TAS Racing Expert Preview

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

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TAS Racing: Launceston, Wednesday 7th November

Thoroughbred racing is on again in Launceston on Wednesday night with a very solid 8 race program as the better horses continue to return to the track ahead of the upcoming Summer carnival.

Race 3 sees a couple of smart 4yo mares Gee Gee Lanett and Pateena Arena do battle as they head towards some of the better races, while promising filly Triple Strip looks set to go around as the shortest priced favourite of the night again in Race 5.

Race 7 is an especially interesting BM64 featuring plenty of speed and impressive lightly raced gallopers Shot Of Irish and Gee Gee Queen Bee against the ever-consistent Balestrand.

Race 1 – 18:45 The Examiner Class 1 Hcp (1420 METRES)

Heza Heart Throb and Bunker Star look the two to contest the front here ahead of Breathtaking and Lady Wynette. Doesn’t look to be anything more than a standard tempo.

Nova Vista (6) is a promising mare resuming from a spell after two very good winter runs at Devonport. Has trialled three times leading into this so expect her to be ready for this trip first up, especially with the booking of Newitt. Gets back in her races which is of concern but if she can be within striking distance on turning she will be very hard to hold out.

Breathtaking (9) has worked home reasonably in both starts so far this prep after showing less early speed than in previous preparations. Racing like she wants a slightly longer trip now and the softer tempo may see her settle much closer to the lead. Well drawn and races well here so has solid each way claims.

Mag Wheels (12) was well backed first up and showed why second up with a solid 3rd behind Gee Gee Secondover, beating home Breathtaking in the process. Longer trip here suits and drawn inside to do no work in the run. Poor winning strike rate but has run well enough twice for new stable and can show up with the right run in this.

Heza Heart Throb (1) led all the way over this course two starts back before jumping sharply into BM64 grade where he was outclassed behind Trusted Warrior over 1600m. Maybe better placed back to 1420m at this stage of his career and capable of holding the lead off his inside draw. Any sting out of the ground would be a bonus and he can feature if left alone in front.

Bunker Star (15) was revved up to lead here last week but tired late despite being suited by the pattern. Has to go forward again from her wide barrier but has had plenty of racing at this trip and will be rock hard fit off the quick back-up. Needs to find a length or two but can be in the finish with the right run.

Next best Heaven’s Delight (5) (handy staying mare in the making but may need this fresh).

Verdict: Nova Vista (6) is a promising mare with scope who can win first up but will be settling back in the field. Breathtaking (9) and Heza Heart Throb (1) look suited racing on-pace while Mag Wheels (12) is ready for the extra distance.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Breathtaking (9) and 1 unit to win on Heza Heart Throb (1).

Race 2 – 19:20 Norwood News & Post Office Maiden (1220 METRES)

No obvious leader here but plenty of on-pacers. Stinka, I Am The Dude, Iowna, Ochanda, Ronny Zacapa and Posh Pursuit all appear capable of racing on speed which should result in a genuine tempo but working out who will find the front is problematic.

I Am The Dude (3) is racing well despite developing a nasty habit of missing the start. Wen to 1400m last start and tired late after over racing so he will be better suited back in trip behind a stronger pace. Very hard to win a race jumping awkwardly so will be dependent on any pattern but if he can settle near the lead he will take some beating.

Cunning Fox (1) resumes from a spell without a trial having not raced since May. Did a good job in his first Tasmanian prep with three consecutive 2nds and wasn’t disgraced against the top 3yos here over 1400m. Gets back in his races so while he should get a soft run from an inside draw he will need luck at the right time. Definite hope.

Stinka (4) is another horse resuming after placing four times last prep. Generally races better over a little further as he lacks a turn of foot but was placed first up over this course behind Gold Phoenix and can take up a forward position off his good draw. Should be thereabouts as always but prefer on an each way basis.

Fagin’s Touch (5) didn’t have much luck here on debut a fortnight ago when he covered a lot of ground before finishing 4th behind Day Trader. Found the line strongly late which he wasn’t entitled to do so that run caught the eye but he comes up with a nasty barrier again. Should improve with race experience and capable if he can slot in behind the speed.

Iowna (9) was right in the market at her only start and showed pace after missing the start but knocked up behind Gold Phoenix. Now racing for Alana Fulton and she hasn’t trialled but showed enough in her first prep to say she may have ability. Hard horse to line up so respect any market moves.

Next best Lucky Lil (13) (debutant from McCulloch yard, won latest trial stylishly so looks a runner).

Verdict: Even race. I Am The Dude (3) has his issues at the start but if he does things right he is racing well enough to win. Cunning Fox (1) is very capable but will need luck from back in the field.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on I Am The Dude (3).

Race 3 – 19:55 Cressy Newsagency & IGA Express Benchmark 76 Hcp (1220 METRES)

Could be a hot speed here. Galeocerdo and Apriano only know one way while Gee Gee Lanett may try and hold them out off an inside draw, which would result in a very fast tempo. Silver Bolt looks like getting across into a nice trail if that eventuates.

Gee Gee Lanett (8) resumed over 1100m in Hobart and set a cracking pace in front of Apriano before tiring late to finish 2nd behind the fast-finishing Scrutineer. Should derive plenty of benefit from that run and generally races well over this course, including a close 2nd in last season’s 3yo Cup behind Mister Songman. Bit of pressure in this but can take the sit if needed and with a fitness edge over many of her rivals she looks hardest to beat.

Pateena Arena (9) had a somewhat frustrating preparation last season where she was in the finish in all the major 3yo races but only managed to take home one win. Has trialled three times leading into this so expect her to be ready to show up fresh and she placed first up in the 3yo Cup last time in. Generally needs luck from back in the field but can be charging home late if she gets it.

Silver Bolt (2) comes here first up since March and blew out the cobwebs with a recent trial. Generally races very well over this trip and has won twice first up in the past but interestingly hasn’t won shorter than 1400m since February 2016. Drawn out but should get across just behind the speed with all the pace engaged and in alright with Patis’ claim. Each way chance.

Galeocerdo (7) is a very fast mare who resumes here with a trial win under her belt. Has won over this course but generally races at her best over the slightly shorter trip of 1100m. Up to this level at her best and will take catching if allowed to run along in front but there is some pressure here and the last bit may test.

Speed Force (4) is another horse first up from a spell and has had three trials leading into this so should be reasonably fit. Promising stayer who no doubt has bigger plans in store in the carnival so doubt he is totally wound up and is yet to win short of 1400m. That said, his only tries were very early in his career and he has a big finish which might come into play if they go too hard up front. Potential knockout chance.

Next best Apriano (5) (fast sprinter but has plenty of speed drawn inside him to contend with which makes his task difficult) and Happy Halloween (6) (temperamental type capable at his best but needs to improve on his first up effort).

Verdict: Like the 4yo mares here. Gee Gee Lanett (8) was very solid fresh and if she doesn’t get caught up in a speed battle she will be hard to run down. Pateena Arena (9) may be the one to tip them out if the on-pacers carve each other up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Gee Gee Lanett (8).

Race 4 – 20:30 Deloraine Newsagency 3YO Maiden (1120 METRES)

Elton Court has flown the lids at the trials so may hold the lead off the inside but A Tad More and Appraise both have good speed and will be coming across in search of the front. That may result in a good tempo early with Tambros Bobby and Free Atbara most likely to slot in behind.

Appraise (1) had plenty of support on debut after a good trial win and did a good job to finish 2nd behind the speedy Gee Gees Doubleyou. Draws wide again which may be a bit tricky but does have early speed to get across into a spot near the lead. Looks a raw type who will improve with racing and entitled to be fancied as the leading chance here.

A Tad More (6) was favourite just ahead of Appraise last time she was engaged to race but slipped over in the mounting yard and was a late scratching. Debut run behind The Inevitable was game after showing good speed to lead and she should be right near the front again. Rates as an obvious danger.

Free Atbara (9) over raced in the early stages on debut when 4th behind Gee Gees Doubleyou and stuck on fairly in the straight, albeit well behind Appraise. Has ear muffs on for the first time and should benefit from the experience but does draw a nasty gate which may make it hard to get across. Needs to improve to match it with the favourite but has solid place claims if she has luck from the gate.

Doc Yule Do (2) caught the eye at the trials when he rattled home late to finish a narrow 2nd behind Dunaway. Looks a big, strong gelding with plenty of raw ability but whether he needs a run or two to learn what it is all about remains to be seen. Maskiell is a positive booking and if he can stay in touch early from his nice gate he might run a race. Respect any positive market moves.

Tambros Bobby (4) is another debutant who trialled quite nicely in his only outing when 2nd behind Elton Court in slow time. Wasn’t asked to do a lot there but travelled nicely enough to say he has ability and might be able to get across into a nice trail from a middle draw. Hard to know how much is there when asked for an effort but may run a race fresh at odds.

Next best Elton Court (3) (speedy type on debut who may hold the inside which would give him his chance) and Dunaway (7) (much better at 2nd trial, bred to be better over further and awkwardly drawn but looks to have something to work with).

Verdict: Appraise (1) looks a good horse in the making but has been well found in the market. A Tad More (6) can give a sight on speed while Doc Yule Do (2) and Tambros Bobby (4) appeal as the best of the newcomers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units each way on A Tad More (6).

Race 5 – 21:00 Sheffield Newsagency Benchmark 64 Hcp (1620 METRES)

It’s A Battle looks the leader by default here with Quick Quill able to settle just behind him. Triple Strip may settle closer to the front out to this trip with the lack of tempo.

Triple Strip (2) is a promising 3yo filly who impressed when she was able to come from last to win over 1400m when resuming. Goes out to the mile for the first time in her short career but everything points towards her wanting the trip. Lack of tempo shouldn’t be against as she has shown an ability to race closer to the speed if required but she does carry topweight here against some seasoned older gallopers. Entitled to run favourite but has to step up to the mark again.

Quick Quill (8) broke through to win over this course three weeks ago in her first try at the distance courtesy of a gun ride from Carr. Expect her to be better for the experience and showed she can take up a forward position and finish off which could prove to be an advantage in this field. Scratched yesterday to run here so while this is harder she can be in the finish again with the right run.

It’s A Battle (4) wasn’t suited dropping back to 1400m last start and was forced to race wide so that run can be forgiven. Much better placed back to the mile where he has been in the placings 7 of 9 tries and may get a soft run near the lead in this small field lacking pressure. Gets a senior rider back on and finding the fence may help his nasty habit of laying in so expecting a much better showing this time.

Leconte (5) has run well at both starts since the blinkers went back on, finishing 2nd behind good gallopers Balearic and Flash Missile. Has to come back from the 2100m in this which probably isn’t ideal at this stage of his preparation but has been showing a reasonable turn of foot which will help. Stays down in the weights with Voorham’s claim and only has to hold his form to be a winning chance again.

White Hawk (3) caught the eye when resuming here last week over 1400m as he finished off into 3rd from back in the field against the pattern. Extra distance can only suit further however the tempo here will likely be much different to last week. Honest gelding who has clearly returned in good nick but may find a couple of these a bit slick off a soft tempo.

Next best Geegees Lillybet (7) (ran home nicely fresh in Hobart, rarely runs a bad race but always needs luck from the rear of the field and doesn’t win often).

Verdict: Triple Strip (1) is a filly on the up and looks the logical top pick again. For those looking for value, It’s A Battle (4) may give a bold sight in front with the aid of the rail.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit each way on It’s A Battle (4).

Race 6 – 21:30 Trevallyn Newsagency Maiden/CL1 (1620 METRES)

Many of these get back so the speed may be muddling. Arving may work across to take up the running while He’s Rushin’, Smack Talk and Special Moment can be thereabouts. Positions on speed are definitely up for grabs here.

Voices (7) is racing well and continued to find the line over this course last time when a closing 2nd behind Geegees Blackprince. Looks to appreciate the left-handed whip riding from Newitt and should be just about at her peak now fourth up. Awkwardly drawn and gets back in the field so not sure where she ends up in the run but if she can slot in and horses can make ground she will be hardest to beat.

He’s Rushin’ (5) was scratched from Hobart yesterday to run here. Did a good job to run 3rd over this course two starts back behind Ramaadi Bullet before being caught wide over the longer trip last time. Well drawn for a good run near the lead     and he looks to have obvious each way claims from there.

Special Moment (9) has been well supported this preparation and repaid the faith last time when getting out to 1400m and onto soft ground. Up to the mile for the first time but racing like it will suit and may be able to settle closer to the lead again, especially with a lack of obvious pressure here. Firmer ground here may prove a challenge but if she goes on from her last effort she is in the mix again.

Chloe’s King (2) is racing extremely consistently, following a narrow 2nd in BM64 grade with a very solid 3rd behind The Decider here last week. Goes to 1600m for the first time but has had a good grounding for it and looks suited on the quick back-up. Awfully drawn which looks a major issue but with luck in running he can be in the finish again.

White Gazelle (10) flashed home first up to run 2nd behind Sh’bourne Rebel in a pleasing return but over raced last time when back in the field and didn’t get warm over 1400m. Gets out to 1600m for the first time but bred to relish the trip and should find her spot quickly from a nice draw which may help her to settle better. Has always flashed ability and now she gets up to a suitable trip she may show sharp improvement. Knockout hope.

Verdict: Voices (7) has the form on the board but will get back from a wide gate which may prove problematic. Best at value may be He’s Rushin’ (5) from a good draw and White Gazelle (10) getting to her right trip.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on He’s Rushin’ (5) and White Gazelle (10).

Race 7 – 22:00 Prospect Marketplace Newsagency Benchmark 64 Hcp (1220 METRES)

Plenty of speed in this. Century Arrow, Meteor Strike, Shot Of Irish and Gee Gee Queen Bee can all go quickly to lead which may result in a brutal tempo. Party Planner and Balestrand look set to find positions just behind the speed.

Gee Gee Queen Bee (8) impressed in this grade last time when she was out to this trip for the first time and lead all the way. Ran quick time but was left alone in front which looks unlikely here with speed drawn inside her. Harder again and might need to show an additional string to her bow if the pressure is on up front but with the right run near the lead she will take plenty of beating in a competitive race.

Balestrand (3) comes back to this trip after running a close 2nd in Hobart over 1400m behind Go For It. Two previous runs over this course were very solid in good races and he may get a very suitable trail behind the speed if the pressure goes right on. Never runs a bad race and is strong at the finish over these sprinting trips so looks an obvious chance again.

Shot Of Irish (1) resumes from a spell here without a trial. Developed a reputation as a wet-tracker with all three of his wins coming on heavy ground in Hobart but his close-up 4th here on firmer ground over 1400 in good 3yo company was full of merit. Tricky gate but a hot speed would help him get across near the lead and he has won both first up runs. Right in this.

Century Arrow (2) is a fast galloper resuming off a short break. Kept up to the mark with a recent trial and is drawn to hold the lead, at least initially. Races well here and has won in this grade so while the pressure may turn out to be against him he has a few options from his inside draw and can be there for a long way.

Sh’bourne Star (11) is a mare with a bit of potential and did a good job last time in to win twice over 1400m. Generally settles back over this trip but will do no work in the run off the inside draw. If the heat is right on she is one horse who can be ridden for luck to charge home late and might be a potential blowout at odds.

Next best Party Planner (10) (better suited back to this trip and could get a nice trail but this is strong).

Verdict: Gee Gee Queen Bee (8) flew last time but may have her work cut out here with a stack of speed drawn inside her. Maybe the consistent Balestrand (3) is the one to finish hard when the on-pacers are paddling late.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Balestrand (3).

Race 8 – 22:30 Nextra Kings Meadows News & Lotto Class 3 Hcp (1420 METRES)

Small field and no obvious leader. Glory Blaze, Gee Gees Cricket, Littlerayov and Dothraki Princess are all capable of settling near the front but doubt any want to run along at any quick tempo which may result in a tricky, tactical race.

Gone Girl (1) is a very promising staying mare who returned in excellent fashion here over 1200m behind My Biddy. Flashed home running very slick late sectionals and is clearly much better suited up to this trip where she has won twice. Likely to settle at the rear which can be tricky in a small field and there isn’t much obvious speed but has a touch of class and can carry weight. Hard to beat with any luck at all in running.

Gee Gees Cricket (2) controlled the race from outside the lead two starts ago over this course to win impressively before running home nicely last time after bombing the start. Suited by the small field and soft tempo here and can expect him to get a good run near the lead providing he jumps cleanly. Rarely runs a bad race and will get his chance.

Dothraki Princess (5) didn’t have a lot of luck first up when held up back on the inside and then found the line well enough to finish 4th behind Gee Gee Queen Bee. Up in trip but has won over this distance range in Devonport when he ended up taking up the running after over racing. Small field and lack of tempo may see her over race again but with that ability to roll forward she may give them something to chase.

Glory Blaze (3) backs up quickly here after an incredibly game effort last week to stick on into 3rd behind West On Broadway after racing wide throughout. Longer trip is clearly suitable and has placed in all three second up runs. Can race forward which may help in this small field and a repeat of his last effort has him in the mix here.

Littlerayov (4) scored an upset win over this course a fortnight ago when able to roll forward on speed and she just kept going in the straight. Further depth this time but stays right down in the weights and may end up in a similar position again with little obvious speed. Doesn’t win often but in with a hope again.

Next best Geegees Gran Lodge (6) (outpaced first up on unsuitable wet ground, might need another run but did run 2nd behind Gone Girl over this course last prep so not hopeless).

Verdict: If horses can make ground then Gone Girl (1) looks clear top pick. The rest of these are quite even so if the on-pacers are advantaged it makes for a tricky affair where tactics may decide the result.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on Gone Girl (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