The track at Doomben has been rated a Good 4 but it's worth keeping an eye on the weather pattern. A gusty storm is forecast with 10mm of rain predicted leading up to the meeting. Fine weather is predicted after that, so hopefully the track won't be too affected.
The rail has been moved back in to the 0.5m position after being out 8m for the last meeting when heavy rain turned the track into a quagmire. The inside part of the track will no doubt be the best going. When the track is dry, horses in the first three or four positions close to the fence tend to have an advantage. Backmarkers might find it hard to make ground.
BEST BET: RACE 8, NO9, MAN OF HIS WORD.
NEXT BEST BET: RACE 4, NO8, ANOTHER WHISKEY.
BEST ROUGHIE: RACE 6, NO10, LIGHT SHOWS.
R1 12.27pm JVR OFF QTIS 2YO FILLIES PLATE 1050m
Plenty of interest early in the day as we see the juveniles strutting their stuff for the first time this season. As always in two-year-old races, the marketplace plays a significant role in finding the winner, so keep a close watch on the fluctuations of runners from the leading stables.
TIARA STAR was narrowly beaten in a Gold Coast barrier trial leading up to this. The all-powerful combination of trainer Toby Edmonds and jockey Jeff Lloyd has been winning plenty of races lately and they'll undoubtedly play a strong hand in the race with this filly.
REAL PRINCESS ran an excellent second at Toowoomba last Saturday night. She was baulked by the winner in the final stages but kept trying. If she handles the seven-day back-up, she'll give this a huge shake.
ROYAL MYTH hasn't trialled officially but her trainer John Zielke had a golden run with his juveniles last season. This filly is a half-sister to his Group-Three winner Royal Tithe, so she bears close scrutiny.
OUR MYSTIFY is another with no trial form but she's from the powerful Tony Gollan stable and her dam Devil Inside was an absolute speed machine. If there's any money for her in the betting ring, it will be worth following.
DREAM KISSES is well bred and in the astute Steve O'Dea camp, so she should be respected.
SELECTIONS: NO10 TIARA STAR, NO1 REAL PRINCESS, NO7 ROYAL MYTH, NO5 OUR MYSTIFY.
VALUE RUNNER: NO7 ROYAL MYTH.
As is the case with the fillies, the betting moves will be all important in identifying the leading chances. Not many of these have trialled officially, which makes assessing the race a nightmare but following the leading trainers and jockeys is usually the way to go.
OURS TO KEEP is trained by Chris Munce. He didn't go to the trials but it's a positive sign that champion jockey Damian Browne has been booked for the ride. Bookmakers are certain to keep their guard up with this colt.
UNLIKELY STORY has drawn the coveted rails position, which is a big advantage for an inexperienced two-year-old. Jockey Robbie Fradd and trainer Tony Gollan are starting to form a successful combination and it is worth keeping a close watch on betting with this colt, who is a brother to Rare Occurrence, who showed plenty of ability as a juvenile last season.
MISPRINT comes from the John Zielke yard and will be ridden by Jim Byrne. No official trials for him but he's drawn a good gate and the stable know what is required to win these races.
CLAIRVUE hasn't trialled officially but cost $150,000 as a yearling so there'll be plenty of interest in how he shapes up. His trainer Liam Birchley is a past master at producing first-up winners and promising young rider Jimmy Orman has been booked for the ride. Keep a watch.
NEVER IN DOUBT who, at $200,000, is the most expensive purchase in the race, is another member of the Gollan stable.
SELECTIONS: NO8 OURS TO KEEP, NO9 UNLIKELY STORY, NO6 MISPRINT, NO4 CLAIRVUE.
VALUE RUNNER: NO 6 MISPRINT.
R3 1.37pm DEPPRO BENCHMARK 75 HANDICAP 2200m
These races are often open affairs and this is no exception.
MCGILL has only won one race but he's rock solid in condition and his latest form is consistent. Leading jockey Jeff Lloyd should be able to use the gelding's tactical speed to overcome the outside alley and land in a forward spot by the time they leave the straight the first time. At the odds he represents a bit of value.
WAR BABY has been up for a long time but her recent form suggests she's thriving on the competition. She was a fast-finishing fourth in the Ballina Cup then ran a great race when runner-up to in-form stayer Denoninator at Eagle Farm a fortnight ago. Denoninator confirmed the strength of that form by winning again last week. With Sairyn Fawke's three kilo claim, this mare drops to a featherweight of 53.5kg, getting weight off every other runner including lesser performed rivals.
ANNAMAN is struggling to recapture winning form this campaign but has still finished in a top-four position in all seven runs this time in, so it's hard to knock his consistency. He finished third in the race War Baby competed in last time and is a go-forward type who will be in the firing line most of the way.
JUST KEEP GIVING ran an improved race for second at the Gold Coast last time and looks a winning hope.
It's also worth including EMERALD CITY in multiples. He was a bit disappointing last time but that was against a stronger field and apprentice Josh Oliver's allowance brings him in with a suitable weight.
SELECTIONS: NO10 MCGILL, NO4 WAR BABY, NO2 ANNAMAN, NO9 JUST KEEP GIVING.
VALUE RUNNER: NO10 MCGILL.
R4 2.12pm QLD ACCOUNTING GROUP OPEN HANDICAP 1050m
ANOTHER WHISKEY (Next Best Bet) came of age last campaign when his form was first rate. Although he's resuming, the rails barrier is a huge bonus, and he has the racing pattern to take full advantage of it. Apprentice Tiffani Brooker's allowance will see him carry only 51kg and he should camp just off the pace before producing his customary turn of foot in the straight. It's the perfect race for him to kick off his campaign.
SELECTIONS: NO8 ANOTHER WHISKEY, NO2 LE CAP, NO4 HANDYMAN BOB, NO6 SPORTING PAGE.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 SPORTING PAGE.
R5 2.52pm SPYRE GROUP QTIS THREE-YEARS-OLD HANDICAP 1600m
These are an even bunch of three-year-olds, although several are racing consistently.
CLEVER BLAZE produced a real eye-catcher last time. Even though the track was heavy, she produced a barnstorming finish to run a close second. That was over 1350m and the way she hit the line, the step up to the mile looks tailormade for her.
HI HARRY nearly got the money last time at Eagle Farm but he didn't help his cause by laying in under pressure at a vital stage in the straight. He goes up in weight this time, which makes his task of giving 3.5kg to Clever Blaze a difficult one. But he's honest and racing in peak condition so you can't underestimate him.
MOLA RAM is coming off a narrow win at the Sunshine Coast but the form out of that race is outstanding. On that occasion, he beat Balboa Rocks, who won his next start in city Saturday grade at Eagle Farm. Importantly, he meets that horse on 3.5kg better weight terms for beating him home.
BALBOA ROCKS is obviously a genuine winning threat after his gutsy win at Eagle Farm. He's up against it this time from a wide alley with an extra 4kg to shoulder but he's a consistent type who can be relied upon to produce an honest effort.
A good roughie to include in multiples is MOBILE, who ran out the mile strongly at Ipswich. This is a bit tougher but he'll keep whacking away at the finish.
SELECTIONS: NO12 CLEVER BLAZE, NO3 HI HARRY, NO6 MOLA RAM, NO1 BALBOA ROCKS.
VALUE RUNNER: NO6 MOLA RAM.
R6 3.34pm RUSTY’S FIREWOOD CLASS 3 PLATE 1350m
Another wide open race with chances from top to bottom.
SUNNY FAME will give this a huge shake. He stamped himself as better than provincial standard last time at the Gold Coast when he showed an impressive turn of foot. He won easily and there was a healthy margin between second and third that day, which is always a good sign. He's a big, strong type with a lovely galloping action and is on an upward spiral.
THE UMBRELLA MAN will provide the stiffest opposition. How he started black odds last time out is anyone's guess when he won like an odds-on pop with plenty up the sleeve. Although there's more depth to this race he's starting to realise his potential and he's placed to perfection from barrier (3) with a kilo less to carry.
HENRYVONHUFEISEN has been thereabouts at his past four starts since winning at the Sunshine Coast. He just found the 1500m a fraction too far last time but the drop back to 1350m in this race is perfect. Also in his favour is the rails barrier and Jeff Lloyd represents a key riding change.
LIGHT SHOWS (Best Roughie) didn't have much luck last time when ridden by Damian Browne, who has kept the mount here. He was badly blocked for a run in the straight and because the track was a bog he found it difficult to accelerate in the conditions when he eventually found a clear passage.
SELECTIONS: NO17 SUNNY FAME, NO7 THE UMBRELLA MAN, NO2 HENRYVONHUFEISEN, NO 10 LIGHT SHOWS.
VALUE RUNNER: NO10 LIGHT SHOWS.
R7 4.14pm QLD ACCOUNTING GROUP OPEN HANDICAP 1350m
Although she's stepping up from midweek company, DREAM FINNISH scored a monster victory at Doomben last start. She was among the tailenders and trapped three deep without cover before unleashing a barnstorming finish in the straight which carried her to victory. She's perfectly placed here with 3.5kg to carry and looks another great ride for Jeff Lloyd, who continues his amazing winning streak.
At first glance the 1350m would seem a bit short for DESERT GENERAL but his trainer Liam Birchley has freshened him up since his last run and his form since the blinkers went back on has been most consistent. After Josh Oliver's claim he'll only carry 52kg which brings him right into contention.
SHARPE HUSSLER was developing an unwanted reputation as a purse destroyer before regaining the faith of punters with his latest win at Ipswich. That might've been the confidence boost he needed because he's always shown tremendous potential. He's stepping up sharply in grade but tumbles 5kg and should get a cosy run from barrier (3). If he's within striking distance on the corner and in the clear he can reel off a blistering finish.
JOPA is the veteran of the field but he saves his best form for this track and distance. His task isn't easy from an awkward draw but he's worth including in multiples.
SELECTIONS: NO10 DREAM FINNISH, NO11 DESERT GENERAL, NO15 SHARPE HUSSLER, NO1 JOPA.
VALUE RUNNER: NO15 SHARPE HUSSLER.
R8 4.54pm QLD ACCOUNTING GROUP CLASS 6 PLATE 1200m
The wait was worth it for fans of MAN OF HIS WORD (Best Bet) who had been luckless at his first three runs back this campaign before scoring an explosive win last time out at Eagle Farm. He put his rivals to the sword in a matter of a couple of big bounds in the straight and won like a horse destined for much better races. This is the first time all campaign he's drawn a decent alley and jockey Jeff Lloyd should be able to plot a course approaching the home turn before angling into the clear in the straight and finishing over the top of his rivals. He's a very good horse.
SELECTIONS: NO9 MAN OF HIS WORD, NO12 SHAMFRANCISCO, NO17 DANDY ONE, NO15 TAILLEVENT.
VALUE RUNNER: NO17 DANDY ONE.