There's nine races on today's card, headlined by the Group 2 Missile Stakes. The track is currently rated a Good 4 with the rail in the True position.
Best Bet: Race 2 - (5) Haut Brion Her
Best Value Bet: Race 9 - (6) Bye See
Good little race to kick off the card. Interested in two horses here. (5) Adana was scratched from a race on Wednesday in order to take his place here. He's first up from a spell and had a quiet trial on the synthetic leading into this. First up last prep he ran 2nd, beaten 0.3L over this track and distance behind Vegadaze, which looks a decent bit of form for what's a very similar race. Drawn well in barrier 3, Bowman goes on and he looks hard to beat. With that said, he's a winner of just one race from his 13 career starts and I'm going to side with (3) Wimlah. His run in defeat last start was terrific. He settled towards the rear of the field on a day that was hard to make ground and he worked home in the best final 400m of the race. The smaller field helps him today and Tim Clark takes over the reigns. He gets synthetic hoof filler on for the first time which is a little query but he's good enough to win this.
She's no fancy price but I struggle to see anything beating the favourite (5) Haut Brion Her here. She's won both her starts this prep in convincing style and the horse she beat last start then came out and won last weekend to frank the form even further. She rises in grade again but this is her home deck and with even luck she's quite clearly the one to beat. (2) Taniko drops in grade after running 3rd to Bon Amis in Listed company last start. Prior to that she won a BM78 over the 1000m at Randwick. She'll be giving Haut Brion Her a headstart here and I doubt she'll be running her down.
He's struggling to win a Highway but (3) Onemore Sapphire gets his chance again today. The little query is the fact he's drawn barrier 11 so is likely to be right at the back of the field, but he's been consistently around the mark in these races for the past couple of months. He'll give a good showing once again, hopefully with clear running he can swoop down the outside and get his head in front; he deserves to. (14) Isadora Twinkle struggles to get her head in front, period. She's won just two of her 23 starts but she should have finished closer in the Highway she contested last start. She went around huge odds but was held up from the 200m-100m and then raced tight for the final part of the race. She was only beaten 2.1L. Better drawn in barrier 6 today and carries the same weight so should be competitive. (15) Confidential is a blowout chance with blinkers on.
Small fields like this can always be a bit tricky but (4) Alizee is the winner here. She's won three of her four starts when first up from a spell, including an impressive win under top weight of 60kg first up last prep. She won the Expressway Stakes last prep when there was only five runners engaged, where she just sat at the back of the field and rounded them up, so we'll probably see a similar thing happen today. (1) Le Romain has placed in seven of his eight starts when first up and has run 2nd in both starts at this track and distance. He'll run his usual honest race. (2) Vegadaze is the new kid on the block with more to come. Interested to see how he measures up against elite company.
Happy to stick with (5) Lucicello who has looked a different horse since they decided to ride her conservatively in her past two starts. She's showed a dynamic turn of foot with the change of tactics and with just 53kg today, she should be tough to hold out, so long as they are able to make ground. (3) Athiri is the runner I'm most interested in seeing. She was dynamic on debut over this track and distance, which remains her sole career win. She went on to be competitive against the country's top two-year-olds and returns from a spell today. Fresh is often best with Godolphin so it'd be no shock at all to see her turn up and blow these away. (2) Dawn Passage created a big impression on debut before being outclassed by subsequent G1 winner Castelvecchio. She gets blinkers on for the first time today. Backing both Lucicello and Athiri.
We have a race made up of horses high in the market that don't particularly like winning. (7) Sweet Deal is favourite and then we get to (8) Drachenfels and (4) Fortensky who are equal second-favourites. Fair to say it's been a while between drinks for all three, and they've all had their chance since then. Each of them find a very winnable race but I'm going to lean to a fresh horse on the scene which is (2) All Too Soon. He's likely to need further than 1400m but he goes alright first up and he ran 2nd over 1500m behind Seaway first up last prep. At $8.50 he might be a bit of value outside the favourites. (5) Notio returns to Sydney after a disappointing effort in Melbourne last start. The draw gives him his chance to bounce back.
Sticking with (6) Costello who ran 2nd to Dr Drill last start, with (9) Matowi back in 3rd. Matowi then came out and won his next start so the form has stood up. They both meet at essentially the same weights as they did last start and Costello is probably even better suited third up today, so I'll go with him to go one better today. (2) Loveisili dropped from 2100m to 1800m last start and found it difficult. Back up in trip today should bring about improvement. The map is a bit difficult but he can bounce back and looks a shade of value at $7.50. (3) Desert Path really improved out of sight second up last preparation so I'd be keeping him safe at $13.
(1) Black Magnum has been seriously impressive in his two starts this campaign, winning by a combined margin of 5.8L. Up in the weights again today but gets senior rider Nash Rawiller on board to replace the 3kg apprentice. With even luck, he'll be very hard to beat again. (9) Dawn Dawn is a mare I've got a decent opinion of. She obviously had things go wrong last prep and has spent 40 weeks off the track since then. I thought her first trial back was very good and her form going back two preps is pretty decent. Drawn well and could be a vaue chance at $7.50. (2) So Taken is a talented mare and James McDonald is a positive booking.
(5) Cinquedea finds a very winnable race. He bolted in at both Goulburn and Newcastle before running 2nd over track and distance to Phaistos last start. He found the front very quickly and was left a bit of a sitting duck for the swooper. Drawn well in barrier 3, he will no doubt take some catching. A couple at value are (4) Mapmaker and (6) Bye See. Mapmaker draws barrier 1 and gets Hugh Bowman booked to ride. He should box seat and he's got a good record at this track and distance. Bye See had absolutely nothing go right first up. The tongue tie came off after the start, then she copped a check in the straight and pulled up with a laceration. She improved out of sight second up last prep, so I'd be throwing her in your numbers at $26.
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