Racing & Sports expert selections.
RACE 1 - Interesting race to kick things off with a majority of the field facing the starter for the first time but the market looks to have this right with a race between two. WOLFGANG (5) is from the Lloyd Kennewell & Lucy Yeomans yard and is the only runner with race experience. Was firm in the market on debut in Listed company and looks the top pick off the back of a Cranbourne jump out on November 27. DANCING STORM (3) steps out on debut for the smart R & C Jolly stable and is the obvious danger. Worked through his gears stylishly to find the frame in a Gawler trial in readiness. Stable rider and leading hoop Jake Toeroek pilots. Sure to be fighting out the finish. HARD LEAF (4) and BAD TO THE BONE (1) next best in that order.
RACE 2 - SPORTSBEAT (7) finds the maiden win elusive but it certainly hasn't been without trying, denied by a whisker last start at Kyneton. The booking of Todd Pannell is a good push for his chances and a similar effort puts him right in the thick of it. MANUKA BAY (11) has been thereabouts in her two runs back and should be ready to find her peak now. Dom Tourneur piloting from a low draw reads favourably. Warrants serious thought. FOXHOW (1) resumes. Came close to shedding the tag last time in and finds a nice race to be very competitive first run back. CUBAN WATERS (10) gave a better display of herself last start at Strathalbyn. Open to further improvement and should be kept safe.
RACE 3 - TYPHOON HARMONY (3) is yet to break through this time in but has been tackling tougher opposition back in Victoria. Hasn't saluted for a long time but gets a great chance this time. Bold showing anticipated. MIDNIGHT MASS (2) has barely taken a step wrong this prep, stringing together three wins from the five attempts. Scored with a bit up his sleeve here last start. Doesn't need to improve much to be in the finish again. SET TO PROPHET (5) chased hard into the placings last start at Clare when beaten less than a length. Needs to go up a rung this time but is 1/1 over this track and trip. Worth considering. CROWN MINT (4) drove hard to get the verdict at the latest on the Parks surface. Tougher this time but gets weight relief. Not without claims.
RACE 4 - Small but competitive field engaged. HASTA LA FIORENTE (1) did well to knuckle down and score here two back over this trip and then followed it up with a solid chase to the line here last start when beaten under 2L. No tougher this time. Sure to play a major role. AMMO AMOR (2) and CANFORD (3) come through the same race as Hasta La Fiorente, with only a head separating the three of them. Canford gets the slight weight swing of the three but lacks tactical speed. Will be no surprise to see these three fighting out the finish. SASUN (4) brings different form lines but will need to go up a rung or two. Next best.
RACE 5 - ZEBELLA (2) wasn't able to make an impact last time in but had shown plenty of ability in her starts prior. Strips fitter for a nice Gawler trial win and has her usual rider Kayla Crowther piloting. Expected to be in the finish. ROXY BLUE (3) didn't give her rivals a sniff at the latest. Tougher this time but is a likely improver at this stage of the prep and is among the main hopes. ROSE RING (4) was a handy winner fresh but went amiss last time. The booking of leading hoop Jake Toeroek is interesting. Worth forgiving. CATALINA BLUE (5) is going too good to ignore and STORM VOYAGER (6) is going well without having the results to show for it. Keep safe.
RACE 6 - HUMBOLDT (8) is on the quick turnaround after flashing home to just miss last week on the Parks surface. Similar setup but should appreciate the extra 100m. Should be nearing his peak now and is sure to be charging at the business end. MASTER AT ARMS (4) did a great job to score two back when arriving just in time but couldn't quite follow it up at the latest when tackling tougher opposition. Will find this easier and is among the main contenders. MISS KERMIE (5) knocked off Apache Star two back but struggled last time. Can improve sharply with the blinkers applied for the first time. HEADPHONES (6) rarely finishes far away from the action and warrants safekeeping.
RACE 7 - BRISTLER (3) looked a much better horse here last start when going forward, only to be caught late by two in-form runners. Strips fitter with the three runs under his belt now and should be ready to hit his best. Leading player. ALL BEANS (2) showed plenty of early dash here last start and lengthened nicely in the run home to score comfortably. Plenty to like about that win and this isn't that much tougher. One of the key chances. SAVILLE (4) resumes and usually runs well fresh. Has not been seen at public trials in readiness but steps back out over a preferred trip and is drawn low. Expected to make his presence felt. REAL VALENTIA (9) gave All Beans a shake for his money here when resuming but failed to follow it up at the latest. Strips fitter and now meets All Beans with a 4.5kg weight swing in his favour. Can turn things around third up. GRAND HOST (5) will be doing his best work late and is one for the exotic players.
RACE 8 - VALIDATED (5) came from a long way back to charge home and get the verdict here a fortnight ago. Has another sticky draw to contest but shoulders a handy record third up and is unbeaten over this course and distance. Regular rider Dom Tourneur sticks and looks to bring up his sixth win aboard. WAKANJEJA (11) has begun to live up to some of her early career hype this time in as she shoots to bring up her fourth consecutive win. Will no doubt head straight back from the gate and be saved for her strong finishing burst. Can take the next step. GRINZINGER PRINCE (9) fought hard to the line last start under the substantial weight when beaten by one on the way through. Ticking along nicely and will enjoy the significant weight relief. Can play a major role. WALK LIKE AN ANGEL (13) progressed stylishly second up when making very light work of her rivals here. Tackles the older horses this time but looks more than capable of making another strong account of herself. LORD VLADIVOSTOK (2) next.
RACE 9 - LA DEFENSE (1) hasn't taken a step wrong in his two runs back, scoring stylishly in both. Not any tougher this time, just has to carry more weight. Sure to be charging hard over the concluding stages. KALASEC (2) only warmed to his task late here last start and picked up well to grab a minor cheque. Open to further improvement third up and gets the key booking of Jake Toeroek. Can give this a shake. NASHO (6) was no match for an impressive winner last time but is going well. Gets in well at the weights and is drawn to get the suck run from the inside barrier. Among the main chances. SAN LUCIDO (3) let down in great fashion last start at Strathalbyn to shed his maiden tag. Tougher this time but is a likely improver. In the mix. THE GREY KING (4) battled on steadily to the line when resuming. Sure to have come on with that run under his belt and it's interesting to note that the blinkers go on for the first time. Can improve sharply. Don't dismiss.