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A cracking field has been assembled for the $100,000 Listed Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at Newcastle on Thursday. Gai Waterhouse is strongly represented thanks to More Strawberries, Sweetest Melody and Teardrop Rock and seemingly has a stranglehold on the race. But some nice mares are challenging such as First Look, Aspinal, Femina Fashion and Gopana. It promises to be a beauty and here is my runner by runner preview.

Form Guide

1 – More Strawberries
She has promised to be a star, but unfortunately she hasn’t shown it on race day. Three ordinary runs in the Autumn with her swan song being a dismal 15 length last behind Aloha in the Coolmore Classic. She has had two trials to get ready for this. I wouldn’t say they have been great, but the Gai/Nash factor brings her right in to the mix. Would I back her? Not at this stage. I’d like to see her produce something on the race track first.

2 – Sweetest Melody
Lovely mare for Gai. 11 starts for seven wins and two placings so the record speaks for itself. Was given a gem of a ride from Chris Munce to win the Mona Lisa over Red Tracer at Wyong. She’ll get the perfect run here, Munce will know when to hit the go button and when a mare is in form, they stay in form. Stick with her. She looks the hardest to beat for me. Hopefully we can get a nice price about her.

3 – Femina Fashion
This is the right grade for her, but she is first up and is looking for further. Will go forward but I doubt if she would be wound up to win here first up. Having said that, they have brought her down from the Gold Coast. Maybe a first four hope but you’d have to see how fit she is in the mounting yard.

4 – First Look
Forget she went around in the Mona Lisa. Four wide, no cover…of course she was going to finish well back. She’d like the rain to come down but I don’t thin that is going to eventuate, so I don’t consider a winning chance but if she gets a trail in to the straight, maybe an exotic player.

5 – Skyerush
Nice staying mare who has trialled ok leading up to this, but she wants a bog track and 2000m. Doubt her very much here.

6 – Aspinal
Had the soft run at Wyong but just battled late. Hard to see her turning the tables on Sweetest Melody but a place chance maybe?

7 – Foxstar
Talented mare but she has just been a tad disappointing of late. Was given the perfect run last start behind Essence Of Success but she just whacked away late. Has been freshened up and the trial suggests she is back to her best. She can certainly win here and Bossy is on top. Danger.

8 – Teardrop Rock
Nice staying type for Gai. Performed well last time and ran a super race in the Hobart Guineas. Worked well between races at Rosehill recently and I consider her the knockout hope. Trials in readiness for this indicate she is forward enough to win first up.

9 – She’s A Rock Star
The ability is there. She gets back on her home track and on a firm surface, but her last start effort was a shade disappointing. There is another win for her soon, but in slightly easier grade and over a shorter trip because I think 1400m is too far for this daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar.

10 – Ashlee’s Jewel
If you are looking for a bolter to put in your exotics, this girl is it. She ran a cheeky race first up behind Tom’s Rocket after getting a long way back in the run. Yep, she rarely wins and I doubt she will, but a definite first four chance for Jason Coyle and Peter Wells.

11 – Gopana
She was a flop last prep. Prep before she promised everything with a couple of stunning wins, but in the Autumn/Winter, she failed. Trial was quiet, nothing special. Can’t see her threatening some of these.

12 – Talapega
Has had the dream at her last two starts in much easier races but she has done nil. Not here.

Sweetest Melody has to go on top. Flying at present and deserves another black type victory. She’ll get the perfect run, she is rock hard fit and that should be the end of the race. Teardrop Rock is a smart customer who will be better over further, but the trials suggest we should watch her closely. More Strawberries is the class factor, but she does give a bit of weight away to her rivals. If she brought her A-game, she’d go close and Ashlee’s Jewel can always be around the money in these races with the right run. Sweetest Melody to win the Tibbie, over Teardrop Rock, More Strawberries and Ashlee’s Jewel.

Written by Adam Page

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