By Neil Evans
Selections based on heavy track heavy; rail true
Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (1600m)
The metropolitan-trained runners seemingly have this by the throat. Progressive Zariz three-year-old 2. Razment can break through second-up off a six-week break. Stuck on gamely after covering too much ground resuming in a better provincial maiden, and draws to get a far more economical run.
Dangers: Promising Dundeel filly 8. Moremi drove late to just miss first-up and this a nice follow-up over a bit more ground. Improving filly 5. Contract Signed also gets a more favourable draw third-up and was scratched from Wyong on Thursday to run here. There’s a gap to the rest.
How to play it: Razment to win; Odds and Evens: Evens
Race 2 MAIDEN HCP (1400m)
Wider and trickier affair here. Vancouver filly 1. She’s Justified has almost knocked up finding one or two better this prep. Placed eight times from 13 starts but comes out of a stronger form race at this track where the winner then easily beat a provincial field next start. From the inside draw with winkers off, this is her chance.
Dangers: Improving four-year-old 3. Good Deed should be able to roll across and command the front third-up. Has shown good improvement in two runs back at Nowra despite overracing last start, and key gear changes have been made. No doubt 9. Confined Thoughts will find this easier carrying 2kg less after a gallant effort leading first-up at Wyong.
How to play it: She’s Justified to win and box exacta 1,3,9; Odds and Evens: Odds a special
Race 3 COLTS, GELDINGS & ENTIRES BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1300m)
Few chances in this one headed by improving four-year-old 3. Choice Deel, who made easy work of landing his maiden here from the front and, from a handy draw, can repeat the dose in a weak race.
Dangers: Honest three-year-old 2. Mystic Vein drops significantly in class after no match for a dominant winner at the provincials first-up. Up sharply in weight but gets a cosy run from the inside gate. Canberra five-year-old 1. Eurosay returned to finally break a long drought, sweeping home at Wagga in similar grade, although a sharp jump in distance carrying 2kg more is a hurdle.
How to play it: Choice Deel each way; Odds and Evens: Split
Race 4 FILLIES & MARES BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1300m)
Now for the girls’ edition and like the placement here for lightly raced filly 4. Ita, who resumes behind two heavy track trials for a leading metropolitan stable. Was in and around the money in better races early in the year and has twice come from off the speed to beat all bar the winner at this track.
Dangers: Capable filly 2. Snowbella is much better suited here back in distance off a six-week break after being very weak in a stronger Highway at Randwick. Watch the betting on resuming filly 5. Rock The Dream, who doesn’t have a flash fresh record but recent heavy track trial was OK and did win her only run so far at this course. 1. Deepstar goes in wider exotics.
How to play it: Ita to win; Odds and Evens: Evens
Race 5 CLASS 2 HCP (1500m)
Good competitive battle with several hopes. Bull Point filly 4. Crazy Train can peak out to this trip third-up. Came from well back to win at Kembla resuming and suited in the ground on a track with a long run home.
Dangers: Progressive three-year-old 2. Legal Challenge loves rain-affected ground, surging home in dominant fashion in a weaker race at Nowra, but not well treated at the weights up to this grade carrying only half kilo less. Included in exotics 8. Reoffender third-up and down in weight with the leading country rider taking over.
How to play it: Crazy Train to win; Odds and Evens: Split
Race 6 CLASS 1 HCP (1000m)
Metro three-year-old 1. Loca has also trialled well and resumes as a gelding with the blinkers removed. Smart on his day and drawn to get a useful trail.
Dangers: Gap to the rest headed by home track filly 3. Ten Bells, who resumes from the inside draw.
How to play it: Loca to win; Odds and Evens: Odds
Race 7 MAIDEN PLATE (1000m)
Very tricky sprint with the first-starters likely to dominate. Trained on the track, Smart Missile filly 13. Smarter Than You has been fitted with a nice heavy-track trial win and draws to get the right run.
Dangers: Another two-year-old on debut, 14. Sureel has been good through the line in two progressive trials. Super One filly 6. Suprina looms as the best of the raced brigade. Wasn’t far away in a handy maiden here third-up and has the tactical speed to utilise the inside gate.
How to play it: Smarter Than You each-way and box exacta 13,14,6; Odds and Evens: Split
Race 8 BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1000m)
Big fan of lightly-raced provincial filly 8. Nicci’s Song when fresh and on rain-affected ground. Typically, hasn’t officially trialled but comes to hand straight away and all three career wins from just seven attempts have come over this trip.
Dangers: Improving 7. Noble Soldier hit the line impressively resuming in a similar race at Nowra but drawn wide here while 3. Bigger Than Thorn is on the next line dropping in grade fifth-up.
How to play it: Nicci’s Song to win; Odds and Evens: Split
BEST BETS: Race1: (2) RAZMENT; Race 8: (8) NICCI’S SONG
BEST VALUE: Race4: (4) ITA