A strong nine race card has been set down for Ascot to kick off 2015 on Thursday, with the traditional feature race being the $500,000 Group ll Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m). The hot favourite for the race is the Adam Durrant trained Real Love, who is nudging even money with some of the bookies.
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Race One (12:10pm) : Westspeed 2YO Plate 1100m: Form Guide
Back Me: London Line (Best Odds: $2.50) looks the safe way to go, and is the first ride in an another outstanding book for Willie Pike. The son of Blackfriars got a long way back at his only start, and was pulling, before peeling wide, taking forever to wind up, but really savaged the line the last little bit to win impressively. A repeat performance and he’ll take care of these.
Big Danger: Kentucky Lass (Best Odds: $2.70) finished second to London Line, and she was brave considering she was three wide on the speed doing all the work while the winner had the perfect drag up. Drawn wide again, but does get a 1.5kg weight pull on the top tip, so on facts and figures, she should give London Line a real test.
Roughie: Saxoophonist (Best Odds: $7.50) is a Fred Kersley trained first starter who has showed good ability in a couple of barrier trials at Belmont to prepare for his debut performance. Meets a couple of handy types in the shape of the ones mentioned above, but the others don’t appear any good and he looks the best of the rest.
Race Two (12:50pm) : Westspeed 3YO Handicap 1400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Going to put Vital Art (Best Odds: $6.50) on top. The filly stormed home to win three back before being disqualified due to the jockey weighing light. She then savaged the line late to run third before producing a similar finish to win. She looks to have some quality about her and definitely deserves a crack in town, and trained Sarah Childs appears to have found a good race.
Big Danger: The rise to 1400m should really suit Klondike King (Best Odds: $3.00), who gathered them in from the back to win on debut at PInjarra before finding the 1000m here too short last time out, but did produce good late splits. 1400m looks perfect, as does the small and the lack of real depth engaged here compared to last start.
Roughie: Fractal (Best Odds: $17.00) put together three eye catching runs before being given a sweet ride from Glenn Smith to win his maiden in good style at Bunbury. Looks to have a bit of upside about him and again draws to get the good run.
Race Three (1:30pm) : Schweppes Summer Scorcher 1000m: Form Guide
Back Me: Sticking with the class here in Shining Knight (Best Odds: $3.50), who savaged the line from last to win last time out in the R.S. Crawford. Faces a similar field here and again should get a hot speed in front to give him every chance to put them away again. Really keen on him and I think $4 is great odds.
Big Danger: Black Heart Bart (Best Odds: $3.00) was a touch unlucky not to win the Crawford given he did get badly held up between the 400m-200m mark, while Shining Knight had all the momentum out wide. He does get the weight pull and barrier draw advantage, so it’s easy to see why he is likeable in this race.
Roughie: Lenience (Best Odds: $18.00) is having his first real crack at the big boys off a break. He was very consistent during the Winter against the older and more seasoned horses. Trialled really well leading up to this and does perform well fresh, so if there was to be a roughie to include in multiples, this is the horse.
Race Four (2:10pm) : Golden Group Handicap (72) 1500m: Form Guide
Back Me: $1.35 is pretty skinny for He Or She (Best Odds: $1.35), but he just looks the winner here. He has put together four very impressive wins at this track and should make it five, despite the weight rise. Nothing more to be really added.
Big Danger: Cougar Nights (Best Odds: $6.50) sat three wide with no cover on the speed here last time out yet just pounced on the leaders upon straightening and put the race away in a couple of strides. If the top tip is off his game, this is the horse you want to be on.
Roughie: Galaxy Prince (Best Odds: $21.00) resumes here after a four month spell. His best form is at 2000m and beyond, but a recent six length trial win suggests he could well be forward enough to run a cheeky race here fresh. Watch the market moves with him.
Race Five (2:50pm) : La Trice Classic 1800m: Form Guide
Back Me: Going for the upset in the shape of Fast Flowing (Best Odds: $26.00), who looks great overs at $21. Her last two runs in the Jungle Dawn and Starstruck have been excellent, with the mare making up significant ground from the back. Smaller field suits, draws a good gate and is definitely looking for 1800m.
Big Danger: Real Charm (Best Odds: $1.50) has been very impressive at her last three outings, winning all of them, including the Jungle Dawn, where she worked and had to fight, along with the Starstruck, where she had the sweet run off the speed and drew clear. Drawn wide, so that’ll be a slight concern if you want to take $1.45. Clearly the horse to beat, but I don’t want to be taking those odds hence going for value.
Roughie: The lack of early speed here gives Dabang (Best Odds: $8.50) a place chance. She walked them in front last week over this track/distance and sprinted hard late to win. She looks as though she’ll get the lead on a platter again, and she did run good splits late when left alone, so I wouldn’t entirely rule her out of an upset.
Race Six (3:30pm) : Perth’s Original NYD Event Perth Cup 2015 Handicap (66) 2200m: Form Guide
Back Me: Going for some value again, this time with Wayside (Best Odds: $15.00). He stormed home from the back two starts ago when just failing to pick up Lady By Chance, then stepped up to 2000m and perhaps was ridden a touch too close to the speed when a narrow second to Holy Sky. Pike gets back aboard, up in trip is ideal, and a cold ride will see him work home strongly.
Big Danger: Black Royale (Best Odds: $3.50) has been the real find of the Summer in Perth when it comes to stayers, winning three on the bounce, including two here at Ascot, thanks to gun rides from Lucas Camilleri. Draws to get the sweet run again and will prove hard to beat.
Roughie: Mantango (Best Odds: $14.00) put behind a frustrating run of outs with a narrow win over this track/distance, beating home a couple of runners that are lining up here also. Tumbles in weight thanks to the Chris Parnham claim and will be finishing off the race nicely, so perhaps he is one to include in exotics.
Race Seven (4:10pm) : GRD Handicap (72) 1200m: Form Guide
Back Me: Sujet (Best Odds: $2.80) started even money when resuming a couple of weeks back, and he didn’t let his supporters down with a dominant victory off the speed. Should only improve off that run, draws well again and drops in weight. Looks one of the better bets on the program.
Big Danger: Former Gai Waterhouse runner Longma (Best Odds: $3.70) has had two runs in Perth for Simon Miller, finishing seventh and then bouncing back with a dominant all the way win, with the blinkers being the key to the improvement. They remain on, as does Chris Parnham, and does map quite well.
Roughie: Heavy Set (Best Odds: $8.00) didn’t disgrace himself at all in the Crawford when fourth to Shining Knight, beaten two lengths. Massive drop in class here and only rises half a kilo. Draws to get the soft run off the speed and will appreciate the rise to 1200m.
Race Eight (4:50pm) : Golden River Developments Perth Cup 2400m: Form Guide
Back Me: Real Love (Best Odds: $2.40) was outstanding in winning the St Leger last time out given they absolutely walked in front and made it a task for the mare to sprint, but she did and did it comfortably. Just looks the winner here.
Big Danger: Respondent (Best Odds: $7.50) finished third in the St Leger, and was a touch unlucky not to run second given he got held up early in the straight and wasn’t allowed to build up momentum. He does get at least 2kg on the two runners that beat him there, so he is a threat, but I’m not sure he has the turn of foot to match it with the top tip.
Roughie: Lucciola (Best Odds: $31.00) ran a good fourth to Real Love in the Queen’s Cup, then looked to not handle the leap to WFA in the Cox Stakes when seventh to Elite Belle. Handicap looks more ideal, 2400m and Lucy Warwick riding…she could sneak a place.
Race Nine (5:25pm) : Golden River Developments Handicap (66) 1200m: Form Guide
Back Me: Former Queenslander Vacallo (Best Odds: $21.00) had his first run for Adam Durrant a couple of weeks back over 1100m at Northam when storming home from the back to run a narrow second to subsequent city winner Madam Sass. There looks to be good speed here and he did appear as though he’ll improve off the first up run, so I am bit surprised to see $21 on offer.
Big Danger: Very Special (Best Odds: $5.50) has been a touch frustrating/disappointing this time in. She has run well, but hasn’t won after a really impressive opening career campaign in the Autumn. I think perhaps ridden cold could spark improvement, because riding her on the speed isn’t doing the trick.
Roughie: Arcadia Rose (Best Odds: $11.00) worked home well near the inside last time out when third to Longma, beaten just under three lengths. That race looked a bit stronger than what she faces here, and now draws wide, which should see her get a clear run and the chance to build up her momentum.
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BEST BET: Race Eight Number 5 Real Love
NEXT BEST: Race Seven Number 6 Sujet
VALUE: Race Nine Number 2 Vacallo
Quaddie Tips (Races Six Through To Nine):
Leg One: 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
Leg Two: 2, 5, 6, 9
Leg Three: 13
Leg Four: 2, 4, 5, 7, 15
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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.
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