Racing & Sports expert selections.
RACE 1 - BELGRANO BELLE (2) was far too good at Northam last time out, scoring by 1.1L. This is tougher, but Pike sticking with her is a good push for her chances. Drawn to get every chance and will make her presence felt. EMERALD TRADER (1) dropped right back in trip off a freshen last start and rattled home impressively. Will relish the step out to a mile and the sticky gate doesn't matter as she gets back anyway. Can run right over the top of them. SPECIAL SORT (4) is chasing the hat-trick and looks the progressive galloper on the way through. Must respect the in-form jockey and stable. CALL AGAIN (6) has disappointed his past couple but his fresh run at Belmont was superb. Chance to bounce back off the inside draw.
RACE 2 - MALKAR PINDARI (6) was left with plenty to do last time out when rattling home to just miss. This looks to set up similarly from a favourable alley and the slight rise in trip shouldn't pose an issue. Can settle closer this time and is expected to prove far too good. LAQUETTA'S GIFT (3) had the tactical advantage and held on to beat the top pick last time out. Drawn to get every chance for Pike again and should be filling the quinella once more despite meeting Malkar Pindari worse at the weights. WANGO AWARD (4) comes off a strong win at the midweeks but gets a nice little pull in the weights thanks to the claim of Luke Campbell. Stable is absolutely flying of late and must be included. BLACK SPIRIT (1) was only fair at Northam fresh but does usually get better out in trip and deeper into the campaign. Not out of this. KEYTRADE (5) drops sharply in weight with the 3kg claimer engaged and is worth including.
RACE 3 - The undefeated OSCAR'S FORTUNE (1) got the better of the older horses last time out when leading all the way to score by 1.6L. Back up against his own age now with the added fitness under his belt. Pike sticks and it's an ominous sign for his rivals. HANCHI (2) had plenty of fans through his maiden campaign and looks to have come back in very nice form judging by his recent trial. Gets a big push with C. Parnham hopping on and he's one that can take it right up to the top pick. KRYSANOVA (6) weakened late in the race first-up but should be better for the run. Drawn better this time and her form last campaign stacks right up. Expecting her to get back to her best, which would see her right in the finish. PLAYING GAMES (7) has won two in-a-row and is on the way up, but this is tougher. Right down in the weights though and is not out of it. LORD LALA (4) resumes off a win in this grade and merits plenty of respect.
RACE 4 - BONNIE LAD (2) continues to improve, rounding up his rivals and winning easily in midweek company last time out as favourite. Only lightly raced, he was edged out narrowly in this class first-up and should improve again third-up. Looks set to bring up back-to-back wins. SCENIC ECLIPSE (5) won over this course and distance, and in this grade 21 days ago when leading all of the way. Corver takes off 2kg once again and the inside draw should see her prominent. Racing well and it wouldn't surprise to see her win again. LITTLE STRAWBERRY (4) couldn't repeat the dose behind Scenic Eclipse last time out when storming home from the rear. Drawn much better this time around and can be right there at the finish. TREASURED QUEEN (11) was a touch disappointing last start but now gets Pike in the saddle and drops back to 1000m. Run here two back was good and rates a winning chance off that. BISECTOR (7) is fitter for three trials and can give some cheek.
RACE 5 - An open race with a number of chances. GODDESS OF GIVING (8) wasn't far away fresh but jumped out of the ground when second-up last preparation. Suspect they'll go back from the draw and if he's come on from the fresh effort, he can round these up to salute. THOMAS MAGNUM (11) beat home the top pick last start and should get every chance once again as he drops in weight with a favourable alley. Still has some room for improvement and rates as a major player in this event. BITOFMERIT (1) has won 4/5 fresh and resumes after tackling Listed company at the end of last campaign. The 3kg claim comes in handy and he was only edged out in tougher grade when fresh last preparation. Live chance. METALLON (9) was given a soft trial in readiness and gets Pike in the saddle first-up. He's unbeaten fresh and has to go into calculations. VALENCY (6) won narrowly at Belmont 6 weeks ago but has the figures to match. Not to be discounted.
RACE 6 - NOTEWORTHY (7) rattled home first-up when beaten 1.2L over 1400m and drops back in distance today. Would've preferred to see her up in trip rather than back to 1200m, but it's hard to ignore what she did fresh and 21 days between runs sets her up nicely for a barnstorming finish. SALOON BAR (5) has lacked the knockout punch of late, but has been flashing at the death. She'll be a long way back again which will make it tough, but her figures stack up well and she's sure to be the flashing light at the finish. MADAM KISSES (2) won well three back but hasn't been at her best lately. In the mix on best form. HE'SGOTWINGS (11) held on to score last time out and must be included.
RACE 7 - Plenty of form ties in, but hoping MY BELLA MAE (9) can go one better this time. Was coming hard at the finish last time out and getting away from the inside looks the key to her chances. Can go to another level this time and get the job done. HOT ZED (2) ran on strongly behind the top pick, finishing 0.7L off the winner at $17. This shapes up the same as last time out and he usually improves with a run under his belt. In fine form and will be in the finish again. SNOWDOME (5) comes into this fresh and looks like the new kid on the block. Figures from his last campaign stack right up and he's one that can take the next step, whereas many of these are established. He must be included. RED CAN MAN (1) ended the drought last start beating many of this field but meets them worse at the weights. Always runs his race though and is not to be discounted. MAN CRUSH (6) can add some value to exotics.
RACE 8 - Winning machine and current Railway favourite ALSEPHINA (7) resumes on the back of some impressive trials at Lark Hill. Versatile type who continues to improve. Stable and Jockey are a formidable force when they combine and she can continue her winning streak. SEARCHIN' ROC'S (4) scored a good win in the Farnley coming in and has been back to the trials since. Usually races well fresh and she should get a gun run from the draw. Expecting her to be right there in the finish once again. ADMIRATION EXPRESS (6) resumes off an injury but hasn't done anything wrong in her last two campaigns. Trial winner coming in and drops right to the bottom of the weights for this. Looks ready to go and can play a major role. TITAN BLINDERS (5) wasn't far away in the Eurythmic and gets a similar setup this time. Not to be discounted. RIVER RUBICON (9) hasn't been far away his past couple and his best would see him go close.
RACE 9 - WAR GEM (11) led all the way but just tired late off a freshen over this course and distance a fortnight ago. Chris Parnham rides this time with a sharp drop in weight. Will strip fitter for his last-start effort and can get the job done this time. TOP OF THE POPS (5) has been getting a long way back in his first two runs this campaign, but it was hard to miss what he did last start. Barrier manners are the obvious niggle, but the ability is there. Winning chance if he can put it all together. ABOVE THE PEG (3) ran home strongly first-up and is a winner second-up in the past. Nice platform for him to build on and any improvement would see him right in the finish. BROOKLYN PIER (9) scored a big win first-up but does usually taper off second-up. Drawn the inside though and is not to be discounted. CHEVAL DE VAGA (2) wasn't far behind Brooklyn Pier fresh and has claims.