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It’s different to previous years but the 2020 Warrnambool Carnival is alive and the revamped set up starts on Tuesday with an eight race card, all jumps events. The weather is fine, the track is soft (7) and the rail is in the true position for the entire circuit.

Grand Annual Steeplechase 🏆: View the Field for the Grand Annual Steeplechase

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Race 1. (11:445) George Taylor Memorial Maiden Hurdle 3200m

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Back Me

I’ll start off by saying these tips for the meeting, the majority, are off the set of trials conducted here last Tuesday. One of the standouts of the session was 2 Casa Larada (Bet Now: $4.60), and I’m a bit surprised he isn’t favourite. Two runs on the flat this prep have been plain but his trial here last week, gee he jumped cleanly and had plenty in hand. He’s clearly the one to beat.


1 Arkamun (Bet Now: $4.80) is a Quinton Scott trained galloper that is on the home track and has flat speed, so he’s a key chance here I feel. Just went too quick in front last start at Werribee when down the track behind Reliable Lisa. Trialled well behind Casa Larada, but not as well, so a bit surprised they are close in the market. But he runs well all the same.

Long Shot

There is a long tail to this race. For wider multiples, include 3 Coleridge (Bet Now: $11.00) for Eric Musgrove. He’s had five cracks at breaking the maiden tag over the jumps and hasn’t really set the world on fire on those occasions, but keep in mind two back ran second to Runaway, who is the Galleywood favourite, so if you trust that form, he is overs here.

Race 2. (12:25) Whalers Hotel Maiden Hurdle 3200m

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Back Me

1 Bakery Hill (Bet Now: $4.20) has looked like a jumper for some time and he makes his Hurdle debut here. Anthony Freedman trained four year old that comes here off the back of a win at Werribee in what was really survival of the fittest and he finished best, just. Trialled here last Tuesday and wasn’t asked to do much but looked jump well. A dry track is a big tick for him.


The flat speed/class of 3 Exemplar (Bet Now: $3.00) is what keeps him here as a serious contender. Had been trialling well over the jumps prior to racing at Pakenham where he was eased out of the race a couple of jumps from home. Trialled here and a bit sluggish, but overall, pretty good. Pateman sticking is a big tick.

Long Shot

6 Peak Hill (Bet Now: $16.00) interests me. Thought he was okay without luck two back at Geelong behind American In Paris before going to Werribee when not beaten far by Bakery Hill. Had been trialling super over the jumps prior to the run here behind Diamond Star Halo. He’s another that will appreciate this track not being bottomless.

Race 3. (13:05) Carlton Draught Maiden Hurdle 3200m

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Back Me

I’m going with 6 Sir Isaac Newton (Bet Now: $2.70), banking on his flat speed/class getting him home. Couldn’t have had enough on him in the run when resuming at Pakenham but first up since November 2018, his condition gave out in the straight. Looked to canter in a trial here last week and looks to be spot on for this assignment in what looks a real target race.


The other impressive trialler lining up here is the Paul Preusker trained 3 Inayforhay (Bet Now: $3.10). Two runs on the flat have been plain, but gee he looked sharp when winning his trial, interestingly over 2800m compared to the 2400m of Sir Isaac Newton. His last couple of jumps were outstanding, so under pressure, he will be fine.

Long Shot

I could have something very small each way on 8 The Ultimatum (Bet Now: $51.00). His last three runs have come over the jumps and each time he has been really poor, the latest coming here when pulling up with two to jump behind Runaway. Has had the freshen up and he was excellent in his trial here last week, with plenty in hand I thought. Provided there is eight runners, he’s worth a small speck at the big odds.

Race 4. (13:45) Hammonds Paints Champion Novice Hurdle 3200m

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Back Me

If this was a heavy track, 1 Flying Agent (Bet Now: $5.50) would be the bet of the month. Just concerned about a dry deck for him, but the odds are too good to pass up. His flat runs this time in haven’t been anything to jump up and down about, but the trial here last week was one of the standouts I thought. He looked to be jogging when second to Runaway, the Galleywood favourite. With that mind, $7+ for him is crazy I think.


5 Diamond Star Halo (Bet Now: $1.85) is the deserving favourite with the form over the jumps. Has had three starts over the sticks for two wins and the other run seeing her get beat 15 lengths at Coleraine but the winner was the top class jumper Ablaze. Last couple on the flat have been good in tuning her up for this, lands in front and will be hard to run down.

Long Shot

6 Riding High (Bet Now: $3.70) is the fresh blood and for mine, the only other winning chance. Had been jumping well in Hurdle trials before a few flat runs. Made his jumps debut at Pakenham where he was pretty faultless and over the final 200m, his flat speed really came to the fore and was impressive. Firmer the better for him and big that Pateman is booked.

Race 5. (14:25) Decron Dunroe Steeplechase 3450m

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Back Me

10 Georgethefifth (Bet Now: $2.40) is a Symon Wilde trained former Kiwi who was purchased last year with eyes to being a jumper and looks to be specifically set for this race. His flat runs haven’t been too bad but did look to trial really well here when third to the proven performer I’ll’ava’half. He’s short enough, but is hard to beat.


3 Speedy Jax (Bet Now: $3.70) is a veteran for Patrick Payne but his best racing does come when jumping and has the Payne/Pateman combo so has to be respected. Flat form this time in has been plain but liked the way he jumped in his trial last week and the lead is that Pateman rides Speedy Jax instead of Ours.

Long Shot

Not sure he wins here, but convinced that 2 Ours (Bet Now: $10.00) is going well. Just wants a more rain affected track I reckon. He trialled here last Tuesday and while he finished tailed off last in the same trial Georgethefifth contested, he did jump very well and was throttled down after jumping the last. I’d watch the market with him.

Race 6. (15:05) Brierly Steeplechase 3450m

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Back Me

I think Patrick Payne has pulled the right rein in sending 2 Slowpoke Rodriguez (Bet Now: $3.20) to the Brierly and not the Grand Annual, a race he has failed in on two previous occasions. He looks to be flying I think if his flat runs have been any guide. Has been warming to the task each time he has run and wasn’t asked to do much in his trial behind He’s A Genius. He’s the one to beat IMO.


4 Euroman (Bet Now: $4.00) has to be respected enormously here. He comes here off the back of a win over the Steeples at Pakenham where it looked like he would get beat with a couple of sticky jumps late, and a broken rein, but the world class horsemanship of Pateman got him home. Tick over trial was good and a dry deck is music to his ears.

Long Shot

9 Getting Leggie (Bet Now: $13.00) might be the value here. He comes through the J E H Spencer Memorial Chase at Pakenham where he ran second, was beaten seven lengths, but beaten by a potential star in Felix Bay. That form reads far superior to anything engaged here and his trial behind Gold Medals here last Tuesday was very good. He’s silly odds I think.

Race 7. (15:45) Grand Annual Steeplechase 5500m

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Back Me

I know trials aren’t everything, but if the set from last Tuesday are a guide, the price gap between 2 Gold Medals (Bet Now: $4.20) and Ablaze is just far too great. Forget his flat form, he’s a pure jumper and his trial here was outstanding where he won like it was a track gallop. He made a few of these look second rate and $4+ just looks silly compared to the odds on pop.


No knock on 5 Ablaze (Bet Now: $1.75) and what he’s done this time in. Brilliant winner first up at the Valley before making a mess of them in a Steeple here. The trial? I thought it was a bit on the sluggish side and a few jumps weren’t clean at all. Ability wise, he’s got lengths on them. Just the trial has me concerned.

Long Shot

3 Bit Of A Lad (Bet Now: $12.00) is a stablemate of Ablaze who lacks the class of some of these and would need to produce a career best to beat these. He’s one for multiples I’d suggest off his effort at Pakenham where he really plugged late in the feature Hurdle behind Ancient King. Did run second to Ablaze at Warrnambool so he has a strong form line.

Race 8. (16:30) Galleywood Hurdle 3200m

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Back Me

Going with 8 Woodsman (Bet Now: $4.20) in what looks a race in two. Kiwi galloper that has had a couple of runs in Australia this prep. Made a mess of Northern Voyage here before going to the Terang Cup and was very good in defeat when fifth to a Stakes class stayer in Too Close The Sun. Gets back to the Hurdles and a dry deck will suit him just fine.


7 Runaway (Bet Now: $1.75) has the proper flat form and speed, which will carry him a long way towards victory. Has won two of his past three, with the two wins both coming over the jumps in such impressive fashion in typical Waterhouse/Bott style. Bit sluggish in his trial win last week here, but he’s got the runs on the board.

Long Shot

4 Mr One Eleven (Bet Now: $26.00), if there’s going to be a total blowout, he could be it. Ran in the M J Bourke Hurdle at Pakenham and just battled away, comfortably beaten by Ancient King, and off that, hard to see him turning the tables, but but lone at this track/distance saw him run second to Big Blue in this race last year and firmer the better.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Seven Number 2 Gold Medals

NEXT BEST: Race One Number 2 Casa Larada

LONG SHOT: Race Four Number 1 Flying Agent


Quaddie Tips (Races Five Through To Eight):

Leg One: 2, 3, 7, 10

Leg Two: 2, 4, 8, 9, 10

Leg Three: 2, 5

Leg Four: 7, 8

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