The nine-race card is headlined by the Listed June Stakes. The track is currently rated in the Heavy range and the rail is in the 3m position.
We've previewed every race on the card below.
Best Bet: Race 9 - (2) Quackerjack
Best Value Bet: Race 8 - (11) Zourkhan
Two-year-old race to kick things off. Looks a tricky one to assess with five last-start winners and a mix of different form lines and tracks to consider. (3) Lanigera was tested against some of the best juveniles in Australia last campaign. He ran 3rd to Loving Gaby and finished midfield behind Microphone in two of his starts. He returns as a gelding this time around, which hopefully allows him to settle a bit better as he's tended to overrace in his races. He wasn't asked to do much in his recent trial but if he has improved as a gelding, he'd be hard to beat in an off-season two-year-old race like this. I think the value is the Canberra horse (9) Tejori. He won his debut at his home track easily, leading all the way to score by 3.6L after being very heavily backed. Leading into that, he won a trial by more than four lengths. There's a bit of pace in this race but if he can find the front with the light weight, he'd take some catching at double figure odds. I'm also wary of (5) Intrepidacious, who as an easy winner on debut back in October, but failed to do anything in two starts last prep. Her two trials this time in have been very good so she might be back.
Anything could win this without surprising. (2) Itz Lily goes on top. She's had seven career starts for six top-two finishes and she's undefeated on wet ground so she'll get conditions to suit. She was beaten 1.5L in Group 2 company in Brisbane last start so is likely to find this a bit easier. Gets a useful claim and draws well and this is a very winnable race. (5) Statuesquely has won her past two starts and will find the lead here. She's yet to race on wet ground but I don't envisage it being a problem for her. She'll be in the finish again. (3) Stardome gets blinkers on for the first time and won his only start on wet ground, so he might run a decent race at $17.
As always, these Highway Handicaps aren't big betting races for me. Only really two I'm interested in and they both come out of the same race. They are (9) Madam Pauline and (3) Irish Songs. They ran 2nd and 3rd respectively in a Highway Handicap at their last start, with 0.8L splitting the two. Both were first up so there's little to separate them in terms of fitness, though Madam Pauline did have three trials going into that run whereas Irish Songs only had one, so perhaps he has a bit more to come. He also didn't get a great deal of luck in the straight. He was held up from barrier 1 and only got clear late in the race, while Madam Pauline had her chance to my eye. I'll back Irish Songs to turn the tables today. (2) Malea Magic has a good first up record and comes into this fresh; he could be the value at $7.50. Likely to back Irish Songs ($5.00) and save on Madam Pauline ($4.20) and Malea Magic ($7.50).
Staying race over 2400m here and it looks a very open affair. There's three mainly that I'm interested in. (2) Free Fly Too ($9.00) was well beaten in Listed company last start but won two on the bounce prior to that. Drops in grade to a BM78 today and last preparation he won a similar race at Warwick Farm on a heavy track, despite sitting three-wide the trip. He'll get conditions to suit today and can bounce back at each way odds. (8) Ombudsman ($5.50) didn't get any luck behind Wolfe last start and now gets out to a winnable distance. His only run on heavy ground was a 0.7L defeat where he ran on strongly from the back of the field, so the conditions should pose no problem. He gets his chance to win here. (10) California Longbow ($9.50) has won three of his five starts this preparation and that arguably should be four from five. Gets in light with 53kg here and the wet track won't be an issue. He's another at each way odds that should be competitive. I'll be backing all three at the odds.
Looks a nice race for (6) Call Me Royal, who comes into this on the quick back-up. She's run 2nd in both starts this preparation and she really gets her chance to win one. Should be able to find the front with ease from barrier 7 and provided she handles the wet track, she will be tough to peg back. (12) I Am Kalani could be a bit of value at $31. She resumed with a luckless run in a Highway Handicap, where she never got daylight in the straight. This is a step up in class on that but she's got a good second up record and draws the inside for a soft run. If she gets some luck she might sneak into a place. (11) Jen Rules should appreciate the wet ground. She's only placed once from four starts on good ground but has four top-two finishes from five starts on wet tracks. The form out of the race she ran in last start has been franked so she could represent a bit of each way value at $11.
The wet track makes things a bit interesting here. There's two that I'll be backing. (2) Southern Lad gets his chance here, third up from a spell, up to 1200m and on a track that's likely to suit him. He's undefeated from two starts on wet ground. Drawn barrier 1, which may or may not be beneficial (we'll have to monitor the earlier races), gets a useful claim and is coming off two placings. Today is his chance to win one. (5) Dio D'oro resumes from a spell and he'll relish conditions. All three of his career wins have been on wet ground, two of those on heavy tracks. His latest trial was nice and he won his only start at this track and distance. Expecting him to be very competitive. The favourite is (1) Smartedge who is probably the best horse in the race but has to carry 60.5kg as a result. He's untried on heavy ground, though he has run 2nd in both starts on soft tracks. It's a big ask for him to carry the weight on heavy ground first up with just one trial under the belt, so I'll risk him. (10) Argent D'or isn't hopeless at odds.
Great little race here for the Listed June Stakes. (9) Deprive is clearly the horse to beat but he's very short at even money! There is a fair bit of depth to this field and while he's the horse on the up and with more to offer, he's still got some good competition here. His only start on heavy ground was first up last prep when he went down as the odds-on favourite, beaten 2.5L. I won't be backing him at $2.00 here and that's purely price oriented. Outside of him, there's a case to be made for several others. (2) I Thought So returns from a lengthy spell. He's had four trials to get him ready for this and he's looked pretty good. His record on wet ground is outstanding, with three wins and four placings from eight starts. (4) Bon Amis is another that returns from a spell. He's won three of his four first up runs, has four wins and two 2nds from six starts at the distance, two wins from three starts on wet ground, has trialled well and draws barrier 1 with 54kg. There's plenty to like about him. This is his toughest test to date but he can measure up. (10) Heart Conquered was run down late by Deprive last start but the wet ground may be enough to see him turn the tables today. He's undefeated from three starts on wet ground and should be peaking third up from a spell. He's drawn wide but he'll roll forward and Deprive will be giving him a headstart. (11) Brook Magic is also a touch of value at $15. She resumed with a win at Kensington and she beat Heart Conquered on that occasion, despite sitting wide without cover throughout. Her record on heavy ground is excellent and despite giving Heart Conquered a 4kg weight swing, she can outrun her odds. At the prices, I'll be backing Heart Conquered ($5.00), Bon Amis ($6.50) and I Thought So ($7.50), with a saver on Brook Magic ($15). If Deprive wins, so be it.
Backing three horses here. (5) Star Of The Seas ($4.20) has never missed a place from 11 career starts, including five wins. He's run 3rd twice in his career and he was beaten less than a length in both of those races. He steps up to the mile for the first time but there's absolutely no reason he can't give this a good shake. He's undefeated on heavy ground so must be considered a strong winning chance again. (11) Zourkhan ($7.50) gets conditions to suit him. He looked home for all money first up but turned it up and ended up beaten 0.2L by Star Of The Seas. He gets a 6kg weight swing from that race to today and gets back onto wet ground, which he needs. He was outclassed in Group 3 company last start and that was on good ground, so back down in grade on a heavy track brings him right into calculations here. (6) Tip Top ($15) has done little in his first two runs back from a spell but he gets his chance tot urn his form around today. He's never finished out of the top two when third up from a spell and has a reasonably good record on wet ground. He's also undefeated at this track and distance. If he's not competitive today then he may not have come up this prep, but at $15 I'll take the bet to find out. Waller has five other runners in the race, so no shock to see any of those pop up.
(2) Quackerjack could be a complete moral here to end the day. He's been in great form this preparation. He won first up, then bumped into Military Zone and Trope second up and last start was beaten by Kolding, who is set to start a short-priced favourite in a Group 2 in Brisbane today. The form out of those past two starts looks very strong for a race like this. He's undefeated from two starts on wet ground, so despite the big weight and wide draw, he quite clearly looks the horse to beat. In terms of some value, (18) Primitivo should be included at double figures. He broke through for a rare win two starts back and then had no luck last start. He's got a good record on wet ground so he might get things to suit today. He doesn't win out of turn but he can be competitive. (13) Occupy is another that doesn't win out of turn but his only win in Australia was on a wet track and he's only placed once from eight starts on good ground, so he might like these conditions. He's also undefeated at the distance. (10) Monsieur Sisu is three from three on heavy ground so I doubt he'll start $26.
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