RACE 1 RANGEVIEW STUD MAIDEN 12:59 PM (2038M)
Been saying it for a while now but this really looks the race for THREADS OF IVEY to break through. Had her first crack at this distance last start and competed well behind Sugar Cain, recording her third top three finish from her past four outings, and her previous effort against some quality opposition at Pinjarra was full of merit. Shouldn’t have any excuses in this small field and THREADS OF IVEY should be winning. FIVE DEGREES has finished alongside our on-top selection at her past two outings and she was pretty good out in front last time, when put under pressure a long way from home by another runner. FIVE DEGREES looks the likely leader and she’s going to be very hard to run down if she gets her own way out in front. MAGICAL CHARM looked very one-paced when getting rolled as a $2.10 favourite on Australia Day, although she was doing her best work on the line. Jury’s out on this Peters Investments filly but this is a very thin maiden and she’s the obvious third pick, while SECRET NIGHTS was poor last start, but his previous form suggests he be included for fourth.
Suggested: 5. THREADS OF IVEY win.
5. THREADS OF IVEY
6. FIVE DEGREES
7. MAGICAL CHARM
1. SECRET NIGHTS
RACE 2 WA COUNTRY BUILDERS MAIDEN 1:34 PM (1420M)
The first division of the 1420-metre Maiden lacks a bit of depth and the Adam Durrant-trained first-upper KELLY’S SECRET is clearly on top for us. Was a $6 chance on debut at Northam last September and ran on well behind the very smart Rockon Tommy, and he wasn’t overly taxed in his recent Lark Hill trial. Low draw means he should really be within striking distance on the turn and with his closing speed, he should really be too strong on the line. PRINCE O’LARA has shown glimpses of potential and he wasn’t far away at all against good opposition first up at Ascot last Saturday. Should be able to park up in the first four from an inside draw and he’ll get his chance with the cutaway rail in play. Didn’t mind the effort of KENDEL’S FLOOD on Australia Day, with her and the winner Me ‘n’ Taz being the only runners to be sub-12 seconds for their last three 200-metre splits, according to Daily Sectionals. Caught the eye on debut also and she just needs a bit of luck early to slot in with cover from her draw, while first-upper MISSISSIPPI DELTA is a half-sister to 2014 Railway Stakes winner Elite Belle and worked home well enough in her two lead-up trials.
Suggested: 4. KELLY’S SECRET win (1) & place (2).
4. KELLY’S SECRET
3. PRINCE O’LARA
6. KENDEL’S FLOOD
8. MISSISSIPPI DELTA
RACE 3 IRON JACK MAIDEN 2:05 PM (1420M)
The second division of the 1420-metre Maiden appears to be the more competitive of the two, with more genuine winning chances, on paper at least. And while he did let us down as a heavily-supported $1.95 favourite last time we’re going to give STAFFORD’S LAD another chance, especially from the low draw. Should be able to settle in the first four without burning fuel early, unlike last start where he had to be urged along early to find his position after beginning from barrier 8. With plenty left in the tank, the Demerit three-year-old looks set to run right through the line and will take some beating. Have been tracking STAN BY ME since his early trials and he finally put it together on raceday when a sharp improver behind the well-regarded Dickoletto on Australia Day. Building in confidence and he only has to hold form to fight out the finish. POKEMON PETE had no luck whatsoever at Mt Barker last start, forget he went around, and Glenn Smith going on is a positive, while ALL SQUARE created and raced on top of a suicidal early tempo last start, and did a big job to box on as well as she did. Heavily backed last time too, so that $2.20 starting price profile cannot be ignored.
Suggested: 2. STAFFORD’S LAD win (1) & place (3).
2. STAFFORD’S LAD
4. STAN BY ME
3. POKEMON PETE
10. ALL SQUARE
RACE 4 CAPEL VALE WINERY MAIDEN 2:40 PM (1216M)
We found this to be a particularly tricky 1216-metre maiden and without a heap of confidence we opted to roll with the Gavin Slater-trained AMAYA. After an impressive trial win, she was sent out a $2.40 favourite at Ascot first up and boxed on well after leading them up, with the second placed Tycoon Legend expected to be hard to beat at Ascot this weekend. The Princess Zelda form stacks up really well also, and if AMAYA can come across from her high draw to lead, or race outside the leader, without burning too much fuel then she should give a good kick in the straight. ILLMATIC was crazy short ($1.75) at Ascot last time and while he did encounter some traffic issues, he was no match for the winner Irish Moshe. Previous form against quality opposition was very good though and with the blinkers going, this fellow is expected to fight out the finish. Quite liked the latest trial from first-starter MAHUIKA, where she got back and let down very well in the straight. Trialled as well as, if not better than Kelly’s Secret, who we have on top in Race 2, and we expect her to run a race on debut, while likely leader EDITION should spear across from his high draw and box on well late.
Suggested: 10. AMAYA win (1) & place (2).
RACE 5 AQUAVIVA CATERING MAIDEN 3:10 PM (1116M)
Another challenging maiden to assess and we’re again again lacking in confidence. Ended up locking in first-upper MUMSTHEONE on top, on an each-way basis, after he produced three competitive performances against smart opposition last winter and stretched out well in his January 19 lead-up trial. Has the gate speed to utilise his low draw and maps to enjoy a lovely passage in the first four/five, and with the cutaway in play there should be no excuses for him in the straight. Durrant and Pike team up with WORLD IS YOURS and this fellow appears set to attract a lot of support second up. Draw means the likely favourite will be getting right back in running and not sure about coming back in distance, but his first-up effort was full of merit and natural improvement puts him right in the finish. First-upper LADY HAWKE caught the eye in her January 15 lead-up trial when not knocked around behind impressive subsequent winner The Big Show. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her running on late, while IT COMES NATURAL met with good support on debut but was very green. Will no doubt benefit from the experience though and appears to have his share of ability.
Suggested: 2. MUMSTHEONE each way.
4. WORLD IS YOURS
3. IT COMES NATURAL
1. SWEET DREAMIN’
*Numbers amended after final scratchings
RACE 6 GRAEME HURST MEMORIAL 3:45 PM (1705M)
Kiwi import PLAYS THE GAME is unlikely to get a better opportunity to win a race in WA and he really should be getting the job done. Has raced very competitively in stronger races than this recently and his closing splits courtesy of Daily Sectionals suggests he’s racing his way towards peak fitness. If Rare Coin or Sentimental Friend were in this race then they’d both be standout winning chances, so those formlines are good enough for us. PLAYS THE GAME on top. FAIR SONARI followed up his maiden win with a competitive Pinjarra on-pace performance and the horses are certainly running for 3kg apprentice Brodie Kirby at present. This fellow makes his own luck on top of the speed and will take some catching. EVERYMILE A MEMORY got up in the last stride on debut and will no doubt open up short, especially considering the Durrant/Pike combo. Not sold on the form out of that January 18 maiden though and we’re treading wearily with this three-year-old filly, while MIDNIGHT BANQUET has returned in very good order and is more than capable of giving this a shake.
Suggested: 2. PLAYS THE GAME win (1) & place (2).
2. PLAYS THE GAME
3. FAIR SONARI
8. EVERYMILE A MEMORY
7. MIDNIGHT BANQUET
RACE 7 AMELIA PARK HANDICAP 4:15 PM (1216M)
We’ve been impressed with the strength of ELIZA’S DREAM all campaign and simply can’t go past him. Forced well back in the field third up last time, however, Daily Sectionals clocked him running home in fast time to finish fourth, with his late splits only bettered by brilliant winner Snow Blossom. King Of Chaos comes through that race also, so the form really stacks up, and if ELIZA’S DREAM is within striking distance on the turn then he’ll take some holding out. Likely favourite and pace maker THE NINTH HOUR hails from the red-hot Gangemi Racing yard, and will no doubt have plenty of admirers after a good debut victory. Winkers have been added after racing greenly on that occasion, and this fellow ticks plenty of boxes. FRATERNIZE is the best horse in the race, however, appears to be troubled by something since returning from injury. Didn’t like the way he retreated late at Ascot last time, but if the Pearce Bros can get him back on track then he’s clearly the horse to beat, while first-upper MESSIAH is a horse we have a bit of time for and his lead-up Albany trial was solid.
Suggested: 2. ELIZA’S DREAM win (1) & place (3).
2. ELIZA’S DREAM
7. MISS PLANET
*Numbers amended after final scratchings
RACE 8 GET THE TABTOUCH HANDICAP 4:50 PM (1216M)
Back-to-back wins has the flying SNOW BLOSSOM at the top of the Bunbury Turf Club’s Harradine & Associates-Horse of the Year Award and only bad luck stands in the way of her making if three on the trot. Trainer Brent Larsson has found the key to this powerful finishing five-year-old and the Daily Sectionals data clearly illustrates how dominant she has been, last start running her final 600 metres over 3-1/2 lengths faster than any other runner and a standout 11.26-second final 200-metre split. After a series of placings SNOW BLOSSOM has the taste for winning now and she’s our best of the day. SOUTHERN TERN was most unlucky last time and no doubt would’ve won with clear galloping room in the straight. Has raced well all prep and maps to enjoy a soft run in transit. First-up specialist SUPPOSITION blew them away with some sizzling late sectionals last start and has to rate highly again. Six furlongs not really his go but he does have a reasonable class edge on most of these, while WICKED HUNTER comes through better races than this and is racing his way into peak form.
Suggested: 4. SNOW BLOSSOM win.
4. SNOW BLOSSOM
3. SOUTHERN TERN
2. WICKED HUNTER
RACE 9 XXXX GOLD HANDICAP 5:20 PM (1420M)
Competitive line up to finish up and we’re quite keen on the chances of SHOUHOU each way. Has more than her share of ability and produced a mighty effort to come from last, charting a wide path on the turn, and finish fourth at Ascot last start. Will be forced back in the field again from her high draw, so the map is certainly against her, but if the track is playing fair then this four-year-old is more than capable of running home strong enough to win. Needs a bit of luck, but that will no doubt be factored into the price. Three-year-old filly SUMMER’S DREAM ticks plenty of boxes with Pike replacing an apprentice and we have her mapped to land in the slot from her low draw. Unproven at the trip, but the soft run she’s likely to enjoy will provide her with a good opportunity to run out the seven furlongs. Didn’t mind the run of SLICK MOVER when racing first up for his new stable at Ascot last Saturday week. Should appreciate the drop in grade and he’s a major player, while SIGIL finished alongside SHOUHOU when kicking off his summer campaign last start and he does hail from the very much in-form Simon A. Miller yard. Must be included in everything.
Suggested: 8. SHOUHOU win (1) & place (2).
5. SUMMER’S DREAM
2. SLICK MOVER
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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.