Racing & Sports expert selections.
RACE 1 - ARUMA (2) was backed into a very skinny quote last time and was solid, if not spectacular, leading all the win in a race run to suit the leaders. She'll strip fitter for having that 1400m run and maps to find the front again. WINNING WITNESS (4) was victorious at the first night meeting of the season, and strong form has since come from the beaten brigade. Punters could perhaps take a lead from Darmanin riding Aruma, which means Pires goes aboard this filly. LIBERTY RAE (3) was 1200m to 1600m here on Friday night, a setup that appeared to take its toll late in the piece. Fitness shouldn't be a concern on the quick back up. GEE GEES DOWN SOUTH (1) is also on the five-day turnaround and looks suited up to 1400m third-up.
RACE 2 - HYPERCUBE (9) has her first start for Glenn Stevenson having faded off a fast lead pace at her only South Australian start. Awkward draw, but she trialled well. Stablemate ZONNA VERDE (8) was slightly slower on the same Longford trial session. Look for a market lead with that pair being only very lightly raced. PERIWINKLE (6) sat outside the speed off a freshen and was only grabbed late by one that had the drop on them. She's one of several speed runners who draws wide, and Lizzie Annells only winner in her last 50 rides was in late August. ARAYA SUNSHINE (4) covered ground in the same race, and that winner Ngapali Beach has since run well in a BM60. ROWING POWER (3) draws favourably for McCoull and wasn't far away at his only career start where he had strong market support.
RACE 3 - NO SURPRISES (3) caught the eye running into second here on Friday night, the latest in a string of solid performances. He's been ridden forward and back in his career so tactics from a wide gate are somewhat of a guessing game. STORM GIVER (7) had market support last time and boxed on well after chasing a hot speed. Concussion plates on isn't a positive on face value but he does project as one of few on pacers in the race. WHERE YOU FROM (9) snuck up the rail last time, behind a winner that has since won again. OUR INDULGENCE (4) is racing in career best form but always needs things to go right from back in the field. UNNERVING (8) draws to be buried on the fence but his last two runs have been good and he's one that may be over the odds in a race lacking quality.
RACE 4 - RED SPHERE (2) returns with a spruik following a debut win where he absorbed a lot of pressure on a brutal tempo, and still proved too good. Slightly awkward draw with speed drawn beneath, but he's easily won his two recent trials. BOKEO (1) was tested in the state's best 3YO races last season and was far from disgraced. Winkers come off for his first-up run and the trials leading in have been solid. CHEEKY WORD (4) went to the line untested first-up. That was a class 2 so this represents a drop in class. PERKINS (6) should've finished closer on Friday night when chopped out of a rails run close to home. WHEELING (7) is the likely pilot and gave plenty of cheek in that role last time in BM60 company.
RACE 5 - EXTREME GEM (4) produced a tough front-running performance to win here three weeks ago, with the quinella spacing third. She maps to be first to the fence, so it's a watch only the early track pattern. ROYAL AND TOUGH (1) was a quality 3YO last season and resumes here with a big weight off some handy trials. His most recent run in Hobart can be excused, racing wide without cover for the trip. SISTINE (8) was scratched here on Friday night. She won a recent trial with ease, and there was little between her and Royal and Tough when they met in April. GEE GEE LUCKY JESS (3) went to the line untested last time after a run closed in the home straight. SCARDIMALIA (2) is yet to be proven away from Hobart, but she did start favourite here last start and covered a lot of ground out wide in a race controlled by the leader.
RACE 6 - Small field but has plenty of quality. JUST A TRIBUTE (1) is the veteran as a 6YO against a group of up-and-comers. He rounded up the field first-up with 60kg, suited by the way that race was run. Clearly, he has come back in good order. Similarly, GEEGEES GEMSTONE (4) carried a big weight to win first-up but will drop 4.5kg here for the rise in class. His form can be tied into last season's better 3YO's through his near miss here in April, where he was unlucky in defeat. JAGUAR STONE (3) has lived in the shadows of her stablemate Bello Beau for most of her career. She's two from two first-up and has done enough in recent trials to suggest she'll run well. JUST A NEEDS (2) is a classy mare who has been freshened since a 1400m win in Hobart. She's a little hard to map from the wide draw, even in the small field. QUICKEN UP (5) will look to run them along, and if given a similar time in front to last start, could produce the same outcome.
RACE 7 - VINTAGE DIESEL (8) appreciated getting on to the Launceston turf last start with a dominant win against similar opposition. He rises 1.5kg but is entitled to be much shorter in the market than last time out. METAVERSE (5) and A WEE NIP (10) were the best of the chasing pack on that occasion in a genuinely run race where the two front runners had shot clear on the home turn. It's unlikely this race will be run in the same fashion, and they're a strong chance to turn the tables. BLUSHED (7) disappointed as the favourite in that race, perhaps found out by the 1400m-2100m set up in a truly run race. It may be worth respecting her $3.30 SP that night. MONTE BIANCO (9) brings a different form line and is on trial at the trip. At start five for the campaign, she may be looking for it but comes out of a slow run mile, which may not provide the best base for an extra 500m.
RACE 8 - CHORIZAMA (2) won well at this track and distance last start when well supported. Hard to see him not going close taking this race out. MALEVOLENT (3) showed good early dash and raced on the speed last start before fading to finish fourth over 1400m at this track. Expected to be in this for a long way. SWING KING (4) was leading on the turn and fought on to finish third over 1200m at this track at his latest appearance. Sigrid M Carr stays aboard. Well placed and should be figuring in the finish. GEEGEES HISWORD (1) resumes from a spell and it's worth noting he filled a minor placing when returning from a spell last time in work over 1150m at Devonport Synthetic. Hasn't scored when fresh-up froma spell but generally races well with two minor placings. Has place claims.