Racing & Sports expert selections.
RACE 1 - TOOTSIE (4) made it five top-four finishes in a row when she loomed up but couldn't go on with the job last start over this course and distance. Drops 1.5kgs today and McGuren is the new rider so worth another chance. GOLDEN GARDEN (2) had been racing well so his ninth at Muswellbrook last time out over 1550m is hard to fathom. Should appreciate getting out to this trip so forgive him that one bad performance. OTTOMAN EMPIRE (1) passed half the field in the straight when resuming over 1425m here a fortnight ago. Just missed at massive odds second-up last prep over this course and distance. Key runner. KITSILANO (7) has found the line okay in two shorter races since resuming. Ready to peak now. KEYLESS GO (6) was a bit plain in a similar race to this last start but is capable of better. SUNYANI (9) has been well found in early markets for good reason, her latest effort over 1400m here a real eye-catcher.
RACE 2 - KRISTITHEGREAT (5) was lining up for just the third time and broke her maiden status in impressive style last start, working home powerfully to score by 1.5 lengths over 1725m here. Looks nicely placed out to this trip so she can get the job done again. CHARMED DESTINY (1) produced his best run for some time when a close fourth over 2018m at Taree recently. Might get an unchallenged lead here. Placed 2/2 at this trip and his only win came at this circuit, so he has the right credentials. IBERIAN RULER (2) impressed at Lismore last time, pulling right away in the concluding stages to win for the first time in a Class 1 over 2110m. Still has improvement to come at just the fourth run of the campaign. Nine-start maiden CHASSAGNE (9) is starting to put it together judging by her narrow defeat over this distance at the Sunshine Coast recently. Gets a nice weight pull on the other main chances which brings her right into calculations. PUSHKIN (3) next best.
RACE 3 - All of these have legitimate claims. IRISH EXCHANGE (10) has not raced for two months and has switched from Danny O'Brien to the Stephen Lee stable. Best recent run was a closing fourth over 1354m at Donald when fresh from a long absence. Best figures stack up and he should be primed for a big run for the new trainer. BURDEKIN (6) put in a big final furlong to get within a length of the winner over 1310m at Lismore last time out. Won at his only visit to Grafton and getting out to this distance looks ideal. IMPRINTED (7) surprised many when he returned from a 16-month spell and narrowly got the prize over 1200m at Coffs Harbour recently. Nicely drawn and gets in with the same weight after the claim. Hard to knock. VELVET HAZE (5) is racing well including a third in a similar race to this at Coffs Harbour 26 days ago. Good each-way hope. GALAXY GENERAL (3) is consistent but performs best on the poly. Still worth considering.
RACE 4 - ANOTHER PEDRILLE (3) is back from a 12-month lay-off. Was well in commission at her only run but didn't feature over 1300m at Kembla. Trialled well recently for the new stable and finds a nice race to kick off this prep. MANIC LIGHT (5) is first-up from a nine-week lay-off. Now with the Dwayne Schmidt yard and has undergone a few key gear changes from the last time he appeared. One to keep close tabs on. DAIMYO (6) last appeared when down the track over 1200m at Coffs Harbour 21 weeks ago. Opened the last campaign with a close fifth over 1200m at Murwillumbah. Definite contender. Market watch on the locally trained debutante GEOFF AND JENNY (8) who is by Speith. Went close in a recent trial here so looks to have ability. BRAVE SAILOR (4) hasn't been far away in two runs this prep over 1000m. Worth plenty of thought.
RACE 5 - THE YOUNG YEARS (13) made it three minor placings from four career runs when nailed close to the line last start over 1425m at this track. Suited coming back to this trip and in a shallow maiden she gets her chance to break through. OWN TOMORROW (10) settled back in the field and didn't get warm when resuming over this distance at the Sunshine Coast last time out. Finished second over 1200m at Doomben when second-up last prep which is a great form reference for a race of this calibre. SASKATOON BERRY (12) has transferred to the Fleur Blanch stable and resumes from a three-month spell. Struggled on wet tracks all through her last prep so if this surface dries out by race time she comes right under notice. THREE GONGS (4) is an Annabel Neasham first starter whose only trial was modest. Respect any market confidence. PILLAGER (3) didn't do much on debut last start but the application of blinkers might turn things around.
RACE 6 - SIR RAVANELLI (2) added to his impressive record last start when he led all the way and easily took out an open sprint over this course and distance. Handles the wet and enjoys racing here so he looks the testing material once again. KIRRA LASS (7) led but compounded in the run home and finish down the track over this trip at Ipswich last time out. Mixes her form but she generally goes well at 1100m so give her another chance. SWAMP NATION (6) had her first run for the Glen Milligan stable last time out and just missed in a driving finish over 1250m at Taree. Can settle closer from a better gate today. One of the main dangers. FORTYFIVE PARKLANE (4) chased Sir Ravanelli home at this track last start, left 2.7 lengths in his wake. Doubt he can turn the tables but is worth including in exotics. BUFFET BUSTER (8) was runner-up in the Sir Ravanelli race here recently and is another with each-way prospects.
RACE 7 - PLAYGIRL (9) led but was swamped in the run home to be beaten just under three lengths in a Class 3 over this trip at Coffs Harbour last start. Finds an easier race today and Ben Looker is an important engagement. Probably takes a sit this time and will be hard to hold out. BABAYKA (1) led and battled on gamely to be beaten by half a length in a Class 3 over 1110m at Lismore last time out. Can be a bit hard to catch but on his day is good enough to take care of these. Locally trained MOYASSAR (5) is back from an 18-week lay-off. Usually comes to hand quickly and is favourably drawn so at decent odds he is worth including. WILDERNESS STAR (12) returned to some kind of form at the Beaumont track last time and is an each-way hope at a big price. OLD TIMING MAN (4) ran a better race here last start and on an eight-day back-up is worth plenty of thought.
RACE 8 - SHOWDRA (7) put the writing on the wall last start at the third run of the prep, closing strongly to get up for third over 1400m at Eagle Farm. Down in class and should relish the extra furlong. Looks the one to beat. DISCREET LADY (6) got too far back last time out over 1425m at this circuit, making up some late ground but never threatening. Needs the mile now and this a slight step back in grade so she is well placed. WONDERLAND STAR (4) followed a Ballina maiden win two back with an eye-catching effort at Lismore recently, beaten under a length over 1526m. Cherry ripe after three runs back and will be savaging the line again. QUICK ENUFF (10) continues to attack the line strongly and is sure to appreciate this step up in distance. SHE'S ENUFF (5) will have no trouble getting a strong mile and should give backers a great sight.