Race 3 CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1600m)
Tough battle here with many chances. Settled on Hawkesbury-based mare 12. Platinum Asset who is ready to peak fourth-up off a six-week break. Did it tough from a wide gate two runs back in better company before narrowly beaten over this trip from just off the speed. Draws to get a similar run here and a senior jockey takes over.
Dangers: Capable 4. Shubick got back in a far tougher provincial race first-up and found the pressure too much, but this is more to her liking from a softer draw. Got plenty of time for Dubbo mare 6. Irene Of Athens, who beat a weak maiden field two runs back before close-up in a classier race at Mudgee. From the inside draw, 3. Pahang with a superior jockey going on; and 5. Talkachino, off a dominant first-up maiden win; can both run into the money.
How to play it: Platinum Asset to win
Race 4 MAIDEN PLATE (1100m)
It doesn’t get any easier here, but from his friendliest draw all prep, honest five-year-old 1. Break Over can finally break through fifth-up off a six-week freshen-up. Was run down late after being backed from $3.70 into $3.20 two starts ago before tracking the speed, but one-paced late at this track after doing early work. Given four weeks since, the rider should have the choice of either leading or parking right behind.
Dangers: No doubt speedy four-year-old 2. Little Ditty would be tighter in the market if he drew a more economical barrier. That said, he’s capable of flying across back a shade in trip fourth-up and looks fairly treated after the 1.5kg claim. At bigger odds, 8. Loch Anton Lady represents some value back in thinner company and getting some much-needed weight relief. Keep safe too 9. Zarizatiz, who resumes for a leading Dubbo yard without publicly trialling and took on deeper maidens last prep; while 4. Chelsea Amanda, 25 days between runs via a trial win, and provincial filly 12. Lozen on debut, head the rest.
How to play it: Break Over to win
Race 5 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1600m)
After thumping similar opposition third-up off a short break over the same trip, provincial seven-year-old 3. Sapphires Son can go back-to-back. Asked to carry 2kg more from a wider gate, but the top country hoop is aboard and he’s still very much on an upward curve this prep.
Dangers: Talented and consistent finisher 2. Oh No Bro was dominant from near last at Mudgee when well backed thundering down the middle, but far from convinced she justifies a similar short quote getting back from the inside draw here on a tighter track. Be surprised if one of those two doesn’t win, but keep safe provincial mare 6. Seaside Sandy, who comes off a narrow win in a weaker BM 58; while watching the betting at big odds on 4. Gibbed second-up via a quiet trial, with a string of gear changes. Gap to the rest headed by 5. Owhata Crumpet, who has hit the line in her last two, but drawn very wide.
How to play it: Sapphires Son to win
Race 6 BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1100m)
Widest race of the day and naturally early luck and positions will go a long way to finding the winner. That could well be improving five-year-old 2. Midnight Dream, who is ready to win again fifth-up. Was very well supported before hitting the line late against similar opposition at Bathurst before settling further back and charging home in a deeper CL2 at Dubbo. Crucially, he can park closer here from a softer draw and nothing will be stronger over the final 300m.
Dangers: Tough 4. Iron Hat is a serious value threat deep into the prep after chasing home a handy winner at Quirindi three weeks ago. Plenty of market respect too for improving 9. Insightful Award, who peaks second-up slipping down in weight. Big watch on lightly raced 6. Smart And Dapper, who returns for his first run in more than nine months via a quiet trial, but is drawn off the track. From a nice gate 7. Hardley The End fourth-up and 8. Ultra White off a last-start BM 58 win both add value into exotic plays.
How to play it: Midnight Dream to win
Race 7 CLASS 1 HCP (1100m)
Staying at the distance, and this shapes nicely for promising mare 6. Outishka second-up in only her third start. Never looked in trouble, resuming with a dominant Super Maiden win at Moree as a hot favorite and, carrying the same weight here after the claim, she looks a class above this crowd.
Dangers: At good value, lightly raced and progressive 3. Giving Delight backs up in nine days from a fast-finishing maiden win at Dubbo, where she roared home up the inside, and can run the quinella here. Gap to the rest headed by honest 7. Ithicus, who draws wide, but is hard fit; while stablemate 9. Dupenny, who has only missed a place once in four starts this prep, is clear best of the rest.
How to play it: Outishka to win
Race 8 CLASS 2 HCP (1300m)
Plenty of chances in the closer over a furlong further, headlined by progressive mare 5. Simply Xtravagant who is well-placed third-up to go back-to-back. Did her best work late resuming in a CL1 here before being ridden closer and finishing best to beat a couple of handy ones at Dubbo. Again draws to get a lovely smoother behind the speed and, with one of the best country hoops hopping aboard, she only needs clear air from the 350m.
Dangers: Rival Dubbo four-year-old 1. Invaher held his ground OK in a much tougher CL2 Highway after consecutive country wins from the front, running a record time at Forbes. Will need to jump smartly from a tricky draw, but has the ability. Over the odds is 3. Charlotting back a shade in trip with a far superior jockey taking over. Keep safe too 6. Borrowed Luck, who continues to find the line; while at bigger odds 4. Mascherata, third-up and down significantly in weight, and 12. Neddy, on a quick turnaround third-up, can add plenty of value into trifecta and first four bets.
How to play it: Simply Xtravagant to win