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 , Wednesday 16th October

After almost five months without it, we’re faced with the second grass meeting in a week as they race under lights in Launceston on Wednesday. We have an 8-race card highlighted by a deep looking 3YO maiden to start the program and a quality benchmark 74 which sees some well performed sprinters resuming.

The rail moves out 3m after being in the true on Saturday and with showers forecast the track is likely to be in the soft range.

Race 1 – 18:35 Ladbrokes 3YO Maiden (1100 metres)

Assuming the emergencies don’t run half the ten runners are first starters. Man of the Moment, Tough Boy, Sirene Stryker and Take the Sit have all shown they can go forward from the little form we have to work with.

Tough Boy (6) was scratched from the 3YO maiden on Saturday night along with Sirene Stryker, Take the Sit and Mickey Highsleeves. He drew a wide gate there but the prospect of running into Galenus may have forced connections to take this option. The debut run was excellent after getting no peace in front and Chris Graham draws ideally if they plan to push forward again. Has race experience on his side and will take some beating.

Sirene Stryker (8) has threatened to make her first race appearance a few times now but has been scratched for another day. Her first trial was behind Tough Boy in good time at Devonport before leading to defeat the promising Still a Star at Longford. Blinkers are on for her first run and Daniel Ganderton draws next to Tough Boy in gate 3.

Take the Sit (9) has learnt how to find the line first winning all three of her trials. Heavenly Light finished third behind her at the most recent hit-out with that filly running well on Saturday. The draw isn’t quite as bad as it looks if the last two emergencies don’t run and Craig Newitt in the saddle is a positive lead.

Needarein (3) was slowly away at his trial but caught the eye rounding the field to feature in the finish albeit racing greenly in the straight.

No gear changes listed for his first start but he does have a strong rider in Noel Callow aboard. He was a $36k purchase at the 2018 Tasmanian yearling sales and off the trial run you would expect him to be finishing strongly.

Next: Man of the Moment (1) had heavy support last start when fading after racing alongside Tough Boy. They may prefer to ride him colder but gate 1 isn’t ideal for that.

Olympic Honour (4) never got warm at his one Devonport appearance but the stable often improve on the grass and is worth monitoring any positive market push.

Betting Strategy

This looks a maiden of good depth with several first starters coming off impressive trials. Tough Boy deserves favouritism but with many unknowns in the race, short prices don’t offer much appeal. As such, looking to spec a pair at bigger prices.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Take the Sit (9)

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Olympic Honour (4).

Race 2 – 18:55 Jackson Security Newmarket Nov 27th Maiden (1400 metres)

Looks certain to be a capacity field given there are five emergencies. Safe Journey, Worthy Opponent and Vocab will try and hold forward positions from inside draws, with Gee Gees Turf Talk and Pira Noona will be looking to come across from out wide.

Murano (8) has only had the one run in the state finishing an unlucky second when forced to race back in the field from a wide gate. She comes up with gate 1 so you would expect Craig Newitt to settle much closer and if she finishes off as she did last time, she will take some holding out.

Safe Journey (10) is one of a number of inexperienced horses in the field, lining up for start number two. She led at her one appearance back in May on a day where the track was favouring those running on down the outside. Brought up to speed with a recent trial and draws the inside for Troy Baker who is looking for his first Tasmanian winner since the middle of winter.

Gee Gees Turf Talk (4) was backed heavily to win her first up run at Devonport but could only manage second behind Honky Tonk Girl. She is another who is likely to push forward but Scarlet So draws wide and may face a task getting across. Respecting the market move last time, she is firmly in the mix with even luck.

Pira Noona (9) is one of the most experienced horses in the field, a veteran of 11 career starts of which five she has finished in the placings. She has generally raced around 1400m so she may find this a bit sharp but won a recent trial for Chris Graham who keeps the ride.

Next: Vallabar (1) beat Needarein in their trial who provides a reference in the first of the night. Worth looking for any market lead with the stable having two in the race. Needadollarbill (15) had two runs as a 2YO with his debut effort clearly the better of the two.

Likely to have taken improvement and trialled well enough. Worthy Opponent (2) is having his tenth attempt at winning a maiden in Tasmania and was brave racing wide on-speed last time, finishing not far behind Murano.

Betting Strategy

Open race with many winning chances. Early favourite We Need A Star finds the right race but doesn’t look much value having his first run on the grass. Gee Gees Keylargo can give a good sight racing on-speed.

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Murano (8)

Race 3 – 19:45 Happy 60th Brian Walker Class 1 Handicap (1200 metres)

There should be a good charge for the front with Schazem, Hezalite and Knitting all generally looking to go forward. Expect this to be run at genuine tempo.

Needs Amore (6) has been a good money earner for connections, placing at seven of her eight career starts. Her one win came over this track and distance on Cup day earlier in the year when she sprouted wings late to win by a small margin. Settled right back in her recent trial and draws wide for Noel Callow so is likely to be giving a start again. Would be suited by any pattern favouring those working away from the inside.

Hezalite (3) trialled very well leading into his first-up run which saw him firm in the market but he was given no hope racing wide without cover after being slowly away. The 4YO was an impressive debut winner but hasn’t fired since albeit with some excuses. Better draw here for Daniel Schmitt so you would expect some improvement.

Vivid Dreamer (9) is another lightly raced galloper with the 5YO lining up for just her fifth career start. She’s started favourite in two of those four runs and arguably is a bit unlucky to have not won twice. Trialled in slow time for the day at Longford last month and Brendon McCoull has a wide gate to overcome, but a definite chance if cover can be found.

Luca Bratzi (1) interestingly had three Tasmanian trials before switching stables and all six career starts came in Victoria for Anthony Cosgriff. The 4YO is now with John Blacker having trialled a fair distance behind Tessie who came out and won by a space first-up.

Yet to race over a distance shorter than 1300m and with the wide draw is one likely to be getting back and running on.

Next: Schazem (8) is making her own luck racing on speed and finished well clear of the third horse last time. This looks a deeper class 1 though. Skidman (4) has run out of steam late at each of his 1350m appearances so may appreciate the drop back to 1200m.

Knitting (10) had her only win first up but that was way back in April 2018. Claim for Rose Pearson means she will only carry 52kg and she may try and give them something to catch.

Betting Strategy

Strong class 1 with plenty of horses seemingly on the way up. Tough race to assess with many of the key chances starting their campaigns, so again looking for some value with two horses at near double figure odds.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit on Hezalite (3)

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit on Vivid Dreamer (9).

Race 4 – 20:20 S W Glazing Benchmark 74 Handicap (1100 metres)

Plenty of speed runners engaged in a race full of quality. One of Apriano or My Biddy looks the leader but Savs Finale, Street Tough, Gee Gee Lanett and Cimarron’s Hero all generally settle nearer to the front than back of the field.

Street Tough (3) is a first up specialist, placing at all five fresh runs including three wins. He won with ease off a break at the last Launceston meeting in May before venturing to Victoria where he was unplaced in two runs. Dumped the rider at the start of his trial on the 3rd October so there may be a concern that may have set him back given the quality he is up against here.

My Biddy (5) returns to the care of trainer Max Cowen after transferring to Doug Harrison for four Victorian runs. The 5YO is also an excellent fresh horse winning two from four as well as a second placing where she did everything except beat Mystic Journey in January this year. Likely to have some company on-speed but Brendon McCoull knows her well having ridden the mare to four previous wins.

Gee Gee Lanett (2) has an excellent career record of 21 placings from 27 career starts. She put in a pair of uncharacteristically poor performances to finish last campaign and has since returned with a good trial victory over a few horses she meets here.

Tricky draw for Scarlet So to overcome with plenty of speed drawn inside, but she’s another who goes well first-up placing at all four previous runs off a break.

Savs Finale (1) finished behind Gee Gee Lanett in their recent trial, ridden cold towards the back of the field. Now a 6YO connections will be hoping that this is the campaign he can progress to open class having won six races through his career. May be looking for slightly further than 1100m but should get a good run behind the speed from gate 2 for Chris Graham.

Next: Apriano (4) loves racing at Launceston but hasn’t placed in six previous first-up runs. Magic Waler (6) won the same grade of race at Devonport but this has considerably more depth. Gate 1 isn’t ideal given he is unlikely to have the early speed at this distance but will be running on if the gaps arrive.

Betting Strategy

Excellent race but with five of the eight horses resuming it’s tough from a betting perspective.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Street Tough (3).

Race 5 – 21:00 Field Family 0-60 Handicap (1400 metres)

Very little obvious speed in this one. Fish Bones Fry should lead despite dropping back in distance. Dubai Sky or Clever Charlotte are the other logical dangers for the front.

Silent Bid (2) has run on strongly at each of his two runs to open this campaign and looks well placed at 1400m third-up. After winning his second career start the 5YO has found a variety of ways to avoid notching a second win and has been a hard luck story on many occasions.

Has raced forward or back but this may potentially be a tough race for backmarkers to get into if the speed map plays out how it looks on paper.

Dubai Sky (1) is another newcomer to the state to win at his first run for the current stable but has since had a subsequent run finishing well off the quinella and behind Schazem who runs in race 3. He is yet to be tested at 1400m but was a bit one paced last time over 1150m so may be looking for the extra distance.

Next: Kepta (7) finished ahead of Silent Bid last start so that form obviously ties in. Generally races better over the sprint trips though, having just the two third placings from eight 1400m runs.

Clever Charlotte (5) won her first two career starts and remains on that win tally. Interesting choice to kick-off over 1400m and she can’t totally be dismissed.

Betting Strategy

The scratching of Stratum on Fire leaves Silent Bid as a clear on top selection but he is a horse that has burnt punters plenty of times previously, so the stakes are tempered a little.

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Silent Bid (2).

Race 6 – 21:30 Phil Hughes Office Solutions Benchmark 66 Handicap (1400 metres)

There doesn’t look a great amount of speed in this one. Expecting Sir Simon to lead with Need A Margarita scratched and perhaps Ocean Essence or Tammany Hall can challenge.

Sir Simon (1) was scratched from a class 3 on Saturday night and accepts here with 61kg. Scott Brunton has discussed targeting the greys race on VRC Oaks day so perhaps the aim is to win here and receive a bigger handicap boost as opposed to Saturday night. The lightly raced 6YO trialled very impressively at Longford and you would expect he is in for a big campaign.

Ocean Essence (5) was scratched from the same race on Saturday which was won by Ethical Dilemma. The 4YO finished behind that horse last start at Devonport after leading the field, and he will run on the grass having had his last five starts on various synthetic tracks. Placed three from five at the distance and he looks a solid chance if Anthony Darmanin can overcome a wide draw.

Tammany Hall (2) has only had the two starts since January 2018 so it’s reasonable to assume the 8YO has had a few issues to overcome. He ran at the last Devonport meeting where he knocked up late after leading the field at a reasonable tempo. 1400m is likely the preferred distance, but is a slight query as to whether he may need this one with such little racing in recent times.

Next: GeeGee Blackprince (4) and Reann’s Diamond (6) both have the quality but usually take a few runs to show their best.

Betting Strategy

Thought Sir Simon was a standout bet on Saturday night and while we’ve had to wait a few days and take a skinnier price, that looks the case again.

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

Race 7 – 22:00 Che’s Catch Maiden/Class 1 (1600 metres)

Snippety Cat, Gee Gee Millmagic or Pinkeyes Pride will likely lead the small field.

Snippety Cat (1) returned from a lengthy break in March this year and after a pair of fifths to open the campaign, he has only missed a place once in ten subsequent runs.

In a field of six that streak looks likely to continue. He led for most of the race last time before Sudden Shock ran over the top late. Expect Craig Newitt to come across from the widest gate and he will no doubt run his usual honest race.

Gee Gee Millmagic (2) was also a narrow loser at the last Devonport meeting, finishing on the wrong side in the closest of photo finishes to Elton’s Song. This will be the 3YO’s first run on the grass and second mile start after leading and fading at the previous attempt. If he sees the trip out, he looks a good chance of a second win.

Captain Morgan (3) has his first start for Peter Luttrell after previously being trained in Victoria by Mark Webb. His recent form has been at 2200m so while this may be short of where he will get too, the mile may be ok off a six-week break. Finds a thin race to start his Tasmanian career in.

Next: Rubyranger (6) was given no chance racing at the back of the field last time and hit the line well the start prior. Unknown over the distance but looks to be at the right stage of the campaign to attempt it.

Betting Strategy

The market has found the main winning chances. Gee Gee Millmagic will get a push if Silent Bid wins earlier, but with less of a query at the distance I thought Snippety Cat deserved to be favourite.

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Snippety Cat (1).

Race 8 – 22:30 Taste of TamO’Shanter Benchmark 66 Handicap (1600 metres)

Lord Smedley should have little trouble finding the front if that’s the position Noel Callow wants to take. Generalmaintenance or Benny Goes Berzerk seem the likeliest opposition.

Lord Smedley (1) chased Dothraki Princess home in track record time on the synthetic last start. After a pair of average runs to start the campaign, that performance showed he is back near his peak and he won at this track at his first run for the stable in February. 1600m is the unknown and he will carry 2kg more than any other runner with Noel Callow in the saddle. If he sees out the mile, he looks the winner but whether he will is the query.

Benny Goes Berzerk (2) unlike the topweight has had plenty of experience over the distance, running four placings including a win across ten 1600m runs. In a very slowly run race he settled back last time and couldn’t grind down the winner who led the field. Hasn’t put a bad one in for the stable in the two prior runs and looks well placed.

Coronation Pia (5) returns to the track where she has finished in the quinella at two from three runs including a win back in May. Despite finishing seventh of eight she crossed the line with the body of the field in another race that was slowly run last time out. Maps to camp on the leaders from an inside draw and both her wins have come over 1600m.

Next: Flying Geepee (6) got the breaks at the right time to win at Devonport. Peter Lui’s claim will see him have 9kg off the topweight which might be a factor late. Generalmaintenance (4) meets Flying Geepee 2kg better for being beaten 0.4 lengths. Won’t be suited if this becomes a sit/sprint affair. Toricain (3) will likely need the run but ran some good races to start the prep last season.

Betting Strategy

Intriguing race to finish the night. If it was 1400m Lord Smedley would likely be odds on but the mile certainly changes things. Benny Goes Berzerk looks the winner if Lord Smedley folds up late but I’m taking the chance he is fit enough for 1600m, although he won’t want the track to be rain affected.

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Lord Smedley (1).

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