The running of the Australian Hurdle and the Australian Steeplechase are the two features on this nine-race card. Racing returns to Saturday at Sandown following a break and with a cool day (14C) and showers forecast the track may be downgraded from a Good 3. The false rail will be at the true position.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 5,10,12 / 1,2 / 1,2,4 / 1,3,7
Wide Play: 2,3,5,6,10,12 / 1,2,3,7,8 / 1,2,4,5,7,8 / 1,3,7,9,11,14,15
BEST BET: R4 – 2. RENEW
Next Best Bet: R3 – 2 ZED EM
Best Roughie: R 8– 2. ROYAL ACE
No1 STAR SEARCH was first up when he scored a slashing win over 1000m in a maiden at Ballarat on May 14. Dwayne Dunn rode that day but Jamie Mott rides today at his city debut in what is a competitive race to kick off the card. Pays to keep an eye on the betting here.
No3 SEDITION is a Godolphin-trained galloper who has been gelded while in the paddock. He ran a solid third at his sole start over 1100m at Canterbury on February 3. He gets Melbourne jockey Andrew Mallyon to ride here at his Victorian debut. Sure to be in the firing line here.
No2 THE CONSIGLIERE completed the good feat of beating older horses at his debut in a 1000m maiden at Geelong on May 9. He drops back to his own age here and gets last Saturday’s Group 1 Goodwood Handicap winner Craig Williams to partner him. He has plenty to like.
No12 JOSEPHINE SEA was too strong for her own age and sex when posting a brilliant debut win over 1105m at Sale on May 17. She was at double-figure odds that day and she drops 2.5kg to 56kg for her rise in class here. Chris Symons keeps the ride and is worth thought.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 JOSEPHINE SEA
No15 RILLITO is a Godolphin-trained mare who fires up fresh with a record of two wins and a third at four starts. Has been given a solid build-up for this with two trials at Randwick and Warwick Farm over 1050m and 798m and expect a forward showing.
No6 NIKITAS is a three-year-old who showed plenty of fight to score a narrow win over 1100m on a bog track at Warrnambool on May 4. He was part of a massive haul of winners for trainer Darren Weir at The Bool carnival. With leading stable jockey Dean Yendall to ride he can again be a force.
No9 STAR STEALER gets SA Derby winning jockey John Allen to ride. He was backed into a 3.70 favourite before finishing second over 1200m at Ballarat on May 13. Has been consistent without winning of late but from gate (1) should get a soft run and he will like the speed on here.
No13 GALAXY RAIDER has great first-up form. He's proven at this distance and class and with the help of in-form Craig Williams, he should produce a solid run.
VALUE RUNNER: No9 STAR STEALER
No2 ZED EM (NEXT BEST BET) is absolutely flying for noted jumps trainer Patrick Payne. He won the Brierly (3450m) at Warrnambool on May 2 after returning home from a triumphant win in the Von Doussa Steeple (3250m) at Oakbank last Easter. He will carry a half kilo less than at his last win on 567.5kg and has Victoria’s No. 1 jumps rider Steven Pateman to guide him. He should again prove very hard to get past.
No3 NOW AND ZEN chased home the top-weight Zed Em in the Brierly and is the danger.
No1 WELLS lumping 72kg is a big ask but he is tough as teak and worth consideration here.
No4 GOLD MEDALS beaten less than 2 lengths last start against stronger horses. He drops down in class here and could easily trouble his rivals.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 WELLS
No2 RENEW (BEST BET) was racing on the flat when finishing seventh over 3200m at Flemington last Saturday. He won the Galleywood Hurdle and a feature hurdle at Oakbank on the Easter weekend at his prior two starts. He gets last week’s SA Derby winning rider John Allen to partner and is from the stable of top trainer Darren Weir. Weir and Allen are a very formidable combination.
No1 ARCH FIRE is the top-weight who won a hurdle at Pakenham two starts ago and can rebound.
No7 JOHN MONASH is an imported hurdler who will strip fitter for recent racing. Each-way claims.
No5 HONEY STEEL’S GOLD drops 2kg to 64kg and will appreciate the dryer track here.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 JOHN MONASH
No10 PLEIN CIEL gave away a big start to his opposition when missing by five lengths before finishing third over 1400m at Warrnambool on May 4. He was the warm favourite that day and with Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim will carry a mere 52.5kg here. He drops 4.5kg on his first-up start at The Bool. Good chance.
No7 DAN ZEPHYR will have top apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg drop his weight to a mere 52.5kg. He ran a fair fifth over 1600m at Caulfield on May 13. He was specked from $15 into $11 that day and he is perfectly drawn in gate (2) to get a soft run in transit. Each-way claims.
No6 PETROLOGY underlined that he was close to his peak with a good third over 1600m at Caulfield on May 13. That was his third start back from a spell and he again has no weight on 54kg with senior jockey Cory Parish to ride again. He has been competitive over this distance and will be at double-figure odds.
No5 ONPICALO brings good form into this race. This 7yo gelding proved himself last start when beating Zebrinz at Caulfield. This Mick Price galloper might just be too tough to hold out.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 PETROLOGY
No6 GOATHLAND is an Irish import who was working to the line well when finishing fifth to Odeon over 2000m at Caulfield on April 29. Hails from the stables of Robert Hickmott and with Jordan Childs’ 1.5kg claim will carry 54kg here. Looks to be suited at this trip and would respect.
No9 GREAT GLEN showed a slow recovery and was reported to have coughed following his seventh over 2200m at Scone on May 13. Appears to have excused that day and his previous win at Hawkesbury stands him in good stead for this. Craig Newitt rides for Chris Waller and would keep safe.
No8 GRAND DREAMER has Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim dropping his weight to a mere 52.5kg here. He was held up before finishing seventh over 2000m here on April 29 and he did win over 1600m at Randwick two starts ago. He has been placed at three of his four starts at this track but is yet to win.
No3 ARALDO JUNIOR finds weaker company here. The Moroney trained galloper has been racing agaisnt quality fields and most recently managed a 6th in the Warrnambool Cup. Could surprise punter here.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 ARALDO JUNIOR
No1 LEOTIE has taken a few runs to get back to near her best, but signaled she was on the comeback trail with a solid third over 1400m at Caulfield on May 13. That was against her own age and sex like this race and with apprentice Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim she will carry 59kg here. Good chance.
No2 PEDRENA scored a good but narrow win as a $4.20 in this class over 1400m at Caulfield on May 13. She again faces Leotie and with Jake Bayliss’s 2kg claim she will carry 57kg, which is 2.5kg more than she did last time when she was ridden by Beau Mertens. Looks to be the natural danger.
No7 WINDBERN is the stable-mate to Pedrena and gives strainer Mick Price a strong hand. She ran a solid third over 1600m here at her last start on May 10. Damien Oliver replaces Dwayne Dunn here and she again is on a light weight on 54.5kg, which is a half kilo more than last time.
No8 IHEARTPOPPY defied a big betting drift out to $6.50 with a big win over 1400m in a maiden at Pakenham on May 11. She drops 2kg to 54.5kg for her ride in class here and gets a change of rider with Craig Newitt the new pilot. From gate (6), she should get a cosy run.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 IHEARPOPPY
No1 ZAMZAM was specked at double-figure odds before scoring a clever win over 1400m at Flemington on May 6. She meets her own age here and with Jake Bayliss’s 2kg claim will carry 58kg, which is 1.5kg more than she did to win. Has appeal.
No4 WIDGEE TURF looms as one of the main chances on his strong fifth over 1400m at Flemington on May 5. With leading apprentice Ben Allen’s 1.5kg claim he will carry 57kg here. He was on the quick back up last time after running sixth at Caulfield the week before.
No8 BARBIE’S BOY has been racing well and if he is ridden quietly will be hitting the line. Latest he ran a solid fourth over 1300m here on May 10. He won his maiden at Moe five starts ago and with top apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim will carry 54kg. The wide gate in (11) is a setback.
No2 ROYAL ACE (BEST ROUGHIE) is a product of trainer Darren Weir and has won at three of his four starts. He is searching for successive wins here after his triumph over 1200m at Warrnambool on May 2. He was at double-figure odds that day on a Heavy 8, but his previous two wins were on top of the ground.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 ROYAL ACE
No1 CANNYESCENT has won at five of his 12 starts and returns here after a brilliant win over 1350m at Rosehill on May 6. He gets Damien Oliver to ride here after Tim Clarke rode him in Sydney. He is from Team Hayes and has an ideal draw in (7) to kick off his career at this track on a high note.
No3 THELBURG is searching for a hat-trick here after claiming a good win over 1400m at Caulfield on May 13. He was the $3 favourite that day and will be short again here but his barrier in (12) is a setback and he does rise a kilo to 59kg. He did overcome gate (12) last time to win and will need to repeat.
No14 DATA POINT has gone on with the job since being gelded. He posted an effortless 4 length win over 1400m at Pakenham on May 7 first up from a spell. That was on a bog track carrying 60kg and he plummets to 55.5kg here for his rise in grade. Luke Nolen keeps the ride.
No8 NOELA'S CHOICE First up last start after almost a year off. Was a competitve 6th behind Ulmann at Warrnambool. Don't ignore the Weir/Yendall factor.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 NOELA'S CHOICE