Racing returns to Ascot this Saturday for the first meeting since Perth Cup Day at the start of the year, where the feature race is the $100,000 Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m). The weather is fine, the track is good (4) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.
Race 1. (15:51) Tabtouch Maiden 1400m
9 Spin On Command (Bet Now: $4.80) is a Hard Spun mare that had market support when resuming at this track/distance a fortnight back and the long price move also came off but she just ran out of condition late and had to settle for third to Friar Fox. Should improve off that and now gets Pike steering, a good lead.
6 Friar Away (Bet Now: $2.80) is a Blackfriars gelding for the Justine Erkelens team who has had three runs back from a break and has been quite good. Last ran at this track/distance a fortnight back and worked home strongly late when a close up second to Touched. That’s the strong maiden form reference for this. Just think he’s well found in the market and is a tad short.
4 Freo (Bet Now: $6.00) looks a nice type and I’m confident he can measure up here. He resumed over 1500m at Pinjarra on Boxing Day and I liked the way he found the line late behind The Rake, running second. Back to 1400m is the concern somewhat, but we know he’ll be strong late and he does have some good form next to his name.
Race 2. (16:31) Seacorp Plate 1000m
3 Cinnamon Run (Bet Now: $7.00) on top in what looks a very tricky juvenile contest. This gelding debuted over 1200m here on New Years Day and the run was somewhat inconclusive. Yes he would have finished and was unlucky in the straight. Did it cost him the win? Not so sure, but I like that he draws a good gate and has Pike on.
1 Carolina Reaper (Bet Now: $14.00) is a nippy customer for Paul Jordan who comes through the same race mentioned above, which was won by Assetro. He couldn’t get the lead and had to take cover, which probably wasn’t his go in the end, and I also think 1200m stretches him, so back to 1000m a big tick and hopefully he can carve over and lead.
12 Ship Creek (Bet Now: $31.00) is a nice looking daughter of Toorak Toff on debut for the Neville Parnham team. This girl has had three trials to prepare, the latest coming last Tuesday at Lark Hill when placing over the 950m. Has gate speed, so the inside draw should see her hold a spot just off the pace and from there we can see what she does.
Race 3. (17:15) Iron Jack Plate 1200m
2 Flash Of Thunder (Bet Now: $5.00) the one to beat for mine. Adam Durrant trains this three year old, who debuted over 1200m at Bunbury and led all the way for a dominant win. Nothing flash time wise, but he did it very nicely and that field looked to have a bit of depth to it. Keen to see what he does against some above average types here.
1 Cognac (Bet Now: $4.40) is a beauty for the Paul Jordan stable. Stepped up to this track/distance on New Years Day and was dominant in leading most of the way under a smart ride from Kate Fitzgerald. She let the horse run along and do his own thing, which is the right way to steer. Should lead again and take some beating.
10 Wee Cent (Bet Now: $9.50) is a David Harrison trained filly who scored a lovely win over the 1100m here on December 20 when a surprise leader, but she burnt the candle at both ends and clung on. Would love to see her take a sit off Cognac. If that eventuates, I think she is right in this for sure, and will more than likely be decent odds.
Race 4. (17:50) Miss Andretti Stakes 1100m
2 Dainty Tess (Bet Now: $2.70) is a ripping mare for the Dan Morton team. They tried her at Group l level in the Winterbottom and while she ran okay, she didn’t quite measure up. Went back to the Summer Scorcher on New Years Day and ran a close up third to Battle Hero, pulling up with a laceration post race. Draws to get a lovely run here and she has the turn of foot to beat these.
4 Meteoroid (Bet Now: $6.00) is seven weeks between runs for the Simon Miller team. She last raced in the Jungle Mist over 1200m here back on November 25 where she sat on speed and just failed to go on with it when fourth to Celebrity Dream. She is a bomb when produced fresh and does get Pike steering.
1 Volkhoff (Bet Now: $7.00) also comes through the Summer Scorcher and to be fair, I thought she was a bit disappointing behind Battle Hero. She had three wide cover and seemingly every chance to launch at them late but she just whacked away really. She’s better than that, so I’m giving her another look here.
Race 5. (18:30) Ascend Sales Trophies Handicap (66+) 1400m
1 River Dance (Bet Now: $4.50) clearly on top for me. Tony Scally trains this gelding who two back ran a ripping second in the Provincial Final here behind Niccatrice before being freshened up. Was then given a near four week freshen up and raced on his home track at Geraldton where he looked a good thing on paper and won like it despite nearly running his race behind the barriers. If his manners are on check, I think he wins.
7 Action (Bet Now: $2.05) is a very promising gelding that resumes for the Williams camp. This gelding kicked off his career in the Spring with a couple of races, both resulting in sharp wins at Belmont and Bunbury respectively. Thought he trialled up really well last week at Lark Hill. Just has to ovecome the sticky draw.
3 Veuve De Vega (Bet Now: $81.00) is a Sean Casey trained gelding who should improve off his first up failure over the 1200m here behind Illustrious Tycoon on New Years Day. He pulled his head off in the run when wide with cover and by the time he got to the turn, he had nothing left. Should get a sweet run from the gate and gets the claim for Stone.
Race 6. (19:10) Amelia Park Handicap (1MW) 1000m
7 Scalpel (Bet Now: $11.00) for me. Simon Miller trains this gelding, who is three weeks between runs since racing over the 1100m here where he carved over from a wide gate to lead before copping severe heat on speed and that probably left him gassed when it mattered, eventually finishing down the track behind Slik Sam. With a more economical run here, he can bounce back.
12 Bounce Down (Bet Now: $9.00) is the interesting runner for mine. Reward For Effort mare that resumes for the Trevor Andrews camp without a trial next to her name. Had the two runs in the Winter over the Belmont 1000m and ran okay without threatening. Does like Ascot, has performed well fresh and does get Pike.
3 Hostwin Pegasus (Bet Now: $15.00)had been doing a really good job at the Provincials at Mount Barker, Albany and co before the stable sent him to town over 1100m in the Slik Sam race mentioned above. He got a mile back off them but savaged the line late when getting clear running to finish a close up fifth. If they go hard again, he’s the one to look out for.
Race 7. (19:50) Crown Towers Handicap (72+) 1200m
The lovely drop in grade should see 3 Key To Fame (Bet Now: $4.80) take some beating here. He ran over this track/distance three weeks back where he was three wide on speed for the trip and just faltered late when fourth to Settlers Creek. Draws to lead here and gets the claim for Maddison Brown. Ticks plenty of boxes.
10 Top Of The Class (Bet Now: $3.20) ran second in that race mentioned above won by Settlers Creek and his effort was enormous from the back. He was completely unwanted in betting given the dreaded bar plates were on yet he still savaged the line to just miss. They’re still on, but now Pike is on. He’ll be charging late.
6 Star Glitter (Bet Now: $17.00) finished seventh in the same race won by Settlers Creek and I thought his effort wasn’t too bad. He had three wide cover for the trip and launched late but just ran out of condition. That run should bring him right on and his career best efforts have come when produced second up, plus he draws a sweet gate.
Race 8. (20:30) Schweppes Handicap (72+) 1800m
3 Gunnago (Bet Now: $4.60) in the get out. This Jason Pateman trained gelding ran over the mile here on New Years Day where he got a mile back off the speed yet presented with clear air and launched late to just miss out on picking up Woodsville. I think the 1800m is no issue and IMHO, he’s the best horse in the race.
1 Touch Of Silver (Bet Now: $8.50) is three weeks between runs since racing at this track/distance where I thought Andrew Castle gave the horse every chance from off the pace but he just lacked the x factor sprint to get the win when third to Woodsville, who franked that form in the race mentioned above. Draw is sticky, but he’ll be strong late.
6 Luke’s Gold (Bet Now: $15.00) is a Vaughn Sigley trained gelding who comes through the Woodsville race over the mile here on New Years Day. He got well back between runners and it was almost as if he resented being between horses. Didn’t finish off as well as expected. Gets clear air now and gets a senior jock on.
Best Bets & Quaddie Tips
BEST BET: Race Five Number 1 River Dance
NEXT BEST: Race Eight Number 3 Gunnago
VALUE: Race Six Number 7 Scalpel
Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):
Leg One: 1, 3, 5, 7
Leg Two: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12
Leg Three: 3, 6, 7, 10, 12
Leg Four: 1, 2, 3, 6
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