Race 1 – 1:24PM ASP SECURITY MAIDEN (1675 METRES)
Thinking Playing God three-year-old HOTHAM VALLEY can elevate second up and get that first notch on the belt. Showed promise during his winter prep with three Belmont placings, including a neck second behind WA Guineas contender True Attraction, and the in-form Neville Parnham stable thought enough of him to nominate for last Saturday’s listed Fairetha Stakes against some of the best of his age group. Hotham Valley has a heap of upside and should come on nicely after a competitive first-up effort in a fast Northam maiden, is expected to appreciate stretching out to the mile and can land in a suitable running position from the reasonable draw. Was keen on MODERN NEWS last start and really thought that was her race, but she didn’t let down as well as we know she can. Her best is pretty decent though, so going to give her one more chance. PRO FESSIONAL improved significantly with Chris Parnham in the saddle third up at Northam and maps to advantage, while the blinkers go on ORABREEZE who has been knocking on the door and should be afforded every opportunity from his low draw.
Suggested: 8. HOTHAM VALLEY win.
8. HOTHAM VALLEY
7. MODERN NEWS
11. PRO FESSIONAL
Race 2 – 1:59PM AQUAVIVA CATERING MAIDEN (1200 METRES)
First starter FREE TRADE has done enough at his two lead-up trial wins to warrant top billing in this open 1200-metre maiden. Hailing from the astute Michael Lane yard, this four-year-old clocked sharp time when leading throughout at Lark Hill 22/10, before being ridden with a sit in his Bunbury 2/11 heat win, working to the line with a bit in reserve on both occasions. With a clean getaway, Free Trade should be landing somewhere in the first four/five in running and if he brings his trial form to raceday then he’ll give this a shake. FLYING TARGET has been working her way into form and should be peaking at her fourth run in. Was doing her best work late in a similar event to this last start and maps to enjoy a favourable passage in transit. TRADEMENT really caught the eye at Ascot 31/10 when clocking some fast closing splits, but may drift too far back in running from her high draw. Still expected to be strong late, while FLYING TRIX can improve after receiving a pass mark first up and Glenn Smith sticking is a positive.
Suggested: 4. FREE TRADE win.
4. FREE TRADE
12. FLYING TARGET
7. FLYING TRIX
Race 3 – 2:35PM PRINTSYNC CANON COPIERS MAIDEN (1200 METRES)
We’re predicting a fast start for young gun Chris Parnham with GOD’S LAND on top in another open 1200-metre maiden. Began well and box seated in a similar event to this second up, and stuck to his guns late to place behind Regal Counsel, who was rather competitive in last Saturday’s feature Fairetha Stakes at Ascot. From a handy low draw, God’s Land can park up in a suitable running position, somewhere in the first four/five, and with a slight elevation third up should be giving this a nudge. Didn’t mind the recent trial win of TRIBUTE TO GLORY and wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a race. Showed a bit when last in work, with an eye-catching Northam debut performance, and his soft trial win suggests he’s a superior thoroughbred this time in. MISS QUOTED has got back and run on at both outings this prep, and will appreciate the services of senior rider Shaun O’Donnell. Maps rearwards from a high draw, but has the closing speed to work her way into the finish, while nicely bred first-starter CHOSEN ART has moved well in two trials and is expected to have admirers on debut.
Suggested: 10. GOD’S LAND each way.
10. GOD’S LAND
6. TRIBUTE TO GLORY
9. MISS QUOTED
13. CHOSEN ART
Race 4 – 3:10PM PRINCE OF WALES HOTEL MAIDEN (1100 METRES)
Found this three-year-old maiden very difficult to assess and with low confidence ended up siding with LA BELLA MISS on debut. Really liked the way she attacked the line behind the promising Hotham Valley in her Lark Hill 22/10 trial, before travelling three/four-wide throughout when sweeping to a soft Lark Hill 5/11 heat win. High draw means La Bella Miss will be settling in the back half, but the way she has worked home in both trials suggests, with even luck in running, she’s going to be very hard to hold out late. Fellow first-starter GILLESPIE is another who’ll be getting back and flooding home. Has shown plenty of promise in a series of strong trial results and the full brother/stablemate to sharp sprinter Ambiente is expected to have plenty of admirers on debut. First-upper DASH FOR KNICKERS competed well enough in two Ascot outings last season and wasn’t too far away in her lead-up Lark Hill trial. Has the gate speed to be positioned right on top of the speed, while MY LADY FAIR looks suited back in this grade after holding her own against some handy types at Ascot last time. First emergency VENA SCHNITZEL is an interesting runner and should warrant strong consideration if she gains a start.
Suggested: 12. LA BELLA MISS each way.
12. LA BELLA MISS
7. DASH FOR KNICKERS
6. MY LADY FAIR
Race 5 – 3:45PM SW CEILINGS HANDICAP (1000 METRES)
Have a little bit of time for IT COMES NATURAL and thinking he can kick off his campaign with a win. The natural on-pacer ran some nice races during his five-start initial prep and really liked the way he stretched out when knocking off city-grade galloper Harry Thomas in a Bunbury 2/11 trial, clocking good time also. Local trainer Paul Roberts does a good job with his horses and with natural improvement this season, It Comes Natural looks set for a successful campaign. STORMY ORA impressed with her first-up Ascot win, showing brilliant gate speed to be railing in front from barrier nine and digging deep under pressure late to score. Liked the way she responded when challenged on that occasion and she deserves to be sent out favourite here. Struggling to get a good read on THE PEN, who we were keen on at Ascot last Saturday week but didn’t fire. Was a $6 chance against some smart types that day, so he obviously has a decent profile, and his previous Bunbury maiden win was solid, while DASHING AFFAIR couldn’t slot in at her first outing for the Pearce Bros and no surprise to see her improve second up from a low draw.
Suggested: 1. IT COMES NATURAL each way.
1. IT COMES NATURAL
2. STORMY ORA
3. THE PEN
5. DASHING AFFAIR
Race 6 – 4:20PM SPENCER SIGNS HANDICAP (1675 METRES)
Now this race is a challenge. Most of these are capable of winning without surprising, but none jump off the page, so ended up speculating on OUR MATE AL fresh. Followed him closely during the winter and he raced well without a lot of luck at Belmont, holding his own against some reasonable opposition. Wasn’t overly taxed in a Lark Hill 5/11 trial and he is stepping out on a track where he has posted strong results in the past. Our Mate Al each way. SILVER ZAPATO ran into promising three-year-old Unikat first up at Ascot 24/10 and the form out of that race has stood up well since. Maps to enjoy a soft run and with only 54kg should be full of running late. COME ON BOARD should be ready to produce a peak performance fourth up for his new stable. Covered additional ground in the three-wide line in a strong Graduation Handicap last time and that searching hit out is expected to bring him forward significantly, while a fresh AMALIEMOO has to be respected hailing from the Adam Durrant camp with a quality senior rider back on board.
Suggested: 7. OUR MATE AL each way.
7. OUR MATE AL
12. SILVER ZAPATO
3. COME ON BOARD
Race 7 – 5:00PM TABTOUCH-REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP:THE ROAD TO ASCOT (1200 METRES)
The Bunbury Turf Club hosts the first heat of the Regional Championship series — with the $100,000 final to be held at Ascot 1/12 — and fast-finishing local mare SNOW BLOSSOM should be going close. After struggling at Belmont during the winter, she has shown her trademark closing speed at both outings this prep, clocking the standout sectionals for the entire card at Bunbury 1/11. Will appreciate stepping back up to 1200 metres, where she performs best, and while her get back/run on style of racing means she always needs her share of luck, she will be mighty hard to hold out with clear galloping room late. Hard to fault the lead-up form of DISTANT TRILOGY, who matched strides with the very well-regarded Pearls And Prawns at Ascot last Saturday week. Gives himself every chance by beginning well and racing on-speed, and from a nice draw should enjoy a suitable passage in transit. Topweight CHESTEN FLYER is another who maps to advantage from an inside alley and is coming off a strong-finishing defeat of the smart Finally French second up at Northam. He’s a real competitor, while TOGETHER WE DREAM has been most impressive in her two recent Bunbury wins, but has the task ahead jumping from the widest gate up against stronger opposition.
Suggested: 7. SNOW BLOSSOM each way.
7. SNOW BLOSSOM
5. DISTANT TRILOGY
1. CHESTEN FLYER
16. TOGETHER WE DREAM
Race 8 – 5:40PM BUNBURY BUS HIRE HANDICAP (1400 METRES)
Competitive handicap to finish the program and leaning towards SWEET DREAMIN’ back on his home track. Produced a quality first-up effort behind Multiverse at the return to Bunbury metro meeting and competed well enough after travelling in the three-wide line in another Graduation Handicap at Ascot last time. Was placed in listed company over the track/distance last season, so he certainly has a reasonable level of class, and at his best should take some beating. KIA ORA STAR looks the likely favourite after a string of placings, including his latest in Ratings 66+ company at Ascot 27/10. Has the best lead-up form in the race, but apprentice Fiona Bell will need a bit of luck early to land in a suitable running position from the awkward draw. ELIZA’S DREAM should be ready to peak at his third-up outing and is expected to attack the line late, while fellow big finisher SHOUHOU is another who’ll be running on late, but maps a long way back from the outside alley.
Suggested: 4. SWEET DREAMIN’ win.
4. SWEET DREAMIN’
2. KIA ORA STAR
1. ELIZA’S DREAM
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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.