Race-by-race preview and tips for Armidale on Sunday
Showcase meeting, but plenty of rain will leave the track around a Heavy 8, with the rail true, so expect the traffic to get wider as the day wears on.
Race 1: F & M MAIDEN PLATE (1300m)
Modest race at set weights for the girls, and leaning towards Tamworth mare 4. Hi My Girl who can break through at her 11th start. While the form doesn't look flash, she comes out of better maidens and has solid soft track form.
Dangers: 9. Red All Day has been knocking on the door and has the early speed to overcome a wide draw. Hard to make any solid case for the rest, but big watch on Gosford debutant 11. Zandaya who has had three quiet trials for a smart stable.
How to play it: Hi My Girl E/W
Race 2: C, G & E MAIDEN PLATE (1300m)
Now the boys turn and Tamworth-trained 3. Carillon only has to handle the ground to be right in the finish. Two starts back found the line nicely through heavy going in a better quality Kembla maiden and did similar on this track last start. Nice gate and leading rider aboard so ready to win.
Dangers: 12. Set To Sizzle has been well fancied and close up in his last two and gets a lovely draw here, while Grafton visitor 6. Mustaknown is still looking for his first win after 14 starts but continues to hit the line nicely from well off the speed, and again he'll be flying home at the end.
How to play it: Carillon WIN and quinella with Set To Sizzle
Race 3: HCP (1100m)
One of the better bets on the card is the American-bred Scone 3YO filly 10. Pluma who can break through at her third start. Was well backed on debut at Newcastle when finishing off okay before run down on her home track when again well tried in the market. Against this modest lot and fitter now, payday has arrived!
Dangers: Tamworth mare 9. Olivia's Girl could be some sort of threat if she improves on a solid effort this track last start.
How to play it: Back Pluma WIN
Race 4: SPRING CUP (1900m)
Feature race with a few chances, but on top and ready to break back into the winner's stall is locally trained 3. Melted Moments who came from a long way back in the Port Macquarie Cup Prelude and then again finished hard under a big weight to just miss in the weaker Manilla Cup. Deserves to break through and the extra trip is ideal. Value.
Dangers: Locally trained 6. Rage Against was very strong through the line in winning a BM 66 last start, and half his career wins have been on this track. Watch for big improvement from Taree-trained 2. Loving Home who has been toiling away behind the place-getters in tougher cups company and will find this more to his liking.
How to play it: Melted Moments WIN and quinella with Rage Against
Race 5: CL2 HCP (1900m)
Very tricky race, but Grafton mare 6. Madam Kate can break a long run of outs. Stepped up in trip abruptly at her last two runs and found the line okay in stronger grade, so getting in on the 54kg limit looks very appealing here. Will park midfield and finish hard.
Dangers: Coffs Harbour-trained 4. Bromach finished off nicely behind the place-getters last start on his home track and drops 4kg from that run. Will be in the finish. Include both 1. I Am Baymax and 2. Delacroix if you are playing the wider exotics.
How to play it: Madam Kate WIN and quinella with Bromach
Race 6: CL2 HCP (1400m)
Tamworth mare 6. Emily's Song disappointed last start on her home track dropping back to a BM 58 after really attacking the line at her previous two starts in stronger grade. This isn't strong and if the inside holds up okay in the conditions, she can park behind the speed and launch over the top.
Dangers: 2. Cricklewood has found the line okay in his last few and been solid in the market each time. Has to overcome a wide gate, but with any sort of luck can attack the line again, while 1. Falster is the most progressive runner in the field but has to lump a big weight from the widest barrier. He's been mixing it in much stronger company for leading local stable and any sort of luck will see the 4YO in the finish.
How to play it: Emily's Song WIN
Race 7: BM 66 HCP (1300m)
Fairly even bunch, but looks a nice race for Tamworth mare 8. Pomme La Belle who was okay in a similar race last start, but two runs back wasn't beaten far in a much stronger Randwick Highway. Will come across from a wide gate and tuck in behind the speed for leading rider and trainer combination.
Dangers: Well-travelled Inverell mare 7. Victory Lass has been consistent in weaker grades, and has shown a liking for wet ground, so should handle the rise in class and is a huge price; while Muswellbrook-trained 4. Cosmic Reign won from the front last start after also tackling Metro Highway grade. Include the early fav 2. Arugula in all exotics but prepared to lay at the win price.
How to play it: Pomme La Belle E/W
Race 8: BM 58 HCP (1100m)
Open affair to finish, but looks a nice assignment for Grafton mare 2. Princess Elle has won two of her last three in similar grade, although wary on the inside ground late in the day.
Dangers: Keep a big watch on Tamworth mare 10. Shiver Me Timbers from a strong stable who has ability and hit the line nicely resuming on this track, while 14. Pig 'N' Whistle broke through last start and can go on with the job.
How to play it: Princess Elle E/W and box exacta 2-10-14