Although it was a quiet day on Saturday, hopefully readers had a good lead into the weekend with Soosa Rama winning very impressively at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Despite delays across the country due to storms, we saw some fantastic racing. Peter Moody had a great time of it, winning the first two legs of the Randwick quaddie including the Group 1 Randwick Guineas with Dissident. Amazingly, he also won the feature at Bendigo with the former Gai Waterhouse trained Fat Al. Wednesday, racing in NSW heads to Newcastle for the Group 3 Newmarket Handicap over 1400m.
This meeting last year saw many winners coming from near the speed with a similar rail position. The weather has been fine in the lead up so could easily see those near the front holding on unless there is a strong head wind which does come in late at Newcastle. Bello won this race last year sitting just behind them. Of the first four around the bend in that edition, they finished within the final five positions.
Newcastle Race 7 – Group 3 Newmarket Handicap (1400m)
Looks to be plenty of speed engaged here and as is often the case, Gai Waterhouse runners hold the key. In saying that, it is Moody with the likely leader in 4 STRAWBERRY BOY who, funnily enough, was formerly trained by Waterhouse. The 5YO gelding only knows one way and looks set to lead again here. Waterhouse has two runners engaged and both of them have drawn alongside each other in the two widest barriers. 11 ALMIGHTY CHARGE has led in four of his last five starts. No doubting he pushes forward from 14 and expecting his stable-mate 3 RAIN DRUM to follow him across and find a position. Speed in numbers. Our map thanks to www.racingfans.com.au can be found using this link.
1 PINWHEEL has been super consistent through his 44-start career and this preparation has been no exception, with two close fourths and a third in stronger races than this. Drawn to get a lovely run in transit from barrier 7, no doubting he will be thereabouts again when the whips are cracking. He does concede weight to all other runners in this field but expecting a forward showing again. Drawn to get a nice run.
Loved the run of 3 RAIN DRUM first-up in the Apollo Stakes when only 2.2 lengths behind one of the best horses in Australia at the moment in Appearance. The effort was very good and loved the way he fought on and was strong to the line. The lightly raced 6YO gelding didn’t have the clearest passage and that run was definitely good enough to be right in the finish here. Expecting him to take great benefit from that and he looks the one to beat here.
Really not sure what to make of 4 STRAWBERRY BOY. Never have been a fan of his, especially at this level. If leaders are favoured and he gets a few favours in the run he could give them something to chase. No shock to see the Waterhouse runners just be a bit too tough here on pace but not without a rough chance.
11 ALMIGHTY CHARGE has been in super form of late and looms as one of the chances again here. He was superb on a slow track last start, running Ecuador to a narrow margin. Before that, he won two on end at Randwick over this distance. From 14, he can amble across at his own tempo and give a great sight.
With a solid tempo expected, no surprise to see 7 REPARATIONS fly home as he did in a strong race at Canberra last start. He was 12th at the 400m mark but closed in superb fashion to run a close second. Expecting him to run very nicely here.
If giving 7 REPARATIONS a chance, you have to respect 8YO 5 CENTENNIAL PARK who was good in that same race. He could get a cosy run from 1 and with luck at the right times, can run well.
The Kris Lees trained international 2 SLOW PACE is a classy individual. His third to Tres Blue last start in France was good. Two trials leading in and his latest was good, doing his best work late. Will be much better over further but look for him to be running on.
All in all, a sensational affair. Thinking Gai Waterhouse holds the key with 3 RAIN DRUM the one to beat with even luck from the draw. Chances to stable mate 11 ALMIGHTY CHARGE, 7 REPARATIONS with 1 PINWHEEL, 4 STRAWBERRY BOY next best.
Ascot Race 5 – 3yo+ Handicap (1100m)
This looks to be a nice competitive sprint and should be a good betting medium.
They should roll along at a moderate tempo with 3 AMPHLETT likely to cross from out wide and take up the running from 7 GOVERNING and 9 SAKURU, with 14 SHEEZTHEBUSINESS and 1 EXCLUSIVE HONOUR not too far away.
3 AMPHLETT returned with a nice trial a fortnight ago and at his best would defeat the field easily. Based on his last campaign it looked like his best may well have been behind him, but that recent trial suggested this might not be the case. See how the track is playing by this stage as if leaders are winning, he will be very hard to run down.
7 GOVERNING looks to be a handy sprinter in this kind of grade and will be thereabouts today. However, his best runs seem to be first up and he tailed off third up last campaign. Will need some luck from an awkward barrier, but if anyone can produce a good ride at the moment, it’s Shaun O’Donnell.
The Dan Morton trained 10 SOLDIER’S LASS resumes here first up with no trial. It is well known she has had her issues along the way, but she did win her maiden first up last time. She should settle midfield and if the pace is reasonable is a fair chance to finish over the top. Pike has elected to ride her over 8 FLEETING GLANCE so that could be a small guide to her chances.
A horse we followed through last preparation, but failed to break through for her maiden win was 13 DURASUN. She ran three placings from five outings last preparation in similar company, and at her only start over 1100m, she almost ran down the talented Blue Palace. From the middle barrier she should be able to position midfield and make her challenge rounding the turn. She has a small weight advantage over the other main chances today and this could be telling as the top few chances look quite even.
9 SAKURU is the other one with an each way chance. She is never too far away, but doesn’t seem to want to find the winning post.
This is a nice little race with a few good chances. Happy to have a small each way bet on our blackbooker 13 DURASUN provided we get a decent price ($6+). 3 AMPHLETT and 10 SOLDIER’S LASS look the two hardest to beat.
Newcastle Race 7 – RAIN DRUM (each way – more to place)
Ascot Race 5 – DURASUN (each way)
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