Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up by Thoroheads provides in-depth summaries, tips and suggested bets.
Race 1 – 1:50PM BREMER BAY RESORT MAIDEN (1230 METRES)
Liked the Albany 14/12 debut run of WAR CLASS and expecting him to prove very hard to beat. The Steve Wolfe-trained three-year-old drifted a long way back after jumping from barrier 10 last start and was doing his best work late, clocking a race-fastest final 200-metre split and the fifth-fastest of the day. Showed plenty in trials prior to his first-up run, so with some race experience under his belt, we anticipate War Class will elevate significantly and record his maiden victory. READ THE RIOT ACT is a newcomer to the Great Southern and did enough when under the card of Trevor Andrews in town to suggest he’s going to be a more than handy acquisition for the Roy Rogers yard. Dan Staeck rides and he certainly has a spring in his step after booting home four winners here on Boxing Day. South West visitor FLYING TRIX looked smart early, however, her two Bunbury efforts this campaign have been below expectations. If she can tap into her best form, she can certainly make her presence felt, while MESKHENET continues to try hard and should enjoy a suitable rails run in transit from the inside alley.
Suggested: 5. WAR CLASS win.
5. WAR CLASS
3. READ THE RIOT ACT
7. FLYING TRIX
Race 2 – 2:35PM WHALE WATCH WA MAIDEN (1500 METRES)
This looks a good option for Bunbury-based filly SURE CONVICTION to break through. Has been in the market at her three home-track outings this campaign and has competed well enough, with the form around her stacking up particularly well. Didn’t have the best of runs in transit from barrier eight last start, but we were encouraged by the way she kept coming late and recorded the third-fastest final 200-metre split of the day. Apprentice Fiona Bell should be able to slot in from the mid draw and with clear running, Sure Conviction will get her opportunity to run over the top of them late. Haven’t minded the way HAILSTRUM has finished off his two six-furlong assignments so far and gives the impression he will appreciate stepping up in distance.If Dan Staeck can have him close enough, he should be able to work home into the finish. TEXAN BLITZ is proving to be a rather costly conveyance to follow, having been $3.80 of less at his past three starts. Funny old run on Boxing Day when dropping out on the turn and coming again late, but his best form means he still has to warrant consideration, while ORASKY continues to race consistently and should be able to work home into a top-four finish again.
Suggested: 8. SURE CONVICTION win.
8. SURE CONVICTION
4. TEXAN BLITZ
Race 3 – 3:05PM ALBANY STOCK FEEDS HANDICAP (1450 METRES)
Promising type GO CRYING looks like making it two wins from as many runs this season. The strapping son of War Chant took on a reasonably strong line up when resuming at Bunbury 16/12 and made the most of a sweet run in transit to score well. Has always shown city-grade talent, so he does look pretty well placed in this Class Two Handicap and Peter Knuckey should be able to give him every opportunity again jumping from the low draw. YOU AM I hasn’t done a lot wrong in his four outings this prep and was made to work hard outside a faster-than-average tempo at Pinjarra 26/12, boxing on quite well under the circumstances. Has raced well at this track previously and with William Pike in the saddle, should lead and take some catching. TIPS AND SCANDALS was a $5 chance at Bunbury 23/12, but put in a flat run and disappointed. Did place behind the in-form Wild Fusion in a similar assignment to this here three back and the way the Pearce Bros are tracking at present, this mare has to be respected, while CLASSIC JACK is holding peak form and maps to enjoy the run of the race behind the leader in transit.
Suggested: 1. GO CRYING win.
1. GO CRYING
2. YOU AM I
5. TIPS AND SCANDALS
3. CLASSIC JACK
Race 4 – 3:40PM REPTILE HAVEN HANDICAP (1600 METRES)
Expecting the front-running MY GIRL CHILLY to prove very hard to get past. Impressed with a fast Albany 14/12 trial win before being backed from $14 to $7 first up at Ascot 19/12, leading and only getting collared over the final 100 metres. Should come forward with that solid hit out under her belt and with only 54.5kg, My Girl Chilly is likely to run along and make life difficult for those giving chase. BENTLEY’S BROTHER is the obvious horse to beat, having run the promising Ionyx to a long head over this track/distance third up on Boxing Day. Certainly racing well, but may drift back a little from the draw and leave himself with a fair bit of work to do late. PUSKAS was afforded every opportunity when breaking through for an overdue maiden win on Boxing Day and ‘The Wizard’ Pike should have him similarly positioned from the draw, while SEALED WITH A KISS hasn’t done a lot in two Esperance runs for his new stable, but his best form certainly stacks up and Dan Staeck going on is obviously a positive.
Suggested: 7. MY GIRL CHILLY win.
7. MY GIRL CHILLY
2. BENTLEY’S BROTHER
4. SEALED WITH A KISS
Race 5 – 4:20PM AQUA ICE HANDICAP (1500 METRES)
MONGOLIAN WARLORD looks one of the better plays on TABtouch Ladies’ Day. Was keen on him last start, but he was brought undone by Kronstadt’s tearaway leader tactics and was never able to work his way into the race. Still, that searching hit out should bring him forward significantly for this third-up assignment and he’s likely to encounter a more suitable tempo rising to 1500 metres. Mongolian Warlord maps to advantage and looks ready to win. Class galloper MULGA suffered cardiac arrhythmia and failed to finish first up at Ascot 17/12, but looked on track when sent back to trials at Bunbury 30/11. Best form stands out against this opposition and has carried weight successful in Albany in the past. ROWIE comes through a high-pressure event on Boxing Day and really dug in late when recording a race-fastest last 200-metre split. Previous Ratings 70+ effort was good also, so he’s holding strong form, while likely leader CHASING CHAOS continues to run his heart out but can’t seem to crack it for a win. Hasn’t won for 505 days, but will give his supporters a run for their money as always.
Suggested: 3. MONGOLIAN WARLORD win.
3. MONGOLIAN WARLORD
2. CHASING CHAOS
Race 6 – 5:00PM DOWSETTS AUTOMATIVE SERVICES GOLDEN BRACELET (1600 METRES)
Hard to look past PRIX D’EXCELLENCE as she chases back-to-back Golden Bracelet victories. The free-wheeling front runner bounced back to some of her best form when settling a strong tempo over 1500 metres on Boxing Day, and digging deep to fend off the challengers late. Does rise to 59.5kg, but she should be left to roll along out in front, without any real pressure, and Dan Staeck should be able to control proceedings from there. Loves racing on her home track and it will take a good effort for something to get past her. Esperance visitor BOHEMIAN LASS finished third in this race last season and has produced two fast-finishing efforts in a row, getting a long way back and catching the eye late. Capable of settling closer to the speed from a low draw and with only 54kg is a genuine chance of causing an upset. FRIARANDICE has been in ripping form this campaign and was a moral beaten at Bunbury 23/12 when held up at vital stages late in the race. This looks a nice option for her and Pike climbing on board can’t hurt, while get back/run on type CHHAYA was steaming home second up on Boxing Day and is expected to run on into a top-four finish here.
Suggested: 1. PRIX D’EXCELLENCE win.
1. PRIX D’EXCELLENCE
9. BOHEMIAN LASS
Race 7 – 5:35PM TABTOUCH-FITZPATRICK PLATE (1230 METRES)
Champion jockey William Pike is back riding in Albany for the first time since April 2017 and looks set to claim the town’s biggest sprint race aboard the emerging NEUROLOGICAL. The Martin Allan-trained four-year-old was coming off a 41-day break when gunning down Beat The Devil late to record an exciting 1200-metre victory at Ascot 22/12, displaying sharp closing speed after a magical ride from ‘The Wizard’. Has the gate speed to hold a prominent running position from the nice draw and with clear galloping room, Neurological should be too strong late. MINUS LOOKS is a local yet has never actually raced on his home track, but is still certainly a major player in this $100,000 feature. Hasn’t won for 589 days, but his three Ascot runs this prep have been full of merit and should enjoy a suitable run in transit from the inside alley. SHADY GRAY is flying in Esperance and charged away with a dominant victory on Boxing Day. High draw makes things tricky, but he’s racing too well to ignore, while ARRUM BOY attacked the line well over 1100 metres here on Boxing Day and looks suited rising in distance with regular rider Shaun McGruddy on board.
Suggested: 8. NEUROLOGICAL win.
7. MINUS LOOKS
2. SHADY GRAY
9. ARRUM BOY
Race 8 – 6:10PM BLISS NAILS & BEAUTY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
Top Bunbury-based trainer Michael Lane has a float full of chances on TABtouch Ladies Day and one of his best hopes is natural on-pacer TRIPELETTO. Led up a particularly strong Class Three line up at Pinjarra 26/12, and showed some courage to box on late and make the well-regarded Trakiato earn the win. Not sure he needs to lead, but still expecting him to be right on top of the speed and from there he should get his chance. Track specialist CAPTIVATED POINT is coming off a 36-day freshen after enduring a tough run in the Regional Championship Series Final at Ascot 1/12. Suited back in this grade and has to be considered a major player. ITS NOT TRADING produced a career-best performance last start and while the 1100 metres seems a touch on the short side, he can’t be taken lightly on the strength of his latest victory, while likely leader TRANQUILLA SUNRISE is race fit and in form, and should show some cheek out in front.
Suggested: 5. TRIPELETTO win.
3. CAPTIVATED POINT
9. ITS NOT TRADING
4. TRANQUILLA SUNRISE
*Originally published at 9:00am on Friday 4 January 2019.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Albany Racing Club.