Race 1 – 12:34PM CARRIE & TOMMY MAIDEN (2038 METRES)
Low key start to the program and while it’s hard getting too enthused, it does look a good opportunity for PLEAD THE FIFTH. Liked the way she finished off second up at York 11/10, before getting shuffled back and working home well enough late at Northam 28/10. With a patient ride, she should have plenty to offer late. BENNY BRUISER got pocketed by the eventual winner Black Attack at a crucial stage last start, however, he never gave up and was doing his best work late. With the advantage of having a 2000-metre run under his belt, Benny Bruiser has the conditioning to make things interesting. PRO FESSIONAL was sent out a $31 chance at Northam last start and loomed to win, but couldn’t quite match Mekong Den late. Will be well fancied to break through hailing from the powerful Durrant camp, while INIMITABLE placed in a similar event to this last Sunday week and should be competitive again.
Suggested: 6. PLEAD THE FIFTH win.
6. PLEAD THE FIFTH
1. BENNY BRUISER
2. DARK TACTICS
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 2 – 1:23PM HITS AND OLD SCHOOL WITH BEN MAIDEN (1420 METRES)
Very hard to go past SON OF BACCHUS. Kicked off his three-year-old season with a close-up placing behind subsequent Ascot winner Playing Marika at Northam 17/10, before narrowly missing out on running down the promising Inflation in a high-rating maiden at Northam 11 days later. Gives the impression he’ll relish the rise to 1420 metres, this assignment isn’t as strong as what he’s competed against recently and the booking of Glenn Smith is a significant positive. WILD GALAH comes through the same race as our on-top selection and and does look suited coming back to his home track third up, with the experienced Jason Whting on board. Competed well against quality opposition as a juvenile and his most recent performance was better than it reads on paper. First-upper ARCHANT is expected to run a race fresh having shown a bit as a juvenile and working home well in a Lark Hill 15/10 trial behind Lipstick Fingers and Euphonius, who have been raced competitively in this grade since, while the Durrant-trained SHAFTO LANE ran some reasonable races last season, however, her Lark Hill 22/10 trial was only plain.
Suggested: 1. SON OF BACCHUS win.
1. SON OF BACCHUS
2. WILD GALAH
6. SHAFTO LANE
Race 3 – 1:58PM HUGHESY & KATE HANDICAP (1216 METRES)
Tricky little Class 1 Handicap here and with low confidence sided with LUCKY LINDA LULU. This mare is yet to deliver and the promise she’s shown over the journey, but won’t get many better opportunities to improve her winning record than this. Didn’t have a lot of luck when trapped wide at Northam 30/09, but returned to peak form with a competitive placing in a stronger assignment than this last start, and only has to hold that form to be saluting here. WISE MONKEY looks the main danger, mapping to advantage from a low draw and the blinkers going on for the first time. Comes through the same race as our on-top pick and should be afforded every opportunity in this small field. NO ORDINARY GIRL is stepping out first up without a trial, but was placed at Belmont and Northam (twice) last campaign. Formlines read well enough for this, while fellow first-upper RINGER SOAK showed a bit during her initial racing preparation and shouldn’t be too far away at the finish.
Suggested: 4. LUCKY LINDA LULU win.
4. LUCKY LINDA LULU
2. WISE MONKEY
6. NO ORDINARY GIRL
3. RINGER SOAK
Race 4 – 2:36PM RNB FRIDAYS MAIDEN (1116 METRES)
Intriguing All Aged Maiden this, with a host of runners putting up their hands as winning possibilities, but going to lock in first-starter PICK YOUR BATTLES on top. Wanted to lay in badly when runner-up behind subsequent Belmont winner M’Lady in a fast Lark Hill 25/09 trial, before a lugging bit and winkers went on, and he cruised to a strong Lark Hill 15/10 heat win, with the second-placed Stormy Ora winning at Ascot on Wednesday. Impressed with what we’ve seen in the lead up and if Pick Your Battles can bring his trial form to raceday then he’ll go close. Fellow debutante TWO COOL is another to show up at trials, being well educated in her three outings. Wasn’t knocked around in her Bunbury 2/11 heat, should be able to hold up in front from an inside alley and take some catching. GUNFLINT was heavily commissioned ($2.05 to $1.80) first up at Northam 17/10, but couldn’t get get the job done. Has a high draw to overcome, but still has to rate among the main winning chances, while first-upper FLYING TRIX showed promise when last in work and is expected to run a race fresh on her home track.
Suggested: 5. PICK YOUR BATTLES win.
5. PICK YOUR BATTLES
10. TWO COOL
7. FLYING TRIX
Race 5 – 3:12PM JESSE & JUELZ MAIDEN (1420 METRES)
BEL MY PAGO looks one of the best of the day. Got a long way back as a $2 favourite on debut before making up a stack of ground behind Together We Dream, who went on to frank the form with another win on Thursday, before again being left with too much to do late behind the well-regarded Colourful Chloe at Ascot 24/10. Looks suited stepping up to 1420 metres and all things being equal, she should drift back and run right over the top of these. FRIAR’S MOON is coming off a 38-day break after performing below expectations ($4.40 to $3) at Belmont 29/09. Champion trainer Lou Luciani has altered some things (tongue bit and visors off) since and her previous Northam form suggests she can figure prominently at the finish. PRATTLE wasn’t far away after copping some interference as a $5.50 chance second up in a similar assignment to this last start and maps to advantage from a low draw, while we’re expecting significant improvement from EXPLOSION after pulling up lame last start.
Suggested: 5. BEL MY PAGO win.
5. BEL MY PAGO
6. FRIAR’S MOON
Race 6 – 3:47PM HITS AND OLD SCHOOL WITH TIM HANDICAP (1420 METRES)
Pretty keen on the chance of STARTTHEFRIAR. More than held his own against the best of his division when racing through a WATC Derby prep last season and should come on nicely after a competitive first-up result over 1200 metres here last start. Suited stepping up to 1420 metres with Glenn Smith in the saddle and this fellow appears to have the potential to be a Saturday-grade horse, so he does have a class edge on most of these. BENNY BEAU produced an eye-catching second-up effort over this Track/Distance last start, and with clear galloping room in the straight probably would’ve won. With a clean getaway from the low draw, he can make his presence felt. First-upper HOODLUM THUNDER has a stack of talent, but was pushed to the extreme during his three-year-old season when taking on the big guns in the WA Guineas during the spring and WATC Derby in the autumn. Appeared to have a bit to give in his Lark Hill 22/10 trial and at his best he can win this, while BODEGA BEAU was ridden upside-down second up at Ascot 22/10 and should enjoy a softer run in transit from the inside alley. First-up Belmont effort was eye-catching.
Suggested: 3. STARTTHEFRIAR win.
4. BENNY BEAU
1. HOODLUM THUNDER
2. BODEGA BEAU
Race 7 – 4:25PM THE SOUTHWEST’S HIT FM HANDICAP (1016 METRES)
Leaning towards local mare PRINCESS ZELDA to get the job done second up. Liked her Belmont 8/10 trial and she worked home well enough first up here after drifting back to last in running. Expecting that run to brings her forward significantly for this assignment and this doesn’t appear to be as strong as what she faced last time. First-upper DENIM PACK is the class horse of the race and should enjoy a nice run in transit jumping from a low draw. Was placed in Ratings 72+ and Ratings 66+ company at Ascot when last in work, so if he’s on top of his game he’s going to take some beating. JUST A FLUKE ran out of gas late after leading them up when resuming at Belmont 6/10. Has been kept fresh since and should spear across to lead from the high draw, while COOL SERENITY was poor after leading at Ascot 31/10 but, previous form reads well and no surprise to see improvement on the quick back up.
Suggested: 5. PRINCESS ZELDA win.
5. PRINCESS ZELDA
1. DENIM PACK
4. COOL SERENITY
3. SCANDAL MAKER
Race 8 – 5:00PM HIT.COM.AU HANDICAP (2038 METRES)
Simply have to stick fat with ARCTIC STREAM. Have had him in top at his last two outings in stronger company and while many will have sacked him after his latest Ascot 27/10 performance, we don’t think the run was that bad under the circumstances. Drifted too far back in a hectic affair and was was never in contention, spotting the tearaway leader over 17 lengths at the 600-metre mark before clocking some credible closing splits. This race certainly won’t be as intense early, he should be ready for this distance now and maps to land in a suitable running position from the low draw. BERGIO looks a major player and could count himself unlucky not to have won two of his last three outings. Pocketed by the winner Five Degrees at a vital stage last start, but worked home strongly and looks well placed in this company. MACAVITY has put in two good efforts for his new stable and has to rate among the main hopes, while TOPPA DAWOZZA was unsuited out in front at Ascot 20/10, but maps to enjoy a nice smother in transit and can make an impact.
Suggested: 1. ARCTIC STREAM win.
1. ARCTIC STREAM
2. TOPPA DAWOZZA
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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.