Rail – 6m
Track – Heavy 8
Forecast – Max 18 degrees, partly cloudy
Race 1 – TabTouch Westspeed Platinum Handicap – 1000m – 11:58pm
Cuballing was two for two last preparation, but then was a shade disappointing when first up this time around. He went into that race without a trial, so maybe fitness just wasn’t on his side. He was then sent back to trials where he performed ok. While the heavy track has a question mark over, it at least we know he likes this distance. Tajmali has been racing really well in Kalgoorlie and this doesn’t look to be a much tough race (though definitely more even). She hasn’t raced on a soft track before and whether this is slightly too short of a distance remains to be seen. At least Pike should keep her out of trouble. Point Taken is coming off a win last start over 1200m, so brings confidence into this race. She’s also placed on a soft track before (2:0-1-0) and with Chloe’s claim she only has to carry 57.5kg. Lecia Jaguar is arguably in career best form at the moment and is a horse that will like this short distance. He’s had the one start on a soft track, where he didn’t place so that’s a slight concern. However, the form surrounding his races also looks to be pretty good.
2 – Cuballing
4 – Tajmali
3 – Point Taken
5 – Lecia Jaguar
Race 2 – Perth Racing At Home Handicap – 1000m – 12:37pm
Super Maxi will be hoping to make it as Gangemi quinella (before Condor Heroes got scratched). Like his stable mate, he’s also proven very successful on a heavy track (5:1-2-2). He drops in class and hence has to carry 61kg. However, he’s trialled well and has a good first up record (8:2-2-0). Fire And Rain hasn’t shown us his best his January last year, though in November he was banned due to bleeding from both nostrils, which I’m also worried may have knocked his confidence. Then last start I think he settled too far back. Putting all of this aside, he has a great second up record (3:1-2-0) and should easily be able to get to the front from that barrier. If he’s returned to his old self, then he’s definitely right in this. Guns Of Navarone has raced at this distance in his past three starts for a win and two seconds. The form surrounding his races isn’t the best and he’s had over a month since his last start but on a heavy track anything can happen. Hoboken hasn’t been racing at his best lately, though though there were a few excuses in the stewards’ report. However, in a small field he shouldn’t get stuck in traffic and it has a good soft track record (3:1-0-1). He also meets Gun Of Navarone 2kg better since they last raced against each other.
1 – Super Maxi
5 – Fire And Rain
3 – Guns Of Navarone
8 – Hoboken
Race 3 – Gourmet Takeaway Plate – 1000m – 1:17pm
Dunbar looks to be a champion in the making, coming out and winning in a nice fashion in his maiden race. This does look to be a tougher race and he drops down in distance from 1200m. However, given the state of the track, this could feel like a 1200m race. Born To Rule has had just the two trials over 400m which she won. Pike was riding her in those trials and I’m assuming he had his pick here, opting to go with my top pick. Given that Universal Ruler produces horses that love soft/heavy tracks, don’t rule an upset out with this horse. Long May You Run won a trial over 1000m before finishing second behind Chantorque. He gets 1kg on her here and has drawn better. He looks to have some ability and should improve with one race under his belt. Chantorque won a trial before then winning her maiden race. She may have to use a bit of energy to get to the front from that barrier or settle further back, which may be a disadvantage on a heavy track. She’s a bit hard to gauge but can certainly win.
1 – Dunbar
9 – Born To Rule
2 – Long May You Run
7 – Chantorque
Race 4 – Amelia Park Handicap – 1200m – 1:57pm
Windstorm is two for two in his career. Both of these runs have been quite well spaced, and he’s had a fantastic trial leading into this race, so I’m not concerned about that. The 60.5kg has a slight question mark over it, but he won carry 60kg at his first start. Overall, he should go well in this tougher race. Captain Kink has some great forming surrounding his race and has good career statistics (4:1-1-1). His top three places have all been this preparation too. Last start he finished second on a soft track so that’s also going in his favour. Mood Swings could be a cheeky horse in this race. His run behind Miss Frost last start was good and he won the race before that. His trials suggest that stepping up to 1200m should benefit, even though he’s yet to race on a soft track. Just one to keep your eye on. Indian Pacific is first up here after winning a trial and if he’s anything like his name, he’ll appreciate the heavy conditions. He steps up to 1200m for the first time, which may be a tougher ask given the 60kg he has to carry. However, he’s yet to finish outside the top three in his career (3:2-0-1).
2 – Windstorm
6 – Captain Kink
7 – Mood Swings
3 – Indian Pacific
Race 5 – Glenroy Chaff Handicap – 1200m – 2:34pm
Double Bubble burst a few bubbles last start, beating Massimo and Black Ducati. The biggest thing going for her here is her amazing soft track record (6:5-0-0), though she’s unplaced after racing on a heavy track once. Her second up record is also good (2:1-0-0). I expect her to be there in the finish. Miss Frost poses as a serious threat to my top tip and in any other race I’d probably have her on top. However, I just don’t think horses she’s beaten home is as good as Double Bubble. 1000m also looks to be her ideal distance, while she’s only placed on a soft track before (1:0-0-1). If she brings her best she can win this. Sherpa Lass has been disappointing at her previous two starts, where she tasted defeat for the first time. She’s had excuses there though so I’m willing to forgive those runs. The biggest thing in her favour here is her soft track record (2:2-0-0) and dropping back in distance. She’s also drawn well and if she’s on his best behaviour she can bounce back to her old self. Tawny Pete has been racing really well in the country, recording two wins at Bunbury and second at Pinjarra. All three races were over this distance and he carried 60kg at those two wins, so that isn’t a worry here. He looks to be the leader in this race with Akiko, which should be easy to get from that barrier if he jumps well.
4 – Double Bubble
15 – Miss Frost
10 – Sherpa Lass
3 – Tawny Pete
Race 6 – Bryon Bay Premium Lager Handicap – 1600m – 3:10pm
Porphyrio had been racing really well in the country and then backed that up with a third at Ascot. That race was over 1800m so dropping back to 1600m should benefit. She also has a good soft track record (2:1-0-1) and can run on if she settles too far back from the wide barrier. Tollman is another horse that prefers 1600m. He’s also got the best barrier he’s had in a while and only carries 59.5kg with Jade’s claim. From that barrier he should also be able to settle into a nice position. Costa Del Santo rises significantly in class, though has been racing well at Pinjarra. He showed a fantastic turn of foot two starts ago in a race that he won. Combined with his soft track record, this could be a winning combination. He also gets 4kg on Firesale, who beat him last start, which will definitely help him in turning the tables. Kendel’s Mee Dad has won three races in a row leading into this race, two of which have been on a soft track. These races have been at Albany, but he’s clearly in career best form. The only negative is that he might be slightly outclassed, but he definitely deserves a crack at it.
8 – Porphyrio
1 – Tollman
5 – Costa Del Santo
7 – Kendel’s Mee Dad
Race 7 – Schwepppes Handicap – 1600m – 3:40pm
She’s Alright is a horse I’ve tipped time and time again, with this race being no different. She’s absolutely flying at the moment, having won her previous three starts. Two starts ago she also showed us that she has a fantastic turn of foot. I’m extremely worried about her wide barrier but believe her class can see her winning once again. Festival Miss is a pretty consistent horse, placing in the top four in her previous five starts, including a third at listed level. She rises in weight (3.5kg from last start) but the form surrounding her races is incredibly strong. She may be another victim to the wide barrier, but is another horse with ability. Gates Of Babylon dead-heated with She’s Alright for first place last time they met. This time they are met evenly in the weights, but Gates Of Babylon has drawn a way better barrier. Given how well he’s racing this may prove to be the difference, however, he’s yet to place on a soft track (2:0-0-0) and may find 1600m a touch too long. Dudemanbro is great value!! He’s currently sitting at 51/1, but I think he’s worth an each way bet. He’s had nearly a two year off racing but finished second behind Galaxy Star and Gatting in two separate races. His first up record is also good (3:1-1-0) as is his soft track record (4:0-3-1). Yes, he’s drawn extremely wide and his trial wasn’t that great leading into this race but he could run a cheeky race.
16 – She’s Alright
10 – Festival Miss
11 – Gates Of Babylon
5 – Dudemanbro
Race 8 – Iron Jack – Belmont Sprint – 1400m – 4:15pm
Angelic Ruler probably has the best form out of these horses (beside Humidor), after coming off a Melbourne Spring campaign. She also won a listed race two starts ago over this distance, followed up with a great effort in the Roma Cup, coming from the back to finish fifth. Watch out for her to be storming home. The Velvet King was brave in defeat in the Roma Cup after racing wide the entire way. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I think he has a serious chance at winning this. His soft track record is great (4:3-0-0), he’s placed at all starts at this distance (7:5-1-1) and hasn’t tasted defeat at this distance/track (2:2-0-0). Statistically, he should be winning but I’m worried about the track and whether he can handle it. Gatting had a few excuses in the Roma Cup, plus it was too short for him. He’ll only improve as he steps up in distance but he’s a wet track lover, with a great soft track record (6:2-1-2) and heavy track record (1:1-0-0). Flirtini also raced well in the Roma Cup, where she finished fourth. She has also placed in another group 3 race and listed race this preparation. My only concern is that she seems to be better suited over 1100-1200m.
13 – Angelic Ruler
8 – The Velvet King
2 – Gatting
14 – Flirtini
Race 9 – Crown Towers Handicap – 2200m – 4:50pm
Petticoat Junction is on the one-week backup, where she finished fourth. However, prior to that, she won two races over this distance. If the track is a little worse for wear by now, that’s ok too as she’s won on a heavy track before (1:1-0-0). As long as she jumps better this time, she should be right in it. Picture Perfect comes out of the same race as Petticoat Junction, where he finished second. Surprisingly, he gets 1.5kg on her though. They’ve drawn outside each other here, so I expect them to be tracking each other throughout the race. Picture Perfect probably has finished close behind some good horses and maybe would have gone closer if he settles further forward. If he doesn’t get stuck in traffic he can win. Divine Shadow also comes out of Petticoat Junction’s where he finished third. Given that he won three starts ago over 1600m, I think 2200m may be a touch too long for him. He has been racing well though and has a good soft track record (3:1-1-0). Volkswagon Frank has burnt me many times before and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again here. He got too far back last start, so just put a line through that run. However, he is a bit of a hit and miss horse, so it’s hard to tell which one will turn up here.
14 – Petticoat Junction
6 – Picture Perfect
1 – Divine Shadow
4 – Volkswagon Frank
Race 4 – Windstorm
Rain affected tracks always have a degree of uncertainty to them, especially as it’s the first proper soaking since being back at Belmont. My confidence decreases as the day goes on, mostly because the races become more evenly matched but also because I’m not sure what state the track will be in by the end of the day. However, I’m probably most worried about race 1, 7 and 9. If you’re looking for insider information on The Velvet King, I’ve yet to hear the pre-race report, though I’m certainly hoping he can win. If I was to have a fun bet, I’d do a boxed trifecta for the Impressive Racing horses in the Belmont Sprint.