Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Ascot on Saturday, November 23rd.
The Perth racing carnival begins today with the G1 Railway Stakes meeting, which also features the Crystal Slipper Stakes, Placid Ark Stakes, Carbine Club Stakes, Jungle Mist Classic and WA Guineas!
There's nine races on the card, with the track rated a Good 4 and the rail out 2m.
Best Bet: Race 5 - (11) Uni Time
Best Value Bet: Race 3 - (4) Macroy
We kick off the card with an 1800m race. It looks a race between the top four in the market but it's tough to split those. I've gone with the last-start York Cup winner (2) Brother's Keeper. He ran in that third up from a spell and that was over 1920m so he drops back slightly in trip to the 1800m today, but I think he's probably the best suited out of the four in the market. He's still relatively early in his campaign so he's not overtaxed, he won at this stage of his last prep, he's proven at the distance and he draws well. The other three all have some queries at this distance so he's gone on top. (5) Here Comes Lenni's last two starts have been his first two at the track, and he's recorded a win and a nose 2nd. The query with him is the fact six of his past seven starts have been over 2000m-2200m, so dropping back to the 1800m isn't ideal for him. Justin Warwick is very good in these staying races but it's not an ideal prep. (4) Harry Thomas is our likely leader in the race. Getting him up in distance has been the key to his recent return to form. He's run once over this track and distance in the past, where he finished second last, but that was at the end of the prep and he started $41. He finished off well over the mile last start so the step up in trip now shouldn't hinder him. He won three starts back and Brother's Keeper was back in 4th on that occasion, but Brother's Keeper was first up and his first up record is terrible, so I think he can turn the tables now that he's up to a suitable trip fourth up. Harry Thomas has also won one race from 19 starts here at Ascot. (3) Jedaffair is the Pike/Durrant runner so is sure to have plenty of fans. He comes into this off a five-week break. He put two wins together over the mile, including one where Harry Thomas ran 2nd. Most recently he ran 3rd behind Cockney Crew and Forceful over this track and distance. That's good form (Cockney Crew was set to run in the Railway) but I'm really not convinced he runs a strong 1800m. Even in his wins over the mile he was peaking late, and he wasn't exactly strong through the line last start, so this distance seems to test him. I'll take him on here. Brother's Keeper on top.
The two-year-old feature is the Crystal Slipper Stakes. We saw a short-priced favourite in the form of (3) Our Danni here, who backed up two trial wins to salute on debut over this track and distance a fortnight ago. That was a decent form race as the horse that ran 3rd had previously won on debut impressively. Pike rode her on that occasion and sticks with her here so she obviously rates highly. I really liked the trial of (7) Kissonallforcheeks. She settled at the back of the field in her 850m trial and worked home very strongly to nab 2nd on the line. What I really liked was her final 100m, where she really hit the line hard. The worry is whether she's already looking for ground and how much of a headstart she'll be giving them, but she's got plenty of ability and at $7.00 she looks the value in the race. Will be having something on her. (2) Ginger Baker raced in the same trial as Kissonallforcheeks and was given a quiet time of things. He led and was held together in the straight. He can get a good run from the inside gate here and should be included in numbers. (5) American Choice showed blistering pace to win a 400m trial and was then given a very quiet hitout over a longer trip in her most recent trial. Simon Miller is very good with these sorts of horses so she shouldn't be underestimated. Our Danni on top but she looks short enough at even money against a couple of talented horses, so will go with Kissonallforcheeks each way.
There could be a complete each way moral here in the form of (4) Macroy at $10. If she's at her best, she'd give this race a huge shake. The key today is how much speed is in this race - the race looks completely set up for something coming home over the top. Of the 12 runners in the race, I can see five horses that could potentially lead, and a further three or four that normally race midfield or better. I think Macroy is one of only two horses that will go back, so this could be run at a fierce tempo. If it is, she should be able to slot in from barrier 10 in the three-wide running line and be given every chance to swoop home over the top of them. If we go back to the start of this year, she resumed from a 34-week break and won her first three starts back, all in town, all at this track and distance. She's undefeated over the 1000m at Ascot. Her past two starts have been below par, but she's trialled well leading into her return today and on her best form, she can win. I just think the way this race sets up, we have to be on her today at the double figure odds.
I really hate this race - I mean, it's a good race, but I've struggled to assess it. I've ended up with (7) Niccovi on top, but it doesn't fill me with great confidence that she raced in Melbourne just 16 days ago. She has been huge in defeat in her past two starts at Moonee Valley and then Flemington, and if she were to reproduce that form here, she'd be winning. She charged home to split Sisstar and California Zimbol down the straight last start, which is superior form to anything in this race. She'll be ridden quiet from barrier 6 and if she's at her best, she should sail home over the top. (1) Massimo is the one she's going to have to catch. Massimo has won three of his five career starts and was a winner over 1100m here carrying 59.5kg last start. Drops in weight today, should settle ahead of Niccovi in the run, and if Niccovi is flat, Massimo is the likely winner. (5) Laverrod returns as a gelding and has trialled well. Sean Casey's go-to jockey is Peter Knuckey and he's booked to ride. His juvenile form was strong last prep so I'd watch the market with him, as it usually tells the story with this stable.
(11) Uni Time profiles nicely for this race and he can make it a winning hattrick. He's won both of his starts this preparation in good style, he draws a perfect gate in 5 here and there's a few of his main competitors with some queries against them so he looks the obvious and reliable choice in the race. The big runner to watch is (6) Kemono. He originally came over from Japan to be trained by Darren Weir. Weir had a very high opinion of this horse but never quite got him to deliver. He then went to the stable of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace but failed to make an impression. He's now under the care of Lindsey Smith, and we know how he can transform horses. This is an easier racing scene for the horse and it wouldn't shock me to see him come out and win. First up at 1400m with the blinkers on and Yendall booked are all telling signs. You'd expect very sharp improvement from (2) Arcadia Prince after he finished last first up. He's got an excellent record first up and at the track and distance. Happy to risk (1) Tally at 1400m. He's a 2000m horse having a hit out before the Kingston Town Classic in a couple weeks. Backing both Uni Time and Kemono.
Cracking race, and not an easy one to solve! I'm going away from the favourites with (13) Beautiful Mind. If you go back and watch the replay of this mare first up, it might just be the worst beat you've ever seen (except for Written Choice at the Valley last night). It wasn't one of Paul Harvey's best rides, he managed to get shuffled all the way back, was badly held up for the first half of the straight, went back to the inside and then ran up backsides to the line. But the noticeable thing was when he put one around her backside, she picked up noticeably, before being held up again. With any luck and a good ride, she would have won that, and trainer Lindsey Smith declared her on social media before the race. She's obviously a very talented mare with a good winning strike rate and she might just beat her more fancied rivals today. Drawn well, Yendall on and looks a decent each way bet. (2) Electric Light is Adam Durrant's best chance of the day according to the trainer himself. She's third up from a spell today and put the writing on the wall with a big run behin Flirtini in the Prince Of Wales' Stakes last start, where she came from last to be beaten just 2.2L. Pike goes on today, she's won six from eight at the distance and looks a great winning chance. (3) Dance Music is also third up from a spell ang gets Chris Parnham taking over from Chloe Azzopardi. She's another with a great record at the track and distance and she's won six of her nine starts overall. Should go close. (12) Fa'lion Machine can be thrown in at huge odds.
The Group 2 WA Guineas has a terrific line up of three-year-olds. I'm siding with the filly (9) Kay Cee at each way odds. The last two winners of this race have been fillies and Kay Cee follows a similar path to what Arcadia Queen did last year, coming into this on the one-week back-up after raicng in the Champion Fillies' Stakes last weekend. She ran 3rd on that occasion but the barrier beat her. She had to come from last on the bend and she ran home strongly down the outside to grab 3rd. She can be closer today in the smaller field with a slightly better draw and if she's within striking distance, she's capable of running them down. (11) Montelena might be the one flying under the radar here. She was a dominant winner at her only career start at Belmont back in June. This stable knows how to get them ready first up and I think she can run well at double figure odds. Out of the boys, (1) Dig Deep is the one I'd be with. It looks as if his whole preparation has been set toward getting to the mile at this point. He gets Damien Oliver booked today which is a big plus and he drops down to set weights. (2) Jericho Missile hasn't done much wrong either but I thought he had his chance last start and wasn't good enough. (3) Red Can Man beat them both fair and square last start but gets in considerably worse off at the weights today. (4) Widespread is the Godolphin three-year-old that's made the journey across. Interested to see how he will measure up but I think the locals will have him covered. (6) Superstorm obviously continues to get better with racing. He only comes off a Class 1 victory but these Peters horses are so well placed and he has obvious claims. Siding with the fillies!
(10) Carocapo can lead all the way to finish the day here. He's had an odd looking prep on paper. First up he was held up most of the straight and couldn't quicken once clear, second up he completely blew the start and was never a hope, and last start he went forward and gave a good sight behind Uni Time and Daance Music. Both of those horses are favourites for their earlier races today, so if they perform well it's a big tick for this horse's chances. He should go forward and lead and this is easier than what he's been running against, so he'll take plenty of catching. (8) Beat The Devil has a good record at the track and distance and gets his chance, (13) Rebel Yell won first up and gets in with just 52.5kg, while (3) Minus Looks is much better suited back on firm ground.
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