Former West Australian, now Cranbourne trainer John Price must have known early that his $110K yearling purchase was something special because he named it after his late father, William Thomas. And from only two starts to date – a win at Ararat and a sterling third behind the quality three-year-olds Prezado and Bandipur over the straight 1000m at Flemington on November 7 – William Thomas is showing all the earmarks of a potential top-liner. His recent barrier trial at Cranbourne was an absolute corker when he over-raced early and made the turn 10-horses deep but still worked to the line under a vice-like grip to be under four-lengths from the winner - the high-class TheAnswermyfriend, who franked the form with a photo-finish second in the Listed March Stakes at Flemington last Saturday. Drawn perfectly in barrier 3 and with the services of another expat West Aussie Damian Lane in the saddle, William Thomas should take the first step toward a very successful and lucrative campaign in Race 6 – the Benchmark 64 Handicap for Three-Year-olds over 1000m.
With a “Partly Cloudy” forecast for Wednesday, the Sandown Hillside track is expected to race as a Good3 surface, with the rail out 4metres for the entire circuit.
QUADDIES (races 5,6,7,8)
Skinny Play: 1,7 – 1 – 2,8,11 – 6,13,14
Wide Play: 1,2,4,6,7 – 1,9 – 1,3,4,6,8,11 – 6,9,12,13,14
BEST BET: R6 – 1. WILLIAM THOMAS
Next Best Bet: R5 – 7 KIRK ELLA
Best Roughie: R7– 8. MOSCOW RED
No7 LIPSTICK LOVER Raced in Listed company in Brisbane last season, winning at Doomben, Sunshine Coast and placings at Eagle Farm and Doomben. At fourth run for Darren Weir’s stable she struck trouble when 5.89-len fifth Harmattan 1400m Pakenham Fillies and Mares BM64 59.5kg Mar. 8. Encouraging first-up third Barchetta 1200m Mares BM70 Jan. 25. On the improve and extra distance ideal with 2.5kg weight drop here.
No1 HE’S THE BOSS Returned from 46-week spell with solid 3.65-length fifth to Kaching Pakenham 1400m BM70 58.5kg Mar. 1. Won successive races Sale 1400m Soft 5 Maiden and Geelong 15090m Class1 Soft5 last season. Likely improver.
No3 RUNAWAY Led and over-raced at second run for 24 weeks when fading 9.5-length last Leicester 1600m this course BM70 last Wednesday. Ran seconds at Grafton 1200m and Rosehill 1500m and winner Canterbury 1550m middle of last year. Raced in Group 3s two runs before spelling which suggests he might be better than most of these. Big improvement likely second-up on the seven day turnaround.
No5 VIKING RAID Led for home but no match for Herecomesmybaby second-up 1300m Bendigo Maiden 58kg Good4 Feb. 17 then led throughout by 1.25-length over Olympic Lad 3Yr-old Maiden same trip Mar. 6. Keeps stepping up and will be at peak for this.
VALUE RUNNER: No3 RUNAWAY
No15 SWEET MISCHIEF Showed staying potential last campaign and was bumped up to Group 1 class after placings at 1600m Balaklava Maiden and 1800m Flemington Oaks Trial Sep. 27. Far from disgraced when 7.3-lengh ninth Pinot 2500m VRC Oaks Flemington Nov. 9. Facing much easier company here and should appreciate the long Sandown straight to be running home strongly first-up.
No2 JACKY PAPER Finished second at three of four starts to date and should be right in the thick of things again. Battled on strongly for 3-length fourth Heavenly thought 1300m Maiden 58.5kg Lakeside track here Feb. 14 then just failed to catch The Black Leopard 1300m Bendigo Maiden 58.5kg Good4 Mar. 6. Model of consistency who just needs to overcome the wide draw.
No8 OLYMPIC LAD Not far from the placings two Caulfield runs before spell then resumed with 6-length seventh Tblisi 1200m Yarra Valley Maiden 58kg Feb. 15 and courageous 1.25-length second Viking Raid (Rossman third) 1300m Bendigo 3-Yr Maiden 58kg Mar. 6. Looks to be on the way up and meets Rossman on same weight terms for 0.75-lengths.
No10 VOICEOVER Placed at last three provincial runs and worth a mention at first city start. Ran successive thirds 1100m Warrnambool Maiden class before overcoming slow start to share the lead and fight on well for 1.25-length second Honourable Mention 1200m Ballarat Maiden Mar. 7. Up in class but not the roughest.
VALUE RUNNER: No15 SWEET MISCHIEF
No5 FILLE CHAMPAGNE Capable mare who raced predominately in Listed and Group company in six runs since beating Invictum Domina 1400m 3yr Fillies BM70 59.5kg this track Dec. 24. No luck first-up when 3-length fifth Petitie’s Reward 1200m Moonee Valley Mares BM78 56kg Feb. 16 then worked home nicely to be 2.45-len from the winner when seventh Flippant, Oregan’s Day, Soho Ruby 1400m Group 3 Tressady Stakes Flemington Mar. 3. Fitter now and the Tressedy form was well-and-truly franked last Saturday. Placed to advantage with only 56kg here and bound to make her presence felt.
No4 AMORTENTIA Most impressive winning at Cranbourne 1400m Soft5 Sept. 20, Tatura 1400m Good3 Oct. 16 and Cranbourne BM64 Good3 59kg Nov. 24 then trapped off the track when eye-catching 1.2-length fifth Sabotage, Sister Kitty Mac, Highland Beat 1200m Moonee Valley Sprint Final 55kg first-up Mar. 2. Fitter for that run and looks ideally suited here with 56kg and barrier 1.
No8 UPTOWN GAL Promising type who was unplaced twice in Group company then had 19-week break before resuming with a most impressive win 2.25-length win over Champenoise 1200m Fillies and Mares Cranbourne Maiden 57.5kg Good3 Mar. 9. Placed at Caulfield, Sandown, Sale and Cranbourne four of previous five outings. Should measure up.
No6 HECTOPASCAL Finished just behind the placings at three runs since downing Miss Magda, Trinity Hill 1400m here Mares BM70 56kg Good3 Dec. 20 off a three-week freshen-up. Won over 1300m this track last April and loves the roomy stretches here. Won’t be far away.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 UPTOWN GAL
No2 SHERLOCK HOLMES Won races over 2615m and 2816m in Ireland and enjoyed his best campaign since coming to Australia before a let-up. Ran consecutive fourths 1800m Caulfield first-up, 2400m Bendigo Soft 6 and 2000m Caulfield Good3 before beating Zilbiyr 2500m Moonee Valley 60.5kg Good3 Nov. 3 and fighting 1.25-length second subsequent Adelaide Cup winner Fanatic 2800m Flemington 54kg Nov. 7. Will have done plenty of work in preparation for the 2400m first-up. Rates highly.
No7 PEDRO XIMENEZ Has won at three of his last seven outings and looks the one to beat. Won 2640m Werribee 0-58 Handicap Soft7 60kg Jan. 13 then came wide on turn when blanket-finish 0.6-length fifth Eaton, Poppiholla this circuit 59kg Good3 Jan. 31 and strong-finishing winner over Poppiholla 2430m Caulfield BM70 Good3 57kg Feb. 21.
No3 SIR LOPEZ Improved from second-up fourth Vungers 60.5kg Moonee Valley BM64 Feb. 23 to wear down Broadway Danza, Antagonist 2200m Bendigo BM64 Good4 60.5kg Mar. 13. Has had 10 official trials between his last five starts so he will have the miles in his legs for the 2400m of this. Drops 3kg for winning and must be kept safe.
No4 WEAVE Had no luck second-up when 2.75-length eight Sir Lopez 2200m Bendigo BM64 61.5kg Mar. 13 and meets that horse 1kg better here. Won successive starts over 3000m at Moonee Valley Nov.-Dec. last year before spelling. Gets senior rider back on here in Luke Currie and he looms as a definite threat.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 WEAVE
No7 KIRK ELLA (NEXT BEST BET) First-up winner Murtoa 1100m 3Yr Maiden Soft5 56kg June 27 at second race start. Placed at three subsequent runs Warrnambool 100m Heavy10 57kg, Sandown Lakeside 1200m Fillies and Mares BM70 Heavy9 Aug. 6 and close second Banish 1200m Cranbourne Mares BM64 Aug. 27 before spell. Very speedy mare who didn’t fire at first start on firm going but looks like the horse on the way up in this field. Ethan Brown’s 2kg allowance brings her nicely in with 55kg.
No1 I’M TOO HOT His three wins have been over this distance and has won at two of last five outings at Bendigo and Mornington. Fought back strongly for 0.75-length second Sacred Sham 1000m Bendigo BM70 57kg Feb. 28 then sprinted hard out wide making the bend to open a two-length lead but swamped final 100m when 1.75-length fifth Holy Blade this trip last Wednesday. Drawn wide again but chances enhanced if ridden more patiently. Respect.
No6 DIVERTENTE Her three wins from 17 starts at Yarra Valley, Ballarat and this course have all been over the 1000m. Led for home wide on track when 2.7-length third Holy Blade 57kg this trip Jan. 31 then led for home when length third Scuzi, Starvasive 1000m Moonee Valley Mares BM70 56kg Feb. 23. Has a win and four placings from last five starts and should be in the money again.
No4 VILLA SARCHI Resuming from a 19-week break but did run third Segouin Ballarat Maiden on debut last campaign. Led by 8-length middle stages so no suprirse to see him fade to 3.75-length third Tamasa 1200m Warrnambool Maiden 58kg Soft5 Oct. 20 then led all the way from Eagle Ridge 1200m Kyneton 3Yr Maiden 58kg Good3 Nov. 8. Very speedy and will give a good sight.
VALUE RUNNER: No4 VILLA SARCHI
No1 WILLIAM THOMAS (BEST BET) Looks a potential top-liner and should prove too good for this field first-up. Ararat 3yr Maiden winner 1100m 58kg on debut Sept. 26 then took the lead at 350m and fought on determinedly for 3.5-length third behind Prezado, Bandipur Flemington straight 1000m $121K race Nov. 7. Recent trial was sensational: trekking 10-wide and finishing within 4-length of Theanswermyfriend 990m Cranbourne Mar. 5 under a stranglehold. Named in honour of the trainer’s late father, so he must be very good.
No9 RIEL REWARD Boasts a win and four placings from only eight starts so he has to be considered a chance again. Ridden by Jamie Mott in beating Cleo’s Poet 1000m Ballarat Maiden 58kg Good3 Feb. 25 then made up ground in slower section of track when 4.6-length fifth She’s So High 1100m Flemington Listed Moomba Plate Mar. 10. Mott goes back on for this.
No3 BEAVERBROOK Produced wins at Stawell and Ararat from last four starts and will keep them busy here. Close-up 2.6-length seventh Holbien 1200m Lakeside here Firm2 55kg Feb. 14 before beating Good Offa Stawell 1100m BM58 60kg Feb. .28. Gets 2kg off with Ethan Brown riding.
No11 CRYSTAL WINGS Didn’t do much in four runs across two campaigns then produced a barnstorming finish to beat Bare Witness 1100m Wangaratta 3yr Maiden first-up Mar. 3. Could be a surprise packet.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 CRYSTAL WINGS
No8 MOSCOW RED (BEST ROUGHIE) Former Kiwi mare who has been brought along slowly but surely and rewarded with a win and three placings from six Aussie starts. Tough effort at first run for eight weeks when she outgunned Teoflyte, Foxlago 1500m Geelong Mares BM64 Good4 59.5kg Jan. 28 then over-raced and forced wide turning when 0.4-length second Penthouse Pet 1736m Sale BM64 Soft6 57.5kg Feb. 20. Drawn wide but just needs things to go her way to figure in the finish.
No3 SENSATION ALLY Three of her six wins have been at 1600m but she will get the extra distance of this if she’s given a breather in the lead. Dashed 3-length clear straightening to beat Condamine 1600m Pakenham BM64 59.5kg Good3 Feb. 15 then caught on the line by Peruggia 1600m Moonee Valley BM70 58.5kg Good4 Mar. 2. Will look the winner halfway down the straight.
No11 HIGH LOW BET Has finished close-up at three runs in Sydney since debut win over Fifth Affair 1200m Randwick 2yr Fillies Maiden 56kg Soft7 last April. Resumed with fast-finishing 2.7-length fourth Nicci’s Gold 1400m Warwick Farm 3yr Fillies BM71 58.5kg Jan. 17 then over-raced and lost a shoe when 3.5-length third of four 1550m Canterbury 3Yr BM70 57kg Good4 Feb. 9. Has been conditioned by four trials in this campaign and might go better the Melbourne direction. Keep safe.
No6 NEAR QUEUE Has won twice from last six runs and should be kept safe. Held up in straight when 0.6-length third Dreams Of Paris, Meowie Wowie 1600m Caulfield BM78 54kg Feb. 21 then speared away from Penthouse Kitten, Expinsive 1600m Bendigo Mares BM70 54.5kg Good4 Mar. 6. Previous form hard to fault and won’t be far away.
VALUE RUNNER: No11 HIGH LOW BET
No6 TOGA PICTA Worked home strongly to be in a blanket finish when 0.3-length fourth Bord de Gain, Our Mallee Hoff, Excitement first-up 1200m Moonee Valley BM70 56kg Good3 Feb. 16. Each of previous four starts had been in Group or Listed grade, including second to Whispered Secret Listed 1600m Fernhill Handicap Randwick Heavy8 last April. Has a touch of class and will be better suited on the roomier stretches at Sandown. Will hit the line hard.
No13 BORROW Impressive debut winner over Champenoise, Merindoc 1200m Fillies and Mares Maiden 1200m Kyneton 58kg Good4 Feb. 21 then got well back and charged home strongly for 1.75-length second Scoliaro 1200m Moonee Valley BM64 57.5kg Mar. 2. Smart type on the way up and only needs to get across from wide gate to make her presence felt again.
No14 SNOGGING Resuming and could sprint well fresh. Faced a big jump in class when she led and battled on for 5.25-length sixth Luvaluva 2000m Group 2 Wakeful Stakes Flemington Nov. 4. Won Tatura 1600m Maiden three runs earlier.
No12 STAR SEARCH Ballarat 1000m Maiden winner last campaign who showed improvement for close second Sirius Suspect 1200m Caulfield BM64 58kg Feb. 21 then 0.5-length third Crystal Pistol, Buckler 1200m Ballarat BM64 58kg Good4 Mar. 7. Has claims.
VALUE RUNNER: No6 TOGA PICTA