What a good Highway lineup. All of them have legit claims to victory. RED KNOT is resuming here and is better known for his ability over longer trips, but is in a powerful stable and Hugh Bowman will ride. That means he must be flying. Has placed at Highway level before but that was over 1500m. Watch market. LIFESAVER is gearing up for better things which may include the Country Championships in April next year. Ran a corker when resuming last start beaten a whisker by the plunge horse Another Sin. Can atone. MOSSMAN GORGE might be a stakes horse in the making. Tough draw here but this 3YO has wheels and can accelerate away from rivals. Will press forward and is he gets a good run, will prove hard to defy.
The Chris Waller-trained mare AWOKE is very promising and her two runs this time up have been outstanding. Big weight though but deserves it and is down in grade. ELOUERA has improved so much in the past two months. Her finishing burst to win what was a slightly better race last start in town was most impressive. Carried 5kg less than Awoke start prior, however, and that mare beat her home narrowly. Only 3kg difference this time. Still, if she repeats last start, she wins again. CHATUCHAK is in form and can place.
Even affair this one. IMPROVEMENT is high quality and showed that last time in winning her way through the grades. At one stage there had won 4 on the bounce. Resuming here but with Deanne Panya on she went brilliantly in a barrier trial recently. The money will come for her in this first up. TANGO RAIN looks stakes grade but just wilted last start when resuming in similar company to hang on for 3rd. Will strip better than that for this assignment and can be up on pace all way. PUMPKIN PIE is interesting. She’s trained in the bush and there has always been a bit of boom and expectation on her. Plugged on in the mud in the Country Champs final at her last start when 5th. Is resuming here – watch betting moves.
Promising stayer VAUCLUSE BAY had to trial during the week, forced to do so by stewards after being favourite and getting well beaten last start. He went OK in the trial. On his form before failure, he looks well in this grade and should be competitive on this is home track. But NOT A GYPSY looks the play. His run to get 2nd in a fast run race when 2nd up last start was a bottler. Should be super fit now, and the horse that beat him last start, is scratched. Gets the perfect run from this draw as well. CHATELARD is unbeaten in 3 starts and keeps jumping the bar. Chance.
Tip:NOT A GYPSY
DESTINY’S KISS is the class and is getting close to a win. But is longing for this run of dry weather to end. Loves it wet and the forecast says…maybe showers. So who knows? On his best day, he can win this comfortably. CLASSIC UNIFORM is racing in great heart. He has chased home Shiraz at stakes level when just touched out and then gave a lot of weight to the flying Arbeitsam and was 2nd to him last start. Despite rise in trip, this may be a tad easier than past couple of assignments. BROADSIDE will set a cracking pace. He’s fresh and he’s trialed like a sprinter so expect him to go forward and carve out fast sectionals. If he’s fit enough, he could very well hang on at good odds.
Very, very even field. Three unbeaten runners here, all of whom are rising in grade. ASSIMILATE was scratched from last week for a shot at this and it might prove a winning move as this is a little easier. Likes to get back, settle, and charge home. Has that big will-to-win about him. Yet to be beaten which underscores that. COLESBERG will hardly be one of the favoured runners, but I think he should be. He is at home this track, is dropping in weight from past couple and has a strong finishing burst when things go his way. Put in your numbers. ASTORIA was being groomed for the top echelon when last in work. Did win a race but failed when raced at the pointy end. This looks a nice race to return in and can grind home into the money.
PARIAH will have to do it the hard way to win but he has so much talent. His recent trials attest to that as well. If he can slot in without getting too far back, he has the finishing power to be right in this. Today’s race may prove a stepping stone to greatness for him. CONDOR HEROES is the horse we just don’t know about. He is very gifted but when he leads he wins easily. Yet he can take a sit a long way off the pace and rattle home. Which one turns up here is anyone’s guess. I think he sits off them today. Either way, big threat. JORDA isn’t big but is unbeaten and is worthy of consideration. She has a touch of brilliance about her. Not knocked around in recent trial and you know she will be in contention from this draw for a long time.
HOGMANAY was a star in these restricted class races last campaign, turning up every week and racing on or near the lead before flattening out and being in the fray. Weight relief here 2nd up is much needed. Now, if he runs up to his best, he actually is in well with 59kg. And has drawn the gun rails gate. SPECIAL MISSILE is one of those rarities in racing – the type that struggle home in maiden grade to win, then bang, bang, bang, show up in better grade and win, win, win, win each time jumping a much higher raised bar. He’s won 4 on the bounce like that now. Must be considered again. THE PHAROAH isn’t treated well at the weights following the claim of the above too. But is very honest and will stalk what looks like a solid tempo.
BONNY O’REILLY loves this track and is the class galloper. Resumes here but is a stakes level horse. MOGADOR is taking plenty of time to find best form but rattled home last start this grade for 3rd. So may have found it. DENPURR comes in very impressively at the weights. On her day she has a strong finish and with nothing on her back this could be that day.