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.

Check out the Betfair Hub and the Betfair Exchange for the latest odds.


TAS Racing: Hobart, Saturday 17th November

Racing is in Hobart on Saturday with a quality 8 race program expected to be run on a firm track starting at 1:23pm.

The highlight of the day is race 4, the Tony Carrick 3yo Vase to be run at 3:19pm, where gun 3yo Gee Gee Secondover will try and run down the flying filly Gee Gee Queen Bee. Race 6 is a very solid open handicap headlined by Killin Falls with class runners such as Count Da Vinci and Jerilderie Letter trying to get their campaigns on track ahead of the upcoming carnival.

Race 1 – 13:23 Raine & Horne Kingston Maiden (1200 METRES)

Huontegz should find the lead quite comfortably here with no other obvious leaders. Newcomer Brimondo has shown speed on the mainland so may be up there challenging while Miss Iso settled closer to the speed last time. The rest of these generally race midfield or worse so horses racing on speed may be advantaged.

Huontegz (2) gave a good sight here off a break two starts back when 2nd behind Orphanali on firm ground before racing wide without cover over 1400m and understandably tiring. Given a freshen to get over that run so the drop back to 1200m looks ideal. Should find a good spot near the lead and will take plenty of running down from there.

Aggie (9) returns back to the state after a preparation in Victoria where she was twiced placed over slightly longer trips for Peter Chow. Wasn’t too bad in her first prep here and now resumes for the Tegan Keys stable with a handy trial under her belt. Will be better over a bit further but may show up fresh from a good draw.

Iron Throne (3) settled off the speed here first up over 1100m and worked home solidly nearer the inside to finish just behind the placegetters. Extra 100m here will suit but does have an awkward barrier for in-form rider Brendon McCoull to overcome. Needs to improve again but heading in the right direction and has each way claims with luck in running.

Gee Gee Rockstar (8) resumes from a spell and has trialled twice so expect him to be ready to go at 1200m. Ran 2nd behind Hatrick Hero before a spell over this course on soft ground but trials on firm ground have only been fair. Newitt is a positive booking so respect any positive market support but will need luck from the wide gate.

Next best Bullion Fringe (6) (wasn’t hopeless on debut and will appreciate longer trip, maybe an improver at odds) and Gympins (13) (blew start in trial but worked home well, should be doing her best work late).

Verdict: Huontegz (2) appeals as hardest to beat with the right run near the lead. Aggie (9) will be better over longer but can sprint well fresh and looks the main danger.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on Huontegz (2) and 2 units to win on Aggie (9).

Race 2 – 14:00 Raine & Horne Sorell 2YO Maiden (1000 METRES)

Hard map to predict with all of these on debut. Maceyanna looks a speedy type who may find the front like she has in her trials. Gee Gee Manpower, Gee Gee Bay Watch, Gee Gee Double Hot, Gee Gees Darl and Fitzwilliam all showed sufficient pace at the trials to suggest they can race near the lead if they begin well.

Maceyanna (9) has caught the eye at the Longford trials with a pair of wins over 700m. Speedy type of filly who ran better time at her second trial despite racing wide and looks to have the early speed to be in the firing line early. Extra 300m here is the query but sure to have supporters and should give a big sight.

Gee Gee Double Hot (7) is the latest filly from the mare Josies Double who has produced Geegees Doublejay and Gee Gee Double Dee. Got squeezed at the start at the trials but then worked home nicely to finish 2nd behind Gee Gee Manpower. With more luck at the start she can be near the lead and looks set to run well.

Gee Gees Darl (8) showed speed to lead in her trial and was only shaded late by Gee Gee Bay Watch. Newitt is a positive booking but wide draw is potentially a bit tricky if a couple inside of her jump quickly. Nicely bred filly with speed who can show up on debut so watch for a positive market move.

Gee Gee Bay Watch (2) is the stablemate of Gee Gees Darl and beat her home narrowly when they trialled together in Hobart. Nice style of gelding who showed enough early speed in his trial to suggest he can take up a forward position and shouldn’t have an issue at the longer trip. Looks to be right in the mix on that effort.

Fitzwilliam (1) trailed in Gee Gee Manpower and Gee Gee Double Hot in her first trial but then returned to the trials during the week and gave a good account of herself with a dominant win ahead of Gee Gees Punter. The second trial may give her an edge over a few of these as she looked to improve off her first effort and that may help her turn around the margin on those ahead of her from her first trial. Outside draw isn’t ideal but if she gets across she has a hope.

Next best Gee Gee Manpower (3) (workmanlike win at the trials and draws the rail which gives him his chance) and Man Of The Moment (5) (found the line nicely behind Maceyanna and will appreciate every step of the 1000m but needs to stay in touch with them early).

Verdict: Pleasingly, this looks a race with a fair bit of depth for the first 2yo race of the season. Maceyanna (9) looks a speedy customer who will be hard to run down if she gets the 1000m trip while there didn’t look much between many of the Gee Gee runners from the trials. The market may be the best guide.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Gee Gee Double Hot (7).

Race 3 – 14:43 Raine & Horne Eastern Shore Class 2 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Should be a genuine tempo here. Flikpix, Our Artie and Divi can all go for the lead if desired, as can City Of Dreams but they looked to ride off the pace last time. Party Planner is usually right there also.

Our Artie (2) resumes from a spell here and won a trial leading into this run. Very consistent last preparation without winning and ran 2nd over this course back in March behind Street Tough. Stretched out over 1400m last prep so should be strong at the finish and well drawn so expect him to be in the finish.

Divi (8) resumed from a spell with an extremely speedy display over this course to break her maiden status a month ago. Didn’t want it much further there but ran time on soft ground and may be better suited on top of the ground. Stays down in the weights with Voorham’s claim but draws outside a number of speed runners so may have to do some work to get across. Maybe more scope than these so will take plenty of beating again but this has more depth and may need luck early to get over.

Flikpix (4) did a good job to win here over 1200m a fortnight ago in good time when too strong after racing outside the lead and getting to the right part of the track in the straight. Both wins have come when fresh so needs to back that effort up here but has the early speed to take advantage of an inside gate. This doesn’t look much harder so if she can reproduce her first up effort she looks a leading chance to win again.

City Of Dreams (3) was ridden with a sit last time in Launceston but that might not have been the right time to try it given the pattern of the night so can forgive her last placing to a degree. Previous form has been somewhat soft and hasn’t been finding the line so they may try to ride her quieter again. Newitt goes on and does prefer the slightly shorter trips so while it is hard to have too much faith she isn’t without a hope.

Pontypaul (9) is another mare who can mix her form but her best is up to this. Didn’t finish far behind Flikpix here last time and will appreciate the pressure up front here given she races best when ridden off the speed. Will need luck as always and might need a favourable pattern but she is the swooper down the middle if the on-pacers carve each other up in front.

Next best Party Planner (5) (found 1400m too far and then disappointed in BM64 grade, this is easier and nicely drawn so may bounce back) and Goodbye Lonesome (1) (best form is well placed in this field but better over slightly further and may need the run based on his long layoff and recent trials).

Verdict: Even race with many different form lines to weigh up so tactics and pattern will be key to finding the winner. The top five picks here all have genuine claims so maybe following market cues will be the way to go.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Our Artie (2).

Race 4 – 15:19 Tony Carrick 3YO Vase (1100 METRES)

Gee Gee Queen Bee looks set to run along in the lead and can set a tempo to her liking. The other three can be on her hammer with interest in how close Gee Gee Secondover is able to stay with her in the run.

Gee Gee Secondover (1) is a highly promising 3yo who returned after a super 2yo campaign with a dominant C1 win against the older horses. Ran genuine time again and pleasingly began well after having some issues leaving the gates as a 2yo. Carried this weight to win first up and has been far too strong for the rivals he has met before so he does look the winner.

Gee Gee Queen Bee (3) bolted in over 1200m two starts ago when left alone in front but capitulated last start after running along in the lead to run last. Was found to be in season following the race which provides an excuse for the poor performance and now she looks likely to run along untested in the lead. Doubt she has the strength to hold off Gee Gee Secondover if he can stay in touch but if she gets away with a big lead she might cause an upset.

Clever Charlotte (4) scored a gutsy win first up over this course but then failed behind Street Tough and was only fair last time behind West On Broadway. Comes up against a couple of smart horses here but now gets blinkers which may bring about improvement on her past couple. Hard to see her winning here but gets right trail off inside gate to fight out the trifecta position.

Verdict: Looks a match race between Gee Gee Secondover (1) and Gee Gee Queen Bee (3). Gee Gee Secondover (1) is strong and has had her measure in the past so expect him to prevail but if the filly can get out running and get him off the bit she may have the chance to pinch it.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 8 units to win on Gee Gee Secondover (1).

Race 5 – 15:54 Raine & Horne Hobart Benchmark 70 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Small field but good speed. Galeocerdo and Apriano matched motors last time and may do so again, while Motown Blues also has the speed to race near the front. How keen Apriano is on pressuring Galeocerdo is the key to the race – if he serves it up then those sitting behind look suited.

Tough Missile (4) was very good first up over this course when she ran on strongly into 2nd behind O’Lonh Star in the Goodwood Handicap last week. This is obviously a considerable drop in grade but with Graham’s claim she is still treated well at the weights. Should get a nice trail behind a strong tempo and thrives here on firm ground. Ticks a lot of boxes and only has to run up to her first up effort to be extremely hard to beat.

Galeocerdo (3) went quickly as she always does first up in Launceston over 1220m but after having pressure to her outside from Apriano she tired in the straight. Much better suited here over 1100m where she has won five races and gets her favourite rider Carr aboard. Shapes to get plenty of pressure again from Apriano and possibly Motown Blues which could cause her undoing and has plenty of weight but she has won previously with 59kg. She has won in the past when pressure looked imminent by simply being too fast so she is a genuine danger if she can get a comfortable run in front.

Agree To (1) is a consistent galloper who resumes from a break and generally sprints well fresh. Best form has come on rain affected tracks but worth noting he ran 4th behind Blaze Forth in open company last prep on dry ground. Should be suited by the good tempo and gets in reasonably with Voorham’s claim so expect him to around the mark like he always is.

Apriano (2) ran a game 2nd behind Mandela Effect three starts back when able to find the front but has capitulated at his past couple when forced to race outside a fast tempo. Looks like getting a similar setup again here with Galeocerdo drawn underneath him but that horse has missed the start on occasions which would give him his chance to find the front. Hard to make a case for him if he doesn’t lead but should he get the front he can give a sight.

Motown Blues (7) has been racing well in lower benchmark races but this is a clear rise in grade. Bolted in last time when aided by the pattern but after three 1200m runs she may be looking for a longer trip not a shorter one. Unlikely to get the front here and comes up against some very solid sprinters so place claims appear best.

Verdict: Tough Missile (4) was terrific first up in good company and appeals as the clear top pick. Galeocerdo (3) may be the one to cause an upset if allowed to run along comfortably in the lead.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 5 units to win on Tough Missile (4) and 1 unit to win on Galeocerdo (3).

Race 6 – 16:34 Dimension IV Open Hcp (1400 METRES)

Kool Kash and Century Arrow look set to contest the lead off inside draws while Count Da Vinci can go forward to race near the front. The rest of these generally settle midfield or worse so spots just behind the speed are up for grabs and the on-pacers should get every chance.

Killin Falls (5) was scratched from Wednesday night’s meeting to run here instead. Racing well back on the turf at his past couple behind in-form gallopers Liffeybeau and Fragment. Placed at his only run on this track and should appreciate a genuine tempo unfolding in front of him. Well weighted and has the right form in this distance range so appeals as the logical favourite.

Minute Repeater (7) has gone back at both runs this prep and found the line nicely on both occasions, finishing narrowly behind Killin Falls at his most recent run. Has won four races over this course and should find a comfortable position in running quickly from a good draw. Up to this grade and racing as well as ever so he is an obvious danger.

Jerilderie Letter (2) is a proven performer who is working back into form after a long layoff. Ran a bit better second up to only finish a few lengths behind Killin Falls and now gets right down in the weights with Graham’s claim. Might need one or two more but is a class galloper more than up to this at his best so sharp improvement wouldn’t surprise and respect any positive market support.

Geegees Goldengirl (3) is a consistent staying mare who worked to the line well enough first up in the race won by Fragment, finishing within a length of Killin Falls. Races well here on her home track and is always racing against the best company. Hasn’t won since the 2017 Summer Cup but always around the mark and expect similar again.

Count Da Vinci (1) resumed with 62kg and finished down the track behind Liffeybeau after showing good speed but knocking up late. Given plenty of time to get over that run and suited by the longer trip but has the big weight to carry again. Former Hobart and Moe Cup winner who has shown ability at shorter trips and can win this on his best form but need to see a little more before being able to back him with confidence.

Next best Geegees Baritone (6) (encouraging run fresh and Newitt is a positive booking, not hopeless) and Century Arrow (8) (up substantially in grade and badly treated at the weights but an honest on-pacer up to his favourite trip).

Verdict: Interesting race with a couple of the class runners still searching for form. Killin Falls (5) deserves to be top pick but Minute Repeater (7) is also racing very well. The class horses at the top of the weights can show up if they find their best form while Century Arrow (8) may be best of the on-pacers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Killin Falls (5).

Race 7 – 17:14 Hype TV Class 2 Hcp (1600 METRES)

Total lack of pace here with most of these preferring to race midfield or worse. As a result the spots near the lead are totally up for grabs with Manilenya, Quick Quill, Hirvonen and Geegees Gran Lodge the most likely to roll forward.

Manilenya (3) followed up a good first up 2nd behind Street Tough with an excellent 2nd behind Zuberina last time when able to make ground wider on the track against the pattern. Unproven out to the mile given she failed at her only try earlier in her career but she was immediately given a break and is much better equipped to tackle it now. Both wins have come at this track and she is capable of taking up a forward position if the tempo is muddling so she appeals as the hardest to beat.

Paion (1) jumped sharply to the mile last time but hit the line full of running to defeat Argillite in this grade running away. Has returned a much improved horse this preparation with all three of his runs being full of merit and can only be improved again with the 1600m run under his belt. Showed last time he can overcome a slow tempo despite racing back in the field and he shapes as an obvious winning chance again.

The Greatness (2) hasn’t had a lot of luck this prep with wide barriers forcing him to settle well back in the field but he is racing extremely consistently. Can forgive his last run in BM64 grade when unsuited by the pattern but didn’t find the line as strongly as Manilenya. Failed in both 1600m attempts at the end of his prep last time but had genuine excuses and looks suited by it now. Don’t underestimate how well he is going and he has a genuine hope.

Quick Quill (5) broke through to win over this distance two starts ago in Launceston in BM58 grade but was rather disappointing last time against stronger company. This is an easier class of race on paper but it has some promising horses engaged and in reality is probably a tougher affair. In light with Voorham’s claim but place claims may be best against this lot.

Wyuna (4) has been racing in higher grade this prep, consistently finishing within 4 lengths of the winner before failing over 2400m last time. Ran 3rd over this course three starts back behind Trusted Warrior so can handle a shorter distance but likely to be near the rear of the field in running. Might find a couple of these too sharp but will be working home at the finish.

Next best Geegees Gran Lodge (6) (has been competitive in this grade in the past but needs to do much more than his past two runs).

Verdict: Three in-form gallopers here with great chances in Manilenya (3), Paion (1) and The Greatness (2). Lean to Manilenya (3) with her ability to race handy and coming from an excellent run at Launceston.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Manilenya (3).

Race 8 – 17:50 Optimus Health Bryan Robertson Memorial Benchmark 64 Hcp (2100 METRES)

Argillite is up in trip but likely to take up her favoured role in the lead again. Style Guru can settle handy as may Special Moment in her first try over the distance and White Hawk went forward last time. Doubt this will be run at any more than an average tempo.

White Hawk (1) has returned in excellent order this preparation, following a very good 3rd first up against the pattern with an impressive win last week over the mile. Gets to 2100m rather quickly but is a genuine stayer given he ran 4th in last season’s 2650m St Leger. Awkwardly drawn but raced outside the lead last time so wouldn’t be surprised to see him come across to settle in the first four. Has plenty of weight but has always shaped as a stayer of promise and maybe this prep is when he fulfils his potential. Top pick.

Geegee Blackprince (2) is ready for the 2100m now after three mile runs. Worked home to score a breakthrough win two starts ago in Launceston, beating subsequent winners Voices and Roulette Star, and grinded home in similar fashion last time off a slow tempo behind Paion. Yet to place in three tries over this trip but more mature now and last attempt was a solid 4th behind Wyuna. Up in grade but will appreciate Newitt’s strong riding and may make the leap over the staying trip.

Geegees Lillybet (6) worked home nicely into 2nd here first up over the mile behind Trusted Warrior before being caught wide throughout in the small field behind White Hawk. Stuck on gamely last time considering and is another who looks suited getting up in distance. Has only won three times from 48 starts but they have all come at this track and has performed in better grade than this. Definite chance.

Another Brother (4) is a proven stayer who ran a reasonable 4th last time over this trip behind Flash Missile. Generally better suited on softer ground but has been solid enough in better grade over this trip to say he will be competitive in this slightly easier affair. Has only won 2 from 28 so hard to have too much confidence but expect him to be around the mark as usual.

Chief Navigator (3) is a horse coming up in grade after two starts for two wins this preparation. Genuine stayer who won first up at this trip and repeated the dose last time, both in C1 grade and both over this course. This is a genuine rise in class but is open to improvement being lightly raced so he may be able to make the leap.

Next best Argillite (5) (better last time over a mile when she controlled the race in front, first run at this trip which is a query but if she runs it out strongly she may prove hard to run down).

Verdict: Even race with a few different form lines but White Hawk (1) has always promised to make a good stayer and looks on the way through to better races this time in so he stands out as the one to beat here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on White Hawk (1).


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