After a hot week in the West, temperatures cool down slightly and we bring you a preview of a couple of races from Ascot. Today we look at a quality three-year-old race for a midweek race card, along with the final handicap lead up to the Perth Cup on New Year’s Day.
This is a very good three year old race that wouldn’t be out of place on a Saturday program. There should be decent pace in this race with 1 CAPTAIN HUGHES, 5 KOOL PEGASUS and 6 RAILTRAIN EXPRESS all likely to want a piece of the action up front. 1 CAPTAIN HUGHES was a good last start winner at Northam beating Lenny’s Pick, however that form has not proven too strong with the latter still not being able to break through for his maiden win.
6 RAILTRAIN EXPRESS and 10 HIGH FIDELITY both come out of the race behind Mad Brad last time out at Bunbury. Mad Brad went on to run a solid placing in higher class last Saturday. 10 HIGH FIDELITY is likely to have a slight more improvement in her considering last time was her debut outing, but it’s hard to see either of them fighting for more than the minor prize.
There were two wins on the same day at Bunbury 10 days ago that were both simply superb. 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS and 9 WILD STRATUS both look to have a decent amount of talent after they both won their maidens easily. 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS found a bit of trouble in her race that day but still managed to get through with a decent win, while 9 WILD STRATUS stalked the speed and booted away for a very authoritative victory. Today, 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS should enjoy a very economical run from barrier three, while 9 WILD STRATUS may have to speed over to take up a position in the leading bunch, or snag back to last.
3 BLACK HEART BART ran on late at his debut performance behind Chinetti over the 1000m. He will appreciate the step up in distance today, however might get into an awkward spot from barrier one at the tight Ascot circuit. He definitely has ability and look for him to be finishing strongly.
We think this is a match race between two very talented horses in 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS and 9 WILD STRATUS and we will lean ever so slightly to 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS who should enjoy a more economical run. 3 BLACK HEART BART can improve from his debut performance with 10 HIGH FIDELITY the next best.
The ATA Handicap is the last Handicap lead up to the Perth Cup run on New Year’s Day. A number of these runners will be trying to guarantee their place in the field by winning this race. The Cox Stakes this coming Saturday is the final WFA lead up to the Cup, but a number of horses from that will not head onwards due to being treated badly at the weights.
Eight of the twelve horses lining up today all met a week and a half ago when 3 KNIGHTLIKE was able to beat 5 CYBER CRIME. That looks to be the strongest form line and we can line up the form through that.
The first two across the line last time look key chances once again today. 3 KNIGHTLIKE has returned to his best form since changing stables, however does rise 3kg today and will get back from barrier 11. With the rail out 15m, he may not be ideally suited. 5 CYBER CRIME gets a 1.5kg turnaround on 3 KNIGHTLIKE for a half-length defeat and can settle midfield as he intended to do last time. When he hits form he usually holds it and he loves the 2200m trip.
8 UNCLE GEORGE was runner up in this race last year and looks ideally placed to run a big race again today. Generally barrier 1 would not suit this horse but given the cutaway is in place in the straight, he should be able to settle closer in the run, ideally three back the fence and wait for the split along the inside in the straight. He has a decent turn of foot on him for a stayer and is right in this.
The two mares 4 POP CULTURE and 6 STARLIGHT LADY have a very similar racing pattern. They will both go back and be charging home. 4 POP CULTURE has recaptured some of her Oaks winning three-year-old form in recent runs, while if 6 STARLIGHT LADY can reproduce her runner up performance from the Kalgoorlie Cup in the spring she is a big chance.
1 KEEPERS COURT is the horse outside that form line that can play a part. Although he has the big weight and wide barrier, the Durrant stable has been waiting for him to get over some ground and he gets that chance today. If he can get a tow into the race around the corner he will be finishing strongly.
If 8 UNCLE GEORGE gets out of the gates cleanly and can settle closer, he will be able to utilise the cutaway in the straight and play a part in the in the finish. We are happy to be on him each way. 5 CYBER CRIME tends to hold his form when he finds it and 3 KNIGHTLIKE has hit some rare form. 6 STARLIGHT LADY and 4 POP CULTURE will be running on strongly.
ASCOT Race 3 – 7 CRYSTAL GARDENS (win)
ASCOT Race 7 – 8 UNCLE GEORGE (each way)