in the race, she may potentially be able to dictate as she did when winning two starts back.

Queen’s Needs (7) was a dominant winner when breaking her maiden status over this distance three weeks ago. The 4YO mare showed a good turn of foot in the home straight that day for Chris Graham, and her best runs have come with him in the saddle. Naturally this is a step-up in quality but she looks well placed.

Next: Odin’s Folly (4) is an ex Laming trained horse whose best form has come on wet tracks. Market will be the main guide. Snippety Cat (2) has had seven weeks off and makes his own luck on-speed generally. Maps for a good run. Orphanali (8) was a beaten favourite last start and disappointing on face value but has the blinkers come off this time around.

Betting Strategy

There are few stables who provide a better lead on their runners through the betting than Glenn Stevenson’s and Exceeding Virtue has been smashed early. With that move, confidence levels aren’t as high, but Elton’s Song will be hard to beat off the last start performance. 3 units to win on Elton’s Song (3).

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Elton’s Song.

Race 4 – 13:47 Birdcage Tavern Benchmark 82 Handicap (1880 metres)

With the scratching of Kool Kash, Welcome Invader looks the one that will lead and perhaps the other outsider Fish Bones Fry will go forward.

Cunning Fox (4) aims to make it a hat-trick of wins over the 1880m. The last start win in benchmark 64 grade was dominant, and while this is a step-up in grade on title, the topweight was the only horse rated anywhere near 82. Drops to 54kg for Craig Newitt and looks very hard to beat at a distance where other horses are some query.

Mr Churchill (3) looks better placed over this distance than last start when finishing second to Braccenby in a three-horse race. The 8YO geldings last start over 1880m was a second to Cunning Fox by 0.1 lengths and he will meet that galloper a massive 7kg better at the weights this time around. Hasn’t won since January 2018, but this looks a good chance to get back in the winner’s stall.

Braccenby (2) like Cunning Fox is gunning for three successive wins. His wins however have come over 1650m, and this isn’t a distance he is proven over, having never previously raced passed a mile. Fitness should be no issue by this stage of the prep, and it will be interesting to see whether Scarlet So is as positive from the gates as she has been in each of the previous two wins.

Betting Strategy

With Braccenby a query at the distance, this looks a race in two 3 & 4

Race 5 – 14:23 Carlton Draught Maiden (1009 metres)

It should be a good battle for the early lead, particularly from this starting point. Schazem, Little Pegg, Lost Frequencies, Sarsaparilla and Mrs Hardwick all appear go forward types.

Gee Gees Punter (13) ran on well from the back of the field to miss by under a length over this distance last start. The 3YO gelding would perhaps appreciate this race being over 1150m, but if the leaders set the race up, he can be strong late for Ryan Bishop who draws towards the outside.

Mrs Hardwick (8) was a beaten favourite last start in the same race as Gee Gees Punter but had excuses after racing wide without cover on-speed. Daniel Ganderton takes the ride this time, but has drawn wide again so potentially faces another tough run. Will need luck but firmly in the mix.

Little Pegg (5) has changed stable from Kaye Milne to Kelvin Hamilton in the four weeks since her last run. The 4YO mare has run some good races in her 11-start career but only has five minor placings to show for it. She was trapped wide last time, and the first two runs of this campaign were full of merit. Useful claim for Peter Lui sees the mare carry just 53.5kg from a good draw.

Next: Schazem (12) was well supported to win her maiden first-up in the state. That race didn’t look strong though and time will tell if that was her chance. Lost Frequencies (6) has been in the market at each of her three starts and gives Dylan Clark a runner for the first meeting since July 21st.

Betting Strategy

The scratching of Cabarrus has opened this race right up given it was $1.65 when betting markets opened. Three clear winning chances remain in Gee Gees Punter, Mrs Hardwick and Little Pegg. Concerned about the map for Mrs Hardwick so will look to the other two. 3 units to win on Gee Gees Punter (13) and 2 units to win on Little Pegg (5).

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Gee Gees Punter and 2 units to win on Little Pegg.

Race 6 – 15:03 Atkinson Electrical Benchmark 64 Handicap (1350 metres)

The wider draws should provide some speed with Tambro’s Game drawn 6 and Lord Smedley drawn 9 pushing forward. Dothraki Princess is another who should be up with the leaders.

Fighting Phoenix (4) finished fourth on debut but has won at her three subsequent runs, beating some handy types in the process. The 4YO mare gets to 1350m for the first time in her career, but has always raced like further ground won’t be an issue. She’s never carried more than 57.5kg, and Daniel Ganderton will carry 60kg here but maps for an economical run from gate 1.

Lord Smedley (1) was a big betting drifter at his first run back from spell and ran accordingly to finish out of the placings in a race where the leader won. The 6YO gelding’s second-up record is markedly better with two wins from three starts which includes an eye-catching win at Launceston back in February. The claim gets him in with 59.5kg in a race where they are compressed at the top of the weights, but Peter Lui has the widest draw to overcome.

Sh’Bourne Star (7) bombed the start at her first run back which ruined her winning chances but she worked home well behind Fighting Phoenix. The 6YO mare will meet that horse 2kg better from that meeting, and is another who looks suited by the extra distance.

Breathtaking (3) has an excellent record over the Devonport 1350m, winning three times from six starts. The 5YO mare had her winning streak ended four weeks ago when finishing in a blanket for the minors in the race won by Enzian. Craig Newitt has an excellent record on the horse and he will no doubt be keen for winners after a rare meeting passed last Sunday without one.

Next: Dothraki Princess (5) has been consistent in this grade this preparation and has each-way claims again. Tambro’s Game (8) exclusively runs over 1350m these days and can give cheek if able to find the front.

Betting Strategy

Open race if you look past the progressive Fighting Phoenix who looks hard to beat but a short enough price. Looking for value, Sh’Bourne Star should appreciate the 1350m and be running home hard.

 BACK (EW) – 1 unit each-way on Sh’Bourne Star.

Race 7 – 15:43 Goodstone Group Benchmark 64 Handicap (1650 metres)

Skip Town Mike and Into the Night should contest the lead with that pair being the only real on-speed horses in the race.

Skip Town Mike (1) has returned from a break a completely different horse, notching up two wins and a second in his three runs this time in. Daniel Ganderton gave nothing else a chance dictating from the front last time, and while he draws wide here, there doesn’t look a lot of early speed. Rises in grade but impossible to fault the 7YO gelding’s current form.

Ivoryman (5) hasn’t had a lot go his way this preparation and as a result has run placings at each of his last three starts. After getting back in the field, the race didn’t suit last time and while the 6YO gelding ran into a clear second he was a big margin from the winner. Meets Skip Town Mike 2kg worse for that result, but is racing well and at worst has strong claims for another place.

Submit Another (6) gets to the mile third-up after running over 1150m and 1350m at his two runs back from a spell. He worked home well from the back in a race where only those in the front half had a chance, and the 5YO gelding looks better suited up to a mile. Inside draw may enable Craig Newitt to settle closer which will be important if this is a moderately run affair.

Next: Voices (7) has followed the same path as Submit Another. Had some market support last time and has won twice at the mile. Coutinho (4) should be fitter for having the one run at this distance and Cunning Fox made a mess of the field that day. Maps for a good run for Ryan Bishop from gate 2.

Betting Strategy

Skip Town Mike find a race to continue his great form, but I’d like to keep Submit Another on-side who gets to the right distance. 6 units to win on Skip Town Mike (1) and 2 units to win on Submit Another (6).

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on Skip Town Mike and 2 units to win on Submit Another.

Race 8 – 16:23 Thai Imperial Latrobe Maiden/Class 1 (1650 metres)

Most of the speed should come from the inside gates through Astrobelle, Gee Gees Saint Nik and Roger Verbal Kint with Pinkeyes Pride rolling forward from wider.

Generalmaintenance (2) couldn’t quite get Craig Newitt to the 100 wins for the season last start when he finished a closing third over this distance. The 5YO gelding settled back there, and perhaps is already looking for further than 1650m despite this being only his third start for the stable. Not an overly deep race though and this look a good chance for Newitt to atone for being stranded on 99.

Furrrenzy (6) finished ahead of Generalmaintenance in the same race, only missing the win by the smallest of margins. It was an excellent ride by Dylan Mo that day who was able to save ground on the fence. Ryan Bishop rides this time, and will have the widest gate to overcome. Another who would prefer this race to be at 1880m, but will be in the finish with a repeat of last start.

Gee Gees Saint Nik (1) had to do some work early when caught wide when finishing fourth behind the two aforementioned horses. From gate 2 Daniel Ganderton should settle in the first few without too much trouble, and while he rises 4kg from last start, Ganderton is riding in good form.

Next: Astrobelle (5) has had her last three starts at 1009m, 1350m, 1150m and now races over 1650m. Hard to see what the plan has been, but she may be the leader from gate 1. Roger Verbal Kint (3) and Pinkeyes Pride (7) may have both had their Christmas winning two starts back but are honest and should also land on-speed.

Betting Strategy

This field has combined for 184 starts and just the seven wins which gives a good indicator of what we’re working with in the last of the day. At 1880m I’d be very confident Generalmaintenance, and while I still have him on top, reduced stakes over the mile. 2 units to win on Generalmaintenance (2).

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Generalmaintenance.

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