NEIL Evans previews today's Manning Valley Race Club TAB meeting at the Bushland Drive Racetrack
Track: Expected Good 3 and Rail True so pattern should be fairly even; 1530m in circumference; & length of straight 350m
Race 1 @ 1.55pm TAB BM 66 HCP (1250m) - Min weight 55.5kg & apprentices can claim:
ALWAYS competitive and tactical battles in this grade, with runners at various stages of their preparation. Improving 6YO Coffs Harbour gelding 4. Triage (Graham Payne/Leah Kilner a0) can go on with it here after sweeping home to to win a deeper BM 66, and hard fit can run over them again from a good trailing draw.
MAIN DANGERS: Progressive 4YO Newcastle gelding 5. Jamaican Dream looks suited from the inside draw after a solid run resuming in this company just before Xmas, and second-up form is rock solid. Expect 3YO Newcastle gelding 7. Reveal The Magic to be hitting the line late after a nice return run at Gunnedah, and while this is tougher, drops 2.5kg in weight and leading senior jockey goes on. Local 7YO mare 3. Eyebea Danser doesn't win often, but stuck on really this grade after leading last start in a race run in record time. Goes forward again from a middle gate and will try to dictate. Capable 5YO Coffs Harbour gelding 6. So Shy resumes without an official trial, but is a fresh winner, and won a weaker race last time at this track.
My Betting Attack: Triage to win and trifecta 4,5,7/4,5,7/3,4,5,6,7
Race 2 @ 2.30pm SAXBY'S SOFT DRINKS MAIDEN HCP (1000m) - Min weight 55kg & apprentices can claim:
ULTRA keen on consistent 3YO Muswellbrook filly 7. Sophie's Lass (Todd Howlett/Aaron Bullock) who can break through third-up. Wasn't far off the smart Geotime last start here in a race with more depth, and draws even better with gun rider getting back on.
MAIN DANGERS: Big watch on debutant 3YO Wyong filly 9. Minifinn who looks well prepared off two forward trials, and draws to take up a nice trail. Still they wait for local 4YO mare 10. Peachies Dream to smash that maiden, and again she looks well placed third-up from the inside draw after looming big and then buckling under pressure late in that Geotime race. Fitter, and must be around the finish with an economical run. Resuming 3YO Newcastle colt 1. Stooge hasn't done much in two previous first-up runs, but trial was sound, and took on better company than this last prep. Port Macquarie 5YO gelding 5. Line Up Girls is still chasing his first win at 17th start, but has been placed seven times in some handy maiden company, and also comes out of that race behind Geotime. Just needs to find some cover from a wider gate.
My Betting Attack: Sophie's Lass to win and quinella 7 and 9
Race 3 @ 3.05pm TAREE RACES MON JAN 20 MAIDEN HCP (1600m) - Min weight 55kg & apprentices can claim:
STILL with the maidens, but up to the mile, and there's plenty of chances headed by improving 4YO local gelding 13. Senatorial (Tony Ball/Ms Mikayla Weir a0) whose record doesn't look flash from 16 starts, but loved his last furlong behind a promising horse at Wyong last start, and draws a better barrier in a thinner race so doesn't have to be so far off the speed before the turn.
MAIN DANGERS: Wyong 4YO gelding 2. Hidden Hills has had four mixed runs this prep, and while was no match for the front-running display of Black Star Bowie last start, he's hard fit and will be further switched on with the blinkers applied. Rival 4YO Wyong mare 12. Schengen has been up for a while, but gradually improved in some handy company as the distances have risen, and she also gets the blinkers on for the first time.
My Betting Attack: Senatorial to win and box exacta 2,12,13
Race 4 @ 3.40pm XXXX GOLD CLASS 2 HCP (1600m) - Min weight 54kg & apprentices can claim:
KEEN here on progressive 4YO Newcastle mare 2. Azarmin (Kris Lees/Andrew Gibbons) to bounce back after disappointing at Scone when she loomed briefly from well off the speed early in the straight, but flattened out past the furlong. Previously had resumed with a dominant and fast-finishing win this grade at Tuncurry, and the blinkers going on is a key gear change. Was scratched from Coffs Harbour on Sunday to be saved for this.
MAIN DANGERS: Wyong 4YO gelding 3. Tann Hills turned his form right around last start thundering down the middle at big odds to upset a handy Class 2 field at Muswellbrook. Previous two runs this prep carrying bigger weights were poor, so taking a little on trust now he's found winning form. You're never quite sure what's coming with 4YO Newcastle mare 5. Zizania either. Only real run of note this prep was flying home behind Azarmin at Tuncurry two runs back when jockey made an early move before the turn, but she gets in on the limit weight from a good draw; while 6YO Newcastle mare 4. Longchamp Lass has a poor winning strike rate but worked home nicely in a Class 2 at Tamworth last start, and can peak here third-up.
My Betting Attack: Azarmin to win
Race 5 @ 4.15pm DE BORTOLI WINES MAIDEN PLATE (1250m):
OPEN contest at set weights, but Improving 4YO Scone gelding 1. Dante Alexander (Jeremy Gask/Chad Lever) has finished off okay in two runs at home this prep, and looks nicely suited from a low draw with senior rider booked.
MAIN DANGERS: Newcastle 3YO filly 11. Hibern disappointed last start at Scone after getting a good trail, but fourth-up into only her second prep, she can hit back in a thin race; while watch the market on stablemate 3YO filly 13. Serriano who has been freshened up via a useful trial, and draws the inside. Rival 3YO Newcastle gelding 10. The Borough resumes off a nice trial win, and while this is well short of his best distance, will be running on late. Include locally-trained 3YO filly 12. Polariser whose form is slowly improving in wider exotics.
My Betting Attack: Dante Alexander each way
Race 6 @ 4.50pm IRON JACK CLASS 3 HCP (1000m) - Min weight 54kg & apprentices can claim:
COMPETITIVE and intriguing sprint that could be a Taree v Newcastle showdown. Promising 4YO local gelding 6. Fair Dinkum (Ross Stitt/Brooke Stower) resumes for a strong and popular stable off two dominant home track trial wins, and was close-up in consecutive Highways last spring. Looks ready to rock.
MAIN DANGERS: Rival 5YO gelding 4. Cartel lines up for his first run in eight months, but he's something of a fresh "no trial" specialist scoring a dominant win first-up this track and trip in similar company last prep, and leading local trainer has replaced blinkers with winkers. Another emerging 3YO filly from the Kris Lees yard in Newcastle, 9. Iconic Star will be hard to hold out resuming just a half kilo over the minimum weight, and has been kept up to the mark after a handy Gosford trial six weeks back. Smart 3YO Newcastle filly 7. Xiaoli's Ying is on the rise and shooting for three straight wins for strong trainer/rider team. Draws the fence, and has early tactical gears, but taking on much tougher opposition. Coffs Harbour 5YO gelding 5. Vacate returns off a four month spell, and also hasn't publicly trialled, but fresh record is solid enough.
My Betting Attack: Fair Dinkum each way and trifecta 4,6,9/4,5,6,7,9/4,5,6,7,9
Race 7 @ 5.25pm KENNARDS HIRE CLASS 2 HCP (1300m) - Min weight 54kg & apprentices can claim:
GOOD race to finish, although hinges on how forward promising 4YO Newcastle mare 1. Star Alibi (Jason Deamer/Ms Samantha Clenton a0) is. Powered over the top for a terrific win on debut at Muswellbrook last winter before repeating the dose same track and trip at Class 1 level. Has trialled in typical strong fashion over 1000m, and looks reasonably well treated under 58kg.
MAIN DANGERS: Doubt there are any if the top-weight is switched on, but improving 4YO Gosford gelding 3. Hercules Mo ran the best race of his career first-up at Scone thundering down the middle to win in record time. Little step up in class and draws wider, but trainer may have found the trick with him now. Well bred 3YO Newcastle filly 5. Siesta Key looks the only other chance after sticking on okay at Scone second-up, and draws to get a nice run.
My Betting Attack: Star Alibi to win
My BEST BETS:
R2 7. SOPHIE'S LASS** Expect: $3.60 - $3.75; My Early Rating: $2.40
R4 2. AZARMIN** Expect: $3.00 - $3.15; My Early Rating: $2.20
R7 1. STAR ALIBI*** Expect: $2.85 - $3.00; My Early Rating: $2.00
My BEST VALUE:
R2 9. MINIFINN (E/W)** Expect: $7.00 - $7.50; My Early Rating: $4.15
R5 1. DANTE ALEXANDER (E/W)*** Expect: $7.00 - $7.50; My Early Rating: $3.85
R6 6. FAIR DINKUM (E/W)* Expect: $6.25 - $6.50; My Early Rating: $4.05