Ballarat goes from hosting a big provincial Saturday meeting in the spring to a lowly Tuesday meeting here. There are four maidens to kick off the eight-race card and a few of the races look wide open.
The Godolphin-trained Veranillo is a most interesting runner in Race 6 as he has an outstanding record as a juvenile in Sydney last autumn where he performed at group level.
The weather forecast is for showers over the weekend but the weather will clear and the forecast is for a warm Tuesday with a top on 29C, after a low on 12C. The track is rated perfectly as a Good 4.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 2,11 – 6 – 3,10 – 13,14
Wide Play: 1,2,9,11 – 4,6 – 3,4,6,10 – 5,12,13,14
BEST BET: R7 – 3. NIL DESPERANDUM
Next Best Bet: R6 – 6. VERANILLO
Best Roughie: R2 – 19. EXCELTARA
No6 KUGELBLITZ was never on the track and worked home nicely when finishing a sound fifth over a 1600m maiden at Werribee on December 24. The son of Savabeel will appreciate the rise in distance today and respect.
No4 MR INTEGRITY gets top Victorian jockey Damien Oliver to ride following his solid fourth over 2447m in a maiden at Geelong on January 11. He is on the quick back up but he is rock hard solid for this.
No7 THE AUDITOR did flounder badly to weaken to last of nine over 2025m maiden at Cranbourne on January 5. He led and ran on strongly at his prior start over 1950m finishing .4 lens away from the winner at Yarra Valley on December 22.
No5 BERNIE’S TIGER gets an important gear change with the blinkers going on for the first time. Last start ran a good third over 1600m maiden at Stony Creek on December 30. With the 2kg claim today will carry 55kg.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 THE AUDITOR
No6 INDERNILE has had some major changes with being gelded while out for a spell. He also will sport blinkers for the first time today after running sixth as a $3.80 favourite over 1300m at Sandown on September 13. Like him fresh.
No8 KING OF VANDALS ran a cracking third at his debut over 1000m maiden at Werribee on December 24. He was not fancied at $11 but gave a great sight and won’t be at those odds here. The barrier in 16 is a setback.
No5 ICE HUNT has the blinkers being pulled off this time. Gets ace jockey Craig Williams to ride at his first start back from a 21-week spell. The Godolphin-trained gelding has a smart first-up record of two seconds at two runs fresh.
No19 EXCELTARA (BEST ROUGHIE) will wear a tongue tie for the first time. Is resuming from a long spell and would keep safe on two exposed starts so far where he has finished on the heels of the major place-getters at Geelong and Bendigo.
VALUE RUNNER: No19 EXCELTARA
No2 CIVIL GUARD can end his tag as a bridesmaid after scoring four successive seconds from his past four starts. Will be fresh from a 19 week spell today after finishing a close second over 1600m maiden at Bendigo on September 1.
No11 WEAPON is resuming from a 15-week spell and will wear a tongue tie for the first time. Has shown ability in the past with a last-start third over 1206m maiden at Benella on September 29. That was only his second start.
No14 SKYSCHILLER is resuming from a very long 54-week spell. Has the winkers being taken off for her return today and she has shown ability being placed at three of her seven starts to date. Barrier 15 is a drawback.
No5 VIV SAID NO scored successive seconds before finishing an unlucky tenth over 1400m in a maiden at Warrnambool on December 31. Would go on her previous good form at Bendigo and here in accessing her chances today.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 VIV SAID NO
No11 TATA MADIBA gave a good sight when tackled hard to finish less than 2 lengths in fifth behind the winner over 1000m maiden at Mornington on December 27. Was narrowly beaten at her prior two starts. Great chance.
No1 ANOTHER MCCLOUD has been placed second twice and fourth at only other starts. Ran a solid second in a 1000m maiden at Wangaratta on January 2. Was easy in the betting from $7.50 to $10, but from gate six here rates highly.
No5 STEEL OF MADRID has been most consistent without winning being placed at six of eight starts. Latest ran a strong third over 1200m maiden at Moonee Valley on December 12. Was given a soft trial over 900m since.
No4 SONAREE is a nicely-bred galloper who has been gelded while in the spelling paddock. At sole start came home well to finish seventh over 1100m maiden at Bendigo on July 7. Hails from Team Hayes and respect.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 SONAREE
No11 NAVITA led from the front to post an emphatic 3.75 length win over 1500m against her own sex at Yarra Valley on December 28. She was strongly supported as a $3.10 favourite, but the alley in 11 hurts. Makes strong appeal.
No10 I’M THE BOSS kept on punching away down the straight to run a strong second to Callisto Moon over 1400m at Wangaratta on January 2. Set for a rematch here and is well drawn again in gate five and has Nikita Beriman to ride again.
No2 CALLISTO MOON scored a bullish win over 1400m at Wangaratta at last start on January 2. He was penalized 2kg for the win and goes up to 60.5kg here but has top jockey Brad Rawiller to guide.
No1 LADY SEABRING is a three-year-old filly who won well at Moonee Valley two starts ago. Latest she ran a fading ninth after leading over 1800m at Sandown on December 30. She is back to 1400m today and would review here.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 LADY SEABRING
No6 VERANILLO (NEXT BEST BET) has been gelded and will have the blinkers taken off at his return today. The Godolphin-trained three-year-old ran a top seventh over 1100m in Group 3 at Caulfield last start on August 19. The son of Medaglia D’Oro was Group 2 placed at his two starts at that level as a two-year-old at Randwick and Rosehill last autumn. He gets top Victorian jockey Craig Williams to ride in a low rated country race today and should get a cosy run from gate six.
No4 CHAPEL ROAD from barrier one and with Michael Dee to ride gets his fair chance here.
No8 SANG CHOI BAO gets a massive drop of 4kg down to 56.5kg today on his last start at Sandown.
No3 ANGRY GEE has been a consistent performer on the country tracks and back from a city start here.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 ANGRY GEE
No3 NIL DESPERANDUM (BEST BET) claimed a commanding first up 2.75 length win over 1200m at Yarra Valley on December 22. Was backed into a $2.60 favourite and never looked in doubt. With Tahlia Hope’s 1.5kg claim will have the weight dropped to 58kg – which is a half-kilo less than what she carried first-up to win. Looks the stumbling block as she has the speed to cross from gate nine.
No4 SWISS BEAUTY was a good winner at Mornington against her own sex last start. Looks the danger.
No10 WANNA BE GOOD had to dig deep to post a narrow but gutsy win at Werrbee last start.
No7 LEFT JAYBEE OUT had a great start to her campaign with a flying win at Echuca and then ran a solid fourth at the same track.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 LEFT JAYBEE OUT
No2 ASSERTIVE STAR Good win last start puts this Lonhro gelding into serious calculations here today. Led and just held on to win by half a length at Echuca a fortnight ago and has drawn well here today. Could be value.
No4 WILDWOOD COURT
No7 GOLD SEAL
No 10 RUB ME