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 17th October

Race 1 – 18:35 Book Your Christmas Function Now Maiden (1400 METRES)

Speed looks to come primarily from With No Name, Huontegz and Smack Talk with Gee Gees Magic Man also capable of pushing forward again if desired. Many of these can also settle at least midfield so expect at least a genuine tempo.

With No Name (3) was heavily backed here three weeks ago when sent out a clear favourite on debut and he showed plenty of speed but tired late to finish 3rd. Gets to 1400m quickly in his career but NZ bred and looks like he will appreciate it off his debut run and his trial. Ideally drawn for Maskiell so expect him to get a good run on speed and that makes him clearly hardest to beat.

Huontegz (1) returned from a short break in good style in Hobart where he gave a bold display in front but was run down late by Orphanali. Has performed on heavy tracks through the winter which could be invaluable should the heavy rain arrive and he has the speed to be in the first couple for Carr. First run away from his home track but looks one of the better chances, especially on wet ground.

White Gazelle (11) caught the eye here first-up when she rattled home nearer the inside to run a close 2nd to Sh’bourne Rebel, just nosing out With No Name in the process. Ideally suited by the longer trip but comes up with a wide draw which means she will probably settle back and wide in the big field. Debut on wet ground was inconclusive and hasn’t seen rain affected conditions since. Will need luck in running but genuine knockout chance.

The Rockbank Flash (10) comes back in grade after working home well last week to finish 5th behind Gee Gee Rich Ruby in BM58 company. Previous runs in maiden company were ok but worth noting her best two runs in Tasmania have been with a senior rider aboard and now Newitt takes the ride. First try at 1400m here but finding the line like she wants it and only wet run wasn’t bad. Drawn for a soft run in behind so with luck at the crucial time she can be in the finish.

Buzzered (12) rattled home last time to finish 2nd behind Heza Heart Throb in her first try over this course. Has been steadily improving this time in and last two runs here on the turf have been the best of her career. Drawn well for a midfield position with cover and a repeat of her last effort gives her each way claims here.

Next best Cape Cardinal (4) (given little chance from wide draw last time but found line gamely, better barrier here and racing honestly over this trip, can show up at odds with the right run).

Verdict: With No Name (3) looks a horse with a future and will take plenty of beating. Huontegz (1) has the wet track credentials while White Gazelle (11) is the knockout chance from the back.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 4 units to win on With No Name (3) and 2 units on White Gazelle (11).

Race 2 – 19:10 Great Northern Super Crisp Class 1 Hcp (1400 METRES)

Not much genuine speed here so Bunker Star may be able to run to the front. Gee Gees Cricket and Arving appear the only other logical on-pacers so those racing near the lead may be advantaged.

American Sunday (1) found himself in a tricky spot here three weeks ago which resulted in him being shuffled back through the field before he could work home strongly into a close-up 3rd behind The Greatness. Arguably should have won there and the winner has run very well since. Has placed on heavy ground and any rain may negate his wide draw here. If he has more luck in running this time he looks very hard to beat.

Gee Gees Cricket (2) beat home American Sunday last time when he looked the winner halfway down the straight but was picked up late by The Greatness. That was his first try over this longer trip so he can be stronger with that experience and wet ground won’t worry as he has placed on rain affected ground in Hobart. Makes his own luck on speed in a race with few on-pacers and he looks the obvious danger.

Bunker Star (8) has run well enough in both starts getting back onto the grass and wasn’t far behind the top two picks here two starts ago when beaten less than a length behind The Greatness after covering ground in the run. Not far away in a funny race last time behind Harriman and does look rock hard fit now. Has placed on heavy ground and will be on speed with no weight so looks to have genuine each way claims.

Rusty Devil (3) finished just behind Bunker Star last time when resuming from a spell over this course. Always needs things to go his way given his want to settle near the rear of the field but does find the line strongly when it does. Has been well beaten in only two runs on genuinely rain affected tracks which is cause for concern if the rain hits. Knockout chance if the race sets up for the swoopers.

Husson Park (7) can be forgiven for his last behind The Greatness two runs back and went a bit better last time for Darmanin who sticks with him. Made ground at the finish when unsuited by the tempo and wasn’t too far away and she is slowly getting the hang of this 1400m trip. Prefer on a place basis but not the worst.

Next best Sudden Shock (5) (very good first-up then awful last time, freshened to stay at this trip but major query if track is very wet).

Verdict: American Sunday (1) looks very hard to beat after a good first-up run. Gee Gees Cricket (2) is the obvious danger while Bunker Star (8) may get her chance in front.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 6 units to win on American Sunday (1) and 1 unit to win on Bunker Star (8).

Race 3 – 19:50 Prospect Vale Golf Club 3YO Maiden (1100 METRES)

A Tad More looks the likely leader but many of these have shown some speed and may be able to push forward if they begin well, such as Free Atbara, Gee Gees Doubleyou, Je Ne Sais Quoi and Appraise. With many of these inexperienced it may be an advantage to settle near the front.

A Tad More (2) impressed here on debut three weeks ago when she showed good speed to lead and then fought on gamely to the line behind the promising The Inevitable. Beat the rest clearly that day and the 3rd placed Buzzered came out and ran well at her next run. Stays down in the weights and while there is some speed drawn inside she should get across near the lead again. Clearly the best on exposed form here and will take plenty of beating.

Appraise (1) is a nicely bred gelding making his debut here and was purchased for $90,000 as a yearling. Has shown plenty of ability at the trials and was successful in his only outing there this prep. Looks a raw work in progress and the nose roll may provide further improvement after he wanted to race with his head up in his trial win. Drawing out should suit him and he is worth plenty of respect if fancied.

Free Atbara (3) is another first-starter and looks ready to go first-up off two trials. Went with Sires’ Produce winner Triple Strip last time out after showing reasonable speed to race on her outside. Inside gate may be an issue if the rain comes and with speed coming out wider but has shown enough ability to suggest positive market support can be followed.

Gee Gees Doubleyou (4) is a very well related filly, being a full sister to Geegees Doublejay and Gee Gee Double Dee. Showed enough at her only start as a 2yo to suggest she has something to work with and wasn’t bad in her latest trial behind two very fast fillies. Still has plenty to learn but inside gate may help if she begins alright and she may show up at odds.

Ochanda (9) had a funny first prep in that she showed no early speed at all but was able to find the line quite well. Again trialled alright prior to this run, finishing just behind Free Atbara, and given time to mature from her first prep may result in improvement. Prefer to see her keep up early before having any confidence but if she stays in touch she has place claims at least.

Next best Need A Bella (8) (comes here off two trials where she has trailed in A Tad More and Appraise so lines up alright on that basis but does need to have come on to have their measure on race day.).

Verdict: Tricky race with a lot of unknowns. A Tad More (2) is the obvious while Appraise (2) looks the pick of the newcomers.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on A Tad More (2).

Race 4 – 20:30 JobNet Tasmania BM58 Hcp (1600 METRES)

Into The Night may roll forward here despite coming back in trip to take up the running. Ramaadi Bullet, Push Pause, George’s Gambol and Super Leane are all capable of settling near the lead but none of these are known for being able to take up the front. Might be a muddling tempo for these reasons.

Olly’s A Star (2) wasn’t suited by the lack of tempo first-up but did enough to get home into 3rd in this grade over 1420m. Gets to the mile now where he has won two races, both at this track, and suited staying in this grade considering he has performed at much tougher benchmark levels in the past. Has only won 4 from 45 which is a concern but handles wet ground and his best than any of these. Leading chance.

Ramaadi Bullet (4) broke through for a overdue win here last week when too strong for Lord Derby in C1 company after racing outside the lead throughout. This is harder but can take confidence from that win and is rock hard fit on the back-up. Hasn’t seen wet ground too often but has run some good races on heavy conditions so will be suited if the rain hits. No reason he can’t win again.

Into The Night (1) drops in trip here after failing over 2150m three weeks ago. Not sure coming back in distance is ideal at this stage of his preparation but his most recent run over this distance range was a narrow win in this grade at Devonport. Has plenty of weight even after Smith’s claim and his last two heavy track runs were abject failures so lots of rain appears a major negative. Can roll on speed but will need things to be in his favour to feature.

Super Leane (3) scored a surprise win last time over this course in this grade when able to box seat behind the leaders and pinch a run along the fence to score narrowly. This doesn’t look any harder but unlikely he will get such a dream run again. Wet form is inconclusive but strong at the trip if it turns into a slog. In-form so can feature again.

Quick Quill (6) goes to 1600m for the first time and has got here quite sharply third-up after jumping from 1000m to 1400m last time. Responding well to being ridden quietly and was right there to challenge last time after making a sharp move on the turn but just tired late. Extra distance is a major query, especially if wet ground makes it a strong test, but if she runs it out she has a better turn of speed than these which gives her some hope.

Next best George’s Gambol (5) (not far away last time, this trip about as far as he wants and inclined to over race doesn’t help him).

Verdict: Even affair. Olly’s A Star (2) has these covered on his best but hasn’t won for a long time. Ramaadi Bullet (4) won well last time and handles the wet so may put two together.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 1 unit to win on Olly’s A Star (2) and Ramaadi Bullet (4).

Race 5 – 21:00 Relay For Life 24th October Class 4 Hcp (1200 METRES)

My Biddy looks the leader here with Savs Finale likely to work across from wider out. Tammany Hall and Jo Anconi might kick up to hold forward positions off their inside gates with Garland slotting in behind.

Savs Finale (2) had his chance to run down Weekend Whisky last time off a perfect trail but just failed in BM70 grade. Was off a break there so can be fitter for that and now likely to get wet conditions which he thrived on through the winter. Yet to win at this track but has run well and this looks his right distance range. Can work forward from his wide draw and is the one with proven form at this level so he looks a leading chance in a hot race.

Garland (5) continues to step up to the mark and bolted in last time in C2 company running comparable time to the open handicap. Did have the perfect run through from trailing the leader and the 2nd horse was quite plain last week but she won by a space and couldn’t have done any more. Genuine rain provides a query but given she had respiratory issues in her heavy track failure it can’t be said that she won’t handle it. Harder here but a very promising mare with obvious claims again.

My Biddy (6) was far too speedy for her opposition first-up in Hobart over 1100m in what was a relatively weak C3. Raced very well through the winter in Hobart on wet ground and did handle a soft track to run a nose 2nd at her only previous start at this track. This is her toughest test so far but goes forward and runs along so will give them plenty to chase.

Tammany Hall (3) resumes from a spell having not raced since New Year’s Day at Longford. Has had two trials leading in and caught the eye at his most recent when far too good for the likes of Silver Bolt and Pateena Arena. Handles wet ground and was very consistent last prep in similar grade so while he comes up against some promising up and comers his trial suggests he isn’t without a hope fresh.

Gone Girl (1) is a talented mare who resumes having been well held behind Tammany Hall in her only trial. Loves racing at this track but best showings have been over further and she has never seen genuinely rain affected ground. Suggest she has a long preparation ahead so will improve on what she does here but will be making ground at the finish.

Next best Mulley’s Idol (8) (will find this tough first-up but has won on heavy ground so might sneak a place if those conditions prevail).

Verdict: Hot race this with three very promising gallopers engaged. Leaning to Savs Finale (2) with the proven form in this grade and the known ability to handle wet ground. Garland (5) is obviously flying and My Biddy (6) is fast and likes the wet so any of the three wouldn’t surprise.

Betting Strategy

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

Race 6 – 21:30 Kevin Sharkie Class 1 Hcp (1200 METRES)

Could be a lot of pressure for the lead here with Gold Phoenix potentially having some competition for the front from Emsgem, Foreeva and Party Planner. Silent Savings won’t be too far away either so expect a genuine tempo.

Paion (1) caught the eye first-up in Hobart when he flashed home in some very fast late sectionals to run a close 2nd behind Clever Charlotte. Lightly raced gelding who will be suited by the longer trip but rain affected ground would be a new experience. Likely to need luck from back in the field but appeals as an obvious chance after such a good run last time.

Emsgem (4) continues to run well and did a good job to hold on for 2nd behind the promising Zuberina here last week. Has placed on genuinely soft ground so don’t think rain presents an issue but does draw outside the speed so doubt she finds the fence again. Can’t knock how well she is going and she doesn’t have to lead so she looks one of the better chances again, especially if her wide draw turns out to be an advantage by this stage of the night.

Kenfromthebar (7) switched onto the turf last time in Hobart and flashed home to run 3rd behind the flying Gee Gee Queen Bee over 1000m. Finished alongside Zuberina who made that form look good last week and his only win did come at this track early in his career when he beat Weekend Whisky. Hasn’t seen genuinely wet ground but has run well with the sting out and should appreciate good pressure ahead of him. Tricky horse to catch but if he goes on from his last run he is right in this.

Gold Phoenix (5) resumes from a spell here and hasn’t trialled which is a minor concern at 1200m, especially if the track is testing by this stage of the night. Has plenty of early speed so looks the likely leader and both runs last prep here for Carr have been full of merit. Has had issues so a soft track may help but the potential pressure up front is a possibly negative. Some fitness query but if left alone in front she could be hard to run down.

Party Planner (6) was a big drifter here a fortnight ago having her first run off a tendon injury but she controlled the race in front and won easily. Much more depth to this race but expect she can be improved off that outing and may end up with a nice trail off her inside draw. If the rain hits and the fence chops out that barrier may end up a disadvantage but she has each way claims with the right run.

Next best Silent Savings (2) (handles wet ground, finished off alright last time but 1200m is probably as far as he wants).

Verdict: With decent pressure it may be set up for Paion (1) and Kenfromthebar (7) who were both very good last time and will be strong late.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 3 units to win on Paion (1) and 2 units to win on Kenfromthebar (7).

Race 7 – 22:00 Sky Racing BM76 Hcp (1400 METRES)

Weekend Whisky likes to run along and many of these can jostle for spots behind him so expect a genuine speed. Amaword and Overplay look most likely to sit on his hammer but all of these generally settle no worse than midfield.

Amaword (5) has appreciated the change of scenery this prep and won both his starts in impressive style. Ready for 1400m now and he has won twice at this trip previously, including once at this track earlier in his career when too strong for Speed Force. Races well on soft conditions and has plenty of options to race near the lead from his outside draw which should suit late in the night. Meets a strong field here but going as well as any and appeals as the logical top pick.

Our Shanakee (4) is a Devonport Cup placegetter who did enough when resuming over 1200m in Hobart. Bolted in second-up last time in and is a very strong type who is suited when things get tough on wet ground. Maskiell looks a great jockey booking for him and drawing out a bit also suits. Might need one more and this isn’t easy but he is a tough galloper who can show up here.

Weekend Whisky (7) came out running first-up in Hobart and went all the way to hold off the late challenge of Savs Finale. More depth to this but looks likely to find the front again so much of his chances will depend on how suitable leading is on this track by this stage of the night given the forecast rain. Handles soft ground and does race well over this course so if conditions suit he has an obvious hope again.

Overplay (6) is the Tasmanian Guineas winner from last season which was run on shifty ground so any rain here might be a positive. Showed good speed first-up as a gelding but tired late when 3rd behind Weekend Whisky. Ran well over this course as a 3yo behind Mister Songman and previous second-up run was very good also so expect him to come on from his fresh effort. Smart horse who is very capable and should be kept safe.

Axion (8) returned in good style here three weeks ago with an impressive finishing burst to run down Balestrand over 1220m. Has run 2nd at all three attempts over this course and rarely runs a bad race whether wet or dry conditions. Newitt stays with him and he looks set to get his favoured soft run behind the speed so while this is as tough as he has ever contested he can feature in the finish with the right run as always.

Next best Willby Rules (3) (talented galloper who resumes here at 1400m which might be a tough ask if genuinely wet and best form has been on the synthetic) and Hugo (1) (has trialled three times and tends to race very well fresh over this trip but a genuinely soft track would be a definite negative).

Verdict: Good race. Amaword (5) is flying and the logical top pick but any of the top five chances could win without surprising and this may come down to who gets the right run or is assisted by any prevailing track pattern.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Amaword (5) and 1 unit to win on Our Shanakee (4).

Race 8 – 22:30 Halloween Spooktacular 31st October BM64 Hcp (1400 METRES)

Argillite looks the obvious leader here with potentially Datuk Zadragon or Chloe’s King settling behind her. A distinct lack of pressure means this could be run at a leisurely tempo.

Qui Samer (1) will find this much easier than his fresh effort here over 1220m where he failed to get into the race in a quality BM64 behind Axion and Balestrand. Always runs well when out to 1400m and loves wet ground so will be doing a rain dance in his stall all night. Might land in an awkward position near the rear from his inside draw but if they are running down the middle by this stage of the night and he gets to the right spot he will be very hard to hold out late.

Argillite (5) was a big drifter first-up in Hobart over this trip but boxed on reasonably well in 4th behind subsequent winners Balearic and Ivoryman after leading them up. The lead looks hers for the taking again here and she did win over this course under similar circumstances last year. Only run on genuinely wet ground was only fair but if the leaders are suited she is the obvious one they will have to run down.

Westwood (3) resumes here without a trial but can get out over ground so that might be a plan by the stable. Won twice on genuinely soft ground last time in and does race very well over this course so may get conditions to suit. Drawing out will help as he will be looking to rip home down the centre and that may be the pattern by this time of the night. A really testing track would be a concern fitness-wise but have to strongly respect him if the market says he is ready to fire.

Chloe’s King (4) is racing consistently well and caught the eye working to the line last week behind Zuberina after settling back in the field. Placed over this trip in Victoria last season so longer trip looks suitable now but she does go up in grade after racing in C1 company. Hasn’t seen wet ground but bred to handle it and he has place claims at least.

Datuk Zadragon (2) improved out of sight last preparation and finished the season as a very consistent galloper in this type of grade. Now racing for John Blacker and was beaten a long way in his only trial leading into this. Likes this track and up to this on his best form but may need this run so inclined to risk but market support should be respected.

Next best Jodi Nicole (6) (mixes her form but wasn’t bad last time and this seems her right trip so may show up into a place).

Verdict: Think one of the top three picks will win here. Qui Samer (1) and Westwood (3) are suited if the winners are coming down the middle, while Argillite (5) gets her chance in front of on-pacers are coming to the fore.

Betting Strategy

 BACK (WIN) – 2 units to win on Qui Samer (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