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Nine races have been set down for Ascot this Saturday, headlined by the Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m). The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

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Race 1. (15:18) TABTOUCH MAIDEN 1200m

Back Me

7 City Centre (Bet Now: $13.00) is two weeks between runs for Brett Pope after racing here in a maiden when wide no cover on speed and was still chipping away until the final 50m behind War Anthem. Another tricky gate for this mare, and she’s had no luck in two runs this prep. Hopefully the rub of the green will go her way.

Danger

5 Diamond Trade (Bet Now: $6.00) gets one last look before a life ban. Gee she’s been disappointing throughout her career. Has trialled like a city class horse but has run, sometimes, like a camel, and a camel is what she looked like first up here two weeks ago. Seemed to get a decent run in transit, three wide with cover, but found nothing asked. One last chance to find some positive form.

Long Shot

8 Peggie’s Joy (Bet Now: $11.00) comes through the same maiden as Diamond Trade from two weeks ago and I’m struggling to work out why this mare is double figures while Diamond Trade is half her price. This mare had no luck behind War Anthem, with the straight being pretty much a barrier trial for her. Better luck and she can win without surprising.

Race 2. (15:57) AMELIA PARK PLATE 1100m

Back Me

6 Guarded (Bet Now: $7.00) on top but not really a race I want to get involved in. Son of Safeguard on debut for the Neville Parnham team off the back of two trials, the latest coming last week at Belmont when winning in solid time. Blinkers go on for the debut, so little bit of intent shown and though a tricky gate, based off the trials, he has early speed if needed.

Danger

10 Sunnysilk (Bet Now: $4.20) is the one with hard experience under the belt but can’t quite crack it for a win. Ran over this track/distance a fortnight back when pressing forward and kicking up to lead. Showed good fight for the most part but couldn’t quite finish it off when third to Brooklyn Pier. Perhaps with a more conservative steer, she’ll be more effective.

Long Shot

13 Sunny Belle (Bet Now: $34.00) is a daughter of All American for the Jason Pateman camp that is on debut. This filly has had two trials in readiness for start one, the latest coming on January 13 at Lark Hill when running third, beaten around three lengths. Think she needs to improve off the trials, but has a soft gate and overall, this isn’t a strong race.

Race 3. (16:37) CROWN PERTH HANDICAP 1800m

Back Me

2 Harry Thomas (Bet Now: $2.70) on top. Ross Price trains this gelding, who had a few weeks off prior to racing over 1400m at Pinjarra three weeks ago where he tried really hard near the speed but lacked the change up gears to go with them late when fourth to Dance Music, who franked the form last Saturday. Up in trip, fitter, less depth, happy to be with him.

Danger

4 Butterlea Lad (Bet Now: $7.00) isn’t far off a win I feel. Not sure it’s here, but has to be respected all the same after racing over the mile here two weeks ago when trying hard in chasing Patristic but that horse kicked on too strongly and he couldn’t get there. Don’t mind him up to 1800m and I think if he is to win, he has to be leading.

Long Shot

3 Dark Musket (Bet Now: $7.50) has been an absolute beauty for a number of seasons. Outclassed in the Perth Cup before backing up a week later at Pinjarra and trying hard but just missed out on picking up Superior Smile. Further back in trip is the knock with him, especially if the pace is a crawl, but does have a touch of class on these.

Race 4. (17:17) JOCKEY CELEBRATION DAY HCP 1100m

Back Me

Tipping a strong tempo here, which will be perfect for 3 Apache Pass (Bet Now: $12.00), who resumes as a gelding for Lindsey Smith. Showed good promise in his first prep as a 2YO and early 3YO. Been given a good break, has had the ultimate gear change and looked to trial well at Lark Hill on Monday. Should be very strong at the end if they go hard in front, which I think they will.

Danger

1 Holy Ghost (Bet Now: $4.80) is five weeks between runs for Neville Parnham since scoring a big win over this track/distance, finishing hard from the back to round them up out wide and record an impressive win. Think there’s more depth here and has had the break between runs, but he’s likeable off the turn of foot he displayed there.

Long Shot

10 Modern Times (Bet Now: $15.00) is still a maiden for Lindsey Smith and my read on this race is that the stable have put a 3kg apprentice on a head strong horse…they’ll jump and run I anticipate. Led and was keen at Bunbury on Monday and couldn’t quite see it out. He’ll lead and give a great sight. Last bit may be the acid.

Race 5. (17:54) SCENIC BLAST STAKES 1200m

Back Me

5 Cup Night (Bet Now: $4.00) is the best on the program for me. Bernie Miller trains this high quality four year old, who dodged the Summer Carnival to be saved for the Autumn. Looks to have been the right move if the trials are any guide because he has looked outstanding, twice, in trials getting himself ready for this preparation. Really keen on him.

Danger

1 Valour Road (Bet Now: $1.95) is the class runner of the field and that will carry him a long way towards victory. Simon Miller trained four year old that had a little freshen up prior to racing in the Miss Andretti two weeks ago where Pike looked to be in a bit of trouble early on in the straight but the gaps appeared and class came to the fore. Creeping up in the weights now and more depth, so while he’s hard to beat, I feel he may be a tad short in betting.

Long Shot

Jo Leeson has done an outstanding job with 4 Baraki Beats (Bet Now: $26.00). Knowing Jo and speaking to her recently, she’s been harping on for a couple of months that this guy is flying, but couldn’t translate it to a win, but that all changed in the Mungrup Stud Sprint with a super all the way win. Harder here, but he’s indeed flying and will give a sight from the front.

Race 6. (18:30) JASON OLIVER MEMORIAL 1400m

Back Me

See no reason to get away from the Team Williams trained 3 Coming Around (Bet Now: $1.85), who has won two on the bounce, the latest coming at this track/distance two weeks ago when settling off the speed before peeling wider under Pike and the gelding finished his race off with real purpose to get the job done. Blacktype is potentially on the cards if he can win here, so I’m in his corner.

Danger

1 My Greek Boy (Bet Now: $8.00) is a Steve Wolfe trained gelding that was specked at odds when resuming on his home track in the Mungrup Stud Sprint where he got into a really good spot just off the speed and tried hard, but couldn’t quite finish it off when fourth to Baraki Beats. Harder here, but fitter and up in trip, he can improve for sure.

Long Shot

2 Speeding Comet (Bet Now: $6.50) is on the quick back up for Simon Miller after racing over 1200m here last Saturday when on speed and tried hard but just lacked the class to finish it off behind Free Trade. Not as much overall depth here this time around, like he backs up straight away and should land near the speed, proving hard to beat.

Race 7. (19:10) ADRIAN CHAN MEMORIAL 1600m

Back Me

Only bad luck will stop 7 Inspirational Girl (Bet Now: $2.20) from taking this out. Lovely return from this Reliable Man mare over 1400m here four weeks ago, charging home off a slow tempo to just miss out on picking up Driftstar. Up to 1600m looks ideal, looks to be good speed in front and should get good cover from the gate and launch at them at the end.

Danger

1 Patristic (Bet Now: $4.00) is creeping up in the weights but gee he’s racing so well at the moment for Jayne Busslinger. He has won three on the bounce, the latest coming at this track/distance two weeks ago when leading at a good clip and keeping on going in a strong sustained speed effort. Harder here and creeping up in the weights, but will give them something to chase.

Long Shot

4 Go Crying (Bet Now: $9.50) is likeable here and can cause problems for sure. Resumed over 1400m here two weeks ago and was a hard lucky story somewhat given he got badly held up when seemingly bolting for a run and got clear late to be beaten a couple of lengths by Coming Around. Fitter, up in trip with good form next to his name, he’ll only run well.

Race 8. (19:45) HANA DICKSON MEMORIAL 1200m

Back Me

Going with 9 Fairview (Bet Now: $8.00). Was keen on this mare running well over 1000m here two weeks ago. She ran well…because it was pretty much a barrier trial for her. Was in the box seat and stayed there for the entire race in a very ugly watch if you were on. Drawn out now, so gets clear air from the outset and like her up to 1200m.

Danger

8 State Attorney (Bet Now: $4.50) has been pretty good in two runs back from a spell for the Adam Durrant stable. Lovely ride from Pike saw him win here first up before racing over 1200m at Pinjarra three weeks ago where he was held but far from disgraced when fourth to Flower Of War. That form has to read well for a race like this.

Long Shot

11 Gessato (Bet Now: $11.00) is the knockout chance, especially if they take advantage of the set up. This horse has good early toe, which he displayed in winning at Geraldton last time. Tumbles down to 51kg after the claim and I suspect they will jump and let this gelding roll from the front. If that eventuates, he’ll take some beating.

Race 9. (18:25) NICOLE BOTICA MEMORIAL 1000m

Back Me

Pretty keen to see the Neville Parnham trained 9 Lookout (Bet Now: $9.50) resume. This bloke returns after a pretty solid Winter prep where he ran well for the most part across a string of races. Been given a good break, returns for the off season and his two trial wins leading in have been outstanding, so keen to see him first up in a very winnable race.

Danger

4 Shinju (Bet Now: $5.00) is a key threat for me. Taking a chance that the Gangemi team have him ready to go first up after a pretty good Winter prep behind some quality types. Trialled really well behind Cup Night and keep in mind he was heavily backed first up last prep without a trial, so will be interesting to see how he parades and what the market does with him.

Long Shot

5 To Rise Again (Bet Now: $12.00) is a Colin Webster trained galloper that is just struggling to savage the line this time in, but once again gets a soft gate to get an economical run and get every chance, which is what he got here two weeks ago but couldn’t go with them late when fifth to Transgressor. Think he deserves another look.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Five Number 5 Cup Night

NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 7 Inspirational Girl

LONG SHOT: Race Eight Number 9 Fairview

 

Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):

Leg One: 3

Leg Two: 7

Leg Three: 4, 8, 9, 11

Leg Four: 1, 4, 5, 8, 9

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