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: Hobart, Friday 14th December

Racing returns to Hobart on Friday for an 8 race program set to kick off at 1:39pm with a firm track expected.

Race 6 is the highlight of the program with many of the state’s best sprinting mares contesting the 1000m open handicap, headlined by Gee Gee Lanett, Derasa and Gee Gee Double Dee.

Promising galloper Street Tough will run the shortest priced favourite of the day in race 3, while races 5 and 7 are quality benchmark races featuring many runners who will make their presence felt over the carnival.

 

Race 1 – 13:39 Australian Trainers Association Maiden (1100 METRES)

Hard to predict how this race will be run with many unexposed runners engaged. Miss Iso, With No Name, Crackthebubbly and Esta Baby look most likely to hunt for the front while Sir Simon is a complete unknown.

With No Name (3) has been freshened since a fair 5th at Launceston when unsuited by a rail bias. Previous form had been solid and may be better suited here racing just off the speed from a reasonable draw. Has been costly for punters but brings clearly the best exposed form into this race and rates highly on that basis.

Sir Simon (2) is a very interesting runner here, making his debut as a 5yo for the Scott Brunton stable. Half brother to quality gallopers such as Mister Songman and Mister John and hasn’t been seen at the official trials since 2016. Impossible to get a guide on him but every horse produced by Kats Clause has had ability so expect the same from him. Massive betting watch.

Crackthebubbly (6) is a debutant from the Crook & Miller stables who trialled quite nicely behind the speedy Black Jaguar in good time. Also having her first run as a 5yo and is a full sister to handy galloper The Decider. Showed enough in her trial to suggest she has ability so pay attention to the market here.

Esta Baby (8) was easy in betting when making her debut in Devonport and she ran accordingly after being slow to begin. Trialled alright here last month behind Off The Show when not asked to do a whole lot. Wears blinkers for the first time and may be able to race near the lead. Possible improver and respect any positive market support.

Next best Words Of Pride (10) (another Scott Brunton debutant who went ok in only trial with a couple of promising types, might need this one but respect any betting moves).

Verdict: Very tricky race to get involved on. With No Name (3) looks top pick on exposed form but respect what the market has to say.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on With No Name (3).

Race 2 – 14:14 trchobart.com.au Class 1 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Expect Black Jaguar to come out running wider out in search of the lead. Ilfracombe and Miss Smith are capable of going with her but probably let her go while Swing It Sister and Gee Gees Wild One can be handy. Expect a good tempo to give all horses their chance.

Ilfracombe (1) resumes from a spell for Dale Bramich after racing last season with Aiden Nunn. Has very good form in good 3yo races, including a close 2nd in the Carbine Club behind Gee Gee Lanett over this course which reads exceptionally well for this. Hasn’t trialled but if ready to go she only has to turn up with her 3yo form to be a leading chance in this.

Swing It Sister (3) is an interesting newcomer to the Scott Brunton yard, having shown plenty of ability in South Australia when racing for Tony McEvoy. Won her maiden by a big space at Murray Bridge when able to travel just behind the speed and should get a similar run here. Finds a pretty strong C1 to kick off in but is a major market watch.

Black Jaguar (2) is a very fast filly who resumes here with two good trials under her belt. Bolted in when fresh earlier in the year before running 4th in the Magic Millions. May get to run along in front under her own steam which is her go and has genuine winning claims on that basis.

Miss Smith (8) is racing well without winning and had no luck at all back on the inside last time when 6th behind Fiveandfurther. Generally better on softer ground but firm track form has been consistent and she always takes up a position near the lead. Has only won once in 26 starts but a further 14 placings highlight her honesty and it would be no surprise to see her in the placings again.

Gee Gees Wild One (4) stuck on for 2nd behind Kenfromthebar two runs ago and then made up ground late last week in Devonport to finish 3rd behind Merciabelle and Kwai. Just about at his peak now this prep after four runs and his only win came at this track. Wide draw looks tricky but if Black Jaguar runs them along he may be able to slot in and can win on that basis.

Next best Odessa Lad (9) (flashed home for an impressive 2nd behind Divi over this course last time and a repeat of that effort would give him a genuine chance in this).

Verdict: Quality race this. Ilfracombe (1) and Black Jaguar (2) look up to better grade than this while Swing It Sister (3) is obviously a big watch. Lean to Ilfracombe (1) off her excellent 3yo form.

Betting Strategy

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

Race 3 – 14:49 Aviso Tas Pink Cup Jan 11th Class 3 Hcp (1100 METRES)

Street Tough will probably hold the lead off the inside draw with only the stablemate West On Broadway and Clever Charlotte likely to push forward.

Street Tough (1) was very impressive first up when far too good for Manilenya but was quite plain when easily beaten by My Biddy when an odds-on favourite in Launceston. May not have handled the shorter break between runs then and has been given a good break leading into this. Looks well graded here and his best form is too good for these so expect him to be winning if he can produce it.

Silzoar (2) was game when caught wide throughout two starts ago and then wasn’t too far away last time behind Savs Finale in a very competitive BM72. Outside of the favourite this looks clearly easier and he is well weighted after Graham’s claim. Been up a long time so hard to see any improvement in him but if he holds his form he is a leading place chance at least.

West On Broadway (3) took advantage of a leader-biased track to win first up and then finished midfield last time behind Motown Blues. Can mix his form but drawn to be near the lead and generally likes this track. Doubt he can beat the favourite but one of the better place hopes.

Christopher Mac (4) is an interesting runner first up from a spell without a trial. Can forgive last prep when racing at Devonport and his form on firm ground is generally quite strong, including a couple of good wins at this track last season. Has a nasty habit of missing the start and generally settles last but if his mind is on the job he is very capable of running home into a place.

Kepta (8) has been freshened since failing in Launceston at the end of a long campaign. Previous run over this course when 2nd behind My Biddy was full of merit and while she doesn’t win often she generally runs on well in her races. Hard ask to beat the favourite but seeing her run home into the money wouldn’t surprise.

Next best Clever Charlotte (7) (better suited back to this trip but has lowered her colours against a couple of these previously, minor place claims).

Verdict: Street Tough (1) looks the winner here but will go around at a very short price. Open race for the placings, probably headed by Silzoar (2).

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 8 units to win on Street Tough (1).

Race 4 – 15:24 TAB Hobart Cup Feb 10th Mdn/CL1 (1600 METRES)

Lord Derby and Arving look the two likely to search for the front ahead of on-pacers Style Guru, Kandahar, Lady Wynette and possibly Sudden Shock. Expect a genuine tempo to give every horse their chance.

The Sword (9) has run 2nd at all three Tasmanian runs, including a nose 2nd behind Geegee Rock’n’run last time when getting to the mile. Jumped better last time which helped him to settle a bit closer and has winkers on instead of blinkers this time. Proving very costly for punters and there looks to be a bit more depth to this race so short odds may be poison but has to rate as the leading chance again.

Lord Derby (3) gave a bold sight in front last time in Launceston and only just failed to hold off Wednesday night’s impressive winner La Dernier Fille. Loves this mile trip and now wears winkers for the first time. Shouldn’t have much trouble settling in the first couple and will be hard to run down.

Toricain (5) caught the eye last week in Launceston when steaming to the line late behind Thewordsout in a race run in quick time. Went forward when he got to the mile last time in but the blinkers stay off this time so may be ridden a bit quieter again. Promising stayer who always looked likely to improve with maturity so no surprise if he gets to a new level this time in. Must respect.

Gee Gee Rockstar (10) has run home well from back in the field at both starts this prep and being by Clangalang he looks suited getting to the 1600m trip now. Much more depth to this race but Newitt stays with him and he does have a bit more scope for improvement than most of these. Might need a luck at this trip first but expect him to be finding the line again.

Sudden Shock (4) ran a close up 4th behind Geegee Blackprince two runs ago over the mile but then failed on shifty ground over 2100m last time. Freshened up for this and best form measures up in this grade but getting a firm track is crucial. Wide draw looks tricky but if he can slot in near the lead he can run a race at odds.

Next best Kandahar (2) (wasn’t far away behind Ramaadi Bullet and Lord Derby over this trip three runs ago before heading to 2100m but doubt drop in trip suits at this stage of his prep).

Verdict: Tricky race. The Sword (9) has been very costly so while he looks hard to beat again, punters will need to be brave to get into the short price again. Lord Derby (3) will give a bold sight on speed while Toricain (5) is on the up.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Lord Derby (3).

Race 5 – 15:59 Schweppes Derby Day Feb 8th BM72 Hcp (1600 METRES)

Century Arrow should find the front comfortably here with Sentry Duty potentially pushing forward from wider out. Pace should be genuine but the on-pacers will have their chance.

Manilenya (7) has been terrific in all three runs this campaign, culminating in a win in C2 company over this course last time beating the promising Paion. Should be better again for that look at this distance and gets a nice weight drop to attempt the tougher grade here. Can get a nice trail from her middle draw and looks well placed again.

Speed Force (1) is a smart galloper getting to his right distance range. Ran home well in a fast race last time behind Toorak Affair and has been kept up to the mark with a trial win over Speedonova. Has plenty of weight but is the class horse in the race and bolted in over this trip the last time the blinkers were applied. Definite hope.

Century Arrow (3) is racing well without a lot of luck and can be forgiven for his last run when forced to race wide on a hot tempo. Previous 3rd here was very game behind Minute Repeater in open grade. Failed his only go at this course but has won in this distance range at Devonport in weaker company. Looks set for an easier run on speed this time and that gives him his chance.

Gone Girl (4) returned in good style first up behind My Biddy but has only been fair at her past couple. Getting to her right trip now and will appreciate the firmer ground. Gets right down in the weights and is ready to show her best at her fourth run this prep so an improved showing would not surprise.

Sentry Duty (2) was very good here two starts ago over 1400m when he stuck on for 4th behind Weekend Whisky despite racing wide throughout. Can forgive last run on softer ground in Launceston in a fast race. Has plenty of weight but has won twice with 60.5kg and has won twice over this course. Tough gelding who should roll forward to overcome his wide gate and he can give some cheek from that position in running.

Next best Heaven’s Delight (8) (solid win in much easier company first up and can forgive last run when caught wide, this is a considerable jump in grade however) and Don Pellegrino (6) (ex-Paul Perry galloper having first run for Cameron Thompson, Carr a positive booking but wearing concussion plates, respect any market support).

Verdict: Very solid benchmark race with a number of chances. Manilenya (7) is weighted to win but Speed Force (1) is the class horse and has the blinkers on. Century Arrow (3) and Sentry Duty (2) come into calculations with good runs on speed.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Speed Force (1).

Race 6 – 16:34 Bettle Black Media Open Hcp (1000 METRES)

Expect a hot tempo here from Galeocerdo (if she begins well), Apriano and Gee Gees Jet, who can vie for the lead ahead of Gee Gee Lanett, Teriki and Derasa. Every horse should get their chance.

Gee Gee Lanett (4) has returned at her consistent best as a 4yo, culminating in a 2nd placing in the Newmarket third up behind I’m Wesley. Has been able to settle just off the speed at her past couple of runs and doing so should suit here in a race of high pressure. Beautifully drawn, stays down on the minimum weight and shorter trip is no issue. Logical favourite.

Derasa (6) failed at this track first up on a shifty surface when favourite in the Goodwood and then wasn’t bad in the Newmarket when finishing midfield. Coming back in trip shouldn’t be an issue given her excellent 1100m record and she was beaten half a length at Flemington in her only 1000m run. Wider draw is potentially tricky but if she can get cover and firm footing she is a genuine chance.

Gee Gee Double Dee (3) returned with a fantastic 3rd in the Goodwood from a wide barrier but made no impression in the Newmarket from back in the field. Coming back to this shorter trip looks a big plus as her best form is over 1100m rather than 1200m and she should appreciate the fast pace to settle behind. Wide barrier looks a bit of an issue and has to give the 4yos a bit of weight but with cover in the run she will be charging home at the finish.

Tough Missile (7) ran an excellent 2nd first up in the Goodwood and then went right on the job to score a comfortable win here a month ago. Looks to have gone to a new level this prep despite being a 7yo. Loves firm ground and this track and has been competitive against Gee Gee Double Dee in the past so recent racing is no fluke. Right in the mix again.

Gee Gees Jet (2) led them up in the Goodwood but tired in the straight while the horse to his outside went on to win the race. Has a very good 1000m record and hasn’t missed a top-two finish in three runs at this course. Could have plenty of pressure to contend with near the lead and needs to improve on his first up run but firm ground will assist and is a specialist at the trip so not without some hope.

Next best Teriki (5) (can forgive Goodwood run when caught wide, this class tends to test but has form lines through the better mares) and Galeocerdo (8) (fast mare who can blow her chances at the start, always gives a sight if she can find the front but plenty of pressure in this).

Verdict: Competitive race but hard to go past Gee Gee Lanett (4) who has the right form and should get the right run to be winning.

Betting Strategy

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

Race 7 – 17:14 Cambridge Self Storage BM72 Hcp (1400 METRES)

Weekend Whisky should hold the lead off the inside but there could be plenty of pressure with Shot Of Irish, Bosporus and Silver Bolt liking to race near the lead. Agree To can look to settle near the lead also from a wide draw.

Shot Of Irish (6) has returned in super fashion with a gutsy first up win followed by an exceptionally game on speed effort to finish a close 2nd behind the well tried Toorak Affair. Rates very highly in this on those two performances but worth noting both runs were on softer tracks and he is yet to totally prove himself on firm ground. If he can repeat his form on better ground here he is clearly hardest to beat but that minor doubt remains for now.

Paion (12) has come back a much better horse as a 4yo and is racing in excellent form this prep. Won well when stepping up sharply to the mile two starts ago and then wasn’t beaten far by in-form Manilenya last start. Missed a run so comes back in trip which may suit him given his four weeks between runs. Up in grade here but gets the big weight relief to compensate and if horses can run on he should prove up to the task. Genuine danger.

Bosporus (8) caught the eye last week in Launceston when he produced the fastest late sectionals of the night to get within a length of Savs Finale. Suited by the step up to 1400m and while he may be better suited with the sting out of the track he did beat Voices over this course as a 3yo on firm ground. This looks a little harder than last time but if he goes on from that effort he rates as one of the better chances.

Ivoryman (9) appreciated being ridden quietly when successful at Launceston over this trip two starts ago and then was far from disgraced in the traditional Greys race at Flemington over the Cup carnival. Freshened since that run but has raced well off similar breaks in the past. Awkward draw so probably settles near the rear but if horses can run on down the middle he is going well enough to feature.

Pateena Arena (7) is a classy mare who looks to be back on track to some degree after improving last time to finish 4th behind Toorak Affair. Inches down in grade again and her best form as a young horse is better than these but it has been a while since she has delivered her absolute best. Another who would appreciate a run on pattern but the pressure up front should suit so she has to be respected as a hope.

Next best Weekend Whisky (3) (bold front-runner who looks to have a bit of competition for the front but likes this track and always takes running down if left alone) and Agree To (4) (prefers softer ground but plenty of merit to last run and gets to right trip).

Verdict: Great race with a host of chances. Shot Of Irish (6) has the form but has to deal with firm ground which might be his undoing. Paion (12) is a horse on the up and appeals at odds.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Paion (12).

Race 8 – 17:54 Hazell Bros Class 1 Hcp (1400 METRES)

Gee Gee Top Tip and Bless Me Father look the on-pacers here while Knitting may settle closer given the lack of pressure up front. Horses racing near the lead may be advantaged.

Hatrick Hero (5) is a half-brother to smart mare Hot Dipped who impressed in a brief 2yo campaign which brought a win and a 2nd. Has come back looking more of a stayer this time in and made ground late in his fresh run over 1200m in Launceston behind Fiveandfurther. This is his first try at 1400m but it looks right up his alley. From a nice draw he should be strong late and looks a leading chance in an even race.

Pontypaul (8) has run on strongly at her past two starts on this track, following a close 2nd behind Flikpix with a narrowly beaten 3rd behind Divi. Her best rates very highly in a race like this but always needs luck as she gets back in her races. The main question mark is the 1400m trip which has blunted her big finish in the past but if she runs it out strongly she will be hard to hold out.

His Nibs (3) ran home nicely over this course back in September when 2nd behind Balearic in C2 grade and then did enough fresh last time over this trip when midfield behind Thewordsout in good time. Always races well here and should get a soft run back in the field off his inside draw. Has only won once in 21 starts but if horses can run on late in the day he is definitely a winning chance.

Silent Bid (1) showed a ton of potential in his first prep with his best performance coming on dry ground. Bombed the start first up when heavily backed and ran home reasonably behind Flikpix and Pontypaul. Had blinkers on last start in Launceston but after being forced to come very wide he didn’t finish off. Newitt is a positive booking and getting to 1400m looks suitable so if horses can run on he might deserve one more chance at odds.

Next best Gee Gee Top Tip (9) (probably gets a good run on speed so has a chance on that basis but two C1 runs so far have only been fair) and Knitting (7) (has worked home nicely at both starts this time in but very awkwardly drawn here so will need luck unless the fence has gone off).

Verdict: Tricky race to finish. Hatrick Hero (5) looks suited up to this trip and has more scope than most so may get his chance here.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Hatrick Hero (5).


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