Race 1 – 1:00PM FURPHY MAIDEN (1000 METRES)
LOOKOUT is set to get favourite backers of to a fast start in the opening event on XXXX Gold-Bunbury Cup Day. The promising three-year-old looked primed to record his maiden win first up at Ascot 6/2, however, he was mowed down late by I Am Spartacus, and the form out of that race has been rather hot since. Has the gate speed to make the most of his low draw and this looks his race to lose. The Pearce Bros have enjoyed a brilliant 2019 so far and no surprise to see their debutante STAROF BONNIE ROSE run a race. Did a few things wrong, but hit the line well enough in his Lark Hill 25/2 trial and from barrier one, should enjoy a suitable run in transit for an in-form Jarrad Noske. Liked the strong Lark Hill 25/2 trial win from VALIDATION, who found the front and cruised to a soft victory over the well-regarded Mexi Cola. Expected to roll forward from her mid draw and fight out the finish, while fellow first-starter HORIZON has been slow away in two trials so far, but it’s hard not to be impressed with the ground he’s made up late on both occasions.
Suggested: 1. LOOKOUT win.
4. STAROF BONNIE ROSE
Race 2 – 1:40PM MOSHI MOSHI MARKETING MAIDEN HANDICAP (1200 METRES)
WA racing has recently introduced Handicap Maiden races and this is the first to be held at Bunbury. We came up with six genuine winning chances from the original 13 acceptors, so it was with low confidence that we decided to lock in MEGACHINO on top. The strapping grey three-year-old showed a bit with Trevor Andrews as a juvenile and looked really strong when dominating a Lark Hill 25/2 trial for new trainer Tiarnna Robertson. With even luck from a mid-draw, this fellow should go close. There was a bit of buzz about LEADING MAN last prep and while he competed well, he couldn’t quite break through. Caught the eye when not knocked around in his Lark Hill 25/2 trial and from a nice low draw should be fighting out the finish first up. SCENIC CHARM was heavily supported first up at Ascot 27/2 and while she did endure a hard three-wide run, she did drop out late, suggesting she wasn’t quite 100%. Trainer Darren McAuliffe has made a few gear adjustments and no surprise to see her rebound, while WAR ANTHEM stretched the smart Henty Gal at Narrogin 1/3 and although the high draw hinders, his form is too strong to ignore.
Suggested: 4. LEADING MAN win.
4. LEADING MAN
11. SCENIC CHARM
7. WAR ANTHEM
2 AVALON BAY
*Numbers amended after scratchings
Race 3 – 2:20PM CAPEL VALE WINES MAIDEN (2000 METRES)
Have been tracking MR STIKLER all campaign and this looks his best chance yet to break through. Has been running fairly similar races, getting back and working home okay late, but from a lower draw he should be able to hold a midfield running position and not have as much work to do late. Has the 2000-metre run already under his belt, so the platform is there, and he looks a nice each-way play. 21-start maiden SCINTILLATING does look the likely favourite though and really should be going close. Hasn’t been far away in better quality maidens than this all campaign and the way he finished off over a mile last start suggests the 2000 shouldn’t be an issue. Natural on-pacer TALENT SCHOOL ran into a promising filly in Vinaceous last start, but did box on well under the circumstances. We’d be surprised if she didn’t finish top three, while OSIPOVA has been set a task rising to 2000 metres at only her second start, however, her debut effort was solid enough for her to warrant consideration in this.
Suggested: 9. MR STIKLER each way.
9. MR STIKLER
10. TALENT SCHOOL
Race 4 – 2:50PM GANNON’S MAIDEN (1400 METRES)
Pretty keen on the chances of VENGEANCE OF WAR first up. The Team Williams-trained three-year-old was given more time after a disappointing Belmont debut last August, however, his two lead-up trials have been rock-solid and the form through Bolshoi Gal and He’s A Gunslinger enhances his credentials. Anticipating positive tactics from Chris Parnham and with even luck, VENGEANCE OF WAR should be saluting. GEOGRAPHE BAY was luckless first up and and showed what he can do with clear galloping room by placing behind Family Discussion and Good Fortune second up. Draw isn’t ideal, but has the right formlines and not many riding better than Mitch Pateman at present. CINNAMON RUN enjoyed a nice run in transit from barrier two first up and boxed on well in a race where the three that beat him home have all won since. Maps to advantage again and has to be included, while ANCIENT JOY was doing her best work late on debut and barrier one suits, and don’t be surprised to see DATA LAKE run a cheeky race at big odds.
Suggested: 9. VENGEANCE OF WAR each way.
9. VENGEANCE OF WAR
1. GEOGRAPHE BAY
4. CINNAMON RUN
16. ANCIENT JOY
Race 5 – 3:25PM TABTOUCH – BETTER YOUR BET HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
Expecting three-year-olds SHE’S A GALAH and I AM SPARTACUS to fight out the finish of this, and leaning towards the filly to come out of top. SHE’S A GALAH was stretched out to 1720 metres twice at Narrogin recently and while she did manage to record a confidence-boosting maiden win, she does look suited coming back to 1400 metres. Is race hardened at this stage of her campaign and has stretched out well at both previous Bunbury outings, so expecting her to give this a shake. I AM SPARTACUS hasn’t done a lot wrong in his three runs this season and is ready to step up to this trip now. All the form around him this prep stacks up, especially through Grand Design, and he looks a pretty genuine competitor also. Hard to beat. FINANCE is the interesting runner, having his first run since joining the Adam Durrant stable. Best is certainly good enough and it will pay to monitor the market fluctuations closely, while CHAMPAGNE GAL can improve into the top four racing back on her home track.
Suggested: 7. SHE’S A GALAH each way.
7. SHE’S A GALAH
2. I AM SPARTACUS
6. CHAMPAGNE GAL
Race 6 – 3:55PM WILLIAM BARRETT & SONS VASE (1100 METRES)
Hard not to be impressed with the first-up Pinjarra Straight 1000 win of BEDOUIN BELLE and expecting this sharp filly to be very hard to beat again. Knocked off City Circle and Fair Joy on that occasion, and the latter made the form read well with a decisive win here on Wednesday. Has the gate speed to work forward from the high draw and while the Straight 1000 form should be approached cautiously, she still has to rate on top. DUCK DUCK GOOSE is a nice horse and showed plenty during her three-start initial racing campaign. Liked the way she trialled at Lark Hill 11/02 and a forward showing is expected first up. ARTIC BLUE has been kept on the fresh side since his latest Bunbury 14/2 run when competing well in a stronger Class 1 than this. Should roll forward and be thereabouts late, while likely leader ZEDSTORM couldn’t be run down second up at Narrogin 17/2 and will give them something to catch again.
Suggested: 8. BEDOUIN BELLE win.
8. BEDOUIN BELLE
4. DUCK DUCK GOOSE
3. ARTIC BLUE
Race 7 – 4:25PM MGIB HANDICAP (1675 METRES)
Promising three-year-old filly VINACEOUS faces her toughest task to date, but we’re confident she has the class to win again. Enjoyed a sweet run in transit and was far too strong when winning a 2000-metre Pinjarra 24/2 maiden. Interesting to see her come back to the mile, but from a nice low draw she should get a cozy run in transit and have plenty of fuel in the tank to launch late. Hard not to have noticed the big finish of MAKE MINE CHAMPERS at Ascot 27/2, coming from last to finish third behind the well-regarded Lady Sass. With another patient ride she should be storming home into the top four. The Mark Bairstow stable is low-level flying and LANGLEY is coming off a dominant Pinjarra 24/2 win. Has to be a major player, and SPIRITUAL WARRIOR should be closing in on a peak performance at his fourth run in.
Suggested: 8. VINACEOUS win.
4. MAKE MINE CHAMPERS
1. SPIRITUAL WARRIOR
3. COCKNEY CREW
*Numbers amended after scratchings
Race 8 – 5:00PM XXXX GOLD BUNBURY CUP (2000 METRES)
Really keen on COME PLAY WITH ME to win the 2019 XXXX Gold-Bunbury Cup. Has been building nicely in three runs back from a spell and no doubt master conditioner Adam Durrant will have this rising staying star ready to peak. Peter Knuckey should be able to put him to sleep from the low draw and conserve early, and if COME PLAY WITH ME can roll into the race uninterrupted it’s hard seeing any of these matching him late. HE’S A PARKER has been a revelation since joining the Hec McLaren stable and could arguably have won each of his last five starts. Likely drifts back worse than midfield from the draw, but still expecting him to work his way into the finish late. MYCROFT is finally starting to fulfill the potential he showed as an autumn three-year-old and is coming off a high-rating 1800-metre victory at Ascot 16/2. Flying with apprentice Kate Witten on board this prep and he has to be respected down on 54kg, while LET’S TWIST has also risen to another level this time in work and the tough-on-pacer should give herself every chance on top of the speed again.
Suggested: 3. COME PLAY WITH ME win.
3. COME PLAY WITH ME
7. HE’S A PARKER
9. LET’S TWIST
Race 9 – 5:35PM AMELIA PARK HANDICAP (1200 METRES)
Competitive line up to wrap things up on XXXX Gold-Bunbury Cup Day and happy to have CRISTAL DANE on top. Have been a fan of hers for a while and she got the job done well enough down the Pinjarra Straight 1000 first up. Has always appeared above average and while she’ll need some favours from the draw, with clear galloping room she should be hard to hold out. SAINT SALVADORE looked a moral beaten at Pinjarra 24/2 when running into significant traffic issues in the straight. Should get a soft run from the low draw and does standout as the horse to beat. FAIRTRUSIVE has been kept fresh since her eye-catching in a higher grade at Pinjarra 9/2. The 29 days between runs suggests a minor setback, but she’s racing too well this prep to be discarded, while CAN HE RULE HER was strong late when saluting second up at Ascot 20/2 and has to be a major player in this.
Suggested: 5. CRISTAL DANE win.
5. CRISTAL DANE
1. SAINT SALVADORE
3. CAN HE RULE HER
*Originally published at 2:00pm on Thursday 7 March 2019
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Bunbury Turf Club.