Race 1 – 1:08PM ELDERS REAL ESTATE BUNBURY MAIDEN (1108 METRES)
Excited to see what the half-sister to outstanding Winterbottom Stakes placegetter Enticing Star can do on debut. Peters Investments three-year-old DEVOTED STAR has improved in three trial outings, with her most recent being a Lark Hill 17/12 950-metre heat win, when impressively charging clear late. Appears to have the gate speed to hold a forward running position from the low draw and with clear galloping room late, she’s expected to be far too strong. FRIAR’S CLASSIC looks the main danger after stretching the well-regarded Flower Of War over this trip third up at Ascot 19/12. Maps to enjoy a soft on-pace run in transit, and has fitness and race experience on her side. DIGNITY BAY caught the eye first up before not having a lot of luck when a $4.60 chance last time, racing wide throughout and being taken out of his comfort zone. Likely to be ridden more patiently on this occasion and should work home well, while Mitchell Pateman rode WILD GUST to two smart Lark Hill trial wins recently and jumps back on board for this five-year-old’s second-up assignment.
Suggested: 9. DEVOTED STAR.
9. DEVOTED STAR
1. DIGNITY BAY
6. WILD GUST
4. OUR GIRL MARLI
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 2 – 1:48PM SOUTH WEST OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY MAIDEN (1108 METRES)
There is a bit to work with in this three-year-old maiden and it’s hard to look past first-starter MANHATTAN MONEY after her most impressive Lark Hill 17/12 trial win. Hailing from the red-hot Pearce Bros training combination, this daughter of Universal Ruler drifted back to last on that occasion, plotted a particularly wide path on the turn, and showed a classy turn-of-foot to charge past her rivals and coast to the finish line ears pricked. Looks likely to drift back in running on debut also, so will have some ground to make up, but the way she attacked the line at trials suggests she has ample closing speed to still get the job done. Peters Investments first-starter ADORNMENT comes through the same trial as our on-top selection and simply never saw daylight on that occasion, rolling to the line still in first gear. Showed enough in her previous Lark Hill 3/12 heat and obviously the Cerise And White always warrant respect. First-upper KENYLUCK showed plenty during a luckless four-start autumn campaign and looked in good order when not fully tested in a Belmont 24/12 trial. Needs a clean getaway to make the most of the low draw, while LOCOMOTIVE raced wide throughout when a $8.50 chance at his August debut and wasn’t knocked around in a Lark Hill 17/12 trial. Drawn well and expected to compete well fresh.
Suggested: 9. MANHATTAN MONEY win.
9. MANHATTAN MONEY
Race 3 – 2:23PM MJB INDUSTRIES HANDICAP (1008 METRES)
Quite a few winning hopes in this short-course Class One Handicap and happy enough to roll with RAPISARDA and his sharp first-up Narrogin 22/12 win. Has always looked to have his share of ability, with multiple impressive trial wins in previous campaigns, but he finally put it all together last start, clearing out late with sustained closing speed after attracting strong support in betting. Maps to enjoy a suitable passage in transit parked behind the leading division and with clear running from there he really should be afforded every opportunity. ROSEBUSH hasn’t done a lot wrong in three runs this prep and is coming back in trip after being nailed in the shadows at Ascot 12/12. All the form around her (Rebel Yell and Lacevinsky) stacks up and she’s obviously one of the major players. First-upper AKVAVIT endured an eight-start initial racing campaign and never missed a place, notching up a maiden win over promising type The Fugazi last start at Belmont 25/07. Sharpened up for this with a Lark Hill 17/12 trial and ticks plenty of boxes with Pike on from a low draw, while three-year-old filly MY LADY FAIR has her share of ability but does have the outside alley to contend with.
Suggested: 3. RAPISARDA each way.
8. MY LADY FAIR
Race 4 – 2:55PM KOOKAKRUMBS MAIDEN (1410 METRES)
Found this All Aged Maiden to be a particularly hard race to assess and with low confidence sided with MELTEME on top. Tracked her closely at trials and she has been hard in the market at her two 1100-metre outings so far, competing well enough on both occasions and the three-year-old daughter of Blackfriars should appreciate the rise in distance here. Maps to advantage from a low draw and champion trainer Lou Luciani has whacked the blinkers on for the first time, so expecting them to be an enhancement. Melteme gets her chance in a thin race. PRATTLE is returning from a 56-day let up and did a good job in three spring runs, finishing within two lengths of the leader on each occasion. Likes to race on top of the speed, so should enjoy the right run in transit with the winkers on. Another Peters Investments newcomer PICTURE PERFECT steps out for the first time and has looked a bit one-paced in his lead-up trials. No surprise to see him up over 1410 metres on debut with the market appearing the best guide to his winning chances, while experienced duo SHERA KHAN and FROGGOTTEN have some of the best peak form in the race, but both have high draws to contend with.
Suggested: 11. MELTEME each way.
5. PICTURE PERFECT
6. SHERA KHAN
Race 5 – 3:25PM BUNBURY JAGUAR AND LAND ROVER MAIDEN (1690 METRES)
Another wide-open All Aged Maiden to sift through and going to lock in BRITISH BESSY on top. Has been getting back and catching the eye late in her races and she really should have finished a lot closer at Pinjarra on Boxing Day, when shuffled a long way back in a slowly run affair and making up a stack of late ground. The Sharon Miller stable has been ticking along quite well recently and she has decided to put the blinkers on for the first time, which should add a sharper edge to British Bessy. Likely to slide back again from high draw, but no surprise to see her run right over the top. First-upper NEON FLARE was taken on in front in his Lark Hill 17/12 1450-metre trial, but he shook off the challenger and worked clear for a good win. Was placed over the mile on debut at Northam last campaign, so we’re expecting him to roll forward and take some getting past late. BEE QUICK has done a good job in her two appearances so far. Was no match for the promising Pure Magnus last time but did a few things wrong, so there is a bit of upside there, and maps well from the low draw, while WILD GALAH has finished runner up in similar events to this at two of his past three starts and simply has to warrant consideration.
Suggested: 10. BRITISH BESSY win.
10. BRITISH BESSY
3. NEON FLARE
11. BEE QUICK
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 6 – 3:55PM BOQ BUNBURY HANDICAP (1208 METRES)
FRIAR’S GIFT has been racing so well in town and looks well placed back in this grade. The Team Giadresco-trained six-year-old has been patiently ridden at his four Ascot appearances this campaign and has attacked the line with strength on each occasion, clocking fast closing sectionals. Hasn’t had a lot of luck with barriers and has another awkward alley here, but the smaller field suits and he’ll no doubt appreciate racing back on his home deck. Expecting him to go close. SNOW BLOSSOM is back home after having no luck at all in the $100,000 Regional Championship Series Final at Ascot 1/12, when never getting out and not fully tested. As a backmarker, traffic issues are always a factor, but with a clear crack at them Snow Blossom will be hard to hold out. Hard to fault the lead-up form of FLOWER OF SCOTLAND and she should enjoy a suitable rails run in transit. Can still do a few things wrong though, so will be interesting to see how she runs for 3kg apprentice Jade McNaught, while local trainer Mark Wright has done a top job with SCANDAL MAKER, and the in-form on-pacer should roll to the front and take some catching again.
Suggested: 3. FRIAR’S GIFT win.
3. FRIAR’S GIFT
5. SNOW BLOSSOM
4. SCANDAL MAKER
8. GLIMMER GIRL
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 7 – 4:25PM TROY GARD MEMORIAL HANDICAP (2219 METRES)
Locking in the race hardened and in-form BLACK ATTACK to upset likely favourite STAIRWAYTOTHEMOON. The Brock Lewthwaite-prepared four-year-old has been consistently racing over 2000 metres and beyond this campaign and finished alongside the likes of Watch Me Ney Ney, Bergio and Sentimental Friend at Pinjarra last time, with those formlines stacking up well in this company. Maps to enjoy a soft rails run for the red-hot Daniel Staeck and if it turns into a staying test, then Black Attack should be saluting. Three-year-old filly STAIRWAYTOTHEMOON is the obvious after two smart wins to kick off her campaign, but she is making a significant leap from 1600 metres to this journey third up, which may leave her a touch vulnerable late. Still, if this is a walk-and-sprint, then it’s hard seeing anything being able to go with her late. Like what we’ve seen from eastern-states import COLLABORATE. Made odds-on favourite Time To Hunt work hard for the win over the mile in this class last start and he was won over 2100 metres in the past, so the rise in trip shouldn’t be a concern, while the consistent SAN CRISPINO appears to be looking for this middle-distance assignment at this stage of her campaign and is a lock for all your exotic bets.
Suggested: 3. BLACK ATTACK win.
3. BLACK ATTACK
6. SAN CRISPINO
Race 8 – 5:00PM JETLINE KERBING CONTRACTORS HANDICAP (1690 METRES)
Very tricky affair to wrap things up and when in doubt, roll with ‘Pike in the last’. With The Wizard on board SLICED BREAD will no doubt be targeted as the last hope for punters nationwide to ‘blast out’ on New Year’s Day and if he can get across into an on-speed position without burning too much fuel early, then the Dion Luciani-trained three-year-old should box on well and fight out the finish. HOODLUM THUNDER is frustrating to follow, but his run two back behind Trump This reads very well and he really is the best horse in the race. If he’s right, he’ll give this a shake, TRIBUTE TO GLORY got the maiden win he was searching for at Albany 14/12 and looks capable of going on with it now, while AMERICAN SOUL has a high draw to contend with, but appears to have his share of ability and is trending in the right direction.
Suggested: 12. SLICED BREAD each way.
12. SLICED BREAD
4. HOODLUM THUNDER
6. TRIBUTE TO GLORY
11. AMERICAN SOUL
*Originally published at 5:00pm on Friday 28 December 2018
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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.