We return to Rosehill this Saturday after a solid break from the golden west due to our favourite pandemic.
Sydney racing moves back to Randwick on Saturday.
The track is currently rated a heavy eight with no more showers predicted, so it looks likely to stay around that mark. The rail is out three metres the entire circuit.
Below are my thoughts on the program.
Race 1: 1200 metres, two-year-old handicap
Verne was a touch unlucky in defeat on debut, not having clear running until too late. That was against In The Congo, who he meets again here. He then went on to score comfortably at his second start. Gun trainer Annabelle Neasham has suggested through the week that he may have been her slipper runner if things had have panned out earlier. With a few early scratchings, he comes into barrier six at this stage, which looks sure to provide him with a good run in transit. He should be right in the finish.
Huriwai comes out of that same race and did not have a great deal of luck there either. He was snagged back from the wide draw and went for a rails run with limited room for a fair portion of the straight. He ran on pretty well and can give a good sight at the big odds.
The rise to 1200 metres now for Park Avenue looks suitable after a good finish to get the chocolates last time out. He has drawn well in gate four for in-form apprentice Jean Van Overmeire and should be running well again.
Bet: Verne to win.
Race 2: 1500 metres, Class 3
Street Cred goes around at a huge price here for Mick Smith and jockey Michael Heagney. He is currently around the $71 mark, and has been fluctuating as high as $91 with some bookies since odds first opened. He has drawn very well in six, and was a last-start winner at about this same trip on the heavy nine track at Goulburn. If not for being eased down the final 50 metres there, he would have won by further. The second-placed horse went on to win at its following start. Five weeks between runs here looks okay, given it was a month between last time.
Statesville handled the above runner earlier in his preparation but draws poorly here in gate 19 – there will be at least three scratchings however. He was less than three lengths off Grace And Harmony and Maranoa this preparation, which reads pretty well for a Highway. The barrier is the significant question mark.
Cecilia handles this going and has been competitive in Highway races recently. The last-start second placing at the provincials looks good for this.
Bet: Unless someone can tell me why he is at those odds, I will be having a very small play each way on Street Cred.
Race 3: 1000 metres, BM78
De Grawin is a 1000 metres horse, nothing more. That, in combination with the fact that he had little luck, means he can be completely forgiven for his first-up flop. He put together four nice wins in a row before last start, two of which were at metro level. He will take some catching and looks a good value play, given a few of his rivals may not handle the track conditions as well.
Hulk’s win at this distance last prep makes him very hard to ignore. There’s no doubt his best can get him the win. He was also excellent first up, before being just okay last start. He is developing a habit of tardy starts, which means he will likely settle last from that gate. He should be running on strongly.
Lancaster Bomber’s win over Starspangled Rodeo – who then beat Nudge – reads quite well for this race. He is first up with 61 kilos here, so he may just need this one before being more backable next start.
Bet: De Grawin to win.
Race 4: 1200 metres, BM78
I am excited to see what Gravina can produce this time around. He has been solid in betting early, and deservedly so after that last start thrashing. Tycoonist was a distant second in that race, and should have gone on to win last weekend but for terrible luck. His soft track runs have been his best to date. That includes a win against Blondeau last prep, so the track condition is not a problem. Reece Jones is on fire at the moment with his three-kilogram claim. He will go around with just 53.5 kilos on board, which makes him a good bet.
Belluci Babe is the only other one in this race that I am interested in. She has been awesome this preparation and the rise to 1200 for the first time should suit. She was very unlucky caught wide without cover last start. She still managed a fast finishing third placing there. The track condition, particularly if it stays a heavy eight, is a bit of a query however.
Bet: Gravina to win (best bet).
Race 5: 1600 metres, BM78
Ruby Tuesday goes around at a decent price here after two average performances in a row. However, both are forgivable for mine. Two back she went along far to quickly out in front. Last start she over-raced badly after being slow away. Louise Day has the tricky task of trying to get her going early without firing her up too much. She is a jockey in form though so I’m backing her to do it. Ruby Tuesday was only 1.5 lengths off Duais earlier this preparation, so she does have strong ability when she puts it together. If she can cross from the barrier and find the lead, then she should give a good sight at reasonable odds.
Zing fought gamely last start when she was out-bobbed for third in a three-way go to the finish. Her distance record is 5: 2-2-0 so she should be right in the finish again here.
Azarmin and Betty Blooms are among the other chances.
Bet: Ruby Tuesday to win.
Race 6: 1600 metres, open handicap
Brutality is going along very nicely this prep and looks destined for a win soon. He was an unlucky third last start when dropping back to 1400 metres. The start before that he was less than a length off Brandenburg and Nudge – the former was then placed in a Group 1, and the latter has won her next two starts. The track conditions are in his favour, and the distance rise back to 1600 metres is spot on. Barrier one is the only negative – James Innes Jnr has his work cut out from there. If he can find the breaks though he will be finishing very strongly.
Third up at the mile looks perfect for Kirwan’s Lane, who was huge last start. He beat Ellsberg there, who is a very good on horse on his day. There were seven lengths back to third on that occasion so it was a significant victory. The O’Shea camp is in form.
The month between runs is suitable for Order Again, who should be able to run well here after a nice first up performance in the Scone Cup.
Race 7: 1100 metres, Listed
Ballistic Lover is the sole three-year-old here, tackling the older horses. The scratchings of Villami and Our Bellagio Miss help her chances enormously. She jumps from the outside alley and while there is still other speed inside her, she can cross them. At least one of Adelong or Embracer will be happy to hand up rather than get caught in a speed battle. Majestic Shot franked Ballistic Lover’s last-start victory with a win last weekend. I expect to see a similar front-running ride again this time, which will make her very hard to beat.
Wandabaa can be forgiven when up to 1300 metres two starts back. Outside of that run she has been excellent without winning this preparation. She has been in group races most of the campaign, so her class is a major asset for this. Back to 1100 metres here, she is a big chance again.
Fituese has to forgiven for her last-start flop after being caught wide. She is a big chance to bounce back here with better luck in running.
Bet: Ballistic Lover to win (next best).
Race 8: 1300 metres, BM94
New Arrangement is an interesting runner here. He has not won at the distance or first up, but the application of blinkers for the first time may indicate that they have him ready to go here. He looked sharp at the top of the straight in his most recent trial, before being given a very easy time of it the final furlong. The claim from Jones gets him down to 51 kilograms so he could give a big sight at the double figure odds.
Dream Circle is back in excellent order this preparation. He has notched up two quality wins against decent opposition, most recently defeating Canasta and Criminal Code at this track and distance. He too has an inform apprentice on board so gets down low in the weights. He should be able to hold a spot close enough from barrier one, given there is no obvious speed in the race.
Bet: Hedging win bets on New Arrangement and Dream Circle – 50 per cent on each.
Race 9: 1400 metres, 78
Canasta was solid first up, going down by under a length to a quality horse in Dream Circle. His racing style generally benefits from some match fitness, which shows in his strong second up record of 3: 2-1-0. He maps to get to the lead comfortably enough and should be able to hold onto it. His distance record is impressive with two wins and a second from four goes, so this race looks made for him.
Criminal Code was excellent first up coming out of the same race as Canasta. He closed late for third there. He may need a touch further and drier than what he will get Saturday, so whatever he does here I am keen to follow him at his next start.
Blondeau has been well supported early in betting. He and Cisco Bay are among the other chances.