Following 10mm of light rain on Wednesday, Eagle Farm has been rated a Soft 6 for Saturday's meeting. Fortunately, the rain has cleared and we're into a stable pattern of fine weather for the next few days, so there's a real likelihood of an upgrade, possibly even to a Good 4 at some stage on Saturday. It's been well documented that Eagle Farm has copped plenty of criticism since reopening but the general consensus is it's improving gradually each week. The rail has been shifted from the 6m position last week to 8.5m on Saturday. Horses are still likely to move off the fence and look for better going towards the middle of the track in the straight. Horses who like the jar out and have established good form at Eagle Farm since the revamp will be favoured.
BEST BET: RACE 5, N03 HIDDEN PEARL. NEXT BEST BET: RACE 4, NO1 SECRET PUZZLE. BEST ROUGHIE: RACE 6, NO4 KHALEEQ.
R1 12.23pm RAWGROUP HOSPITALITY OPEN HANDICAP 2212m
Shaping as another interesting staying contest with several in-form runners doing battle.
DENONINATOR is racing in career-best form and is tough as nails. Leading jockey Jeff Lloyd, coming off five winners last week, will give him every chance to win.
SAN TELMO hasn't looked back since joining the Bradley Smith stable and scored impressively in restricted company last start. He enjoys racing at Eagle Farm and is well weighted.
ANTON EN AVANT has shown a real liking for the new Eagle Farm track and has never raced in better form. He rises 4kg on his last win at Doomben but is a definite winning threat.
The Brian Smith-trained MY DIAMANTINE was placed behind Anton En Avant last time and is close to another win. From barrier two she should get a soft run and have the last crack at her rivals in the straight.
Of the others MR ONE ELEVEN ran an improved race last time and is slowly working back to his best form.
SELECTIONS: NO4 DENONINATOR, NO7 SAN TELMO, NO1 ANTON EN AVANT, NO6 MY DIAMANTINE.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 MY DIAMANTINE.
R2 12.58pm THE DUPORTH TAVERN QTIS THREE-YEARS-OLD HANDICAP 1000m
There's likely to be plenty of speed in this race.
One runner who will go forward is RUMBA QUEEN who created a good impression when she won her first start at Doomben when heavily backed. She has the tactical speed to take full advantage of barrier two. Look for jockey Jim Byrne to work his way off the fence to the better part of the track turning for home.
BITHARD stamped himself as better than provincial standard when he won last start at the Sunshine Coast. He has an awkward draw on paper but Jeff Lloyd is keen to stick with him again.
It would be easy to dismiss KING TORIO as only a country galloper but take the tip. His debut win at Rockhampton was most authoritative and he's drawn to get a cosy trail. Don't underestimate him.
MANIAS didn't win by a big margin at his only start but he showed plenty of determination and gives the impression he only does what he has to in order to win. The combination of trainer Robert Heathcote and jockey Damian Browne always has to be respected and they have another smart one on their hands with this gelding.
The other genuine winning chance is NICCONI LEGGERA, who won well first-up at the Gold Coast.
SELECTIONS: NO6 RUMBA QUEEN, NO3 BITHARD, NO9 KING TORIO, NO2 MANIAS.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 RUMBA QUEEN.
R3 1.33pm BEACH HOUSE BAR & GRILL BENCHMARK 85 HANDICAP 1000m
There are a number of runners resuming from spells, so keep a close watch on betting fluctuations.
MY LITTLE FLICKA is one who is resuming but came of age last campaign, stringing together a hat-trick of wins. She produced an eye-catching effort in a Gold Coast barrier trial last week indicating she's primed for a first-up victory. She's drawn an ideal alley and Jeff Lloyd is a key booking.
On paper, the form of GOJO MIMO doesn't look appealing but he resumes from a spell with blinkers back on and is an above average sprinter when he's on song. Champion jockey Damian Browne's booking is a strong lead.
Trainer Robert Heathcote has always had a high opinion of PRIVLAKA. Although drawn a touch awkwardly for his comeback run, he grows another leg when the going is rain-affected.
HEZA BOBBY DAZZLER has drawn the outside alley, which is some concern. Balancing that is his superb first-up record. He's won three out of four of his previous starts when resuming.
ALPEN ROSE, a stablemate of Privlaka, ran well this track and trip last week and is worth including in multiples.
SELECTIONS: NO7 MY LITTLE FLICKA, NO1 GOJO MIMO, NO9 PRIVLAKA, NO3 HEZA BOBBY DAZZLER.
VALUE RUNNER: NO1 GOJO MIMO.
R4 2.08pm HOTEL BEACH HOUSE FILLIES AND MARES CLASS 6 HANDICAP 1400m
SECRET PUZZLE (Next Best) found the mile a fraction too far last week but her trainer Les Ross has dropped her back to 1400m this week. That should prove a winning move because this mare has raced five times at the trip and won on four occasions. Jockey Brad Stewart is likely to allow her to roll forward from barrier (10) and take up a position either in front or just off the pace. She showed a great turn of foot to win this track and trip two starts back and is racing in career-best form.
SELECTIONS: NO1 SECRET PUZZLE, NO2 SAINT HUGO, NO11 VICTORY PARADE, NO6 GYPSY SECRET.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 GYPSY SECRET.
R5 2.47pm MADAME WU OPEN HANDICAP 1200m
HIDDEN PEARL (Best Bet) can bounce back to winning form back at her home track. Trainer Barry Lockwood took her to Sydney last start where she led into the straight before finishing fifth in the Group Three Concorde Stakes at Randwick. This looks a much easier race and she's established herself as an Eagle Farm specialist. Although she's drawn awkwardly she has brilliant gate speed and can either cross to the front or sit outside the leader in a dominant position.
SELECTIONS: NO3 HIDDEN PEARL, NO7 SONY LEGEND, NO6 LONDEHERO, NO10 PROMPT RETURN.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 LONDEHERO.
R6 3.27pm CPTN KINGS BEACH CLASS 3 PLATE 1200m
These races are always tough races to pick and this edition is no exception.
POWERFUL SAGA resumed as a gelding at Doomben last start and finished an unlucky second to the talented filly Magic Love. With clearer running in the straight he might have gone close to winning or, at the very least, fully tested the winner. With the benefit of that run under his belt he'll go mighty close to winning with a perfect barrier to help his cause.
KHALEEQ (Best Roughie) is drawn a touch awkwardly but created a good impression when he won last start at Lismore when enjoying the rain-affected conditions. He should strike a similar surface here.
MR WIND scored one of the most impressive debut wins seen in Brisbane for several months when he was backed off the map and never gave his supporters any cause for concern. It's no easy task for him on Saturday from the outside alley against much more experienced rivals but he is untapped and might well be up to the challenge.
It wouldn't surprise at all to see COMIC STORY run an improved race. He blundered soon after the start at his comeback run at Doomben, which put paid to his chances. He's better than that and has Damian Browne booked to ride. He might well be the big improver.
BIDII BABE is resuming but showed plenty of ability during the winter carnival and can sprint well fresh.
R7 4.07pm HERVEY BAY HOTEL & RESORT BENCHMARK 75 HANDICAP 1840m
It took an age for RAFFINATO to break back into the winning list but she might've had the confidence boost she needed when successful last start at Doomben. Once Jeff Lloyd pulled the persuader she put the race to bed in emphatic fashion. She steps up in trip on Saturday but has tactical speed and a nice draw in her favour.
WALK TO THE BAR isn't the most reliable type but he returned to winning form in good style last start and has been kept up to the mark with a pleasing third in a barrier trial at the Sunshine Coast last week. He'll also be ridden by Damian Browne which is another factor in his favour.
RETUNE finished the race off quite well over this trip last week. He might be looking for a bit further now he drops back significantly in grade and is in peak condition.
CASH SPINNER was an unlucky second in the Ballina Cup after missing the start and being held up for a run at a vital stage. She'll be suited if the track is still genuinely rain-affected.
BRAZEN MOSS doesn't know how to run a bad race and is definitely worth including in multiples.
SELECTIONS: NO6 RAFFINATO, NO5 WALK TO THE BAR, NO13 RETUNE, NO8 CASH SPINNER.
VALUE RUNNER: NO13 RETUNE.
R8 4.47pm CHAMPAGNE GALLERY COLTS, GELDINGS AND ENTIRES CLASS 6 HANDICAP 1400m
An extremely open race to finish the day.
MR JETSET put the writing on the wall here last time. He was never on the track but tried his heart out in the straight to just go under in a close finish. He had a tough run that day but trainer Tony Gollan has given him plenty of time to recover and he's drawn to get the run of the race on Saturday.
STAROCITY shapes as the value runner. He's drawn perfectly with Jeff Lloyd to ride and there doesn't appear to be high speed in the race, which will be to his advantage as he likes to race on the speed. If he gets a soft lead he could take plenty of catching.
TERONADO has the double whammy of a big weight and a wide alley but he has a class edge over most of his rivals and will be ridden by Damian Browne.
BUSHY is a definite winning hope. He'll attract plenty of market support following his brave second to the highly-promising Monsieur Gustave over this track and trip last week. He drops 1.5kg in weight and has shown a real liking for this track which is an important factor in his favour.
The chances don't end there and if you're looking to go wide in multiples, include the ever-consistent FIRE WITHIN and LEGENDARY LUKE.