Rosehill yet again for the Villiers lead up meeting. We have nine competitive races, the track is in the good range, and the rail will be out 3m for the entire circuit. The track has played tricky as of late, but recent history suggests the rail at 3m is the fairest.
BEST BET – Race 1, No4 Trekking.
NEXT BEST – Race 2, No4 Calanda.
BEST ROUGHIE – Race 3, No9 Flash In The Dark.
Race 1 12:40pm SCHWEPPES PLATE 1100m
TREKKING (BEST BET) trialled brilliantly leading into his debut run on November 22 and really quickened when Tye Angland asked him to. Importantly, he put a gap on a danger in this race in the trial. James Doyle jumps aboard here and should have had good enough grounding given he rode on Wednesday and at the trials during the week. This horse has been one of the better triallers that I have seen this season and should be getting his career off to a winning start.
SELECTIONS: No 4 TREKKING, No 1 Goodfella, No 5 All Too Ready, No 3 Pymble.
VALUE RUNNER: No 5 All Too Ready.
Race 2 1:20pm ATC MEMBERSHIP HANDICAP 1200m
CALANDA (NEXT BEST) was utterly dominant upon his resumption at Warwick Farm on November 16. He was really well supported in the market that day and landed some big bets for the punters. The form out of that race should hold up quite well. This gelding had looked above average in his previous run and trial and looks to have taken that next step this preparation.
SELECTIONS: No 4 CALANDA, No 3 Brulee, No 6 Bratislava, No 8 Montreal, No 2 Fanning.
VALUE RUNNER: No 2 Fanning.
Race 3 1:55pm TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP 1100m
ISLA TRISTANA was a big maiden winner at Ballina last start. She came from well off them at a track that usually doesn’t suit backmarkers. The win was dominant and she had plenty in hand there. She gets in with 53.5kgs here and M Dunn has an excellent record in Highways.
FLASH IN THE DARK (BEST ROUGHIE) wasn’t suited by the bias first-up at Wagga. There was a lot of stable confidence around him that day and he was really well supported in the market. With the claim for Dee he gets his chance.
KANERUPT showed his versatility last start when winning. He was a big first-up winner leading all the way, and then after missing the kick at Gundagai he exploded through a gap late and won well in a race that should stack up well in that area.
ABSOLUTE RIPPER was a dominant winner at Orange in quick time. She is second-up here and at her only other second-up run she was a big winner at Narromine. From barrier (8) she is going to need to push forward here and give them something to run down.
SELECTIONS: No 13 ISLA TRISTANA, No 9 Flash In The Dark, No 5 Kanerupt, No 3 Absolute Ripper.
VALUE RUNNER: No 9 Flash In The Dark.
Race 4 2:30pm TREESERVE HANDICAP 1200m
DEE NINE ELLE looks to take up the running here. She has had two nice trials coming into this. She has shown that she has good gate speed in the past and can lead them up at this level. Clark should roll along and give them something to run down here.
NUDIERUDIE comes out of the main lead up here and closed off well behind Daysie Doom. I expect her to settle a touch closer here from the good gate. Her run previous to that was a strong win and she should be in the finish here.
PAINTED FIRETAIL finished off well enough last start in the same race as Nudierudie. She didn’t have much luck when it counted. She draws the same gate (7) here and if she is given some free air from the top of the straight she can finish over the top of them.
IMPOSING LASS resumes off an Oaks campaign where she produced some brilliant runs. She needs to take that step from 3yo fillies to the open age here. Her trials have been pleasing and although this may be too short, I expect to see her hitting the line.
HETTY HEIGHTS has a fantastic first-up record and has trialled really well coming into this. She was a major player in the Provincial Championships last time in and that form, on the back of her trials, is good enough for this.
SELECTIONS: No 4 DEE NINE ELLE, No 5 Nudierudie, No 8 Painted Firetail, No 1 Imposing Lass, No 2 Hetty Heights.
VALUE RUNNER: No 2 Hetty Heights.
Race 5 3:05pm TAB.COM.AU HANDICAP 1200m
REINCARNATE looks to lead them up yet again here and could well dominate this race. His previous two wins have been utterly dominant. He has had a freshen since his last start and the trial between runs was quite good. Avdulla jumps aboard here and should be hard to run down.
REALISE POTENTIAL was a big winner last start in a race that has held up quite well form-wise. He gets a big weight drop here of 6kgs and from barrier (7) he should be able to stalk the speed and move into the race whenever McEvoy wants.
ELEMENOHPEE gets a golden switch of barriers here and should press forward from (10). He can get a slot one off the fence with cover if Tommy is aggressive enough from the gate. He has shown versatility in the past and can come from well off them if needs be.
AVONACO resumes with a good first-up record and has trialled well leading in. There looks to be sufficient speed in the race for him here to be able to move into the race. He has shown before that he has a brilliant turn of foot when able to wind up.
SELECTIONS: No 2 REINCARNATE, No 10 Realise Potential, No 9 Elemenohpee, No 3 Avonaco.
VALUE RUNNER: No 3 Avonaco.
Race 6 3:40pm STARLIGHT STAKES 1100m
NIETA looks to get a perfect run on the map here. She should settle three pairs back just off the fence and should have clear room from the 600m when Parr wants to stoke her up. The way she is able to finish off her races is only saved for really good horses and she put them away in two strides last start. She isn’t well weighted, but is on the way up and should be hard to hold out.
SUPREME EFFORT gets a big weight drop of 6kgs here and was flattened a little by the weight last start and still ran home in fast time. From gate (3) Tommy should have him just behind the leaders and with a little luck in the straight he could finish over the top.
BACHMAN comes out of a good race on Melbourne Cup day where he finished quite well and just missed behind Kaepernick. With a freshen up between runs he will be able to produce his best given that his best performances come fresh. From the gate Clark will need some luck to get clear room to finish off.
BROOK ROAD was really well backed on Cup day and dumped the jockey at the start. The form in her previous preparation was quite good without winning and her trial recently was good. If she is well enough, she will be finishing hard late.
SELECTIONS: No 13 NIETA, No 9 Supreme Effort, No 6 Bachman, No 7 Brook Road.
VALUE RUNNER: No 6 Bachman.
Race 7 4:20pm ATC CUP 2000m
FALKENBERG gets her chance to break through this preparation. She was fantastic behind New Tipperary last start and they beat the field in a driving finish. She has had the grounding of a run over 2000m here and looks to get a sweet run on the map. With clear room from the top of the straight she can finish over the top.
MALICE was good in the same race last start; he really closed off well there. The senior gets back aboard here in Doyle. From the gate I expect him to go right back in the run and have one crack at them late here. If he isn’t too far off the leaders at the top of the straight, he can win.
IGGI POP should roll forward and sit off The Bull.He was strong throughout the gallop there. Clark is riding as well as ever at the minute and with a sneaky weight drop he could be in the finish here.
CLOSING BELL with the blinkers on and a 3.5kg weight drop gets a chance to win a race. He has had two runs in his first Australian preparation and they have been quite good. I expect him to be closer in the run here now that he gets to 2000m.
SELECTIONS: No 10 FALKENBERG, No 4 Malice, No 9 Iggi Pop, No 3 Closing Bell.
VALUE RUNNER: No 3 Closing Bell.
Race 8 5:00pm THE STEEL BUILDERS FESTIVAL STAKES 1500m
EXTENSIBLE comes into this race off a massive run last start in the Summoned Stakes at Sandown. The way the track was playing that day didn’t suit her at all and her run was probably the best of the day there. She draws perfectly and comes into this with some of the best form with her run behind Dixie Blossoms two starts back and should be hard to beat.
SWEET REDEMPTION beat home Extensible at Sandown and was then good in the Goulburn Cup, which was run in track record time. She was probably a little flat there too given she had to travel to Melbourne and back within a week. She has a fantastic record, is as tough as they come, and will prove hard to get past.
RELIGIFY was a big winner last start thanks to a 10/10 ride from McEvoy. The step up to the 1500m here is a touch concerning given his best performances have come up to 1400m. If McEvoy is given an easy time in front given that Sweet Redemption has proven she can sit behind, and can get going from the 600m again, he will be hard to run down.
HAZZABEEL killed them in the Kilmore Cup last start and was supposed to run in the Group 1 Kingston Town but couldn’t get to Perth due to a flight cancellation. Given that such lofty aspirations were held for him, he would need to be given a chance in a race like this. But this is his first run in a clockwise direction and that’s a slight concern.
SELECTIONS: No 12 EXTENSIBLE, No 13 Sweet Redemption, No 6 Religify, No 9 Hazzabeel.
VALUE RUNNER: No 13 Sweet Redemption.
Race 9 5:40pm TAB HANDICAP 1500m
DUCA VALENTINOIS gets his chance to break through here off his last start run where he had no luck. He got caught up in traffic at the wrong part of the race and it cruelled his momentum when he needed it. He does go up well in weight here, but is really down in grade and Doyle should suit him well given that his best performances have been where he has had clear galloping room.
REDOUTABLE HEART finished off really well first-up off a long break. The step up to 1500m should suit him off that run. He gets Shinn on board here, which is a positive jockey change, and if Shinn can get him in clear room in the straight he will be hard to hold out.
SIR PLUSH up to 1500m looks to suit perfectly. I don’t think he is a proper leader and was run down really late last start over the 1400m. From barrier (6) he will sit just off them and have a clear run at them whenever Avdulla wants to go for home.
METALLIC CROWN looks to take up the speed and should be ready for a peak performance third-up from a spell. He was just a touch flat last start after his first-up win and I’m willing to forgive that effort given he didn’t lead. Hutchings back on he should roll to the front and dominate the race from in front.
SELECTIONS: No 1 DUCA VALENTINOIS, No 5 Redoutable Heart, No 8 Sir Plush, No 4 Metallic Crown.
VALUE RUNNER: No 4 Metallic Crown.