A couple of solid meetings were conducted on Monday at Taree and Wangaratta.
There were a couple of impressive performances from some lightly raced animals. Below is a review of those performances as well as a thought or two on the respective tracks.
Officially, the track was rated as a good four, but based on the times they ran, this track was a soft five, closer to a soft six. As is generally the case when the rail is out at Taree, the fence in run or on speed is the perfect spot to be. All seven winners were either in the first three or four or on the fence, so give a tick to those who made ground out wide.
Race 3 looked like the race I’d want to take to the bank with me for the next few weeks, starting with the winner From The Hips, who led throughout under a lovely front-running steer from Dylan Gibbons. This horse controlled things to suit himself, rode to the track pattern and was too good. The market liked him as well, opening at $2.20 and getting to $2.30 before being backed into $2.20.
The black booker from the race and the meeting is My Sonny’s Faith, who finished second. He was first up over an unsuitable trip but closed off strongly to run second and clocked a last 600 metres of 34.74, which was around two lengths quicker than anything else in the race. If he can find a 1400-1600-metre maiden on the North Coast in the coming weeks, he can break through.
The other horse I want to mention is So Commanding, on debut for Kris Lees. The market loved him. The market backed him into $2.80 from $3.70. This horse was wide with no cover, but dropped out too easily to say that was the reason. The post-race vet check found nothing, so keep an eye on where he heads next because punters were confident he would go close to winning.
The track has played really well in recent meetings and Monday was no different. Horses could win from anywhere and the inside held up pretty well so there were no excuses from a track perspective. This is one of the more underrated country tracks in Victoria and the big stables are happy to send runners there.
Race 5 was the standout of the meeting. The race was a Benchmark 58, but it had a bit of quality to it. Japery won the race for the Payne-Egan combination and he absolutely smashed the clock relative to the meeting. Running 57.15 for the 1000 metres was some seven lengths quicker than the other 1000-metre race.
Ashtrain was on speed and battled away well. So I Am had a $101 SP but he ran very well into third. That horse just bumped into a couple of above-average animals but if he can find a similar race with less depth, he can win for sure. Unfortunately you won’t be getting $101.
The standout winner of the program was Awapuni Princess in the third for the Freedman camp and Billy Egan. This girl was well backed late in betting, into $2.05 from $2.20, and despite doing plenty wrong, she had far too much on that lot, drawing clear late to win like a good horse. This horse ran inside standard time comfortably, which is a really good sign for a first starter. She can measure up in town off this, but would need to improve her racing manners.