RACE 1 MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE BTC MAIDEN 11:25 AM (2000M)
BRISTOL ROAD has been knocking on the door for a while now and is presented with his best opportunity to break through stepping up to the 2000m. A little flat-footed at the top of the straight when well fancied last Sunday week, but went to the line as well as anything, closing to within a short neck of the winner. Jason Whiting should give this fellow the right run parked behind the leaders and BRISTOL ROAD gets his chance. Didn’t mind the way LEXDEN GAMBLER found the line second up last Sunday, getting back and being nosed out in a photo for third. Giving the impression he’s looking for this journey and he’s a winning chance on the quick back up. SECRET NIGHTS was hard in the market when making a belated debut last Sunday week, but put in a poor one. Showed a bit in his lead-up trials and hails from the astute Durrant yard, so going to give him another chance just in case, while PRO MUTUAL led and boxed on at Narrogin last Saturday.
Suggested: 1. BRISTOL ROAD win (1) & place (3).
1. BRISTOL ROAD
7. LEXDEN GAMBLER
5. SECRET NIGHTS
2. PRO MUTUAL
RACE 2 OWNERS ONLY HANDICAP 12:00 PM (1400M)
Good clash coming up in this small field with not a lot between WAVEHILL SPUR and AWESOME AS, and we eventually locked in WAVEHILL SPUR courtesy of a handy 4.5kg pull in the weights. The Tonia Stampalia-trained six-year-old has come of age in recent months, winning three of his past five when teaming up with 3kg claiming apprentice Maddison Brown. WAVEHILL SPUR loves to race on-pace, another positive, and with advantages in both running position and weight, we simply had to slot him in on top. AWESOME AS is having her first start for local trainer Brendon Fitzgerald and will no doubt appreciate coming back in grade after being tested in black-type company at Ascot last start. Dominated under 59kg over this track/distance two back and she’s going to take some beating. BLACK FREDA races first-up without a trial and has performed well fresh in the past, while HALLDORA has ability but has to be a query stepping up to 1400m second up from a spell.
Suggested: 3. WAVEHILL SPUR win.
3. WAVEHILL SPUR
1. AWESOME AS
4. BLACK FREDA
RACE 3 MOSHI MOSHI MARKETING MAIDEN 12:35 PM (1400M)
Not a lot separating our top four in this competitive All Aged Maiden and we’re going to go one more time with Peters Investment filly AMBER GLOW. Hasn’t enjoyed a lot of luck in her five starts this campaign and probably should’ve won her maiden already, however, this is a good opportunity for her to break through. AMBER GLOW was pretty good under the circumstances last start and Full Disclosure has raced well since, so the formlines stack up, and she maps to enjoy the right run on this occasion. On-pacer KEEPER’S SON looked home-and-hosed when skipping clear at Pinjarra last Sunday week, however, he was overhauled in the last stride by $41 pop Dime A Decoy, with a two-length gap to the third placegetter. Should be at peak race fitness now, so expect to see him roll forward and give them something to catch. SON OF A COAT can gallop but has endured an interrupted campaign. Finished alongside AMBER GLOW last start and should strip fitter, but gets back and needs luck, while BOMBARDMENT is one of the major players, but is also engaged at Ascot this weekend and could come out.
Suggested: 1. KEEPER’S SON win (1) & place (3).
1. KEEPER’S SON
6. SON OF A COAT
2. JAMIE’S LINC
*Numbers amended after final scratchings
RACE 4 GET THE TABTOUCH MAIDEN 1:10 PM (1400M)
Interesting three-year-old maiden and we’ve narrowed it down to two main winning chances in ELEVATED and SUGAR CAIN. Going to go with the Stephen Miller-trained first-upper ELEVATED, who has some race experience to draw on and wasn’t overly taxed in his lead-up trial. Raced well at his Pinjarra debut in August and the Thunderstrut formlines do read well against this line up. The market will tell a tale with ELEVATED hailing from a betting camp, but we’re pretty confident this fellow will give this a nudge first up. First starter SUGAR CAIN has shown up in her lead-up trials and we liked the way she stretched out late in her most recent hit out. Likely type and we’re expecting big things from her on debut. MEDIA BARON didn’t really appreciate being ridden on pace at Ascot last start and can improve with a more patient approach here. Stable is flying at present too, while STAFFORD’S LAD has strong form via the exciting Red Army and maps to enjoy the right run in the first three/four in transit.
Suggested: 2. ELEVATED win (1) & place (3).
12. SUGAR CAIN
1. MEDIA BARON
3. STAFFORD’S LAD
RACE 5 AMELIA PARK HANDICAP 1:45 PM (1675M)
This first leg of the late Quaddie lacks depth and we’re very bullish on another of the Stephen Miller squad in the form of GRAND CADEAU. Hasn’t started since holding his own in a strong Belmont Classic back in July and couldn’t have been more impressive in his lead-up trial, with Crackasafe coming out of that heat and winning easily at Narrogin last Saturday. GRAND CADEAU is a horse we’ve tracked closely over the journey and he appears set to go to the next level into the summer of his fur-year-old season. Should be winning. MY KIWI DREAM got all the favours when breaking through two back, but couldn’t catch a break last start when held up badly for most of the final 400 metres. Forget he went around that day and we expect him to bounce back hard. SCANDIUM should be just about ready to produce a peak performance at this stage of his campaign with two trials and two starts under his belt. On the quick back up after covering additional ground at Narrogin last Saturday and he has to be included in all exotic bets, while MAGICAL STONES is better than what he showed last start and the shoeing change is a positive. Can improve sharply.
Suggested: 1. GRAND CADEAU win.
1. GRAND CADEAU
3. MY KIWI DREAM
2. MAGICAL STONES
RACE 6 WA COUNTRY BUILDERS MAIDEN 2:20 PM (1100M)
Plenty of speed engaged in this short-course All Aged Maiden and one of our better bets on the card comes up here in the form of LADY LE JEAN. Showed up at trials and produced a huge debut performance down the straight 1000m at Pinjarra last Sunday week, making up many lengths after getting well out of her ground. Was able to position closer to the speed in trials, so we’re expecting to see LADY LE JEAN in a more prominent running position on this occasion and she’ll naturally benefit from the race experience, so hopefully she learns from the mistakes she made first up. Like the looks of this filly and we’d be surprised if she doesn’t fire. First-starter ARGOON has shown promise in trials and has the gate speed to make the most of her favourable low draw on debut. The Durrant stable is really starting to hit their straps, saddling up a double here last Sunday, and this fellow looks set to challenge. TRI MY BLING is another of the unraced brigade and while he’s pretty raw, it was hard not to like the way he trialled at Lark Hill recently. Shifted into another gear when challenged on that occasion and we expect to see him go forward and give some cheek on debut, while HEIDI WHITES is a stablemate of LADY LE JEAN and will appreciate coming back in grade after finding the going tough in a hot race at Ascot last Saturday.
Suggested: 12. LADY LE JEAN win (1) & place (3).
12. LADY LE JEAN
3. TRI MY BLING
13. HEIDI WHITES
RACE 7 XXXX GOLD HANDICAP 3:00 PM (1000M)
Best race of the day comes up in the third leg of the late Quaddie and the two horses coming out of the same Ascot Graduation Handicap make the most appeal in MY LAINA and ANGELISA. We decided to go with track specialist MY LAINA on top who had no luck behind Ambiente last Saturday week and probably should’ve finished in the first four. Can be a bit sluggish away at times, but with a clean getaway here we expect Shaun McGruddy to roll forward and ride her like the best horse. Appears really well placed in this assignment by Brendon Fitzgerald and MY LAINA is the one to beat. ANGELISA was massive behind Ambiente last Saturday week, charging into the race from near the rear only to run into a series of dead ends, with apprentice Brodie Kirby lucky not to bring himself down. That was some effort and ANGELISA has to be included coming back in grade. YOU NO WHAT I MEAN won well here first up and followed up with a fast-finishing effort in this grade at Ascot last start. Expect to see Glenn Smith position this fellow closer to the speed from a low draw here and he’s going to be strong through the line late, while it’s hard to knock the consistency of MEGA MINX and she’s a must for all exotic bets.
Suggested: 9. ANGELISA win (1) & place (3).
2. YOU NO WHAT I MEAN
5. MEGA MINX
3. STIRLING ESTATE
*Numbers amended after final scratchings
RACE 8 PARKS TAVERN AFTER THE LAST HANDICAP 3:35 PM (1200M)
Tricky Class 1 Handicap to wrap things up and we were quite taken with the performance of DYNABELLE when strong through the line down the Straight 1000 at Pinjarra last Sunday week. Improved significantly after being a little wayward on debut, and the way she stretched out late suggests she’s got more than her share of ability. Jumps well and has the gate speed to make the most of her low draw, and while we’re usually not too keen on locking in last-start maiden winners, we simply kept coming back to DYNABELLE. First-upper KING OF HOLLYWOOD should be ready to peak physically and mentally into his four-year-old season, and he showed he was ready to fire fresh with a nice lead-up trial effort behind subsequent Ascot winner Wee Cent. A GOOD PLAN was set a task by ‘The Wizard’ Pike when staying to the inside section of the Straight 1000 at Pinjarra, a big ‘no no’ and a very rare occurrence indeed. Performed as you expect on that occasion, but we’re expecting him to play a big part in the finish with more conventional tactics, while ELIZA’S DREAM came off the back of a strong tempo to win well first up and has been kept on the fresh side since. Must be respected on strength of that last-start performance.
Suggested: 5. DYNABELLE win.
4. KING OF HOLLYWOOD
2. ELIZA’S DREAM
*Numbers amended after final scratchings
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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.