RACE 1 THINK WATER BUNBURY MAIDEN 12:49 PM (1208M)
Looking forward to the return of promising Peters Investments three-year-old MASQUERADE, who looks set to come up very short in betting, but should be getting favourite backers off to a good start. Really caught the eye on debut behind brilliant filly Ocean Jewel back in June and has won both trial outings since, including his most recent when leading all the way at Lark Hill. MASQUERADE showed good gate speed on that occasion, a little unusual for the Cerise And White camp, however, it shows this fellow is capable of making the most of his low draw and parking just behind the leaders. Champion hoop William Pike returns from a 28-day suspension and should get straight back in the winner’s circle with MASQUERADE. Only runner we feel capable of causing an upset is DOUBLE THE PRO, who was pretty good under tough circumstances at Ascot last time. Endured a hard, wide run on that occasion, but boxed on well enough and his previous effort this track/distance behind Gingerella was solid. Rolls forward and hard seeing him missing a place. Didn’t mind the recent trial win by COOL SERENITY when travelling three-wide, without cover throughout and accounting for the capable Thirsty Work. Expecting a forward showing from her first up, while AL CAPITANO should’ve finished closer at Ascot this time and maps to enjoy the right run on the leader’s back.
Suggested: 3. MASQUERADE win.
1.DOUBLE THE PRO
6. COOL SERENITY
4. ALL SQUARE
*Numbers amended after final scratchings.
RACE 2 JCW ELECTRICAL MAIDEN 1:24 PM (1008M)
It’s William Pike’s first day back in the saddle since Kingston Town Classic day at Ascot and The Wizard looks set to boot home the first two winners, with likely odds-on favourite HOW TO FLY a standout in this short-course maiden. Heavily-backed in a terrific contest on debut here recently and probably should’ve won, going down only a neck after racing three-wide, without cover throughout. Ran into some well-regarded youngsters on that occasion in Bon Voyage and Sariska, but this event doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as strong. HOW TO FLY should put a gap on these. First-starter TIME TO TRADE jumped straight to the front and ran good time when winning a Lark Hill trial recently, and we didn’t mind his first educational trial back in September either. Out of a former fast racemare and we’re expecting TIME TO TRADE to acquit himself well on debut. PRINCESS ZELDA drifted back from barrier 13 and finished off strong behind Lady Le Jean here on Christmas Eve, and that filly went on to race well in good company at Pinjarra on Saturday. High draw means she’ll be getting back again, but she should still be running on into a top-three finish, while BLACKWOOD FLYER led and boxed on to finish alongside PRINCESS ZELDA last start.
Suggested: 8. HOW TO FLY win.
8. HOW TO FLY
1. TIME TO TRADE
2. PRINCESS ZELDA
3. BLACKWOOD FLYER
RACE 3 AQUAVIVA CATERING MAIDEN 1:59 PM (2019M)
Pretty open middle-distance maiden but this does look the right race for improving three-year-old SAN CRISPINO. Caught the eye at her first two runs this prep before coming from last for a fast-finishing second on the three-day back up here on December 29. Really liked the way she ran through the line last time, giving the impression she’ll handle the rise in distance comfortably, and SAN CRISPINO should be able to settle that bit closer from her low draw. Very hard to beat. Alan Matthews has made some gear changes to SILVER ROLLER after her disappointing third-up effort at Ascot last start. Previous two efforts to kick off her campaign were encouraging and we wouldn’t be surprised to see sharp improvement from her stepping up in distance, coming back in grade. SECRET NIGHTS improved as expected rising sharply in distance second up and the blinkers have been added to extract that length or two. That hit out over this trip should give him the right platform to produce a peak performance, while BOULET DE CANNON has put in two okay mile efforts to date and should relish stepping up to 2019m at this stage of his prep. He’s a must for your exotics.
Suggested: 13. SAN CRISPINO win (1) & place (3).
13. SAN CRISPINO
11. SILVER ROLLER
5. SECRET NIGHTS
7. BOULET DE CANNON
RACE 4 WA COUNTRY BUILDERS MAIDEN 2:37 PM (1410M)
The first division of the 1410m Maiden is a bit light on for chances and we simply kept coming back to likely favourite STAFFORD’S LAD. Chased home the exciting Red Army on debut, before being sent out a $3.60 chance in a similar assignment to this on Christmas Eve and going down a half-length after leading them up. We expect jockey Dan Staeck to be positive from the high draw and send STAFFORD’S LAD forward, and if he can hold form then it’s hard seeing any of these getting over the top of him late. FAIR SONARI appeared a little disappointing second up here on December 29, but it appears as though he ran into one of the strongest maidens at Bunbury this season, with Bon Voyage, Sariska and How To Fly all considered well above average. This is nowhere near as strong as last time and FAIR SONARI should be ready to produce his best third up. First-starter JERAFT has shown a bit in his lead-up trials and is also out of former high-quality racemare, the Railway Stakes-placed Lizzy Long Legs. Drawn to get a soft run in transit and he’s worth including in the mix, while WATCH ME NEY NEY was full of running but never got out first up on Christmas Eve, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see her getting back and finishing off strong.
Suggested: 4. STAFFORD’S LAD win (1) and place (3).
4. STAFFORD’S LAD
5. FAIR SONARI
8. WATCH ME NEY NEY
6. AMUSIUM BALLOTI
*Numbers amended after final scratchings.
RACE 5 THE BULL AND BUSH TAVERN MAIDEN 3:15 PM (1410M)
The second division of the 1410m Maiden is a little deeper than the first and we’ve opted to go a bit wide and lock in BROTHER PADDY on top, on an each-way basis. We didn’t mind his lead-up trials prior to his first-up December 24 effort when he drifted back to last from barrier 10 and simply never got a crack at them in the straight. Appeared as though he had plenty to give on that occasion and with a nice, low draw, we’re thinking the Alan Matthews/Paddy Carbery combination could cause a minor upset with BROTHER PADDY. Peters Investments three-year-old SENTIMENTAL FRIEND is bound to have a heap of admirers and looks set to start a short-priced favourite first up. We haven’t been overly enthused with his two lead-up trials, however, the blinkers going on shows intent and he was most unlucky when running into strife at his last run back in June, so he can gallop a bit. Front-running POKEMON PETE was well fancied third up over the mile at Pinjarra on Boxing Day, but put in a poor one after perhaps going out a bit too hard early. Should appreciate coming back to this track/distance, and being reunited with Matthieu Autier, so we’re expecting him to bounce back to form on his home deck, while JAMIE’S LINC has raced without luck and his form is much better than it appears on paper. Capable of running a cheeky race from his low draw.
Suggested: 10. BROTHER PADDY each way.
10. BROTHER PADDY
9, SENTIMENTAL FRIEND
7. POKEMON PETE
4. JAMIE’S LINC
RACE 6 AMELIA PARK HANDICAP 3:52 PM (1410M)
This first leg of the late quaddie is a cracker and easily the best race on the card with six genuine winning chances, and we’re thinking GEIGER GEM may sneak under the radar and provide some value. Worked hard three wide, without cover, second up in Graduation company at Ascot last start and the run was far better than it reads. Should be able to enjoy a much softer run in transit from his good draw and champion trainer Lou Luicani will no doubt have him ready to produce a peak performance at this stage of his campaign. GEIGER GEM each way. Likely-leader RISING SEA dug deep under pressure to score second up this track/distance last time and he’s going to take some running down again. First-upper TAXADERMY ended his previous prep with three straight victories and showed he was on track with a good trial win at Lark Hill recently. Expecting him to fire fresh, while THE BLUE NIPPER was huge after blowing the start last time and ‘The Wizard’ Pike should afford him every opportunity from the low draw.
Suggested: 6. GEIGER GEM each way.
6. GEIGER GEM
5. RISING SEA
7. THE BLUE NIPPER
RACE 7 GET THE TABTOUCH HANDICAP 4:30 PM (1690M)
Not a bad line up this, with a host of possibilities, however, HUMANITY really should be winning. He’s a bit of an enigma this fellow, but there’s no denying he was brave in defeat third up behind Icecrusher when racing three wide, without cover, throughout and only going down a half-length on the line. Previous form through Red Army reads very well also, and HUMANITY should be at his best stepping up to the mile at this stage of his prep. WANTED DESIRE comes through the same race as HUMANITY, and had excuses also, when encountering traffic in the straight. Didn’t have a lot of luck at Narrogin beforehand either, so he’s due for a change of fortune. THE RAKE has always promised a lot and finally delivered with a dominant maiden win on Boxing Day. Will need a few things to fall into place as he’ll be drifting back from a high draw, but with even luck in running he should be steaming home into a top-three finish, while MORE BXAAR finished alongside WANTED DESIRE last start and her previous formlines through Missile Launch stack up very well.
Suggested: 1. HUMANITY win (1) & place (3).
7. WANTED DESIRE
2. THE RAKE
8. MORE BXAAR
RACE 8 XXXX GOLD HANDICAP 5:05 PM (1108M)
Another competitive leg of the quaddie and you could make a case for nine of the original 13 acceptors. We’re going to go with fast four-year-old KRAMDEN coming back in grade after two good performances in Graduation company at Ascot. Unbeaten at Bunbury and apprentice Mollie Clark should be able to fire him out from a low draw to lead. KRAMDEN will take some catching. YOU NO WHAT I MEAN has put in three good runs this prep and we liked the way he’s run through the line at his last two. Will need a bit of luck from an inside draw, but if the runs come then he should be very strong late. TRANSGRESSOR ran out of his skin in the Summer Scorcher and should enjoy coming back sharply in grade for this assignment. Must rate among the main fancies, while on-pacer MISS SWINDLE was good first up, but will have to burn fuel early to get across from a high draw.
Suggested: 1. KRAMDEN win (1) & place (3).
3. YOU NO WHAT I MEAN
10. MISS SWINDLE
RACE 9 RANGEVIEW STUD AT MAGIC MILLIONS HANDICAP 5:40 PM (1208M)
Pretty keen in the last with KING OF CHAOS one of our best of the day. Was having his second outing for the Simon A. Miller yard at Ascot on December 30 and worked home impressively after being last at the top of the straight, getting within 1-1/2 lengths of the smart Shackleton. That hit out should have him primed for this third-up assignment and from an inside draw, with ‘The Wizard’ Pike in the saddle, KING OF CHAOS ticks a lot of boxes. THUNDERSTRUT took charge of Daniel Staeck and cleared out as a tearaway leader at Ascot last start, and she showed plenty of courage to box on and hold down third. Previous form through Illustrious Tycoon reads well and this filly has to rate among the main winning chances. Big-finisher SNOW BLOSSOM has been in terrific form since being transferred to local trainer Brent Larsson. Will be getting back and steaming home late, while LUCKY LINDA LULU was very strong on the line second up behind Shackleton at Ascot but the high draw does hinder.
Suggested: 3. KING OF CHAOS each way.
3. KING OF CHAOS
7. SNOW BLOSSOM
5. LUCKY LINDA LULU
1. ELIZA’S DREAM
*Numbers amended after final scratchings.
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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.