Racing & Sports expert selections.
RACE 1 - John Keys could have up to five runners in the race, but the pick of his bunch appears to be CRAFTY BOSS (2) and TURF PUZZLE (12), who completed the trifecta in the race won by Stone Cold Stunner. That was a genuinely run affair, and first and fourth from that race have since won to give a strong push for the form. LA FOLIE DOUCE (8) was doing her best work late at her first run for Sarah Cotton, suggesting the rise in trip will suit, but she is a month between runs. SAKURA HIME (11) was well found in the market a few times last campaign but remains a maiden. Interesting to see her kicking off the campaign over 1390m but punters may take a lead from the booking of McCoull. CAPITAL CHEVAL (1) was smashed in betting at her first start for Jessie Bazan and was a tough watch after doing work on a hot speed.
RACE 2 - MISS CHICA MALA (11) has placed in four of her six career starts, generally doing her best racing on the speed. Recent trials have only been fair. ES AND ES (5) looks the pick of Glenn Stevenson's two debutants, coming through trials in good times against horses that have franked the form. FREDDY'SAJETSTAR (2) is first-up without a public appearance and was racing in good form prior to a spell. He was unlucky in defeat over this distance back in June. STRATOJACK (8) was a bit plain as $3.70 favourite last time. Coming out of age-restricted maidens, that 3YO form is still a little difficult to line up. MISTER MANIHI (3) is hard to line up after being beaten a long way at triple figures last time he raced in NSW, but the booking of Pires is a positive and a market lead may be worth following.
RACE 3 - Last season's 2YO of the Year NEEDS SUGAR (2) returns here off the back of two trial wins in fast time. Trainer Stuart Gandy has his team flying, striking at 23% for the season. THESPIAN WATERS (3) will meet Needs Sugar 4kg better from their Elwick Stakes meeting at the start of the year, and he jumped half the price that day. POPILITA (5) is a speedy filly that they'll all need to get past. She's run quick time in both runs this time in, holding on for victory first up, before being grabbed on the post last time out. LA VIRAGO (6) had to absorb some pressure on speed as a beaten favourite the last time she raced. She has a very strong SP profile, but this is harder than what she's contested. STARDARMUS (4) had excuses racing wide on a hot speed as favourite last time, but that's the type of run that could've taken a toll.
RACE 4 - GEE GEE MISS QUITA (2) was scratched from the Cox Plate eve Launceston program, where she had good market support to win the night's feature race. She's now a month between runs and has the blinkers going back on. GEE GEE CAN WIN (6) and ETHICAL DILEMMA (5) went around in that Launceston race, a slow lead tempo setting up a bunched finish. Gee Gee Can Win got home hard up the rail from near the rear while Ethical Dilemma was a hard luck story after being held up in the straight. Neither horse has generally brought their best to Hobart. HOT RELATION (4) has had every possible chance at his last two mile runs but seemingly struggles to see out the trip. A soft draw and back to 1390m looks suitable. FREAK ON A LEAD (3) has raced wide at his last two starts and could be an improver if he goes forward in a race lacking obvious speed.
RACE 5 - MONTE BIANCO (1) is the class runner of the field but gets to 2100m for the first time off a setback after being scratched from a Launceston staying race last Wednesday night. The market will likely provide a lead as it so often does for this stable. PAGE (2) has been crying out for the staying trip for a while now, and Siggy Carr knows the horse well. Together with stablemate FURTHER NORTH (8), their figure form can almost be disregarded until they reach the longer distances. REWARD FOR ROSIE (5) is hard fit and the likely leader. These races are rarely run quickly, and she was the beneficiary two starts back in Devonport. CAPTAIN MORGAN (3) is hard to catch but did show something of a return to form last time after a pair of ordinary performances. He was flying here back in August.
RACE 6 - DAY PERFORMER (3) does her best work on wet ground which she's unlikely to get here, but ticks boxes with an inside draw likely to give her a good run tracking a hot speed. ELMAJAY (6) is one of a few speedy types in the race. She led at a fast pace last time and was found out in the last bit of the race, which has often been her story. NEV'S BOY (8) will likely be giving too big a start away, but if he's in touch turning for home, he would be the one to beat. TIDAL (10) was no match in much stronger company last time in Devonport, but is going a bit better than her SP profile indicates. NEEDS REMEMBERING (2) was a track and distance winner at his first start for Terry Evans, and was decent from back in the field last time in Launceston.
RACE 7 - CONUMDRUM (2) landed some good bets first-up in Launceston, beating subsequent winner Geegees City Boy with a big margin back to third. Up to 1390m second-up looks ideal carrying 1kg less than last start. LONDIANI (3) will lead or sit behind the speed and maps to have every chance. He's developed into a very consistent commodity with a racing pattern that generally sees him in the finish. HAPPY CLAN (1) is first-up with a reasonable fresh record. The market may provide a lead on whether there was more to the Longford trial than meets the eye. RICHMOND POET (5) ran on well when he resumed without ever threatening the quinella. VANITY STAR (4) won at bolters odds to start last campaign and was solid form there. Does tend to give a start away but could be a knockout late.