It is back to Doomben this week, where at least we know what to expect of the track and how races will be run. The rail is out 4.5 metres, which usually means front runners are suited early, with backmarkers getting their chance later in the day. The track should be close to good by race time as strong winds have blown most of the week and Doomben is a good drying track.
QUADDIE (races 5-6-7-8)
WIDE QUADDIE 6, 13,14,16/2,3,5,6,9/1,3,4,6,7/1,3,4,9
SKINNY QUADDIE 6/2,3,5,6/1,3/9
R1 12.12pm Two-Year-Old Plate 1350m
ROYAL TITHE looks pitchforked in at the weights here; in a handicap she would have 59.5kgs. She can't claim here but from the good barrier should get the run of the race against an inferior field to her recent contests. The 1350m should be no problem, with the only caution being she has had a lot of recent racing. A large number of her rivals have been running in midweek or provincial races, so she does look the bet of the day.
SNOW FIELDS has not run a place in five starts but she is usually very well-backed. The filly reportedly has a ton of talent but isn't bringing it on race day. The slower tempo and weaker field here might help.
PERSISTENT SHADOW ran a handy race in good company last time and this is a lot easier.
VENETIAN BEAUTY has at least been racing in city company and her trials have been much better than her race day performances. Apart from the favourite, there isn't much depth here and she might be ready to run a race at odds.
SELECTIONS: NO7 ROYAL TITHE, NO12 SNOW FIELDS, NO10 PERSISTENCE SHADOW, NO 11 VENETIAN BEAUTY
VALUE RUNNER: NO11 VENETIAN BEAUTY
R2 12.47pm Open Handicap 1200m
FINAL CRESCENDO raced well in much better company than this as a younger horse and he was good first up in a stakes race. He has trialled well and if he is anywhere near his best will be hard to beat here. The problem is he hasn't won for nearly two years but this is his chance.
CHOICE BRO won the Weetwood Hcp at stakes level in April and has been lightly raced since. He will get a long way back, which could be a problem early in the day on this track, but there appears to be early pace here which will suit him.
DIVINE SERVICE would be the top pick if we could be assured he will be on his best behaviour in the barriers. He can sometimes prove very hard to load but has the pace to lead this field.
UPSTART PRIDE is proving a nightmare to catch but has won at the track and distance running a very fast time. He doesn't want a really wet track. He has the pace to be on the lead here, provided he doesn't pull his other trick of missing the start.
MANA MANU could be the value runner as he likes the pace on and he can really hit the line. It is just that wins are few and far between for him.
SELECTIONS: NO5 FINAL CRESCENDO, NO1 CHOICE BRO, NO8 DIVINE SERVICE, NO3 UPSTART PRIDE
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 MANA MANU
R3 1.25pm Benchmark 75 2200m
SNAPPER ROCKS is a three-year-old but he has been racing very well against his own age and older horses. His only bad run was this track two runs ago but he was only six lengths behind the eventual Queensland Derby winner. It was a much stronger race than this. He has also run a second to Queensland Oaks winner Provocative, which is more than can be said for most of these.
DENONINATOR has been racing well in provincial and midweek staying races. At least he will run out the trip. However, the barrier is no help to him from this start but it might be negated by the 3kgs claim.
MR LEBROCK has been racing in stronger company and has class on these. The problem is whether he will run out a strong 2200m; he has been found wanting a couple of times.
NAUTILUS is one horse who will run out the 2200m. He was a good winner at the midweeks recently and again gets in with a fly weight after the claim. He looks the best value in a race laced with rough chances.
SELECTIONS: NO10 SNAPPER ROCKS, NO4 DENONINATOR, NO3 MR LEBROCK, NO12 NAUTILUS
VALUE RUNNER: NO12 NAUTILUS
R4 2.02pm No Metropolitan Win 1050m
These races are always tricky because big fields and wide barriers are a deadly combination unless a horse has luck. It will be the case here.
INVITATIONS was also entered for the open handicap and this is far easier. Hardly the best sprinter to come out of Kris Lees' Newcastle stables but this does look a race he can win. He has the services of a very smart jockey in Damian Browne, who will have to overcome a tricky barrier. If anyone can do it, he can.
SIMPLY MING has a good barrier, which can be essential here. No reason he should not be in the firing line at some stage.
KLAMMER has been racing against better horses but has to overcome a bad barrier. If he has luck he can also be in the finish.
COUP DE VENT is resuming here but on best form would be a chance.
THOMAS THE TANK has a lot of early pace and can overcome his wide alley if left alone. He looks the value bet here but the pace of the race will tell.
SELECTIONS: NO2 INVITATIONS, NO11 SIMPLY MING, NO3 KLAMMER, NO10 COUP DE VENT
VALUE RUNNER: NO5 THOMAS THE TANK
R5 2.42pm Class 3 Plate 1200m
These Class 3 races have been introduced to cover prize money cuts in Brisbane racing (which is another story). There will be one each Saturday and they feature some handy restricted class horses.
CODE NOIR is a very promising horse who won his first two starts and then had no luck last start, which was 15 months ago. He has had a wind operation but he has had two good trials leading into this and has been taken along easily in recent weeks with this race in mind. He does look one of the better bets of the day provided he has come back anywhere near his best.
THE UMBRELLA MAN has always shown potential and has been working well. Entered for a few other races lately but making his comeback run here.
PASSIONFLOWER is from an in-form stable and has a reasonable barrier. He is better than his last start would indicate.
HALLS CREEK has plenty of ability and is well placed here on his best form.
LITTLE CAPRI is very fast and has drawn the rails. The last 100m will tell the tale but if he gets a cosy run he will be hard to catch and looks the best value at very big odds. We have gone away from a few others in the betting because of their bad barriers.
SELECTIONS: NO6 CODE NOIR, NO14 THE UMBRELLA MAN, NO11 PASSIONFLOWER, NO13 HALLS CREEK
VALUE RUNNER: NO7 LITTLE CAPRI
R6 3.22pm Open Handicap 1600m
A very even, open handicap with the pace of the race probably going to decide the result. A couple of the better chances have drawn very poorly but these races are run at a frantic pace to the first corner and luck can play a major role.
LAUTERBRUNNEN won the Rockhampton Newmarket at 1300m at his last start and does not look badly handicapped here. He has won twice at the Doomben over 1600m and from his barrier should get the run of the race just off the pace.
RULING FORCE has been very honest since coming to Queensland from West Australia. He scored a deserved win in the Rockhampton Cup last start and is another who doesn't look badly off at the weights. He does, however, have a bad barrier and will need some luck here.
LORDAG has raced well most of this campaign without any luck at all. He gets in here with a 2kgs claim, which should be a great help. Just needs a true pace so he can get to the line hard.
BEWHATYOUWANNABE has been terrible his past two runs at Eagle Farm but he is back on his favourite track here and has the rails. On the downside, he will have to carry his full weight.
AKAVOROUN has been ordinary in open stakes races and is back to an open company race here. He has won in much better company than this and any glimpse of his old form would win this. The track won't be wet but Doomben is generally softer, which will also suit him.
SELECTIONS: NO6 LAUTERBRUNNEN, NO5 RULING FORCE, NO3 LORDAG, NO2 BEWHATYUOUWANNABE
VALUE RUNNER: NO1 AKAVOROUN
R7 4.02pm Class 6 Handicap 1350m
A few of these horses have been racing in much better company than this.
BECKHAM was second in the recent Eye Liner Stakes, which is lengths better than this field. He failed last start but is much better back at 1350m around Doomben. Has a nice draw and looks the one to beat.
BRETTAN is another who has turned in some nice runs in harder races of late. He is another who has drawn well and while that is not always an advantage, the way this race should be run should suit horses drawn near the rails.
I AM BOSS has an outstanding place record on this track, mainly because he never draws a good barrier. This time he has drawn barrier one. He is a bit of a question mark at 1350m but this isn't the toughest race he has faced in recent times.
ROMANARMA made some ground without ever being a threat first-up, but is much better placed here. Another who should be suited by drawing near the rails.
Of those drawn off the track, STORM FIGHTER looks the best value. He is an honest galloper and with a 3kgs claim is very well placed at the weights.
SELECTIONS: NO1 BECKHAM, NO3 BRETTAN, NO4 I AM BOSS, NO6 ROMANARMA
VALUE RUNNER: NO7 STORM FIGHTER
R8 4.38pm Three-Year-Old Handicap 1100m
These three-year-old races are notorious for upsets but OBERLAND was very impressive with a comprehensive win last start in midweek company. He has drawn the rails here and should be able to track the pace. Just needs a bit of luck to get clear again in the straight.
QUICK KETCH has performed very well as a three-year-old. Reportedly has been working well enough to this but has not had an official trial. His best form has been when he has been held up and allowed to run home.
BIDII BABE made short work of a smart field at Eagle Farm on Tatts Cup day and just needs to transfer that form to Doomben. She has won this track so is a definite chance.
MADOTTI is the class runner here but again has had no luck with the barrier draw. She is a stakes winner and has earned top weight but will need luck again.
CRAIGLEA DEKEN was very heavily backed last start but got trapped in the no-go zone near the fence at Eagle Farm. Had very good country form before that run and has to be given another chance here. He is typical of what will happen in coming weeks as some horses just aren't handling Eagle Farm and the form will be all over the place.
SELECTIONS: NO9 OBERLAND, NO3 QUICK KETCH, NO8 BIDII BABE, NO1 MADOTTI
VALUE RUNNER: NO4 CRAIGLEA DEKEN