Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up (by Thoroheads) provides in-depth summaries, tips, suggested bets and suggested quaddies.
RACE 1 THE BARLEY BOLT MAIDEN 12:47 PM (1008M)
Plenty of trial form to sift through in this opening event and we’ve liked what we’ve seen from the Durrant/Miller trained three-year-old first starter A GOOD PLAN. Hasn’t been fully tested at either of his lead-up hit-outs this prep and it appeared as though he was set to explode if asked for an effort in his most recent trial here on March 27. Maps well in a race with plenty of speed and A GOOD PLAN looks a solid each-way play to start us off. First upper FIRE MAKER looked sharp when leading and winning a recent trial here, in faster than average time. Has race experience on his side, but has obvious issues with this being his first start in 539 days. Can gallop though and has to rate among the best of these. Another first upper PLANET NINE jumped straight to the front in her recent Belmont trial and sizzled around the 1000m circuit to win eased down in fast time. Has trialled well in the past and failed to fire on raceday, so we are a little weary about this mare, but she is super quick out of the gates and will take some catching from out in front, while debutante FORMULA TOO wasn’t asked for a lot in her recent trial here and has to be kept safe hailing from the astute Bruce Watkins yard.
Suggested Bet: (3) A GOOD PLAN each way.
RACE 2 THE KUKERIN PURSUIT MAIDEN 1:22 PM (1008M)
Tricky three-year-old maiden here and without a huge amount of confidence we are locking in recent multiple trial winning debutante AMBIENTE. Has stretched out nicely to win lead ups at Pinjarra and Bunbury over the past month, displaying gate speed to lead on both occasions, and he comfortably took care of a horse we have a bit of time for in Fireman Freddy here on March 27. We like the way AMBIENTE jumps and runs, and he’s going to give his backers a good run for their money on debut. MIGHTY CHANCE comes back to the 1008m and has the services of William Pike after not really getting the galloping room he needed third up at Pinjarra last start. Should have finished closer on that occasion and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve into the top three in this. First starter HALDANE comes out of the same trial as AMBIENTE and went to the line under a reasonable hold at his first public outing for new trainer Brendon Fitzgerald. Should be able to hold a position behind the leading division from the inside draw and we expect to see him figuring in the finish, while fellow debutante PETROL HEAD FLY displayed brilliant gate speed to lead and win his recent trial here and don’t be surprised to see him cross from his high draw to lead them up. Will take some running down.
Suggested Bet: (2) AMBIENTE to win.
RACE 3 THE BUNGE CUP MAIDEN 1:57 PM (1690M)
Three-year-old filly VERMONT LADY has proven to be a real nemesis for punters this prep, having been rolled when hard in the market at each of her three starts, including as a $1.90 favourite at Albany last Thursday. That was particularly hard to watch as the Justin Warwick-trained youngster lost all momentum when stopped in her tracks 200 metres from home, although she did pick up and work to the line well enough to finish third. Hard to believe we’re going again with VERMONT LADY but this race lacks depth and we’re of the opinion the mile will suit. One more chance. Honest mare MISS RUMOUR MILL was kept safe in betting at Narrogin last start and was a little unlucky when not getting the galloping room she required in the straight, finishing close up in a blanket finish. Races well over the Bunbury mile and she is a live chance in this. EIGHT DOUBLE EIGHT was beaten for speed early when resuming at Ascot recently but caught the eye when running on well enough at the finish. Suited to racing second up at the mile and we’re expecting to see him thereabouts, while ZATOPEK has performed well at his past two outings and narrowly edged out UNCLE LINO for fourth, who was big when returning from a let up in a similar assignment to this here last start.
Suggested Bet: (10) VERMONT LADY to win.
RACE 4 THE WHEAT WINNER MAIDEN 2:35 PM (1208M)
Plenty of hopes in this All Aged Maiden and it appears to be the right race for BLUE HOUDINI to break through. The Brett Pope-trained four-year-old is starting for the first time in 60 days, but does do his best racing when on the fresh side, evident by his slashing third first up at Pinjarra on January 7. We have a bit of time for BLUE HOUDINI and like him on an each-way basis. 16-start maiden NIAYCHI has his share of ability and reminded us with a quality second placing behind Mantime in a similar assignment to this here last start. Can drift backish in his races and we felt as though he may end up in a tricky position in running from the inside alley, but with even luck in running he will no doubt be fighting out the finish. CHEBELLEZA was well fancied when resuming down the straight 1000m at Pinjarra last start but performed poorly when trapped out in the slow, middle section on the track. Is much better than that and she did improve sharply second up when last in work, so we expect her to challenge especially from the good draw. THE BUNYAH POEM endured a tough run in a fast race at Ascot last start and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump out of the ground third up with William Pike on board, and another likely improver is SIR QUEST who showed up at the trials and had plenty of admirers at his Pinjarra debut.
Tips: 1-13-10-9 (*amended after Final Scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (1) NIAYCHI each way (*amended after Final Scratchings).
RACE 5 THE OATS SPRINT 3:15 PM (1208M)
We narrowed this down to a race in four and wouldn’t be surprised to see any of them win, eventually settling on SECRET CHOICE after his encouraging first-up placing in midweek Class 3 company at Ascot. That hit-out, following on from a solid lead-up trial display at Pinjarra, will bring him forward nicely for this assignment and he will take some beating. SECRET CHOICE narrowly. KING LOUIE has his share of ability and looked the goods when stepping out for new trainer Holly Locke in a recent trial here, pushing smart mare Detango all the way over 1000m. Is going to get the right run from the sweet draw and KING LOUIE is the obvious danger. GLEN ALBYN is racing so well with successive second placings here, beaten only a half-length or less on both occasions. Hard to fault his form and we may have even had him on top with a lower draw, as we found it tricky to place him on the map, while PRIZE CATCH was heavily commissioned when returning from a let up at Pinjarra last start but it may pay to forget he went around on that occasion. Senior rider goes on and we’re expecting sharp improvement from this fellow.
Suggested Bet: (2) SECRET CHOICE to win.
RACE 6 THE ARTHUR RIVER DASH HANDICAP 3:55 PM (1208M)
Tricky second leg of the quaddie with question marks over each of the main hopes but we’re going to stick with sharp filly KARLAKEE MISS. Played up badly as a $2.10 favourite when resuming at Ascot on March 29 but injured her rider in the mounting yard and had to be withdrawn. Stewards did send her back to the trials and she passed with flying colours, clocking fast time for her heat and appearing to hit the line with plenty of fuel in the tank. KARLAKEE MISS maps well from the draw and, if she’s on her best behaviour, it’s going to take something pretty decent to get past her late. CAPRICORN DANCER could very well be the horse to do so, with the Justin Warwick-trained mare reappearing after a 100-day break from racing. Didn’t do a lot wrong when notching up top-three finishes at each of her three outings when last in work and she is going to be able to stalk the leaders jumping from barrier one in this. Could get the last crack at them. BLACK SCANDAL did a good job to cross, lead and win her maiden first up at Pinjarra recently, fending off a host of challengers late to dig deep and score. Appears to be the likely pacemaker again here and she’s going to give herself every chance out in front, while first-upper MADELEINE ROYALE is the interesting runner and a mare we have quite a bit of time for. Dominated her rivals when winning on debut at Narrogin last prep and her follow-up run behind smart filly Patapus suggests she has more than her share of ability.
Suggested Bet: (3) KARLAKEE MISS to win.
RACE 7 SKYRACING.TV PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES HEAT 4:30 PM (1410M)
Wide open heat of the Provincial Championship Series and we ended up sticking with improving four-year-old WATIJADOO after his competitive performance in a fast 1500m Ratings 72+ Handicap at Ascot last start. That form stacks up nicely dropping back into 60+ company here and his previous formline through rising star Touch Of Silver reads well also. Chris Parnham rides this fellow well, and we expect him to roll forward and give WATIJADOO every chance either in front or outside the leader. Solid each-way play. FRIAR’S GIFT bolted in at Albany before appearing to be a little disappointing as favourite at Pinjarra last start, although it was hard to make ground in a race dominated by the on-pacers. Has obvious ability and we’re expecting him to bounce back in this. WICKED HUNTER enjoyed the perfect run in transit last start and was gifted a rails run at the top of the straight, cashing in top record his second win from his past three appearances. Likely to land in a similar position on the leader’s back and from there he’s always a contender, while QUEEN OF CHOICE should be ready to produce a peak performance at her third run this prep. Has plenty of ability and more than capable of winning this at her best, while MAIN INSTIGATOR goes good but isn’t a great beginner and gate one could be a problem.
Tips: 1-2-6-7 (*amended after Final Scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (1) WICKED HUNTER each way (*amended after Final Scratchings).
RACE 8 THE CANOLA CLASSIC HANDICAP 5:05 PM (2019M)
Tough race to finish a fantastic Bunbury season and we’re going to stick with SONNEN, despite this fellow not quite delivering for us on a few occasions this prep. Was only 1-1/4 lengths away from the finish in a competitive Ratings 66+ Handicap in town last Saturday week and that form reference does appear to be the best in this. Was backed into third favouritism on that occasion, so the market believed he was a major player despite racing out of his grade, and SONNEN simply has to be the horse to beat back in this Class 3 assignment. BOOM BOOM BANG appears to be the hardest to beat and has been thereabouts at each of his past three outings. 10 furlongs is a query for this fellow, but this appears unlikely to be true middle-distance test and, with a soft run in transit, is more than capable of fighting out the finish. GINGER NINJA beat home SONNEN in a similar assignment to this on Bunbury Cup Day and his previous victory here over this trip was full of merit. Racing well and has to rate among the main contenders, while BON SIGNORE saluted in this company at Ascot last Wednesday and is on the quick back-up after that narrow victory. Must be considered.
Suggested Bet: (3) SONNEN each way.
The Leg Up is provided by Thoroheads — Digital content producers servicing the Western Australian Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Bunbury Turf Club.