TRACK: Good 3 PENO: 4.59 RAIL: +6 M
Race 1: 3YO & up Benchmark 81, 2400m
Only a small field to kick the day off and you can expect No.7 Hudson County to roll to the front with No.8 Zatopaz likely to fall into the tagging position. No.2 FOUR CARAT was very good winning a staying race in Melbourne during the spring before having no luck whatsoever at Flemington when locked up the entire straight. James McDonald goes on board and with only six runners he should be within striking distance as they turn for home. No.5 Jiayuguan was outstanding in winning last start when charging from well back, albeit her two wins of late have been on soft tracks which is something she won't get this weekend. Barrier one will be a big advantage for her here, enabling her to settle a touch closer. No.1 Quick Strike has only been to the journey once in the Derby and he was solid, suggesting the distance won't be an excuse. I expect stepping up to this trip that'll he will be able to produce a turn of speed. No.7 Hudson County has won two on the trot albeit in weaker grade but is rock hard fit and looks to get a nice run on the speed. No.6 Danjeu showed last start he is working back into form through fitness so he must be respected in this line up.
Top four: 2 Four Carat, 6 Danjeu, 5 Jiayuguan, 1 Quick Strike
Betting strategy: Not wanting to burn too much of my bank here so small investment on No.2 Four Carat.
Race 2: 2YO, 1100m
Race 3: 3YO Benchmark 72, 1400m
Race 4: 3YO & UP Class 3, 1100m
On paper there looks enough speed to ensure all runners will get their opportunity. No.13 Noble Joey will look to cruise across and may well find the front but I expect a few others to settle handy and they include No.4 Urban Knight, No.6 Captain Shazam, No.3 Bitburg. You can also throw No.1 Ocean Grand and No.9 Danish Lace while one of the fancied runners No.15 IMMY will look to hold its position from a good gate. The country race looks a tricky one to work out but I've settled on the No.15 Immy who will get a good run from the barrier, is sure to appreciate the firmer surface than her last run in town, as well as the extra 100m. Jason Collett takes the ride and he is terrific form. No.13 Noble Joey was in front everywhere bar the post last start and as long as he doesn't have to burn too much gas to get on the speed he will be there for a long way. No.1 Ocean Grand, although trained at Taree, has started in town all his three career runs, winning his latest at Canterbury. He has drawn awkwardly so will need luck but goes from a senior rider in Brenton Avdulla to apprentice Samantha Clenton. No.12 City Boots was tough at Randwick last start when caught wide throughout and she was only first up so with further fitness here she must be kept safe. No.3 Bitburg and No.4 Urban Knight both have chances with good runs in transit.
Top four: 15 Immy, 13 Noble Joey, 1 Ocean Grand, 3 Bitburg
Betting strategy: Backing 15 Immy each way.
Race 5: 3YO & up Benchmark 78, 1900m
No.10 Della's Diamond will kick up and attempt to lead but you can expect pressure from No.2 Dance Of Heroes as he comes across from a wide barrier. There will be a battle to find the spot in behind the leading two with No.6 Song And Laughter, No.4 Sebrina, No.5 White Dove, No.7 Zaboss and No.12 Gambler's Blues all having enough early toe to hold their spots. No.11 LADY MACAN looks good value to me here with 51.5kgs on her back and if the speed is solid as expected she will will be strong late. She is a slightly timid mare that needs a little room and I doubt she appreciated last start when she was crowded the entire length of the straight. No.4 Sebrina has been solid in her past two runs suggesting this trip is going to be more suitable. No.12 Gambler's Blues will have no weight and although jumping in class she gets a few pluses as well as the light weight with a dry track, a soft barrier, extra distance and a genuinely run race. No.3 Now's The Time was good in winning two runs back before failing on a rain-affected track so expect improvement here with a dry surface. The faster they go the better for him. No.6 Song And Laughter is racing consistently, albeit around Canterbury so the key is whether she can bring that form to the bigger Rosehill track. No.1 Award Season is first up for 987 days and although his trials have been fair I'm happy to see what he can do. If he wins I will be out of play.
Top four: 11 Lady Macan, 12 Gambler's Blues, 4 Sebrina, 3 Now's The Time
Betting strategy: Backing No.11 Lady Macan at good odds whilst saving on No.12 Gambler's Blues also at double figure odds. Boxing a trifecta with numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12. $52.50 = 25%.
Race 6: 3YO & UP Benchmark 90, 1400m
With the step up to 1400m I expect No.3 Eloping to be ridden more aggressively and she is likely to lead with No.9 Perfect Weapon grabbing the spot on her back and No.5 High Esteem will work forward from his gate to settle handy. No.4 Medcaut will look to slot into a lovely trailing position. I declared I would never tip No.6 WINE TALES again after she has let us and the punters down but I'm giving her one last chance here with the addition of blinkers back on and a race lacking in depth. She has had a month's break which I believe will help her and with a fair tempo she can come hard late. The main danger is the class galloper No.1 God's In Him, returning here off an eight-week break after running second to Vashka in a group 2 event and prior to that winning impressively over this course and distance. Even with top weight of 61kgs his class will carry him a long way. The other two winning hopes looks to be No.8 Gamblestown, who is racing in career-best form and gets the favours from gate one. No.4 Medcaut is first-up so the money will tell the tale. He trialled twice in June but went back to the paddock without racing, suggesting something amiss. His two recent trials have been only fair.
Top four: 6 Wine Tales, 1 God's In Him, 8 Gamblestown, 4 Medcaut
Betting strategy: Backing No.6 Wine Tales while still having a good bet on No.1 God's In Him.
Race 7: 3YO & UP Fillies & Mares Benchmark 78, 1400m
No.3 FESTIVITY, stepping from 1100m to 1400m, looks the clear leader, even allowing for the fact she has drawn the car park, while No.10 PASSIONFLOWER will be handy to the leader. If No.15 FLORAL GOLD gains a start she will kick up from gate one and be right on the speed. Others that have enough early speed to at least hold their spots are No.5 ALL CERISE, No.6 WITHOUT A SHADOW and No.13 LA SPECIALE. Festivity has been terrific in her two runs this preparation running second after being attacked up front by roughies, and although she steps sharply to 1400m, her cruising speed is sure to make it hard for the others to run her down. She has only finished further back than second once from five starts and looks as though she is only passing through this grade. All Cerise will have the blinkers back on and I reckon she is about to be bounce back to some good form. Her latest effort although beaten three lengths suggested to me she has turned the corner and having drawn nicely should get her chance to come hard late. No.12 HARLEM LADY may end up the best galloper in this race in time and must be given thought off the back of her consistent preparation following a win first-up. A soft draw will likely mean she can settle around midfield rather than way back. No.2 MAGIC OF DREAMS returned to the trials after putting on a bucking rodeo performance last start so if you judge her off the previous two runs she looms as a major player. I find it hard to catch No.4 UNEQUIVOCAL but on her best form she must be given some hope after running an honest race last start in the Group 3 HKJC Stakes at Flemington during the carnival. No.11 HETTY HEIGHTS is an improving mare with a future but faces her toughest test here coming off a solid win at Gosford.
Top Four: 3 Festivity, 5 All Cerise, 12 Harlem Lady, 2 Magic Of Dreams
Betting Strategy: Backing 3 Festivity will a solid bet while saving my stake on 5 All Cerise and 12 Harlem Lady
Race 8: 3YO & UP Benchmark 78, 1100m
No.7 FREEZE THE CHARGERS will zoom across and find the front if she begins well, while No.9 ESGRIMIDOR will be rushing forward to be right on the pace. If No.15 ADJECTIVE gains a run, he could easily cross to make sure the speed will be on right from the get go. No.6 SPORTS EDITION and to a lesser degree No.2 LE CORDON BLEU will be looking to find spots tucked in behind the leading bunch. To my eye this is the hardest race of the day, so I've ended up with our best rider aboard as my top pick No.10 FIFTYSHADESOFGREY, who was a tad unlucky not to finish closer last start when having to switch across heels at the furlong post. Many believe she is just a wet-tracker, but I reckon when she’s in form she races well on all surfaces and with the tempo expected to be strong here she will get her chance to run home hard. Le Cordon Bleu is first-up having won two of his three previous fresh runs, albeit in slightly easier grade races. His two trials this time in have been solid, the latest I thought showed he is keen jumping straight on the bridle. No.1 LORD LEOFRIC has won four from seven and resumes here off a 105-day spell with two barrier trials under his belt that have been pretty good. His best form is certainly with the sting out of the track which he doesn't get here, but that said, he has only raced twice on good ground.
Top Four: 10 Fiftyshadesofgrey, 2 Le Cordon Bleu, 4 Londehero, 1 Lord Leofric
Betting Strategy: Small investment each way on 10 Fiftyshadesofgrey
Race 9: 3YO & UP Benchmark 78, 1500m
No.4 CAPED CRUSADER will cruise across and find the front at his leisure, while No.2 BINARY is likely to end up with the perfect trail. No.1 SIEGFRIED will be looking to work forward and slot in one off the paint. The next couple on the speed map look to be No.11 SURFIN' SAFARI and No.8 TAN TAT DIAMOND. It wouldn't surprise me if No.14 MARY LOU settles just off the leading bunch. Caped Crusader is first-up after eight months, but has been readied for this run with two very impressive barrier trials, the latest holding off some quality sprinters. At her latest run back in March she started favourite when beaten a long way in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes, but he can be forgiven as he had had enough and went too keenly within himself. He is a quality animal, and if the money comes for him during the day, may just be the best bet of the afternoon. No.9 CAUTHEN'S POWER is another horse on the rise and showed his class winning first-up ten days ago after being last after 50m but proving too strong to come through the field to win over 1300m. The step up to 1500m is a big plus but the car park barrier draw is a negative but hopefully a James McDonald gem will deal with that. Binary is drawn to get the perfect trail on Caped Crusader and must be respected off the back of a win and a solid second at his past two runs. The drop back is distance of 80m might not seem much but I reckon he only just gets 1500m so it is a huge plus. No.3 HEAVEN'S ABOVE was beaten a lip first up three weeks ago when closing late and as long as she hasn't lost the speed in her legs she will be coming hard late.
Top Four: 4 Caped Crusader, 9 Cauthen's Power, 2 Binary, 3 Heaven's Above
Betting Strategy: Waiting and if the money comes for No.4 Caped Crusader I will be having the biggest bet of the day.