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CB Cox Stakes Day Preview, Ascot 22nd December

West Australian Racing
PerthTurfTalkPerthTurfTalk    2,951 posts
edited December 2018 West Australian Racing

With temperatures set to soar, we will have to wait til 2.44pm for our first winner of the day. The only issue with the late start is for the Eastern States punters who will have to wait until 9.50pm for their weekly William Pike get out. With the rail back to the true position for the first time since Railway Stakes Day, I suspect we might see some bias to the horses who race on speed or near the rail. This bias was evident on Railway Stakes day and tends to be evident when there is a reasonable gap in rail positions. I won’t be allowing for it too heavily.

Race 1 - Worth The Wait

Speed Map - After mentioning a potential on pace bias, I’ll completely contradict myself and tip a horse who will settle near last over the 1100m as my best bet of the day.

An extremely competitive affair from a speed map point of view with Stares Andwhispers (barrier 1) likely to kick up and hold the top with Fire And Rain (4) and Excise Free (7) both wanting to race in similar positions. Relatively confident the instructions to Bonnie Palise will be to kick up at all costs, making winning from a speed map aspect, a near impossibility for current favourite Excise Free. While Stares Andwhispers cannot win this race, her presence will change the result. Fire And Rain would be extremely hard to beat in her absence.

Rebel Yell (2), Fairview (3) and Market Ruler (4) should pop in behind the speed, with William Pike taking Magic Planet (6) straight out the back and avoiding the congestion. He’ll come hard and late.

Race Overview - As mentioned before this is a speed map orientated selection. If Stares Andwhispers is scratched or the tactics are altered to take a sit (which is not a complete impossibility after running last at her most recent outing) then the complexion of the race completely changes.

Excise Free has been a super winner at her last two efforts in the provincial circuit. Both victories were by big margins, though both victories saw her hold a rail and run them along with all the favours. She doesn’t get the favours here and this class jump is huge. At $3 she is the lay of the day.

Fire And Rain is a hugely competitive colt, who will relish the appointment of gun front running jockey Tayla Stone. If finding the rail, the race is probably over. Market Ruler was our on top selection last time out when a dominant winner for Damian Lane, she draws a little wider and young Kate Witten replaces the gun hoop. Always a query if the 2kg weight allowance is worth taking off the top jockey. We won’t be following up.

This leaves Magic Planet as the clear on top selection. Had absolutely no luck in the Bunbury Classic when running last in a race featuring Lady Cosmology, Valour Road, Chix Pic & Black Sabbath. Was only beaten 1.8 lengths that day and really should have finished at least a length closer. Was again unlucky at his next start behind tearaway leader Lord Greystoke before Durrant dropped him back to midweek grade against the older horses and put on a young apprentice. Both runs were huge when sitting deep throughout. The jockey appointment is huge here and looks the perfect ‘profile’ horse for Pike to pop back and knock past them late.

Currently around $4, happy with that quote, but suspect there could be support elsewhere.

Selections

Magic Planet
Fire And Rain
Market Ruler
Rebel Yell

Suggested Bet: 100 wins Magic Planet (3).

 

Race 2 - Viking

Speed Map - A race which looks devoid of heavy top end speed. Wonorg (barrier 6) took to taking a sit last campaign with some success, though is equally adept at leading them along and will more than likely take up that role here. The 28 days between runs may see him a little soft, so it is no fait accompli connections do opt for that role. Oriental Rose (10) sees Clint Johnston-Porter finally return to the saddle in what is a great boost for the WA riding ranks. He is a top 5 rider when on song. Her best two runs last campaign were when rolling forward, so from the awkward alley I’d expect her to head toward the pointy end of proceedings.

Nordic King (barrier 1) should take the back of whoever does take up the running and they are unlikely to break any records here, suiting the on speed brigade. Upward Others (2) should get the perfect trail on the outside of Nordic King with Chris Parnham being fully aware of the engine the horse to his inside will have. It could be an interesting watch over the final 600m. Let’s Twist (4) should settle just off that pair.

Race Overview - Nordic King really does stand out here. His last effort has got better as time has gone on with Misty Lad winning and the fifth placed horse (Crystal Valley) being a certainty beaten at it’s next outing. The effort last time out to cart the field up to the tearaway pair, then have a sharp sprinter like Platoon get within a length of him but hold him on the line, was huge. Is mapped to win, looks progressive and I’d be surprised if we aren’t see #pikedurrantelectra trending on twitter post race.

I tipped Upwards Others with a degree of confidence last week, when he ran a really nice race at the $30 quote, but ultimately found a few too good for him. This is a lesser race and after Nordic King this event really falls away. Expecting him to run a place alongside Let’s Twist who was huge first up when defying a relatively strong on pace pattern at Pinjarra.

Not going to get a fancy price for Nordic King, but it would appear only bad luck heats him.

Selections

Nordic King
Upward Others
Let’s Twist
Wonorg

Suggested Bet: At the $1.55, I can’t suggest a bet on Nordic King. If you can shop $1.90+ late, I would bet the maximum stake.

 

Race 3 - A New Ruler

Speed Map - Expecting Archant (barrier 9) to come across from the wide alley and take up proceedings. Jump and run tactics have yielded two recent victories and with the rail back in the true position and his three main rivals likely to settle in the final three spots in running, Mitch Pateman will look to steal it. Lipstick Flickers (1), Euphonious (2) and Sliced Bread (3) should round out the first four in running with Angelic Ruler (6), Assetro (7) and Kakadu (5) out the back.

Race Overview - There does look to be a major class gap from the top two to the rest of the field and you would expect one of Angelic Ruler or Assetro to prevail here. Personally I find it near impossible to tip against Angelic Ruler after her demolition of a higher class field than this 7 days ago. I can’t suggest her as a bet with the less experienced rider going on a sit and sprint horse, but she should be too strong if finding the right trail into the race.

Adam Durrant has a big opinion of his Blackfriars filly Assetro and it’ll be really interesting to see how she goes fresh. I am concerned by his decision to start her first up over the 1400m, rather than a shorter sprinting journey. Is this a sign he thinks she has lost a little bit of that sprint from her legs she had as a two year old?

Kakadu has been unlucky both first and second up, though does appear to be a length or two off Angelic Ruler. Sliced Bread is currently $34 and $12 (top two only) and while I struggle seeing him fill a hole in the top two, he does look a nice option for third and fourth for exotic players. Clearly on top of Euphonious and Lipstick Flickers who are half his current quote.

Another race I’ll stay out of unless seeing $3 for Angelic Ruler late. Would have declared her with a senior on board.

Selections

Angelic Ruler
Kakadu
Assetro
Sliced Bread

Suggested Bet: No bet, unless shopping $3+ late for Angelic Ruler.

 

Race 4 - Wellllllllll, It’s The Big Show

Speed Map - This speed map could go one of two ways. The Big Show (barrier 3) rolls forward and holds the fence with Brother’s Keeper (4) sitting on his outside, or the McAuliffe yard with a 2400m Perth Cup in their sights, look to sit The Big Show with Brother’s Keeper taking up the running. A bit of foresight and looking at a likely Perth Cup field, there does appear to be a distinct lack of pace in that event so going forward would appear to be the obvious move en route to the Cup. Burger Time (1) sits on the leaders back with the rest sorting themselves out via barrier.

Race Overview - Wanted to find something to beat The Big Show, but I couldn’t. Was suited by Beaucount’s jump and run style last time out when absolutely demolishing a reasonable 66+ field on Winterbottom Stakes day. Unfortunately Mitch Pateman can’t ride at the 55kg’s, so it’ll be up to Damian Lane to come up with a new celebration when crossing the winning post.

Burger Time should get the run of the race on The Big Show’s back but it is really hard seeing him turn the tables on a horse who has comprehensively beaten him at their two most recent outings. The long neck margin from the 31st of October does not tell the full story after The Big Show sat three deep without cover for the trip and Burger Time enjoyed the perfect passage. If he couldn’t beat him then, it is hard to see him doing it here.

Dark Prospect looks to be coming to the end of a long and fruitful campaign while Like A Butterfly and Brother’s Keeper are both capable in this grade. Just can’t see anything running down The Big Show.

$2 is currently the best price on offer. Not exciting, but on paper he wins this more than one in two, so a price I would be happy taking.

Selections

The Big Show
Brother’s Keeper
Burger Time
Like A Butterfly

Suggested Bet: 50 wins The Big Show (5).

 

Race 5 - Weight v Class

Speed Map - Ambiente (barrier 3) should be able to roll forward and either lead this or hand up to Cognac (9), Royalic (6) or Festive Excess (4) who will be looking to come across early. Dutch Spy (2) and Double Jeopardy (1) will be the beneficiaries of good draws in a sprint race without a huge amount of early speed and both should hold spots in the first six. Both are very dangerous with the right run from there. Shackleton (8) will come across and look for a spot somewhere near the pace, but it is a really sticky gate with the seven horses drawn underneath him all wanting a similar spot. Really did appear to have his chance last time out. Alpha Sky (7) and Bon Voyage (10) will have the last crack.

Race Overview - Swayed between Ambiente and Alpha Sky for some time here, but in the end I’m happily leaning toward Ambiente. I think Liz Strempel missed a trick by not putting on an apprentice on a go forward runner over a shorter journey, though this is a top liner against a 66+ field without any real standouts. Wins over Super Maxi & Floyd last campaign really jump off the page. Expecting him to go very close en route to bigger and better things this campaign.

Alpha Sky was huge first up when picking up over the final 100m, finding a gap and savaging the line. A lot of people will see that as ‘getting the right run’, but it is a rarity for a horse to be able to pick up and accelerate like he did underneath horses there. A sign of a true race horse. The speed map looks to work against him however.

Big watch on Double Jeopardy who was brilliant on his state debut. Not convinced about the Dam Ready formline from that event, but when gun hoop Damian Lane goes on a runner from barrier one, you know he’ll get all the favours.

After Ambiente there is a real blanket over the rest of the field. Happy sticking with the class and happy with the near $4 on offer.

Selections

Ambiente
Alpha Sky
Double Jeopardy
Dutch Spy

Suggested Bet: 70 wins Ambiente (1).

 

Race 6 - The Cox

Speed Map - Unfortunately there is no Matthieu Autier or a Fathoms Of Gold in this. I don’t think that edition of ‘The Ted’ will ever be forgotten.

As I write this, there are strong rumours circulating that Material Man (barrier 1) will be withdrawn from the event, which will have a major impact on the speed map. Working on the assumption he runs, Lucy may look to take up the running (as she did in last years Ted) and from there can really control the tempo and try to pinch a break on Galaxy Star. Last year it took until the final stride for Pounamu to grab him. Failing Material Man running, it would appear that Prize Catch (4) will left in front out of complete default. There is a chance that Gatting (2) could even be forced into some form of pacemaker role. I can’t see any of the Bob Peters trio of runners rolling forward (there will be cries of team riding coming from the stands if so), while Prying Tom (6) has his eyes on the Perth Cup and you’d imagine connections would see such an aggressive ride detrimental to his chances in that event.

This should be the exact opposite version of the Fathoms Of Gold/Perfect Reflection, Ted.

Race Overview - Without knowing if Material Man is running or not, there is no real way to decipher this event.

Galaxy Star, Gatting and Material Man are the only winning hopes in this with the WFA conditions of the event and I expect the three of them (or two if there is the scratching) to fight it out.

I would have had Material Man on top, but with these rumours circulating it really does undermine ones confidence.

That’s all I have to say.

Selections

Material Man
Galaxy Star
Gatting
Prying Tom

Suggested Bet: No bet.

 

Race 7 - It’s All A Bleau

Speed Map - Lucky Roar (barrier 4) SHOULD be looking to lead them up here, but again there seems to be some current trend to not want to lead horse races. One I am struggling to comprehend. With the rail at the true position and the favourite likely to be in the second half of the field, this is the perfect position to jump, hold the rail and try and steal it. We’ll see. Blackline (11) should work across and sit on his outside with Fontainebleau (7) parking just in behind them. Bushfire Blonde (9) is the variable in the speed map. Having drawn awkwardly, this daughter of So Secret, does have a reasonable record when rolling forward. They are the tactics I’d be adopting.

Showcase (3) and Sally’s Realm (2) are drawn to improve markedly, though both have shown some poor behavioural issues out of the gates. Damian Lane and Chris Parnham will be aiming to use the good gates and have them in the first half of the field. Royal Missile (10), First Affair (8) and Celebrity Dream (12) should all be forced to go back. The ride on Celebrity Dream will be one of the more interesting watches for the day. If the track does have the on pace bias I suspect it may, then Pike will probably look to come forward with Blackline and find a spot. No guarantee he’ll get one.

Race Overview - It’s taken 7 races, but I think I’ve found a winner at a reasonable quote.

Fontainebleau is a horse I don’t have a great relationship with, but I think she has found the perfect assignment here. If you go back to this exact same event last year, Fontainebleau ran a gallant second to Celebrity Dream. With about 170m to go Celebrity Dream had levelled up with her, but she fought extremely hard to push that very smart galloper to a long neck. That was only a field of 8 runners that day and Celebrity Dream was able to get a nice cart into the race from sixth position. This is a field of 12 and Celebrity Dream has drawn 12. While she is just about gifted this race at the weights, the barrier draw is a great leveller. The mile is right at her peak so she wouldn’t want to have to sustain a 600m run or sit deep the trip. I really liked the way Fontainebleau found the line last time out and the mile suits.

First Affair is the big class dropper and should be running on strongly while Showcase had absolutely no luck in the Jungle Dawn. The appointment of Damian Lane is a huge one and I cannot see her jumping at the $14 she is currently quoted at.

Fontainebleau is currently around the $9.5 / $2.7 quote in a race I see it difficult for her to miss a drum in. A place heavy bet would be my go. Don’t leave Showcase out of your quaddie.

Selections

Fontainebleau
Showcase
Celebrity Dream
First Affair

Suggested Bet: 30 wins and 70 places Fontainebleau (3).

 

Race 8 - Dart Board

Speed Map - Many a variable to be assessed in this speed map. The Sean Casey pair of Moet De Vega (barrier 5) and Song Of Vincent (1) hold the key, with both being distance droppers who will probably be instructed to jump and run. I say probably as again the last start effort to hold up Moet De Vega when leading at a reasonably steady tempo was bewildering. The horse was never going to settle the way he tried to hold it back, and this is a horse who does his best work when out in front. The desire to not lead on a track which is notorious for leaders winning is one I will never understand. Harry Thomas (8) tends to like to roll forward and after his last start failure when sitting I suspect normal tactics will be employed. Neurological (9) has lead at his last few, but should be taking a sit here while SImon Miller pair Beat The Devil (6) and Miss Swindle (7) both lead (or sat outside the speed) and won at their most recent outings. Both of these wins were absolutely handed to them both on a platter in races devoid of speed. No surprise to see both take a sit here.

Swift Platinum (10) is the interesting runner with two really nice runs for his new stable. Going to begin sounding like a broken record here, but he is another who found the front (his preferred role throughout his career) but was then held up to allow something else to cross. From the awkward gate you’d expect the tactics to let this relatively tough grey to jump and run. Chance he leads the three wide line.

Danny George (4) and Paradise Square (2) should be the beneficiary of all this top end speed, with Princess Zelda (12) having the final crack.

Race Overview - This does look the best value betting race of the day, but also the hardest to dissect. I decided to look at it from a horse by horse perspective.

Harry Thomas was poor first up, is drawn awkwardly and his recent trial was only fair. Doesn’t look a winning hope.

Danny George looks the mapped winner, but I was not sold on either his trial or first up effort. He didn’t really get warm when running eighth to Alpha Sky and I felt he was entitled to do a little bit more with his final 200m and 400m splits. In saying that, he should be fitter, the 1200m appears to suit and he should have the first crack at the leaders.

Neurological was gifted three races in the country and is only $5 because William Pike is on board. I find it very difficult to see him winning this from the awkward alley.

Beat The Devil was a nice winner first and second up, but both races were completely run to suit. This won’t be. Has never been as effective when not leading and there is a big chance he is forced to take a sit here. Can’t have him.

Comparative will need the run along with Adrian Makfi.

Moet De Vega is 1500 back to 1200. It and stablemate Song Of Vincent (1500 to 1200 also) have drawn underneath all other paces horses and can have the front if they want it. The distance drop is hard to quantify as either a positive or a negative.

Paradise Square would be an on top selection if this was over 1400m. Won over 1100m in a Mt Barker maiden, but all subsequent wins have been over 1400m with cover just off the speed. Drawn to get the latter, but might find one or two of these a bit sharp over 1200m.

Princess Zelda looks suited by the top end speed though is likely to need to be either ridden for luck by Smith or be the widest runner in the straight. Track pattern could put an end to her chances, but if they are making ground on the day, the $21 on offer could be one of the more enticing prices.

Swift Platinum was backed off the map on debut for new trainer Gavin Foster when missing the start by a minute. Second up Shaun O’Donnell gave up the top to Stratocreed and took the cutaway run at Northam. The cutaway was arguably the worst place to be on the day, so the run has some merit to it. I like the appointment of Lucy and would suspect some really aggressive tactics to be in play here.

Miss Swindle is arguably a better horse with a sit and will appreciate the appointment of Damian Lane.

Basically that didn’t help me much at all. In the end I’m going to have a speculative look at Swift Platinum at the $17 on offer. If finding a spot in the first two in running and just bowling along, I think he will go close - looks like Gavin Foster has him really ticking over nicely after a few lean campaigns under Ross Price. We’ll bank on a lot of the speed drawn underneath him being happy to follow the current pattern and take a sit.

Selections

Swift Platinum
Danny George
Paradise Square
Miss Swindle

Suggested Bet: 15 wins and 15 places Swift Platinum (10).
 
+1 -1

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