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Sunshine Coast – Saturday 20 November 2021

Race 1 – Honeypot

Smart filly who was sent out as a hot favourite but had no chance after bombing the start. She did an enormous job – and justified the hype – by flying home to run fifth, beaten just over half a length. After being a clear last into the straight, her run was that of a top-class filly. She’ll need to satisfy stewards and gain a barrier certificate, but if the stable can get her to jump cleanly, I’ve got no doubt she’ll winning next start in basically any race across Queensland.

 Race 5 – Renouf

Talented mare on her day and when ridden suitably. On this occasion, she went to the lead and got lost in the straight but boxed on gamely. It’s certainly not the way to ride her and I’m tipping she’ll bounce back with a better ride next start. She always seems to go around over the odds, but she has form around some decent horses. Stick with her next start.

 Race 6 – Inasec

Beaten by the wide gate here. This 3yo filly has big wraps on her after a brilliant trial and smart debut win. Her performance to run fourth here, beaten just over two lengths, was impressive considering she was trapped three wide from the tricky gate. This was a race full of depth, and it should prove a strong form reference. Inasec can bounce back next start with a more favourable draw.

Doomben – Saturday 13 November 2021

Race 1 – Floral Oasis

This 2yo filly from the shrewd Kacy Fogden yard won’t be a maiden for much longer. She’s had two official race starts after a hot trial, and been well in the market on both occasions in metro grade. On this occasion she was a slight drifter in the market, but jumped away awkwardly and shifted out abruptly after the start. She then raced three wide without cover throughout and was carried wider in the early part of the home straight. To be beaten just over three lengths was a good effort. A better barrier will see her right in the finish next start.

Race 4 – Wheels

Unwanted in betting and underwent a veterinary examination at the request of the trainer after arriving on course. I’m sure not all was right with her as she pulled her head off in the run despite being in what seemed a lovely spot. She’s a mare with good ability and a big turn of foot at the end of races when everything is right. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her be back in form next start.

Race 8 – Baller

Former talented Sydneysider who is really settling into Queensland life at his second proper preparation in the sunshine state. He was first-up in this listed event and was unwanted in betting, but motored home once he saw clear at the top of the straight after being held up early. Another 25m and he wins. I’m tipping he’s in for a big preparation after coming off corrective respiratory surgery during the spell.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 6 November 2021

Race 3 – Continuation 

This Kris Lees-trained 6yo really got under the guard of punters, winning stylishly at close to double figures. There was only a 0.5 length margin but he did plenty wrong and was still able to land the victory. He was wide in the early and middle stages and then allowed to stride forward to take up the lead near the 1200m. He then laid out in the straight but was able to defy his rivals. The stable is enjoying success in Queensland and expect Continuation can keep winning.

Race 5 – Vetta Velocita

Lightly-raced 3yo who has been ridden off the pace in two starts this campaign. On both occasions he’s had awkward / wide barriers, so I’m hoping next start he can draw lower and be ridden closer to the speed. He ran well here, beaten three lengths, despite not a lot going his way. He was slow to begin after jumping away awkwardly. He was also inclined to lay in in the straight with the rider had to stop riding to straighten up a number of times. 

Race 8 – Ruuca

Talented horse on his day and is ready to win. He likely would’ve won this race had he not been stuck three wide without cover from barrier five. He can strike an easier race next time and be very, very hard to beat.

Doomben – Saturday 30 October 2021

Race 5 – Brave Warrior & Gave Us Up

Brave Warrior is an underrated little 4yo who will again go around at big odds next time. He came into the race with a good record, with two wins from four starts, and hadn’t finished worse than third. This was a big step up in class and it was his first try at Eagle Farm. There’s every chance he simply didn’t handle the track here, however the jockey did get back much further than expected in an attempt to find cover. The horse he beat two starts ago has since won and has ability. We can follow the lightly-raced Brave Warrior at his next start.

Gave Us Up was disappointed for a run shortly after passing the 200m and then was taken inwards to obtain clear running. His effort to balance up and hit the line hard to finish third, beaten around 1.5 lengths, showed talent and tenacity. This was only his second run back from a spell so there’s more improvement to come. 

Race 6 – Prioritise 

Finished a well-beaten last in the small field after going ridiculously hard in front early. It was largely due to the horse pulling severely, but I think we’ll see a more senior rider engaged next time to help him settle. He’s a tough 8yo so I don’t expect this gut-busting run to hinder his preparation. He also handles Eagle Farm, despite his stats at this track looking quite average on paper.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 23 October 2021

Race 5 – Brave Warrior & Gave Us Up 

Brave Warrior is an underrated little 4yo who will again go around at big odds next time. He came into the race with a good record, with two wins from four starts, and hadn’t finished worse than third. This was a big step up in class and it was his first try at Eagle Farm. There’s every chance he simply didn’t handle the track here, however the jockey did get back much further than expected in an attempt to find cover. The horse he beat two starts ago has since won and has ability. We can follow the lightly-raced Brave Warrior at his next start.

Gave Us Up was disappointed for a run shortly after passing the 200m and then was taken inwards to obtain clear running. His effort to balance up and hit the line hard to finish third, beaten around 1.5 lengths, showed talent and tenacity. This was only his second run back from a spell so there’s more improvement to come. 

Race 6 – Prioritise

Finished a well-beaten last in the small field after going ridiculously hard in front early. It was largely due to the horse pulling severely, but I think we’ll see a more senior rider engaged next time to help him settle. He’s a tough 8yo so I don’t expect this gut-busting run to hinder his preparation. He also handles Eagle Farm, despite his stats at this track looking quite average on paper.

Doomben – Saturday 23 October 2021

Race 6 – Putontheredlight

Probably the run of the entire day. This 3yo Star Witness filly was having just her second start after a debut win at the Sunshine Coast. On this occasion, she ran home in 10.70/11.22 last 400m in what was a totally unsuitable dash home. To add further merit, she was absolutely luckless early in the straight and that was also after jumping awkwardly. She was held up for clear running rounding the home turn, shifting out and bumping another runner before doing the same again near the 300m. She may need to sort out some racing manners but she has plenty of ability .

Race 7 – Deep Sceiva

Was sent out as one of the market elects but raced keenly in the early and middle stages and was also unable to improve from the 550m until the 350m. He’s a smart middle distance galloper and did well to finish fifth, beaten 4.45 lengths by Kubrick. Earlier in the prep he beat Kubrick and I reckon that he would’ve been a chance of doing so again had he enjoyed more luck in the race. I expect him to bounce back and continue being ultra competitive around this class and distance in Brisbane.

Race 8 – Go Wandji

Talented galloper who put it all together to destroy his opposition here and win by 4.5 lengths. He’s now won four from six and never missed the top three. While there’s a question mark on what he beat here, you have to believe the eye and recognise what a lovely style of horse he is, with a devastating turn of foot. We might still get a decent price next start as he’s prepared by a low-profile trainer. There might be some quality races within his grasp as his career progresses.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 16 October 2021

Race 2 – Alert State

I was surprised Alert State started near double figures and the run proved the market had underrated this 2yo filly. She was desperately unlucky not to get the win, missing out by the barest of margins and in all fairness, she should’ve won. Shortly after jumping she was checked and blundered when tightened for room between runners, which meant she had to settle near the rear of the field, but she wound up late with a strong turn of speed. Prior to this she produced two strong trials, including one behind recent winner Exo Lady. She can win next start.

Race 4 – Better Get Set

Smart filly who has enjoyed a great return to racing this campaign. She was third-up here and registered another her third top two placing from as many starts this preparation. On this occasion she flew home to miss by 0.2 lengths to six-time winner Centrefire and approaching the 1000m she over-raced whilst being restrained. I think she well be better suited over 1400m now and I’d assume that’s the distance she’ll race over next start.

Race 6 – Tokoriki Lad

He’s now a 7yo and has taken a little longer than usual to find fitness. After three mediocre runs, he produced a ripper here fourth-up and nearly caused a boilover at big odds. He settled near the rear but ran home strongly out wide to test the winner Prioritise and be beaten less than a length. He is contesting some much easier races this campaign and this run signalled another win is not far away.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 9 October 2021

Race 2 – Golden Artie

Smart little horse this bloke who will be breaking through for a win early in his career. He almost ran down the highly-touted favourite Palazzo Spirit – and would’ve won the race in another few bounds. If he wasn’t held up rounding the turn I’m sure he would’ve won. Obviously a step up in trip will be beneficial and he will also be better form the experience as he laid out in the home straight.

Race 4 – Win Burn

Not sure exactly what to make of this 3yo. He opened at double figures and was crunched in the market late. His form around Queen of Wizardry and Ranch Hand was very good for this race, and although he had no luck, he was a touch disappointing to finish last. However, he was slow away and then raced wide. It might pay to forgive.

Race 6 – Enterprise Keren

Enterprise Keren was second-up, which is usually the sweet spot in her preparation. However, think she’s come back a much better galloper and could be in for a decent preparation. I liked the way she knuckled down to fend off her rivals in a pretty handy field. She also raced greenly and shifted ground when placed under pressure over the final 200m, so there’s improvement to come when she sorts out her racing manners.

Doomben – Saturday 2 October 2021

Race 2 – The Pines

Frustrating galloper who seems to go around ‘unders’ at most of her starts, but I think she can improve off this effort when seventh behind Big Bad Bruce. She’s now well into her campaign and no doubt her recent performances would be frustrating for the stable. She came off a second behind the talented Miami Fliess last start, and drifted late in betting here and never really looked a winning hope, but she did have some excuses. After jumping awkward, she was roused up early to try and keep a midfield spot, and then was finishing strongly before struggling to get a run in the final 150m. She wouldn’t have won, but she could’ve finished in the placings had she been afforded clear running. The winner also had an easy time in front, making it hard for anything to make ground.

Race 3 – Cabierian

Sent around at $51 but ran well to finish sixth, beaten under three lengths by the winner Contemptuous. His recent form looks average on paper, but I think he’s making good improvement each run as he gets further into the campaign. He’s now had four runs this campaign and I reckon a win is not far around the corner – especially if he can strike a slightly easier race. His run on Saturday was full of merit considering he lost a plate in running and was three wide without cover throughout.

Race 8 – Spaceboy

Spaceboy only knows one way – and that’s to lead. When the jockey elected to give it up, it was race over. He finished last, but it was compounded by having no room in the last 200m. If he stays up in Queensland and can find a race he can lead, I’m confident he will be winning as he’s too good for most of the sprinters up here. His recent form in Sydney and back-and-forth to Melbourne is top-shelf, with the most recent run before Saturday being in the G3 The Heath when beaten only 3.55 lengths behind Everest contender Masked Crusader.

Doomben – Sunday 26 September 2021

Race 2 – Star Patrol

This son of Star Turn is becoming a little bit costly for punters. He’s started under $4 at each four starts and ran on strongly at all of them. It was the same story here at Doomben over 1200m. He had a wide gate and went back to near last, but that’s basically been his racing pattern so far in his early career. He ran on strongly to be beaten less than a length, and the run was made even better given the rail was out as far as it can go at this track. Star Patrol was also bumped on jumping and steadied from heels near the 800m when racing keenly. I’m sure he can repay punters soon, preferably over 1300-1400m.

Race 7 – Cleary Adonis

Former SA galloper who will win races in Queensland. This was his third start up north and it followed two runs at the Sunshine Coast where he almost lobbed at a nice price. On this occasion he was solid in the market (but still at double figures) and was beaten just under four lengths after over-racing at a couple of stages of the race. If he can find an easier or similar Class 1, I’m confident he’ll be right in the finish next start.

Toowoomba – Saturday 25 September 2021

Race 9 – Frozen in Time

Horrible watch for backers of this Kris Lees-trained 5yo mare. She drifted in the market ($3 to $4.40) and then had absolutely no luck. After racing in restricted room near the 800m, she was held up for clear running from the 600m to a point near the 200m. If that wasn’t enough, she then laid in under pressure over the concluding stages. She was only beaten 1.7 lengths and her run prior to this behind Lasting Kiss is a good form indicator.

Gold Coast – Saturday 18 September 2021

Race 8 – Morethannumberone

This horse has produced two recent wins at the Gold Coast track which couldn’t have been any more impressive. He’s a very progressive horse with much better races in his sights after making a mess of the field on Saturday. He was out the back and wide, but then won eased down without being pushed out at all, recording 22.08 and 10.80 in the final 400m and 200m. There isn’t a horse in Queensland going better than this bloke and he should be unbeaten this preparation. He can win anywhere he goes next start.

Race 5 – I Could Do Better

I’m surprised this Chris Waller-trained stayer hasn’t been in the winners’ circle yet this campaign, but he had excuses on this occasion. He’s been working towards a win as the distances get longer and despite not being disgraced here, he had issues which suggest he’s run well to finish eighth, beaten just over two lengths. He was slow to begin, then raced keenly in the early stages, before being steadied off heels near the 500 metres. He then had difficulty obtaining clear running from the 600 metres until the final 100 metres. A post-race veterinary examination revealed he was also mildly lame in its off fore limb. He’ll go around at big odds again next time and can surprise.

Race 6 – Potro Duro

Ran well first-up which suggests he’s in for a solid campaign. He’s never been a noted first-up performer, but he finished strongly to be beaten less than three lengths behind the smart Weona Smartone. He even raced keenly in the middle stages of the event but was still able to finish well into fifth and make up some late ground in the straight. Second-up he’s won two from four and I’m tipping he should be in for the best campaign of his career.

Doomben – Saturday 11 September 2021

Race 5 – Better Lad

Was backed at a price from $15 to $11 and with barrier one looked to get all the favours in the run. However, he got back a little bit further than expected, which was in part the result of having to be restrained when tightened for room near the 1300m. He finished seventh, beaten just over four lengths, but he should’ve finished much closer if he was able to settle a touch closer and didn’t cop the interference. This was a pretty strong Class 3 and I reckon he can return to the winners’ circle in a slightly easier affair.

Race 6 – Wapiti

Tough watch for Wapiti backers who was very solid in the market. He raced three wide from the 800m but still had the audacity to be right in the finish, hanging on for second place as the flying Ballistic Boy flew late to get the prize. The winner is absolutely airborne and clearly in for a big preparation. This was only Wapiti’s third run this campaign, so we can follow him with confidence as he should improve further into his prep.

Race 7 – Arthur In Charge

Finished last beaten nearly six lengths but it was a complete forgive. This former Sydneysider was well in the market but raced three wide throughout and had to be checked near the 800m when tightened for room. He is right up to winning a similar race in Saturday class.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 4 September 2021

Race 5 – Plenty

This bloke is an enigmatic galloper but has good ability on his day, especially when he gets conditions to suit. He’s now well into his prep after six runs, finishing in the top three the past three outings. On this occasion he was slow into stride after jumping awkwardly and took a while to find clear air before rattling home into third behind the flying Je Suis Belle. I believe he’s a horse who needs a strong pace and can be even more effective if he can hunt up along the rail when bigger fields fan wide.

Race 7 – The Big Goodbye 

Former SA galloper who performed well first-up but was just unable to reel in the smart winner Ingear. The Big Goodbye was a noted drifter in betting, suggesting he wasn’t expected to run as well as he did first-up. It’s a sign that he should improve from the run and his second-up record is very good too, finishing runner-up twice from two second-up attempts.

 Race 9 – Mikado

This 4yo came over the border from Northern NSW with a good record but was sent around at big odds.

I thought his run was excellent to finish fifth only beaten one length, considering he was three wide without cover throughout. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep him in Queensland for his next run, but it’s a positive that he’s proven to handle this Eagle Farm surface.

Sunshine Coast – Sunday 29 August 2021

Race 6 – Potent View

This 4yo gelding is well into his preparation now and is ready to win. He’s a fit racehorse and with any luck should be ultra-competitive wherever he steps out next. He was a touch easy in betting in what was a relatively strong Class 2 here, but it all went pear-shaped after copping a bump upon jumping. He was taken wider as a result and subsequently raced three wide with no cover throughout. His best form can easily knock off a similar race with a bit of luck.

Doomben – Saturday 28 August 2021

Race 2 – Keefy

Horror watch for Keefy backers but we should get the cash with him next time out. He was well-backed to win this race but not much went right. At the start he had to be steadied when placed on heels and then near the 200m was disappointed for a run to the inside of Next Dimension. He had to alter course to obtain clear running but ran well through the line to be beaten less a length. He’s a smart horse and should make amends next start.

Race 7 – Prince Of Boom

Happy to forgive Prince Of Boom, who was well-backed to win this race and touted to be on path for a Sydney spring campaign. The 3yo got bullied in the run was forced to sit wide. While the stablemate and eventual winner Startantes ran straight past him rounding the turn, I thought he stuck to his guns well on the line once he got fully balanced up.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 21 August 2021

Race 2 – Ridgewood Drive

It’s not often a horse which finishes last makes the blackbook, but I can make a case for Ridgewood Drive to be one to follow. He was beaten more than eight lengths in the BM72 over 2206m, but he drew wide and the jockey made a mid-race move which was his undoing. At the 1300m, the jockey left a rearward position and pressed forward to eventually lead from the 1000 metres. If he’s not cooked from this potentially gut-busting run – and if he can draw a better gate in an easier race next time – then he can bob up at odds. His form in Victoria was good before coming up here. Happy to put a line through this run.

Race 5 – Go Wandji

I’m tipping this will prove a strong form race, with a couple of these horses likely to be better than Class 3 ability. Go Wandji came from the bush looking to stay unbeaten after starting his career with three straight wins. On this occasion, he settled near the rear before rattling home into third. He copped a bump and lost ground after the start too. That experience in town will be of huge benefit and his late splits confirm he’s a horse of good ability.

Race 7 – Akage

Another horse which finished last, but similarly to Ridgewood Drive (mentioned above), Akage is a horse of nice ability when she gets the right conditions. You can put a line through this run as she was three-wide in the early stages and then over-raced in the early and middle stages. She’s a horse known to bob up good odds and reckon a win isn’t too far away for her. This was also a quality event and she’s eligible for much easier. She’ll be third-up next start, which is a time in her preparation when she can produce a big performance.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 14 August 2021

Race 1 – Snowdrop

An awful watch for backers of Snowdrop in the opening race at Eagle Farm. She was heavily supported and expected to sit on the speed (outside the leader) from the wide gate. But she was instead restrained and resented every second of it. She raced ungenerously early, then veered out sharply near the 800m. It somehow got even worse when she was disappointed for a run approaching the finishing line. She did well to finish less than three lengths from the eventual winner. Her form is well up to winning a 3YO race in Brisbane on a Saturday and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the winners’ circle next start.

Race 2 – The Kewess

The Kewess began awkwardly and near the 700m shifted out, and then raced ungenerously before steadying from the heels of the winner Legal Esprit. The 3YO colt then continued to race ungenerously for some distance. He’s another with solid form that’s up to winning a 3YO race in Brisbane on a Saturday. Once he found daylight and knuckled down he actually finished the race off quite well into third, beaten just over two lengths. He was first-up so perhaps he’ll be better next start with some freshness out of his legs. His run behind the smart Alpine Edge two starts ago is another indicator he has ability.

Race 9 – Take Tea

Take Tea was specked at odds and firm in the market right up until the jump, and she ran OK considering she laid in once into the straight. She should continue to improve considering that was only her third run back from a break and she’s a horse who gets up to the mile. I’m keen to follow her as she steps out in distance – and that should be next start.

Doomben – Saturday 7 August 2021

Race 3 –Leadership Spill

Leadership Spill was second-up and drifted in betting from what appeared a tricky gate (second from the outside). It panned out that way with the 5yo stuck three-wide without cover throughout. It was an honest effort to be beaten only 2.7 lengths and he will only improve as new trainer Lee Freedman continues to work the horse out. In previous preparations, he’s mixed it with good sprinter like Skins and Genzai The Wolf. He will be mighty competitive next time out in a suitable race.

Race 4 –Magic Conquerer & Fighting Commando

A messy race where the two horses I want to follow went hard out in front. Larry Cassidy elected to take up the lead on Magic Conqueror when he was racing keenly on the back of the early leader. From there he never settled and posted some quick sectionals. He’s a much better horse when he can get a softer lead, so perhaps look from him back to a smaller field with less early pace. Fighting Commando came into the race with good form and it looked like a nice race with the lightweight but he never had a chance with the jockey butchering it from what appeared a nice gate. He actually ended up three-wide for a period before working to get up outside what ended up being a hot speed. He finished the race off quite well for a horse with such a tough run.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 31 July 2021

Race 2 – London Banker

This former Kiwi galloper was our best of the day and he didn’t disappoint. While he certainly did find the right race, it must be remembered the staying ranks in off-season Queensland racing is certainly very thin so I’m confident he can go on with it and win more races. A hot early speed set it up for him here to come from the back and round up his rivals, but he was going further away from them the longer the race went on. This was at 2200m but it’s clear further will be no issue.

Race 5 – Safework

The form guide will say he ran second last (10th) but the run was better than it suggests on paper. He was only beaten less than four lengths and had to endure a tough run out wide for the entire the trip from barrier nine. He is usually well in the market and if he can find something a touch easier, I’m sure he can return to the winners’ circle.

Race 8 – Scallopini

Arguably the run of the day in the Open Handicap. He finished second, beaten only 0.1 length to Emerald Kingdom, who is a renowned tough customer up on a strong speed. Scallopini was three wide throughout but had the audacity to kick back and test the winner right to the very end. He also laid out in the final 200m and ended up right in the middle of the track. This was his third run for the prep, and while he doesn’t usually have more than three or four runs before having a short break, perhaps the stable can keep him going for one more run to notch a win.

Doomben – Saturday 24 July 2021

Race 1 – Shaluna

Talented 2yo filly who has raced in strong company in all seven starts. She was well in the market to beat the odds-on favourite Hinged but it was a train wreck from start-to-finish. This daughter of Shalaa over-raced in the early stages and jockey Jim Byrne also reported an issue with the tongue tie on the filly becoming displaced. She’s raced well at both Eagle Farm and Doomben – so she is versatile and is ready to win a race, especially if they can find something a touch easier.

Race 3 – Without Thinking

Was only beaten 1.55 lengths in a quality 3yo handicap, but did have some things which didn’t go his way. He was bumped on jumping and then had some difficulty securing clear running in the early stages of the home straight. To finish so close to the winner was a very solid effort. Before this run he put together three successive, and then was beaten by Ayrton. There’s no doubting he’s got ability and if he puts it all together can go through the grades.

Race 6 – So Clever

This was a nightmare for our best bet of the day. He came into this off two starts for two impressive wins and started the slightly easing $2.15 favourite. To be frank, he did an enormous job to get so close to the winner Luskin Hero (beaten 0.2 length), who is no slouch himself. So Clever was anticipated to hold the lead, and possibly get a comfortable run alone in front. However, he missed the start, before mustering to find a spot in the first half of the field, but not in his preferred role of leading. He then became awkwardly placed to the inside of a runner and taken in by the eventual winner. So Clever then over-raced rounding the 800 metre turn and laid out and then raced three wide for the remainder. He’ll be winning next start.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 17 July 2021

Race 3 – Cinderella

We got the cash with this girl on Saturday at double figures and she’s worth following as she continues through the grades. She did plenty of wrong in the run, but when she knuckled down and got her mind on the job, proved she’s got a fair amount of talent. Not only was she bumped on jumping, but she was also held up for clear running for a short distance at the entrance to the home straight. It’ll be interesting to see where the Freedman camp head with her as she appeared effective as a run-on sprinter at the 1000m, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and step up to 1200m.

Race 4 – Phantom Falcon

Phantom Falcon was drawn to lead but they elected to sit in behind Ef Troop who chose to burn to the front. I’m not sure taking a sit is the right strategy on this horse as he seems a grinding type of sprinter who can keep up a strong gallop but struggles to pick up if he gets caught in behind them. On this occasion he showed his disliking for being restrained and raced keenly, dashing any hopes of victory. While he still stuck on okay for fourth. I think it’s best to put a line through this run as he’s indicated this campaign that he’s going as well as ever.

Race 6 – Dashing Special

A very underrated middle distance / staying type who always goes around at huge odds. He was sent around at $41, but I can make a big case for him being right in the finish or at least finishing much closer than running fifth beaten just under five lengths, as he had to be checked at the 200m after copping some interference. Before this run he had a freshen up and then had two very nice trials before this run. While his win strike rate isn’t great (5 from 55) he will bob up one day at big odds. Stepping out to 2000m and beyond is no problem and he loves Eagle Farm (this was his only missed place in three runs).

Sunshine Coast – Sunday 11 July 2021

Race 7 – Better Lad

He ran eighth, beaten eight lengths in the Winx Guineas, but the margin isn’t overly relevant if you focus on how he was only being beaten just over two lengths by all but the tearaway winner. This son of Better Than Ready has only won the one race, so he’s eligible for much easier than what he’s contested the past few starts. It’s why he started $201 for this race, but he has beaten some handy types in several of his races. He also has a low profile trainer which should ensure we get a nice price next time out. He’s ready to win again in easier grade.

Race 8 – Profit

He might have officially ran fourth-last but the run was better than it appeared in the Glasshouse. While he is a son of Dundeel and you’d think he’d show more over further, connections elected to drop back from the mile to 1400m for this race.  He has won up to 1800m, and while his recent form suggested 1400m would be ok, he ran like a horse wanting the mile. He’ll be competitive in something slightly easier and up in distance. That was only his third run this prep so I’m sure they’ll find a suitable race in the next couple of weeks.

Doomben – Saturday 10 July 2021

Race 3 Trengganu 

Was only second-up here but improved dramatically from the first-up performance. He ran into the race nicely and this should top him off for a tilt at a victory third-up. He was only beaten 1.55 lengths, but there was a good gap back to fourth (including hot favorite Able Mabel). He’s a winner third-up and the step up in journey to 1200m next time out looks suitable.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 26 June 2021

Race 3 – Garoppolo & Kingston’s Here

I like this race as a form indicator going forward. The two horses I wanted to follow (winner Garoppolo and runner-up Kingston’s Here) found the right part of the Eagle Farm track but they proved a class above in beating the rest of the field by a big space. While both also laid out under pressure, they couldn’t have been much more impressive in how they found the line. Garoppolo has always been a horse I’ve had a lot of time for, adding him to the blackbook on numerous occasions. This win proved he’s a better horse ridden down the outside when he can build momentum. Kingston’s Here was heavily-backed into odds-on, but was far from disgraced in defeat. Garoppolo came off his back and found even better ground. I’m sure he’ll bounce back next time.

Race 8 – Coventina Bay

Smart New Zealand visitor who came to Queensland with big wraps. She was nominated for the G1 Stradbroke and trimmed up in early markets after a strong trial, but never made the field. She’s since had two runs at Eagle Farm and while it seems she hasn’t fired a shot (and perhaps doesn’t fully handle the track) she’s been far from totally disgraced. She was beaten just over three lengths by Brooklyn Hustle in the Dane Ripper and then ran in the G1 Tatts Tiara when she began awkwardly and lost ground. She has solid G1 form in New Zealand and I like that she’s been targeted at a Sunshine Coast race this Saturday (the Glasshouse Handicap over 1400m) at a track we know she handles following her recent trial.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 12 June 2021

Race 1 – Maotai

We made Maotai our best of the day and while it was sickening to see him get beaten in the last few strides, I’m confident he’s a horse with an enormous future. He was far from disgraced attempting to take the huge step from maiden to listed level. There was a lot to like from this son of Not A Single Doubt, who did plenty wrong and was beaten by another promising galloper in Uncommon James. There was a good gap to third which further strengthens the form line. Maotai raced keenly throughout when in the lead and was left vulnerable a long way from home, proceeding to lay out under pressure over final 200 metres. He is a very progressive and talented galloper who pings the gates and makes his own luck. If he can harness some energy early next time, I’m confident he’ll be back in the winners’ stall.

Race 1 – Conexy

It wasn’t only Maotai who impressed in the opener, with the Chris Waller-trained Conexy performing well, despite being well beaten. I want to follow him because he was hard up against the rail in the straight – a place which ended up being a ‘no go’ zone as the day wore on. He did a good job to be beaten less than four lengths and the first two over the line look well above average.

Race 2 – Profit

Queenslander who took on some well-established gallopers who have contested around Group One level for much of their careers. He was only beaten a touch over three lengths but was another to fall victim to being on the rail early in the day. He was hugely impressive the start before, scoring a big win first-up at 1400m off only one trial. Tipping he can bounce back next start.

Race 3 – Ellsberg

We continue the theme of black booking runners on the rail early in the day, but Ellsberg was arguably the pick of them all. Not only was he ridden in the inferior ground near the rail in the straight, he did this after being caught three wide without cover in the early stages. To be beaten less than three lengths behind boom horse Ayrton after those significant negatives is indicative of a horse with good ability and in great form. He was very solid in betting and with a touch more luck could’ve beaten the short-priced favourite.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 5 June 2021

Race 1 – Masaff

Probably shouldn’t be making a case for anything but the nine-length winner (Incentivise) out of this race but Masaff finished well enough to follow into the future. This Chris Waller-trained 5yo has now had two runs since venturing to Queensland from Melbourne. At his first run in the sunshine state, he bolted in at Ipswich when heavily-backed over 1710m. On that occasion he finished hard and put the writing on the wall that he would be better suited again over further. The 1810m of Saturday may have perhaps been just short of his likening and I’d suggest he’ll take further improvement given it was only his second run in nearly six weeks. I think we can follow Masaff third-up next start up to the 2000m. The form guide reads he was beaten nearly 10 lengths, but the winner is obviously very smart and had built momentum to put a gap on his rivals.

Race 2 – Tutukaka

A lot of upside to this half-brother to multiple Group One-winning Kiwi star Melody Belle. This 2yo by Tavistock is trained in New Zealand by astute horseman Tony Pike and after his debut run in New Zealand at Hastings, was shipped over to Queensland. He’s now ran extremely well on both occasions here, finishing second to the smart Tiger Heart a little under three weeks ago at the Sunshine Coast, before coming to Eagle Farm and contesting this listed event. He over-raced in the early stages and was last at the 400m, but his late splits over the closing stages were exceptional as he ran into third to be beaten just over three lengths by Volcanic Rock. There’s no doubt he will be suited up to the mile and even beyond.

Race 5 – The Astrologist

It really is astounding how badly The Astrologist has fared at the barrier draws since coming to Queensland. First-up he drew well when going down to tearaway winner Yao Dash at the Gold Coast. But from then he’s drawn 12 of 16 and then 12 of 13 when we black booked him from two weeks ago when he ran fifth, beaten less than two lengths behind Varda in the Listed Chief De Beers despite a wide run. The barrier horrors continued when he drew nine of nine in Saturday’s Moreton Cup. He sat up on the pace from the wide draw in this race but was caught three wide no cover so it was no surprise he eventually wilted to finish fourth beaten 4.7 lengths behind impressive winner Baller. I’m convinced The Astrologist is going really well and can knock off a race if he can draw a more favourable gate. He is nominated for this Saturday’s G1 Stradbroke where has 51kg but it’s unlikely he’ll get a run. If they find a slightly easier race away from the topliners in Queensland for carnival, he should be winning.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 29 May 2021

Race 1 – Profit

 Profit produced one of the more impressive runs of the day, coming from last to take out the opening race. He has always shown a fair amount of ability and this win suggests he’s potentially gone to another level this preparation. It wasn’t an easy task to win first-up at 1400m off only one trial, but he showed a brilliant turn of foot to beat Grand Piano in the final stages. Star jockey James McDonald really earned his riding fee as Profit inclined to lay in under pressure in the home straight, but once he balanced up I liked his tenacity and will to win. Trainer Chris Anderson has declared he’ll take Profit back to Eagle Farm next run and step out to the mile in the Wayne Wilson where he’ll be mighty competitive.

 Race 5 – Lord Belvedere

 This bloke was already in the black book from his torrid run at the Gold Coast a fortnight ago and there’s no reason to drop off after his Eagle Farm performance on Saturday. While he didn’t cop a slaughter as bad as the Gold Coast, he was a victim of a bad gate this time and Jye McNeil didn’t have too many other options. He was forced to race three wide without cover for the majority of the event and then approaching the 200 metre mark was crowded for room. He did well to be beaten just over three lengths by Spirit Ridge. I’m not sure what’s on the horizon for Lord Belvedere but he is nominated for the rich Q22. It’s shaping as a race that looks to be at the mercy of early short-price favourite Zaaki, but Lord Belvedere will have a great place chance. Then again, if they do decide to find an easier race, I’m sure he’s ready to win.

 Race 8 – Victorem

 While it’s hard to follow anything other than the winner out of the Kingsford Smith Cup (Vega One), I thought Victorem’s run was full of merit. He didn’t appreciate a bump in the straight but he was strong through the line once he picked up again. Looking to the future, it appears he’ll again run into Vega One in the Stradbroke. On face value, Vega One will be awfully hard to beat, but Victorem has plenty of positives to suggest he could turn the tables. One big plus is dropping back to a handicap (59kg to 54kg). Admittedly, Vega One gets another kilogram off Victorem (59kg to 53kg), but the latter was tuned up to win the Kingsford Smith. Victorem has only had two runs since March and should be ready to peak in the Stradbroke.

Doomben – Saturday 22 May 2021

Race 3 – Me Me Lagarde

I‘ve got no doubt this Edmonds-trained runner wins the race if she wasn’t bottled up on the rail during crucial stages. However, given it was only her second race start, it’s no huge surprise to see a lack of ‘race smarts’ being her downfall. She was tardy to begin and before the turn (near the 600m) had to be restrained when racing in restricted room to the inside of Stellar Magic. It didn’t get much better from there as she had trouble securing clear running between the 450m and 250m. Once she balanced up, she flew home to miss by only 0.6 of a length behind Rhapsody Rose (who we also put in the blackbook last week). Me Me Lagarde does hold a nomination for the JJ Atkins, and while it would be a huge task to win a mile race at what would likely be her third (or maybe fourth) start, there’s no questioning she’s got an abundance of talent.

Race 6 – The Astrologist

Did a really good job to run fifth, beaten less than two lengths behind Varda in the Listed Chief De Beers despite a wide run. He was stuck three-wide throughout, and while he did have cover for the most part, I think he would’ve been right in the finish with a more economical run. He also didn’t have much room from the 800m to 600m. He was first-up here and what appeals most is his second-up stats are very good, never missing the top three and last time at that stage of his preparation he almost beat Exhilarates. I’m not sure where they progress with him, but he does hold nominations for the two Group One sprints – Kingsford-Smith and Stradbroke. If he could sneak a run in either of those, he could be competitive, but he should be winning if they find something a bit easier.

Race 8 – Stampe

This Chris Munce-trained sprinter is becoming a little costly, but he keeps putting in solid efforts from wide gates. He was trying to grab a Stradbroke ticket in this race, but was caught four wide from the bad draw. He stuck on well to be beaten only 4.3 lengths in a race dominated by the on-pace winner Emerald Kingdom. He is another nominated for the two Group One sprints – Kingsford-Smith and Stradbroke, and I don’t know if he gets into those races, so it’s likely he will have to go back to Plan B in an easier race. I think that’s the right way to go as I doubt he’s up to the Group One sprinters, but at Group Two or Three level he would be a huge winning chance if he draws a gate. I also like that Craig Williams kept the ride on Saturday after riding him in the Gold Coast Newmarket.

Doomben – Saturday 15 May 2021

Race 2 – Luvoir

There’s no doubt this Freedman-trained galloper should’ve won the Listed Members’ Handicap. He is a promising Sydney visitor who got caught behind the leader off a slow tempo after beginning awkwardly. If he jumped better, he could’ve easily led this race. Instead, he proceeded to race extremely keenly, but then still had the audacity to storm home into second. Some of his Sydney form is quite good, including victory over Exoboom. He could easily pick off a mile-plus race in similar grade while in Brisbane.

Race 3 – Love Tap

Another from the Freedman camp to race without much luck on Saturday. He was predicted to race on-pace, but after a slow / awkward getaway, was forced to sit worse than midfield. He ended up closing off the race very stylishly out wide, and while he could only manage seventh place, was beaten only less than two lengths. He’ll be better suited over further second-up. It is interesting the horse is nominated for both the Stradbroke and Q22 – and given the way he raced here, it would be more likely they’ll proceed with the longer distance of the Q22.

R9 – Superium

This Hawkes-trained 4yo produced one of the runs of the day to scorch home for third in a race dominated by leaders. The winner (Axe) and runner-up (Dr Why Not) controlled the event up front, essentially giving nothing else a chance. Superium was clearly the best of the rest – and certainly the best of those in the second half of the field. He actually settled last for the majority of the race from a wide draw but wound up strongly to finish strongly into third. He was beaten 4.5 lengths, but given the way the race was run, it was mathematically the best he could finish. He has already been down to Melbourne this prep where he performed well, but is now in Queensland with nominations for the big Group One sprint races. While he’s always been considered a rung below the top-class sprinters and a Group One may be ambitious, he looks to be racing well and could easily pick off a Group Two or Three.

Gold Coast – Saturday 8 May 2021

Race 1Windermere

This was a solid performance to run third and beaten just over a length by the winner. There was no money to suggest this 5yo mare would perform first-up at 1800m on a rain-affected surface, but she looked a serious winning hope before being grabbed late by I Could Do Better. Windermere was also on the back foot early after jumping awkwardly and shifting in shortly after the start. She has a good record second-up and can feature in the finish next time out.

Race 3 – Lord Belvedere

A win is certainly not far around the corner for import Lord Belvedere after copping a hideous ride here in the Gold Coast Cup. From barrier four, jockey Mark Zahra elected to sit three wide without cover for the trip in a small field. It was no surprise he wilted at the end after having the audacity to loom up in the straight. He’s nominated for the Doomben Cup in a couple of weeks and will be a major player.

Race 5 – Rhapsody Rose & Dovetail Diva

Rhapsody Rose is only lightly-raced but is building a record of performing above market expectations. She was sent out at $14 and had a wide drew, which wasn’t a total disadvantage, but it did mean she was three deep the trip. She ran home nicely to record some nice late sectionals.

Dovetail Diva was first-up and came with some decent wraps after a big debut win at Doomben. She tried to do it all the way from the wide draw but was just reeled in late after the early work took its toll. She is nominated for the Sires and the 1400m journey of that group one event appears right up her alley.

Race 7 – Rocketing By

They went slow in this race and made it impossible for anything from the back. Rocketing By was by far the best of those from near the rear – and this was even despite being tightened for room at crucial stages in the straight. He’s nominated for the G1 Kingsford Smith at WFA in a few weeks time and it looks a race he’d be competitive in with a lightweight.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 1 May 2021

Race 6Ashema

I’m certainly not dropping off Ashema after her brave effort to run a close third in the Dalrello. This a filly who ran within three lengths of dominant Golden Slipper winner Stay Inside and was also placed at G3 level in Sydney. However, nothing went right here at her first try in Queensland. This is despite the speed map looking favourable for her from barrier five. I’m sure Steph Thornton would like to have the race over again, because I believe she simply got it wrong when letting the speed go and ending up three wide. She was the five wide into the turn but still had the audacity to loom up as the winner. It was only until the final 50m that the winner Miss Hipstar – who had enjoyed a perfect run on the fence – got the better of her. She’s nominated for the Ken Russell at the Gold Coast this Saturday and if she backs up, looks the winner.

Race 8 – Stampe

This was a huge run first-up off no trials in the G2 Victory Stakes. I’ve always thought he’s perhaps just a rung below the good horses at G1 level, but this run has really made me stand up and take notice. A huge case could be made that he should’ve run top three, or perhaps even won the race if not for bad luck in the final 150m. He sat off the hot speed and tracked the favourite Trekking, before finding trouble in the straight. Once he picked himself up he finished off better than anything else in the race. I’d like to see him once more before touting him as a contender for the Brisbane G1 races he’s nominated for, but there’s no doubt he’s come back a better horse this prep.

Race 9 – Asharani

We backed this girl as our best each-way on the day and she drifted out to near $20 before running sixth. While the run looked plain, she actually picked up quite nicely in the straight to be going arguably as good anything at the finish line. She looked to hit a flat spot in the middle stages and they might consider putting the winkers back on after taking them off for this affair. She also ran into two very smart ones in Fender and Garibaldi. If she can find a slightly easier race up here she’ll be ultra-competitive/

Doomben – Saturday 24 April 2021

Race 6 – Maozi

She’s always been a horse who I believe has somewhat flown under the radar. Given her Victorian form, it’s no surprise she’s been highly competitive in good races in the sunshine state. She drew a sticky gate here first up and nothing went right for her in the straight. Last prep she contested listed events and I’m confident she can win one around that level this campaign.

Race 8 – Garropolo

This previously unbeaten son of Per Incanto went around at close to $20 but arguably should’ve won the race. He settled towards the rear and jockey Robbie Fradd had little option but to ride for luck on the inside. He was absolutely bolting but had nowhere to go in the straight. I like that Fradd has stuck with those horse throughout his career and he gives the impression 1200m+ will be more to his liking. I’d love to see him on a big track such as back to Eagle Farm (where he has won) or the Sunshine Coast.

Race 8 – Miss Canada

A talented filly on her day who loomed up out wide and looked a winning hope before fading slightly to be beaten 3L. It was no surprise she didn’t finish it off given she was wide for most of the trip from barrier 12. Last prep in Sydney she was competitive around the likes of Dame Giselle – that’s good enough form to pick off a nice race on Brisbane. A better gate would be hugely advantageous next time. Last prep she was tried out to 1400m and failed, but it was her final run of the campaign so perhaps she had come to the end of her prep instead of not getting the trip.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 17 April 2021

Race 5 – Be Water My Friend

We backed this son of Headwater at big odds and he was simply never a winning hope in a fast run race where Apache Chase ran them off their legs. I took a positive out of the fact this 3yo stuck to his guns late on the line (and beyond). It suggested that he won’t have an issue out to 1600m if they choose to progress that way – and every run prior has matched that profile. He has some strong form around him, and I think he’ll be better in a bigger field. We will get big odds again and suggest he’s worth following.

Race 8 – Flash Aah

Very underrated galloper. Stepped up to an Open Quality here and proved he’s a horse capable of winning a good race – and possibly even something over the winter carnival. He sat second last on the fence, and although he was given every possible along the paint as the field fanned wide, he was ultra-strong to the line to only miss by less than a length. He had already won a nice race at the Gold Coast earlier in the prep on a wet track, but this performance highlighted he’s certainly not just a wet tracker. This lightly-raced 5yo has won 5 from 11, and is proving to be highly versatile on all types of tracks and distances from 1000m to 1400. His Gold Coast win was at 1400m on a heavy surface, and being by Lucas Cranach I’d assume he will likely get up to the mile and possibly beyond. It was interesting placement here (heavy track 1400m win back to 1000m), but he’s only had two runs this prep (plus one where he lost the rider), so it would be no surprise to see him keep progressing into the carnival.

Race 9 – Westlink

This tough Dubbo-trained galloper has now had three runs in Queensland and is getting better each time he steps out. He had a decent run in transit around midfield, but was tightened for room and the jockey did go for home very early in the long Eagle Farm straight. He looked all to have the race in his keeping at the 100m mark but the eventual winner (Enterprise Keren) had enjoyed a much more economical run and charged late up on the fence to score. 1400m seems to be his best trip, but he has been competitive out to a mile. He’s ready to win next start.

Doomben – Saturday 10 April 2021

I want to be forgiving of horses on the inside as virtually nothing won or finished well from there all day. Horses at least two off the fence travelled and performed best throughout the program.

Race 3 – Foreign Territory

He was heavily-backed to start near-favourite, but not much went right for this son of Tavistock. As the steward’s report shows, he jumped out at the start and then proceeded to pull hard in the middle stages of the event. He then hung out rounding the home turn but was able to somehow be steered nearer the inside which was likely inferior ground. I wouldn’t’ be surprised if he performed much better next start.

Race 4 – Fender

Don’t have to be Einstein to be impressed by the performance of Fender. This 4yo was first-up off only one trial so there’s likely plenty of improvement left in him going forward towards the Brisbane Winter Carnival. Admittedly, he didn’t beat a whole lot here, but he was soft late in betting which is another indicator of huge improvement to come. He won by almost two lengths and was throttled down to still record 34.75 for the last 600m.

Race 7 – Simply Fly

This was the run of the day at Doomben. Simply Fly is a very smart animal, further outlined by her performance over the 1050m to run second behind Ballistic Lover. The winner came to Brisbane with solid Sydney form, but Simply Fly no doubt should’ve beaten her. She was a clear last on the turn – a couple of lengths off the second last horse – but powered home to make up about 10 lengths on the winner. She did it all in the worst part of the track in the straight before coming off the winner’s heels to almost score an unthinkable victory. It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep her up for a race in the carnival, having already won the Gold Coast Jewel on a heavy track earlier this prep. She’s already won six from 10 and with her lethal finish, she’ll be winning much better races.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 3 April 2021

Race 4 – Patty’s Fortune

Continually under-rated in the market and we were able to get some cash out of him each-way on Saturday at $5+ the place. He was snagged back to last from the wide gate and picked his way through the field to rocket home and run third. If he’d drawn a better gate, there’s every chance he finishes a lot closer to the winner, and perhaps even fights out the finish. This was a high quality BM72 and if he can draw a gate in something slightly easier as he likely steps up in distance, I’m confident he’ll be ultra-competitive.

Race 5 – Tycoon Evie

Tycoon Evie further confirmed her standing as a filly of high quality – arguably the most talented female in the state. She was solid in the market back from a freshen up as she kicked off a likely Oaks campaign. After settling a clear last on the fence she weaved a passage through the small field to win impressively, running home the last 600m in sub-34. She’s only lightly-raced but appears to be getting better with racing and should be competitive in any upcoming race assignments.

Race 7 – Akage

Another galloper who flies under the radar and goes around at big prices because of an unheralded trainer-jockey combo. This 7yo mare has produced three huge runs in succession and is capable of winning again. Admittedly she had barrier one and a soft run on Saturday, but if she gets conditions to suit, she’s proven to be a real line chaser once she get a sniff of winning. It’ll be interesting to see if they step her up to the mile (a distance she has won at in the past) next start or stay around the 1400m mark.

Race 9 – Bold Style

A bit of a horror show from start-to-finish for this Garnett Taylor-trained 4yo. He’s a versatile type who can sit handy if needed, and it appeared that was the intention despite beginning awkwardly. He was bustled up early in an attempt to hold a midfield spot after the tardy beginning, and from there he ran into trouble at around the 800m mark when he found a tight spot to the inside of Defence Missile. It meant Bold Style was forced three wide and that was where he was planted for the race. He finished off nicely out wide (where very few were making ground on the day) and was still going as good as anything on the line to grab fifth. He’s certainly worth following in similar grade.

Doomben – Saturday 27 March 2021

Despite a week of torrential rain the lead-up, the Doomben track played relatively fair last Saturday. It didn’t appear to be a huge advantage to on-pacers hard on the fence, as was predicted by many.

Race 3 – Barefoot

We backed this mare at big odds each-way, and as luck would have it, she was beaten a lip for third spot and arguably should’ve won the race. She found a great spot fourth / fifth on the fence and travelled well into the race but was in a bumping duel on several occasions between the 400m and 200m when attempting to secure clear running. She’s ready to win and up in trip should be an ideal way for her to break back into the winners’ circle.

Race 4 – Better Get Set

This 3yo filly has been excellent in all three runs this prep backing up her 4th placing in the Gold Coast Jewel with a sound second placing here at Doomben. She settled in a relatively handy spot, and despite racng keen in the early stages, still looked set to run down the eventual winner (Rollinwiththeflow). The winner was able to control the race up on the speed making it an impossible task for Better Get Set to run him down. There was a big gap to third which is always a good sign. Keen to follow her next start, but not sure how many more runs the stable will get out of her this prep.

Race 9 – Let’s Party Marty

Let’s Party Marty is flying this prep and continues to go around at juicy odds. This run was a train wreck from start to finish. He began awkwardly and had to settle in an uncustomary spot near the back of the field.  He was likely never going to win from there but he should’ve finished a lot closer after being eld up for clear running in the home straight and unable to be fully tested. This prep he has beaten Snowzone and ran close-up behind the likes of Roman Aureus and Desert Lord. He is going very well this campaign continues to go around at big odds. With his most recent run showing a ninth place, beaten four lengths, it should mean we get another good price next time he steps out.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 6 March 2021

Despite aesthetically to appear in average condition last Saturday, Eagle Farm played considerably fair with all runners given their chance whether out wide or closer to the fence. If anything, there was perhaps a slight disadvantage to be hard up on the fence towards the latter stages of the meeting.

Race 9 – Back When

Whilst this was not a hard run to spot from the last race, but I’m extremely keen on his future and I’ve got no doubt we’ll be repaid by following him. From well back in the field, he powered through the field upon hitting the straight to grab second on the line. No doubt he was aided somewhat by the strong tempo set by the winner Georgie’s Pride (herself a very smart galloper) but he was extremely strong though the line second up out to 1400m. It must be said the winner is very smart and in the top couple of progressive horses in the state. The money went on Back When here and it would be a surprise if this 3yo went around at any flash odds next time, but assume the Garnett Taylor stable will be looking to step him out to 1600m now, and if he can draw a gate he’ll be mighty hard to hold out wherever he goes.

Race 1 – The Stifmeister and Yangari

I might sound like a broken record here, but The Stifmeister and Yangari are worth continuing to follow. They profile as similar type horses, both likely to show their best out to 1400m and perhaps beyond. Nothing from Saturday has swayed me that they are both horses well worth watching, but only time will tell how far they get this preparation and if they can make their presence felt over the upcoming Brisbane carnival. The Stifmeister looks a talented horse and it would be no surprise to see him measure up in upcoming stakes race, with the JJ Atkins would no doubt be on the radar. In the same race, I also didn’t mind the way Yangari kept whacking away on the fence. I’d prefer to see him draw a middle gate and settle midfield with cover and round them up before the bend. He might be a rung below The Stifmeister (the market has reflected that) but he’s still worth following.

Race 6 – Exclusive

I was keen on this NSW visitor’s chances and while he couldn’t run into the placings, his run was full of merit. He settled back last from the wide gate with the big weight but was able to pick up and loom along the fence. There’s a small query that hard up against the fence was a less than ideal place to be as the day wore on, but it’s reasonable to understand why the jockey went that way given he didn’t want to loop around them with the big weight.

Race 8 – Golly Hutt

Another horse who stays in the blackbook is Golly Hutt, simply because I’m hoping he’ll continue to be underplayed by the market because of his low-profile trainer. The margin says he was no match for Wren’s Day on Saturday, but he was three deep the trip and the winner came off his back so there’s a small case to make he could’ve finished a lot closer than the 1.75 margin. He’s a horse in great form and there’s no reason why he can’t win a Saturday race around the 1400m mark this preparation.

Sunshine Coast – Sunday 28 February 2021

Race 1 – Tesuara

It was a disastrous debut for Tesaura, who came into the race following a smart second in a trial. The 2yo filly had nothing go right at her first race start, with jockey Michael Rodd reporting the saddle slipped before she was caught wide throughout. She still had the audacity to run home strongly into third. Well worth following.

Race 2 – Danezel

This lightly-raced 4yo looks to be going places, notching up his first win this prep after contesting tougher assignments. He settled well back in the field and rounded them up, but it was the manner in which he used that momentum and maintained it right towards the line. Despite covering much more ground, he was tenacious in outgunning the second place-getter who had enjoyed a much more economical run.

Race 2 – Double’s Choice

Sneaky run by a $51 shot that will largely go unnoticed, particular as he comes from an unfashionable stable. He was lengths off the second last horse in the straight but really ground gone strongly to arguably finish as good as anything through the line. Worth keeping an eye on especially put to 1400m.

Race 3 – Master Tyler

Was no match for the winner as he ran into the well above average debutante Karaka Lad here. I very much doubt Master Tyler could’ve troubled the winner, but he was a touch unlucky in the run, caught wide on various occasions copping some trouble before the turn. His two trials before the debut run were full of merit. Breeding suggests he’ll get over a trip and has a nice action.

Race 4 – Patty’s Fortune

Went around at a silly price and arguably should’ve finished a lot closer than a well-beaten fifth. He was stuck in an awkward spot before the turn and was forced wide leaving the 800m. The trouble didn’t stop there having some difficulties securing clear running in the early stages of the home straight. There was late money around for him suggesting the stable has got him in good shape.

Sunshine Coast – Saturday 27 February 2021

Race 3 – Glorious Ruby

Glorious Ruby was thrashed by nearly five lengths, but nothing went right in the run and the winner (Sweet Dolly) is very smart and hard to chase down over the 1000m. She was caught wide and the jockey elected to snag back, but essentially it was a move that just halted her momentum and allowed the winner to snatch a winning break. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her step back up to 1100-1200 and be very competitive at a race in town, but drawing a better gate would be beneficial.

Race 7 – Epic Girl

A talented mare on her day when she gets things her own way. Ideally, she needs to get back to Doomben, draw well and have little pressure in front. On this occasion she was forced to work relentlessly from an awkward draw but kicked strongly in the straight to run second to an in-form and talented Doctor Zous. It was a run full of merit and it looks as though she’s not far from producing her best this preparation.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 20 February 2021

Race 1 – Yangari & The Stifmeister

Keen to follow two runners out of the first race – Yangari and The Stifmesiter.

There was an interesting sub-plot in this race with the winner Mishani Enchanted ridden by Jimmy Orman and  The Stifmeister piloted by Michael Rodd. The pair essentially swapped mounts, with Rodd jumping off the winner to ride debutante The Stifmeister (who trialled with Orman aboard). While it didn’t prove a winning move on Saturday, I’m confident Rodd will be repaid for his faith in The Stifmiester as he looks a talented type.

Yangari is a big, loping type and crying for a step up in distance. 1400m at Eagle Farm will be to his liking. Both runs this time in have been excellent, hitting the line hard from back in the field. Would love to see him head up to the wide expanses of the Sunshine Coast for a 1400m maiden – I’ve got no doubt he would be winning.

Race 4 – Golly Hutt

On a day where it seemed you needed to build momentum on the turn, Golly Hutt was a little flat-footed when the winner and runner-up were setting down to fight out the finish.

Once balanced up, he powered home for third. It’s no surprise to see him back in town and racing competitive as he’s a 4yo who has always had some ability. He’s now ran well at both runs this time in, and the lack of market support suggests he’s only going to get better as the prep continues.

Can’t wait to see him out to 1400m.

Race 8 – Better Get Set

Run of the day. The wide gate did this filly absolutely no favours, stuck on a limb three and four wide before having the audacity to dash home out wide and finish better than anything in the race.

She clearly should’ve won. Despite the wide draw she was heavily backed, suggesting there is some real confidence in the way she’s returned this prep.

A win (or two) isn’t far away for her.

Eagle Farm – Saturday 6 February 2021

Eagle Farm’s much-maligned surface dished up a track that played in favour of on-pacers with almost every winner coming from up on the speed and close to the fence. Below are a couple of horses worth following from the meeting.

Bonaparte (Race 5): Arguably the run of the day after having to go back to last and three wide. He circled the field and finishing off gamely, sticking to his task impressively out wide. The Stuart Kendrick-trained 5yo has produced two runs in this time which have been superb. If he can draw a gate third-up to 1400m, he should be winning.

Mosshiki (Race 3): This Rob Heathcote-trained runner has been ultra-costly this prep when hard in the market at each run.  He was a touch unlucky here without much room before the turn. Admittedly, he did get out in time to loom as a winning hope, but the eventual winner former Victorian Quality Approach had all the favours and was too strong at the business end. Mosshiki is worthy of one more chance.

Ligulate (Race 4):  No prizes for identifying Ligulate as a horse to follow, considering he’s now won two on the trot, but he’s in sublime form and will be hard to hold out wherever he goes next. Ran home in a slick 32.66sec, clearly the best time of the day. If he can find another weakish Open Handicap in Queensland it’ll be hard to back against him.


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