RACE 1 IRON JACK MAIDEN 12:38 PM (1100M)
Competitive race for the babies to kick off Bunbury Cup Day and we quite like the looks of first-starter BRAGGADOCIOS, who has shown plenty of promise at trials. Given a short break after stretching out impressively when leading all the way over 950m at Lark Hill on January 15, and was sharpened up for this debut assignment with a 600m hit out down the Pinjarra straight on March 12. Drawn to enjoy a suitable run in the first three/four and BRAGGADOCIOS looks the one to beat. Smart filly ONE POINT LADY has run out of her skin at both starts to date, taking on some above average juveniles at Ascot. This looks a very good option for her and the Steve Wolfe/Shaun McGruddy combination are fresh off Bunbury Stakes victory on Wednesday. First-starter SOY TAN RAPIDO is set to have plenty of admirers hailing from the dominant Simon A. Miller yard and possessing smart trial form. High draw does makes things tricky though, while we didn’t mind the latest trial from THE PEN and wouldn’t be surprised to see him fire on debut.
Suggested: 7. ONE POINT LADY 1 x 3 units.
7. ONE POINT LADY
9. SOY TAN RAPIDO
5. THE PEN
8. MARKET RULER
*Numbers amended after Final Scratchings
RACE 2 MACHINERY WEST MAIDEN 1:15 PM (1100M)
Found this three-year-old maiden to be quite a tricky affair and with little confidence opted to roll with IT COMES NATURAL. Raced competitively at his first outings before enjoying a mid-prep trial here on March 2, where he went to the line under a good hold. Expecting Glenn Smith to be positive and push forward from the high draw, and if he can land in the first three/four without burning too much fuel then he’s going to take some holding out. First-upper GOLDEN ARCHES showed plenty during his three-start initial racing campaign last spring and has to rate among the main fancies in a race that lacks depth. Hasn’t shown gate speed previously, so barrier one may be a trap for this fellow, but his form last time in was too strong to ignore. BROWSING was firm in the market ($3.10) when resuming at Ascot recently, but never travelled and was quite poor late. She’s much better than that though and no surprise to see sharp improvement second up, while debutante GESSATO has looked sharp in his lead-up trials, but has a high draw to overcome.
Suggested: 4. IT COMES NATURAL each way.
4. IT COMES NATURAL
2. GOLDEN ARCHES
1. MURRAY THE BULLDOG
*Numbers amended after Final Scratchings
RACE 3 CAPEL VALE WINES MAIDEN 2:00 PM (1675M)
This appears to be the right race for LIKE HIM A BIT to break through and he looks one of the better plays on Bunbury Cup Day. Competed well enough in a decent Ascot maiden on debut and he should’ve finished closer behind Western Magic last time, when held up behind tiring runners and having to change course in the straight. Should be ready to show his best stepping up to the mile third up and with William Pike on from barrier one, LIKE HIM A BIT should be afforded every opportunity. Next best is QUEALLY with the Brett Pope-trained filly coming through a competitive 1500m Pinjarra maiden last time. Maps to enjoy a suitable run somewhere in the first four/five and she’s sure to attract plenty of support. YOUNG THOR has been rather disappointing in his three runs back from a break, however, this race lacks depth and if he could produce his best form then he’d take some beating, while on-pacer PERCENTAGE PLAY should appreciate coming back to the mile and is worth including in all exotic bets.
Suggested: 1. LIKE HIM A BIT 1 x 3 units.
1. LIKE HIM A BIT
5. YOUNG THOR
6. PERCENTAGE PLAY
RACE 4 GANNON’S MAIDEN 2:40 PM (1200M)
Narrowed this down to a race between three-year-old fillies COOL DYNAMITE and FROSTY BAY, with the Alan Mathews-trained COOL DYNAMITE eventually getting the nod. Sent to the front when resuming in a decent midweek event last start, but was out-kicked in the sit-and-sprint affair. The blinkers have been added for this second-up assignment and this doesn’t look anywhere near as strong as the field she faced last time. FROSTY BAY has shown promise since early in her two-year-old season, but appears a much better horse this time in work. Ran into a smart one in Sweet Dreamin’ first up, with the 2-1/4 length margin back to third being another positive. Has the gate speed to hold up and lead from barrier one, and she only has to hold form to go close. First-upper ST ELIGIUS showed a bit during his initial racing campaign and is capable of running into the top four at odds, while debutante BLACKHILL EXPRESS did plenty of additional work in his lead-up trial and maps to enjoy a nice run somewhere in the first four/five.
Suggested: 12. COOL DYNAMITE 1 x 3 units.
12. COOL DYNAMITE
11. FROSTY BAY
2. ST ELIGIUS
7. BLACKHILL EXPRESS
RACE 5 MOSHI MOSHI MARKETING HANDICAP 3:20 PM (1200M)
Found this special conditions handicap to be another tricky race to assess and opted to side with champion hoop William Pike aboard local mare FAIR NAKITA. Put in a poor one when a $6.50 chance over this Track/Distance two back, however, she returned to form in the Rose Of York last start and looks well placed in this. Team Giadresco have been churning out some positive results recently and The Wizard should be able to park her just behind the expected genuine tempo (via OMINOUS WARNING), and FAIR NAKITA will get her chance. SEEKER did well when stretched out to 1400m last start, however, will enjoy coming back in trip, although all six of his wins have been over 1000m. Should enjoy a nice run in transit for apprentice Fiona Bell and he simply has to rate among the main winning chances. DANEFIN is returning from a 23-week break and did stretch out nicely in a Pinjarra trial last month. Has competed well in much better races than this in the past and if he brings his A-game he’ll be very hard to beat, while MRS BROWN’S BOY has a bit of class about him and has measured up in metro Saturday races in the past. Expecting him to fire first up.
Suggested: 7. FAIR NAKITA each way.
7. FAIR NAKITA
4. MRS BROWN’S BOY
RACE 6 WILLIAM BARRETT & SONS VASE HANDICAP 3:55 PM (1200M)
Not a bad race this one but we’re pretty confident DISRUPTIVE will elevate sufficiently to salute second up. Went close to winning in open three-year-old company at Ascot last prep, so he has come class about him, and while he was a beaten $1.90 favourite first-up, he did cover additional ground in running and 1000m races can throw up some funny results. Looks much better suited up to the 1200m and from an inside draw, DISRUPTIVE should conserve early and launch late. YOU AM I is a hard horse to catch and is coming off a disappointing effort over 1410m here last start, however, we feel as though he does his best racing when leading or racing outside leader, and he should be able to land in one of those running positions in this. Should appreciate coming back in distance also and the Michael Lane stable are enjoying a purple patch at present. We were keen on ASK LISA first up and she didn’t let us down, coming with a well-timed run to score. Form out of that race has stood up well since and she maps to enjoy a nice run in transit, while we have a bit of time for STAFFORD’S LAD and he’s been freshened since a dominant maiden victory last month.
Suggested: 4. DISRUPTIVE win.
8. ASK LISA
7. STAFFORD’S LAD
1. JELANI EXPRESS
*Numbers amended after Final Scratchings
RACE 7 GET THE TABTOUCH HANDICAP 4:25 PM (1675M)
Very intrigued to see how HOODLUM THUNDER performs at his first outing in 32 days, as he’s clearly the best horse in the race, however, his last two performances when well fancied at Ascot were inexplicably poor. Beaten narrowly twice by Lucky Roar in metro three-year-old events in January and with even luck in running probably should’ve won both, so his best is of a high standard and he was touted as an early WA Derby prospect. Get the impression if the real HOODLUM THUNDER turns up he’ll be winning and we’re backing in trainer Brett Pope to be bringing him to the races happy, healthy and ready to perform. We were quite taken with the high-pressure front-running maiden victory by MY TRADITION last start and if he’s ridden with the same aggression, he’s going to be mighty hard to catch again. FRIARANDICE ran into subsequent Ascot 1000 Guineas winner Like A Butterfly last start, with a 3-1/2 length gap to third, while CASSOWARY STREET has really mixed up her form this prep, but should enjoy a favourable run in transit and her best is good enough to finish top four.
Suggested: 1. HOODLUM THUNDER 1 x 3 units.
1. HOODLUM THUNDER
2. MY TRADITION
7. CASSOWARY STREET
RACE 8 XXXX GOLD BUNBURY CUP 5:00 PM (2200M)
Plenty of hopes in the 2018 Bunbury Cup and we’re fairly confident emerging staying prospect CAPPO D’ORO is set to give this a mighty shake. Knocked off WOODSVILLE in a dominant on-pace display three back and is on the quick back-up after an eye-catching effort with 59kg in a very fast 2100m event at Ascot last Saturday. Reckon Dan Staeck will be positive from the high draw, sliding back down to 54kg, and try and land somewhere in the first three/four, and that solid hit out last weekend provides him with the perfect platform to run out a strong 2200m. CAPPO D’ORO on top. The Bull & Bush Tavern Cup winner DARK ALERT is the class runner of the race and deserves favouritism. Made the most of an A-plus Paul Harvey ride last start and that was only his second outing since a freshen, so we imagine there is some further improvement up his sleeve. Veteran on-pacer WOODSVILLE has been born again this season and we’re anticipating sharp improvement after he did a little too much work breezing outside leader in The Bull & Bush Tavern Cup last start. Should be able to work forward from his high draw and find a suitable running position on top of the speed, and he did beaten home DARK ALERT in the Detonator Stakes only two starts ago, while DARK MUSKET could be the wildcard after catching the eye in The Bull & Bush Tavern Cup last start. Appears to have been set for this race and he was a fast-finishing fifth in the Perth Cup only three starts back, so his best is more than capable of finishing top four.
Suggested: 5. CAPPO D’ORO each way.
5. CAPPO D’ORO
1. DARK ALERT
7. DARK MUSKET
RACE 9 AMELIA PARK HANDICAP 5:35 PM (2000M)
FREEDOM BY CHOICE looks the safe play in the final event on Bunbury Cup Day. The Vaughn Sigley-trained five-year-old has good recent formlines around high-quality filly Friar Fox and Bunbury Cup aspirant Beg To Differ, and if either of those were in this race they’d no doubt be very hard to beat. FREEDOM BY CHOICE gets his chance. Trainer Neville Parker has done well turning around the fortunes of WATIJADOO and the free-wheeling front-runner is at the peak of his powers at present. Looks the likely leader and if he holds form then they’re going to struggle to get past him late. Three-year-old filly SUGAR CAIN has her share of staying ability, however, she looks set to drift a long way back in running from the outside barrier, while MUSICAL ART should be just about ready to produce his best third up over 2000m.
Suggested: 5. FREEDOM BY CHOICE each way.
5. FREEDOM BY CHOICE
10. SUGAR CAIN
7. MUSICAL ART
The Leg Up is provided by Thoroheads — Digital content producers servicing the Western Australian Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Bunbury Turf Club.