Race 1 – 1:04PM BUNBURY CUP GALA DINNER – BOOK NOW MAIDEN (1675 METRES)
Not a bad All Aged Maiden to start Rangeview Stud Classic Day and going to give NICKLAUS another chance after being beaten as favourite at both runs so far this prep. Was sent back to two mid-prep trials before improving considerably at Pinjarra 24/01, when over-racing early and boxing on to be beaten less than a length on the line. Expecting Glenn Smith to send him to the front from a low draw and if he can settle better early he should be able to give a strong kick late. STRONG HEART was a touch disappointing as a $1.75 favourite last start, but the form out of that race reads very well and as a Peters Investments three-year-old, will no doubt appreciate stepping up to the mile third up. Will have plenty of admirers again and should take some beating. MR STIKLER was supported from $14 to $8 first up and the effort was there, but he was fairly wayward in the straight. Expecting the blinkers to help and the mile suits also, while PRINCESS PIERRO returned to form with a competitive Ascot 23/01 effort and the Without Reason formline reads well.
Suggested: 4. NICKLAUS win.
6. STRONG HEART
5. MR STIKLER
9. PRINCESS PIERRO
Race 2 – 1:42PM IRON JACK MAIDEN (1200 METRES)
Really liked the recent trial win of HEAVENLY AFFAIR and expecting the Playing God filly to go close. Relished the addition of blinkers in that 950-metre Lark Hill 29/01 heat, working her way to the lead and clearing out in the straight to score by 4.3 lengths. With a clean getaway from barrier one, Lucy Warwick should be able to hold the front and on-pace runners have certainly been getting back for their buck at Bunbury recently. HEAVENLY AFFAIR to give them something to catch. This looks a nice second-up option for APPROACH and expecting him to be most competitive back in maiden company. Will naturally have benefited from the race experience on debut and should figure prominently. JUS TALKEN was most disappointing as a $1.50 favourite fresh at Albany 20/01, but he is a quirky horse and no surprise to see sharp improvement back on his home deck. His best puts him right in the finish, while LOCK HER IN found the 1412 metres beyond her after being supported from $21 to $11 first up and maps to advantage coming back to the six furlongs here.
Suggested: 14. HEAVENLY AFFAIR win.
14. HEAVENLY AFFAIR
1. JUS TALKEN
10. LOCK HER IN
Race 3 – 2:17PM TABTOUCH – BETTER YOUR BET HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
DUTCH SPY is the class runner and expecting him to still get the job done, despite a 62kg handicap. Hasn’t been far away in really competitive Ratings 66+ events in town this time in work and with a nice draw in a small field, he looks well enough placed back on his home track. Can’t afford to be getting held up with such a big weight, but if Glenn Smith can keep DUTCH SPY out of trouble and roll into the race with momentum, he should still be too good. Anticipating sharp improvement from track specialist MY LAINA, who ticks a few boxes beginning from barrier one with William Pike back on board. With a soft run in transit, she should attack the line with strength late. KENTOO hasn’t been sighted in 60 days since saluting first up over this track/distance back in early December. That suggests some sort of setback, but backing in S.J. Miller to have him ready to fire, while FAIR NAKITA showed a nice turn of foot to salute first up at Albany 20/01 and her record over this distance at her home track must be respected.
Suggested: 1. DUTCH SPY win.
1. DUTCH SPY
6. MY LAINA
4. FAIR NAKITA
Race 4 – 3:00PM AMELIA PARK HANDICAP (1200 METRES)
Found this to be quite a tricky race to assess and ended up rolling with REGAL COUNSEL on top. Been racing well since coming back to the provincial circuit, enjoying a perfect run in transit and cashing in to knock off the smart Daishio over this trip at Pinjarra 24/01. While there is no noted leader in this, Mitchell Pateman does have some options available from the sweet low draw and trusting him to provide REGAL COUNSEL with every opportunity. MACROY is a dual-acceptor this weekend and is considered a winning chance in a higher-graded race than this at Ascot 2/02, so it will be interesting to see which path connections take. Showed impressive closing speed to win first up and if she lines up in this event is the obvious horse to beat. KISS THE BREEZE has been a little flat in both runs this prep, but no surprise to see her improve coming back in grade. Could even roll to the lead with apprentice Tayla Stone on board, but must still be respected regardless, while CHAMPAGNE GAL is showing plenty of potential and expecting her to elevate with the blinkers added.
Suggested: 2. REGAL COUNSEL win.
2. REGAL COUNSEL
1. KISS THE BREEZE
8. CHAMPAGNE GAL
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 5 – 3:40PM OAKLAND PARK STUD SPRINT (1100 METRES)
Now this is a hard race and could be a field job for main quaddie players. With low confidence opted for DEHEUNE, who is returning from a 42-day freshen and has run some very competitive races against decent opposition already this summer. If she can tap into her best form and with a reasonable run in transit, DEHEUNE can give her supporters a run for their money. IN THE BAG is on the quick back up six days after a plain first-up run here over 1016 metres. This certainly isn’t as strong as that line up and with positive tactics from a wide draw, he can fight out the finish. The addition of William Pike doesn’t hurt his chances either. BODEGA BEAU is making his first appearance for his new stable and his peak form is good enough to see him finish top four in this. Capable of running a cheeky race fresh, while on-pacer MIRISISTIBLE got the job done at Narrogin 25/01, and should roll forward and box on well late here.
Suggested: 8. DEHEUNE each way.
1. IN THE BAG
4. BODEGA BEAU
Race 6 – 4:15PM DUNCAN EQUINE GROUP HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
Have an opinion of FRIAR’S FANTASIA and with even luck from the inside alley, she should be saluting. Was keen on her first-up at Ascot 23/01 and she had genuine excuses when a fast-closing third behind Express Flirt, with that form holding up well since. Looks the obvious on-top selection on the strength of that performance and will be well found by the market, but still should win. SUSPECTUS is the main danger though, having put in a fairly similar performance to FRIAR’S FANTASIA first up in the same Ascot 23/01 race last start. Capable of holding a prominent running position from the draw and should get every chance from there. JOHNO’S ROCKET also comes through the same race, when performing below expectations and being slow to recover post-race. Better than that run suggests and with a more patient ride, should be working home well late, while the blinkers and William Pike have gone on MELROS BEACH, and he should’ve finished closer when encountering traffic issues at Bunbury 13/01.
Suggested: 3. FRIAR’S FANTASIA win.
3. FRIAR’S FANTASIA
4. JOHNO’S ROCKET
7. MELROS BEACH
Race 7 – 4:45PM RANGEVIEW STUD CLASSIC (1400 METRES)
Simply can’t look past exciting filly ANGELIC RULER and she looks to have a mortgage on the 2019 Rangeview Stud Classic. Returned to racing with two brilliant Ascot victories, with her powerful closing speed on display on both occasions, and she just found the mile a touch beyond her when rolled as a $1.55 favourite last start. Has been freshened up since and set for this race, and providing she gets the galloping room she requires, it’s hard seeing any of these being able to match her. Have some time for local filly HENTY GAL and she should have finished top three at Ascot 19/01, when held up for a run virtually the entire straight. Maps to advantage from the draw and although she’s a maiden, a top three finish isn’t beyond her. Fellow local COCKY DODD was huge taking on some decent older horses in Ratings 66+ company at Ascot 26/01. Goes good this bloke and no surprise to see him fighting out the finish with Shaun McGruddy on board, while the Peters Investments pair FINAL HEARING and REGAL POWER certainly have their share of ability, and the cerise and white can never be underestimated.
Suggested: 6. ANGELIC RULER win.
6. ANGELIC RULER
5. COCKY DODD
2. FINAL HEARING
3. REGAL POWER
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 8 – 5:15PM OWNERS ONLY HANDICAP (1675 METRES)
Found it tough to separate WANTED DESIRE and ANCIENT HOPE, eventually slotting in WANTED DESIRE on top. Ran the second-fastest final 200-metre split of the day when a close-up third at Pinjarra 24/01 and gives the impression she’s ready to step up to the mile at her fourth run in. Does like to get back and run on, but from a low draw Lucy Warwick should be able to save ground with inside runs on the turn, and if she’s within striking distance on straightening then she’ll be hard to hold out. ANCIENT HOPE is ready to fire third up and the Morton stable has locked in William Pike and she never saw daylight in the straight at Ascot 23/01. Interesting to see where she lands in running from the draw and might drift back out of her ground, but like WANTED DESIRE, she should still be doing her best work late. Anticipating a more competitive effort from ELIZA’S DREAM back in distance and class, with apprentice Jade McNaught taking a handy 3kg off his back, while we didn’t mind the first-up effort of MOTORVATOR at Pinjarra 24/01 and no surprise to see him in the fight for a top-four finish.
Suggested: 6. WANTED DESIRE win.
6. WANTED DESIRE
5. ANCIENT HOPE
1. ELIZA’S DREAM
*Originally published at 11:00am on Friday 1 February 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.