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: Launceston, Sunday 19th May

Launceston host their final meeting of the season on Sunday, with a bumper ten race card as many trainers look for a final grass run before the racing moves to Devonport for a lengthy period. The young horses take centre stage with the Armidale Stud Tasbred 2YO worth $50,000 and appears a race that is Deroche’s to lose.

The rail is out 9m, and with the cooler weather, expect the track to race in the soft range. Runners gradually shifted away from the inside at this track a fortnight ago, and it will be important to monitor whether the same pattern emerges.


Race 1 – 11:55 Australian Racing Hall of Fame Maiden (1220 metres)

Tough race to map with a pair of first starters and others resuming from a spell. Expect Exemplify and Snippety Cat to use their inside draws to hold forward positions, with Tara’s Design, Heavens Heartbreak and With No Name also generally racing forward.

With No Name (4) earned a few cheques in his first campaign for Scott Brunton but couldn’t break through for a win. His first run in the state was over this distance when finishing a close third after receiving heavy support. Been given a soft trial, and should be fresh enough for 1220m first-up with further distances likely later in the prep.

Exemplify (1) has his first start for Glenn Stevenson after previously being trained by John Sadler in Victoria. Despite being a $100k purchase, he showed very little for the previous stable. The recent trial was under a hold, finishing a small margin from the winner. Craig Newitt has a good recent strike rate for the stable, and a forward showing wouldn’t surprise.

Keiserinne (7) was an eye-catching run on debut back in November, but her subsequent two runs were poor, and she was sent out for a spell. The 3yo filly finished alongside Exemplify in their trial last week, with neither horse being asked for a lot. Blinkers come off which may improve her racing manners, but no favours have been done with the barrier draw with Siggy Carr coming from gate 10.

Snippety Cat (3) had excuses at the track a fortnight ago over 1400m, when being caught wide from a bad gate, and forced to race without cover throughout. His previous run was solid when holding a forward position from an inside draw, and from gate 3, it’s reasonable to expect a similar run here. Has the fitness edge where quite a few others are an unknown.

Next: Midnight Mosh (9) got a mile back on debut but gets the blinkers first time so can race closer. Burra Burra (11) is the other first starter and looked to be asked for a little more than others at the recent Longford trials.

Betting Strategy

It’s a theme for the day, but a race with a few question marks so it’s difficult to be confident but Exemplify was a very soft trial and can run well from the inside draw.

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

Race 2 – 12:35 McKillops Insurance Brokers Maiden (1220 metres)

Four first starters and the same number of runners from one stable make the speed map tricky. Luvahussy, Reconquista and Safe Journey draw wider and may push forward, with Bonduel Lily kicking up of those drawn the inside.

Reconquista (2) is a 3yo colt who has taken a while to get to the races given he first trialed in October last year. He won a tight trial from which we will get a form reference through the first race on the program. Related to the smart Mandela Effect from this stable, and can run well, particularly with a positive market lead.

Gympins (5) was tipped out after her one run last year, when getting well back and hitting the line hard. She rounded the field up in her recent trial to suggest the break has done her well, with Troy Baker retaining the ride after having the sit in that hit-out. The 3yo filly was a $25k purchase, and one of the four Brunton runners who will be a betting watch.

Kombacy (7) raced at the final night meeting of the season, making good ground down the outside against the pattern for the track at the time. She’s one of many early in the program who has recently been to the Longford trials, where she won, albeit in moderate time. Winkers go on, but from the gate Bulent Muchu may be forced back, so it will be worth monitoring how much ground is made up in Race 1.

Next: Safe Journey (9) rounds out the Brunton quartet. All four gallopers from the trial run in the first two races.

Betting Strategy

He has scratched one, but Scott Brunton still hold the keys to the race with three runners. The market is giving all three a good chance, but working around those, Kombacy was an eye catcher on debut.

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units each-way on Kombacy (7).

Race 3 – 13:10 Kevin Sharkie Maiden (1620 metres)

A big field and there looks plenty of speed. Pira Noona, Encosta’s Reward, Kel’s Star, Gee Gees Magic Man and Sky Fox all raced forward at their most recent start.

Full Knots Ahead (7) is a 3yo filly who gets to the mile for the first time of the grounding of three 1400m runs. Last time she had the winners back, but that horse cleared right out, and she could only work into second. Troy Baker draws the inside again here, and you would expect that shouldn’t be a disadvantage early in the day.

Sky Fox (5) is also on his first campaign as a 3yo colt, managing to run into the placings on half his four runs. He raced on-speed last time in a race where the leaders crawled, so while the race was run to suit, he was under pressure a long way out. Working up to a win but has drawn poorly with some speed inside him, so early tactics will be a challenge for apprentice Harry Grace who takes the ride.

Pira Noona (11) enjoys racing at Launceston, with all five of her career placings coming at this track from seven starts. She couldn’t hold off the powerful finish from Bullion Fringe last time when racing just behind the speed, which is her general pattern. Drawn to get a nice run from the gate, and the booking of Craig Newitt is a positive with the form he is riding in.

Oh So Needy (10) will appreciate a decent battle for the lead if it eventuates, as a horse that generally gets back in her races. She settled behind Full Knots Ahead last time, running on strongly into third in a race where the leader dominated. Should be ready for the mile having been up for a while this prep and would be suited if the wider part of the track is the place to be having drawn 13 for Teagan Voorham.

Next: Plenty of winning chances. Encosta’s Reward (3) bolted for home before the turn last time and felt the pinch late. Should strip fitter. Xaarzam (6) was previously trained by the Corstens and is first-up for Brendon McShane.

Held together in a recent 1400m trial. Kel’s Star (9) improved racing on-speed last time and won’t need to work from the draw. Banca Nip (1) did a stack of work on debut, and the run was better than it reads on paper.

Betting Strategy

$5 the field and basically anything could win without surprising. Happy to play two that come through the same race.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on both Full Knots Ahead (7) and Oh So Needy (10).

Race 4 – 13:50 PFD Food Services Open Handicap (2150 metres)

Gallow Gate and Son of Faith appear the two likely to contest the lead. C’Est Bon is the only other who may challenge, and favourite Speed Force shouldn’t be too far away from gate 3.

Speed Force (1) showed his versatility winning at 1600m off a two month freshen, where the previous start was a victory in the 2600m St.Leger. Trainer Bill Ryan explained after his previous victory that this race was the target for a short winter campaign. The 6yo gelding gives 6kg to the field, but it’s worth noting he won carrying 62kg in Hobart just prior to Christmas last year.

Settler’s Stone (2) appeared to have broken a lengthy winning drought last start at Devonport, but in a deceptive photo finish, somehow managed to run second, speaking to his ability to avoid winning races. The 7yo gelding meets Speed Force 3kg better from the St.Leger in March, and is suited rising in trip from the 1880m at Devonport. Gets another chance to notch his first win since 2015.

Pelagia (4) wasn’t suited back at the mile a fortnight ago, having finished over his rivals at this distance the start prior. The 5yo mare drops to the minimum weight and has Craig Newitt back aboard who knows the horse well.

Next: Reann’s Diamond (6) wasn’t that far away at Devonport and is better on the grass, particularly if soft. Son of Faith (8) has form that ties in with Pelagia and will give a sight on speed.

Betting Strategy

Plenty of punters will be banking on the favourites in races 4 and 5 to make the day. No knock on Speed Force but $1.70 is short enough. Back out to 2100m should see Pelagia improve off last start.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win and 3 units to place on Pelagia (4).

Race 5- 14:25 Armidale Stud Tasbred 2YO (1220 metres)

Fitzwilliam, Deroche and Dixie’s Boy should contest the lead and despite the small field, there may be a decent tempo if the leaders race each other early.

Deroche (2) was an impressive winner at this track a fortnight ago, carrying 59kg on a soft track stamping her class as one of the states best 2yo’s. She drops 3kg from that run, so it’s extremely difficult to see anything from that race turning the tables, and the filly will deservedly be a short quote.

Still A Star (5) has taken the role of bridesmaid in her short racing career, filling the second-place stall at all her three starts. She had the best closing splits in the race behind Deroche last time, but with the added fitness Deroche has, and the weight swing, she may need to settle for second place once again.

Galenus (4) brings an unknown element to the race, having his first start. The gelding was a $45k purchase last year, and his recent trial was impressive, leading throughout under a decent hold. Kicking off his career in a race worth $50k is a lead that the stable may have an opinion of him, and the market should give a good guide.

Next: Fitzwilliam (1) should hold the front from the inside draw and is a logical placegetter if the first starters need the experience.

Betting Strategy

Unless the first starters are very smart, this looks the race for Deroche and she deserves to be a short price.

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units on 2,5 quinella and 2 units on 2,4 quinella.

Race 6 – 15:03 TAB/TA Trainers Trust Benchmark 64 Handicap (1420 metres)

The speed should come from wide on the track with the scratching of The Auditor. Mountain Music, Shewearsthepants, Thanos and perhaps Jack’s Choice can push forward.

Lesnar (4) is a lightly raced 5yo grey gelding who has only missed the place once from five starts. He was a very impressive winner returning from a spell, coming from the tail against the pattern of the track over the last few months. Craig Newitt retains the ride, and a race on the grass seems a target as opposed to racing at Devonport. Likely to be giving a start but has above average ability.

Invincible Rock (2) improved sharply off a plain first-up run, with a slashing second in a tight finish at this track a fortnight ago. Siggy Carr has fiddled with the gear for this run, but the 4yo gelding looks suited up to 1400m third-up, where he has only missed the placings once from five runs.

Shewearsthepants (7) looks a good addition to the Tegan Keys stable, running well at both Tasmanian starts after a lengthy injury break. She got back last time and was forced to make her runs nearer the inside which wasn’t the preferred ground, and only just missed the placings. Gate 16 doesn’t look ideal unless the track plays as it did last time, but she’ll come right into calculations if that’s the case.

Next: Deep race. Qui Samer (6) loves the soft going. Had a tough run from back and wide last start. Axion (1) bounced back to form with a win last time, but not sure the drop-in distance suits. Silver Road (3) has been racing in great form this prep, but finally put in a plain one last time, and all his wins have come over shorter.

Betting Strategy

Open race, particularly if working around the favourite. Keen to have Lensar on-side though who looks a progressive horse, while Shewearsthepants is firmly in the mix, particularly if the gate is ok by now.

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Lesnar (4) and 2 units to win on Sheweasthepants (7).

Race 7 – 15:38 Galloping Gourmet Catering Class 1 Handicap (1620 metres)

Knitting should find the front. The chasing pack may be led by Roulette Star, Voluntas and Thineisthekingdom.

Vivid Dreamer (5) started favourite in the main form reference for this race a fortnight ago. After racing just behind the leaders, Brendon McCoull had no luck getting a run in the home straight and the 4yo mare went to the line untested. Her prior win came racing wider on the track, so the draw may not be a negative, particularly by this time of the day.

The Last Godfather (4) returned from a five-week break with a game third after marking his run from the rear of the field. The 5yo gelding has run placings at three of his last four starts, with the margins just 0.3 lengths each time he has finished in the money. Generally gives a head start, but knocking on the door of win number two.

Knitting (10) had plenty of betting support last time, running a game fourth racing from the front, with a tempo that favoured those coming from off-speed. The 1620m of this race is a query, but she’s been up for a long time this campaign and shouldn’t have any fitness concerns. Likely to find the front easily from the gate and give the field something to chase.

Voluntas (9) is again on the right side of the barrier draw, with the 4yo mares last five barriers reading 2,4,1,1,3. She’s been enjoying cushy runs behind the leaders, and maps for the same scenario here again. Hasn’t placed in any of her four 1600m runs, but should be ready after three consecutive 1400m attempts, and Craig Newitt keeps the ride, having ridden the past two starts.

Next: Nine of these come through the 1400m Class 1 a fortnight ago, and under three lengths separated the first ten horses, so it’s a wide-open race. Foreeva (8) and I am the Dude (3) come through that race and had excuses. Arving (7) was there to win but just missed. Thineisthekingdom (1) and Countless Delta (8) are the two key chances who bring different formlines.

Betting Strategy

On a tough betting card, this looks the toughest given the blanket finish last time most of these met.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Foreeva (11).

Race 8 – 16:13 R.F. Fergusson Open Handicap (1420 metres)

The Master Speed looks the leader. Tough Missile, Minute Repeater and Kool Kash should lead the chasers along with potentially Count Da Vinci who is a map query having not run since the Hobart Cup.

Speedonova (5) got a masterpiece from Raquel Clark to win at this track in late April, beating a few of her rivals here in the process. The 5yo mare is a 1400m specialist, with five wins from eight attempts at the distance, and you would assume Bill Ryan has targeted this race before the racing shifts to Devonport. On the minimum for Craig Newitt and is a leading contender.

Minute Repeater (3) looks suited back to 1400m where he has run his best races, despite being highly competitive over the mile last time. The 9yo led the field there and stayed near the inside with the quinella racing down the outside fence. From gate 2 with Georgie Catania riding, her chances may be dictated by the inside still being ok by this stage today, but she’ll no doubt run an honest race.

Beaufort Lad (2) finished ahead of Minute Repeater a fortnight ago, making a run from last and being suited by the way the track played that day. The 7yo gelding will want the opposite to Minute Repeater, appearing less suited by the drop-in distance, Bulent Muchu will want the inside fence to be off and horses suited running on down the outside.

Fragment (4) was a disappointing run last time, after being well back to start favourite, the horse was the first beaten before the home turn. Difficult to pinpoint the reason for that failure, but the 6yo gelding is better performed in this distance range, and races very well at Launceston so a bounce back wouldn’t shock. Interestingly Craig Newitt jumps off to ride Speedonova, which is perhaps a guide as to which he thinks is a better chance of the two.

Next: The Master Speed (9) will only carry 50kg with Peter Lui riding, so expect him to try and bust the field open. Count Da Vinci (1) has earned the 60.5kg rated 13 points higher than anything else. The market may give a guide. Tough Missile (7) is better performed over sprint trips but could slip under the radar as she often does.

Betting Strategy

Track pattern will be important by this stage of the day. The Master Speed and Minute Repeater are favoured if the inside is fine, and the likes of Speedonova and Beaufort Lad will want the outside to be preferred going.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit each-way on Beaufort Lad (2).

Race 9 – 16:49 E (Ted) Cox Memorial Benchmark 64 Handicap (1220 metres)

Despite the big field, their doesn’t look a great deal of speed with many runners being better performed over further. Motown Blues or Cranbrook should lead, from Forever Alone with Remigny one that may push forward from a wider draw.

Motown Blues (11) was well ridden by Troy Baker last time, from the inside draw that became unfavourable as the day wore on. The 7yo mare got to the right part of the track, and was there to win, but couldn’t finish off and is perhaps slightly better on firmer going. Ismail Toker takes the ride this time, again drawing the inside, and can be suited by the lack of obvious pressure in the race.

Ivoryman (4) is one of four Scott Brunton acceptors, with each of them being first-up from a spell creating big questions in the race. The 5yo gelding has the benefit of a recent trial, finishing behind stablemate Divi but not being pushed out. Has only missed the quinella once from four attempts at Launceston and should be hitting the line late from a wide draw.

Earl Da Vinci (1) bled from both nostrils at his last run in November, so the break has been enforced. The 7yo gelding is another who will likely show his best over further, but he has a brilliant first-up record with three wins from five starts and never missing the placings. Tricky draw for Harry Grace to overcome, but the market will be an important guide given the strong hand the stable has in the race.

Next: Remigny (12) looked the winner 200m from home first-up, but just gave out late. Beat Motown Blues home there. Cunning Fox (6) has run second at all three 1200m runs and went to a new level last prep. Born Magic (13) has her first start for the Brunton stable and wasn’t far off Ivoryman in their recent trial.

Betting Strategy

Difficult race, and one where you’d be well served to take plenty in the quaddie. Would like to see a market lead, but perhaps Ivoryman can make it a day for greys, backing up from Lesnar a few races earlier.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit each-way on Ivoryman (4).

Race 10 – 17:24 Brooklyn Park Agistment Benchmark 72 Handicap (1120 metres)

Expect Weekend Whisky or Nielson to lead. Street Tough draws awkwardly and may push forward, with Miss Smith also camping just behind the first couple.

Street Tough (2) is a 4yo gelding who is yet to miss the placings in seven career runs. He wasn’t asked to do a lot in his recent trial, and we get somewhat of a form reference through Ivoryman in the previous race. He has had an SP at $1.50 or less in each of his last four Tasmanian starts, but only won two of those four races. Promising type, and likely to be well found in the market again.

Nielson (4) returns to Launceston, where he has raced in good form this campaign. Last time at Devonport, he handed up to Teriki, but the leaders ultimately set the race up for those coming from the rear. Important to monitor whether gate 1 is ok by the last race, but he will give a good sight on-speed if it isn’t a significant disadvantage.

Westerly Haze (7) beat home Nielson at Devonport, and his two runs in from a break have been excellent. First-up he was in a busy finish involving a few other horses in this race and will meet those horses worse at the weights from that meeting. The 6yo gelding generally races best early in the prep, but if he holds form, and Troy Baker can overcome gate 8, he won’t be far away.

Uber Ed (5) finally made his return to the races after more than twelve months off, when finishing midfield at this track a month ago. He didn’t have much clean air from the inside draw, and may appreciate a slightly wider gate, this time out. Siggy Carr keeps the ride, and you would expect the 4yo gelding to have taken benefit from the first-up run.

Next: Weekend Whisky (3) hasn’t missed the quinella in three fresh runs, and the use of a 4kg claimer suggests they will ride aggressively despite 1100m likely being short of his best.

Betting Strategy

Street Tough has burnt punters a few times at a short price but looks well placed here.

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Street Tough (2).


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