Race 2 — 1:30PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)
1. Star Boy won this race last year at Warwick Farm. The four-year-old was 42 weeks on the sidelines before resuming at Randwick last start. He finished last but had genuine excuses. He pulled up with a respiratory issue but further to that, after beginning poorly, found himself in the unfamiliar position of being out the back. He was entitled to feel the pinch late. The Pluck gelding was $9 into $7 there, in a BM74 that was won by Star Fall. Here he is back to a Class 3 Handicap and you can get $10. I’m being a lot more forgiving of that last run than the market. He’ll have to work to get across from the draw so we’ll know our fate early but if he can find a spot, he’s in this having won three of his eight starts.
Dangers: 2. Noble Boy is the early favourite to win the Country Championships ($4.50 with TAB). The Todd Blowes-trained four-year-old has won three from three with the latest of those a comfortable Highway victory over Coup de Main at Rosehill. He is undeniably tough to beat here but the $1.90 is no spoil, especially considering his pattern of getting back. 8. Sunlit has won her past two and took good improvement from her first up to her second up win. Trained by Matt Dunn, she deserves plenty of respect. 9. Sausedge is a speedy filly from the Matt Dale yard with a two from two record. If she leads like last start, Star Boy will get the drag across from her.
How to play it: Star Boy EACH WAY.
Race 3 — 2:05PM DAVALI THOROUGHBREDS CUP (1000 METRES)
Love how this race looks to set up for 4. She Knows from barrier 1 with Hugh Bowman steering. 3. Super Too will ensure this is hectically run, with 6. Memes to keep her company, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the backmarkers will be suited. Quite often they’ll get so far out of their ground they’re left with too much to do. Enter She Knows. She should be in the stalking role of third back the fence and ready to pounce. Any rain around helps further and she ended her last campaign in much deeper races than this, including a Group Two placing beating home Bons Away at Caulfield. She has never won first up but has been close and is so genuine.
Dangers: 5. Single Bullet carried a whopping 12.5kg less than Jungle Edge when mowing him down at Randwick last start but he’s in career best form. The gelding operation has done the trick, as has freshening him up between runs. Even the 1000m trip looks tailor maid. There’s plenty to like but how big of a start does he give away? 1. Camdus is having his first run for John Thompson and although he has never been tried over 1000m, he is a last start Listed winner over 1200m and his trials have been eye-catching. Super Too has beaten just two runners home in her last three runs. She always trials like a rocket.
How to play it: She Knows WIN.
Race 4 — 2:40PM AQUIS FARM ESKIMO PRINCE STAKES (1200 METRES)
Hard to be bullish about anything here being such a deep race but siding with 2. Brutal. He has won three from three and although his last two wins weren’t as flashy as the debut win, which saw him talked about as a potential top liner, he got the job done. With that campaign under his belt, expect him to improve significantly as we head into the autumn with the Hawkes polish. Just the one trial and although the margin was narrow and he did come under some pressure late, the heat was run in slick time. He’ll either settle outside of leader 5. Master Ash or hand up to 1. Sandbar on his outside and take the trail. Either way, he’ll get his chance. There is some real talent in this race but he presents as the one with the most upside.
Dangers: Sandbar is a bulldog. He loves a fight and shouldn’t be underestimated. He’s not the type to put a couple of lengths on his rivals. His fourth in the Golden Rose is an outstanding form reference for this and he has trialled up very nicely. He beat 3. Charge first up last preparation giving him 6kg. They are level weights here. Master Ash needs to prove he is up to the class of some of these but his most recent trial when breaking away from the pack with Kementari was a beauty. He’ll lead and give them something to chase. 6. Gem Song looked to need the run first up last campaign, and this shapes similarly over 1200m.
How to play it: Brutal WIN.
Race 5 — 3:15PM INGLIS SPRINT — 3YOS (1100 METRES)
Think 5. Coterie will run a big race here at odds. Hugh Bowman rides, as he couldn’t get down to 54kg to ride 8. Fiesta, and should settle midfield in what sets up as a very fast run race. The three-year-old, trained by Gerald Ryan, worked his way through the grades last campaign and although is his stiffest test to date, the manner in which Coterie trialled behind Brutal suggests he’s come back better again. His run behind 1. Royal Celebration last preparation, when humming along in front and being entitled to knock up, suggests he’ll measure up. Ryan will have Coterie ready to fire fresh too.
Dangers: This is a fascinating race of course headlined by the return of Golden Slipper winner 7. Estijaab, returning from a tie back operation that forced her to miss the spring. She’s got class on her side, and is so well placed as a 103 rater, but there is so much speed engaged here that it has me looking at others. That mainly being Fiesta. The Group One placed filly is as dynamic over the sprint trips as she is over the mile. Her two trials have been very strong, leaving me with no doubt that she has come back as well as ever, if not better. Maps to get every possible chance and is another one beautifully placed under the set weight conditions.
How to play it: Coterie EACH WAY and Fiesta WIN.
Race 6 — 3:50PM YARRAMAN PARK BREEDERS CLASSIC (1200 METRES)
Making a case for 1. Egg Tart in this race, at the odds on offer. She is a genuine 2000m horse but always sprints well fresh. I’d be a lot more confident if this was over 1400m but the price would be reflected in that so we’ll take the gamble at $12 (in from $15). She should have won her last two first up runs, getting no luck at all. One of those was over 1300m behind Crack Me Up, the latest when fifth behind Comin’ Through and Tom Melbourne. She’ll be giving these a start, even from the inside gate, but if Hughie can weave some magic late, she’ll be steaming home. Eyes on the skies with her as if we get any of the forecasted rain, it greatly enhances her chances.
Dangers: Tony McEvoy’s seven-year-old mare 2. Cool Pasion looked great in a Rosehill trial in elite company. Winx was back in third. She ended last campaign with two Group Three wins and looks set to resume in the same good form. Expect her to be in the first three in running. 4. Champagne Cuddles is making a habit of being thereabouts but failing to turn placings into wins. She was very good at Flemington, sprinting quickly, despite running third. 3. Egyptian Symbol ripped home from last to win the Magic Millions Sprint. Can she reproduce that, though? 9. Alassio is fit and in career best form.
How to play it: Egg Tart EACH WAY.
Race 7 — 4:30PM INGLIS MILLENNIUM — 2YOS (1200 METRES)
2. Dawn Passage couldn’t have been any more impressive on debut at Randwick and stamped himself the horse to beat in the first running of the $2m Inglis Millennium. The frantic speed up front certainly played into his hands but the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained youngster put a space on his rivals at the finish and was only going further away on the line. Punters Intelligence reveals Dawn Passage’s last 600m was 33.02s, the fastest of the entire day and a whopping 4.5L quicker than the next best in the race. That dominance all came in the last 400m (10.80s and 11.47s home). Being by Dawn Approach, the 1200m looks to suit even better here. Expect him to settle midfield from the draw, which will give him his chance.
Dangers: 1. Accession ticks a lot of boxes but the one he hasn’t yet is times. Sure, times are only part of the puzzle but an important one nonetheless. In both of his wins he has run considerably slower time than the older horses on the same day. The top line two-year-olds tend to match it with the older horses, regardless of the age difference. He keeps improving every time he steps out though. Drawn wide but it’s a straight run in at Warwick Farm from the 1200m chute start. 5. Pandano showed great speed at Newcastle on debut and gave Bollywood a touch up. That horse wasn’t disgraced behind Sun Patch on Wednesday.
How to play it: Dawn Passage WIN.
Race 8 — 5:10PM BOWNESS STUD MILE (1600 METRES)
1. Brimham Rocks resumed last preparation with a third behind Avilius (when Avilius ran a ridiculous 32.66s last 600m!). That was over the mile and he was beaten just 0.7L. Now on face value that looks unbelievable form for a race like this but before we get too carried away, Dagny ran second and Green Sweet charged home into fourth. After that Brimham Rocks continued to run a string of placings. He was beaten by the barrier second up, flashing home, then ran into Avilius again in the Kingston Town, beating I Am Serious into second, before running second in the Metrop, Herbert Power and Hotham. He is yet to break through in eight starts for Chris Waller but he has never missed a place. Class will carry him a long way in this.
Dangers: 8. Gresham is the weights horse here dropping from 59.5kg to 51kg after the claim of Robbie Dolan. He meets his last start conqueror 9. New Universe 4kg better off and 10. Samadoubt 6kg better. Gresham was right down in the weights when he won two back, beating Sir Plush, with Dolan on. History repeats? Wouldn’t be surprised to see Samadoubt really bust them up from the front. Rachel King is one of the best in the business at pinching a winning break. New Universe, can he do it back-to-back? 5. Tangled’s first up third behind Tom Melbourne jumps off the page but Waller’s stayers often sprint well fresh before flattening out so I’m wary of taking short odds. Throw 4. Almost Court into the exotics.
How to play it: Brimham Rocks EACH WAY.
Race 9 — 5:50PM TAB HANDICAP (1600 METRES)
5. Sondelon was disappointing first up despite having had 36 weeks on the sidelines. Tim Clark, who partners with the four-year-old again here, gave Sondelon every possible chance leading as he liked. He was beaten by Brazen at big odds, after he sat outside of him in the run. It certainly leaves a question mark over him here but the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained gelding trialled too well prior to that to dismiss after one run. Banking on his fitness giving out. There will be no third chance though, so he needs to front up. His form last preparation suggested he could continue to rise through the grades.
Dangers: The stablemate 4. Rapido Chaparro was too bad to be true at Canterbury over 1900m last start. He was sent back to the trials and looked good in winning his heat. His win at Wyong prior to that, albeit in Class 2 company, was strong. He should hold out 9. Honey Esprit to take up the running. Back to the mile looks to suit and he was scratched from a suitable race on Wednesday for this. Queenslander 1. Looks Like Elvis ran well behind Thy Kingdom Come last start and gets out to the mile for only the third time in his career (2:1-1-0). Any rain helps him further. 10. Matowi is on the up and won well enough at Canterbury last time out.
How to play it: Sondelon WIN.
Tips supplied by Racing NSW.
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au.