The Ted Van Heemst Stakes is the final race for the leading stayers looking towards the $500,000 Perth Cup on January 1.
Trainer Alan Mathews has his stayer Pounamu running on rocket fuel following his luckless sixth in the Railway Stakes (1600m) and then winning the Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at his subsequent start.
He is the nominal Perth Cup favourite and strikes a similar field to what he did in the Kingston Town and looks very well suited at the weight-for-age conditions.
Celebrity Dream can continue her rampage through the mares’ series by winning the Starstruck Classic (1600m).
The weather is heating up in Perth after big storm battered the city on Sunday and Monday.
The track has dried out and will be a Good 4 with the false rail being at the three-metre position.
Hopefully punters can fill up their pockets for the final Saturday meeting before Christmas Day!
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 1,7 – 1 – 12,14 – 5,7
Wide Play: 1,5,7,9 – 1,2,6 – 1,4,12,14 – 5,6,7
BEST BET: R4 – 1. CELEBRITY DREAM
Next Best Bet: R6 – 1. POUNAMU
Best Roughie: R8 – 5. WHERE’S WALLY
No1 THE SHOE was a big drifter from $3 to $6 before finishing a sound fourth over 1200m here on December 13. The three-year-old drops from 59kg to 57.5kg and gets a change of rider with Ryan Hill taking the reins. The extra distance suits.
No7 RETOSONA broke the ice with a strong maiden win over 1420m in a maiden at Bunbury on December 6. Drops a half-kilo to 54kg today and the in-form Patrick Carbery keeps the ride on the three-year-old filly. Good chance.
No2 REYKJAVIK gets a nice drop in class on his last start third in the Group 3 Sir Ernest Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) here on December 9. Was outgunned by the winner War Room that day, but faces an easier task here.
No5 ICECRUSHER from three starts has a win and a second. He ran a close second to Missile Launch over 1400m at Pinjarra on December 10 when an easing $4 favourite. Top jockey Chris Parnham rides again and he drops 1.5kg to 54kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 ICECRUSHER
No2 TOUCH OF SILVER was powering home strongly when finishing third over 1500m here on December 16. He was well liked at $3.80 that day and with Andrew Castle’s 2kg claim will carry just 56kg here. He is down 1.5kg.
No4 FRIARESQUE was making good and steady ground when finishing fifth over 1500m here on December 16. He gets the in-form Patrick Carbery replacing Troy Turner and he plummets 3kg to 55kg for this assignment.
No1 PROCEEDWITHCAUTION was entangled in a traffic snarl before seeing daylight and finishing off well to run a close fourth over 1400m here on December 2. Gets senior rider Shaun O’Donnell replacing a 2kg claiming apprentice here.
No3 PUSH TO PASS won over 1600m here two starts ago. Last start was running home strongly over 1800m to finish third to First Affair here on December 9. Alan Kennedy keeps the ride and he stays on the same weight on 57kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 PUSH TO PASS
No7 BLACKLINE made a grand return to racing with a strong win over 1300m at Pinjarra on December 10. Was backed into a $2.90 favourite that day and was first-up from a spell. She is chasing consecutive wins today.
No2 REMEMBER BERLIN was beaten a lip to Get Over It over 1200m here on December 9. That was a good effort and with the 3kg claim of apprentice Kate Witten will carry only 56.5kg. Gives the Simon Miller camp a strong hand here.
No3 SPECIAL DELIVERY has had a few issues but is right on track now with two wins and a last-start second from past four starts over the middle distances. Latest ran a sound second over 1600m here on December 13. Drops to 57.5kg with the claim.
No6 RAGAZZO D’ORO fought hard to post a narrow but strong win over 1400m here last Saturday. Is on the quick turn around, but carries the same weight on 56kg and has again drawn well in gate three. Keep safe.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 SPECIAL DELIVERY
No1 CELEBRITY DREAM (BEST BET) is looking to extend her dominance on the summer mares’ races with a hat-trick of feature wins here. She claimed the second leg of the mares’ series in the Jungle Dawn (1400m) with an easy win on December 9. Gets an admirable replacement to the suspended William Pike in Chris Parnham. The five-year-old looks set to make a clean sweep of the mares’ races with the La Trice the last one on January 1.
No4 FIRST AFFAIR staked her claim for this feature with a smart win over 1800m at Ascot on December 9.
No2 I’M FEELING LUCKY having her first start back in Perth after a Victorian campaign with leading trainer Darren Weir.
No3 FONTAINEBLEAU staked her claim with a fighting second in the Jungle Dawn. Chance.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 FIRST AFFAIR
No7 MISSILE LAUNCH has been burning on provincial tracks and now set out to attack the city. Claimed a second straight win over 1400m at Pinjarra on December 10 and with Patrick Carbery riding makes good appeal.
No1 RUSSIAN RIVER is on the quick back after running a fighting second over 1400m here last Saturday. Apprentice Fiona Bell’s 3kg claim helps with the weight down to a more comfortable 57kg today. Carried 59.5kg last week.
No9 PRYING TOM has been placed at his two provincial starts this campaign. Latest he ran a sound second over 1600m at Pinjarra on December 10. That should top him off for this assault and he drops 3kg to 55kg.
No8 KOSTYAZILCH has been a model of consistency on country tracks and he deserves his shot at city fame. Latest he ran away to a 1.25 length win over 1850m at Mt Barker on December 7. He drops 3.5kg to 55kg today.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 KOSTYAZILCH
No1 POUNAMU (NEXT BEST BET) was a brilliant winner of the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) here two weeks ago. That win came after a cracking sixth to Great Shot in the Group 1 Railway (1600m) here last month. The high flying Patrick Carbery rides again and from the good draw in gate four he looks very hard to beat. Bound for next month’s Perth Cup.
No2 MATERIAL MAN ran a gallant second in the Kingston Town Classic and is the obvious danger.
No7 COSMIC STORM held her ground in the Kingston Town to run 10th. Can bounce back.
No6 TRAP FOR FOOLS is looking for his sixth straight win and is bound for the Perth Cup.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 COSMIC STORM
No14 TOP OF THE CLASS gave a good effort to run third to Celebrity Dream in the Listed Jungle Dawn (1400m) here on December 9. She drops in class today and is at the bottom of the scale on 54kg. Gets the talented Joe Azzopardi to ride.
No4 KEY TO FAME attempted to lead throughout and fought hard when finishing third over 1200m here on December 9. He is down 1.5kg to 57kg and has Aaron Mitchell replacing Hong Kong jockey Douglas Whyte today.
No12 AMBIENTE with a record of three wins and a second at five starts is hard to fault. Comes into this race with a clever win over 1000m here on December 9. He was at the outside odds of $26 that time and he drops from 57kg to 54kg today.
No10 CUANZO is a veteran sprinter who ran a handy third to gee Boss over 1100m here on December 16. He is on the quick back up but this is a moderate bunch and he is again on a low weight on 54.5kg. Each-way.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 AMBIENTE
No7 SCALPEL with the blinkers going on for the first time should be very sharp. He ran a great third over 1000m behind the outsider Ambiente here on December 9. He has a good second-up record and will strip fitter for the outing.
No6 MANTIME gives trainer Simon Miller a strong hand in the last race. He has won at Ascot and he ran a good sixth to Niccatrice in the Country Championship (1200m) here on December 9. Strikes milder opposition today.
No3 KRAMDEN was backed from $13 into $10 before finishing 10th to Ambiente over 1000m here on December 9. That was third up from a spell and with the 3kg claim of apprentice Tayla Stone will carry only 55kg.
No5 WHERE’S WALLY (BEST ROUGHIE) got caught in a major traffic jam when finishing eighth over 1000m to Ambiente here on December 9. Had a bucket full of excuses for the run and it was his first for 55 weeks. Jarred Noske is back on board.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 WHERE’S WALLY