Selections based on a good track.
Race 1 – 3:05PM NANAS DRESS SHORTS & BRACES HANDICAP (1000 METRES)
3. Koonunga hasnt raced for over a year but Id be surprised if she doesnt run a very good race fresh. When she last raced she split Vinnie Power and Mo The Great in a Class 1 which is pretty handy form and she has a placing behind Pecans too. Plenty to like about her second trial this prep where she sat handy behind a runaway leader and shook off the rest of the field as she closed in late. Drawn nicely and if 1000m isnt too sharp shes a big chance.
Dangers: 7. Solera led all the way to take out a 900m Newcastle maiden second-up and it was a decent effort in a very bunched field before she broke away at about the 300m. This is tougher but if she shows the same improvement into this race shes a threat. 4. Sergeant is back as a gelding and having his first NSW start, he bears very close watching. Possibly better suited at 1200m but hes coming out of a couple of handy trials and will be strong late. 2. Epic Dan enjoyed a perfect run and went for home on the turn at Wyong first-up, holding them off in a similar race. His second-up form isnt so flash but its hard to leave him out after such a win.
How to play it: Koonunga WIN.
Race 2 – 3:40PM AUSSIE NIGHT MARKETS PLATE (1000 METRES)
11. Shrug has trialled up well enough to suggest a promising debut is on the cards. She finished off late in a fast 742m trial then went to the line with Avon River, who was runner-up at Randwick at her debut last week, in her latest. Expect shell probably look for cover and be hitting the line. Go well on what weve seen at the trials.
Dangers: Stablemate 5. Capitoline Lady put in a much improved effort in the second of her recent trials, she stretched out well but was run down by another filly that was a bit sharper late. Keep in mind. 9. Samphire Hoe has been freshened up since trying to go with Czarson on debut here back in November. She weakened late and that race is also notable for Exhilarates running second. With such strong race form around her shes worth including though she will need a favour or two in the run. 2. Roman Wolf has the advantage of the inside alley and hes done enough in his two trials to warrant some thought. Perhaps he wasnt so comfortable on the heavy track last time but he did win which is encouraging.
How to play it: Shrug WIN.
Race 3 – 4.20PM SIGNARAMA ERINA/GOSFORD HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
1. Safado showed plenty of ability in his two starts back in March with a dominant debut win and a game second behind Resin over this course. Trialled nicely at Gosford then even better at Newcastle and if he has the upside he looks to have then this race is his for the taking. If all is in order in the yard hes the one to beat.
Dangers: 2. Hes Super Lucky is race fit and that gives him an advantage if Safado is underdone. Upset winner on the Kensington track two starts back then backed it up with an even effort in a much stronger race won by Rosina Kojonup. He also beat a smart one on debut. Month between runs but has to be respected. 8. Rogue Runner failed narrowly to lead all the way here on New Years Eve and hes one of those horses that will be up on the speed and giving a good sight. Coming back 100m suits him and hes an each-way chance at least. 3. Sugar Buzz was a drifter in betting first-up in a race won easily by a promising horse. Fitter and drawn the inside and an improved showing wouldnt surprise.
How to play it: Safado WIN; Trifecta 1/ 2,3,8/2,3,8.
Race 4 – 4.55PM DE BORTOLI WINES TAKEOVER TARGET ON 17 JAN PLATE (2100 METRES)
13. Our Dawn only has to handle the step up to 2100m to break through here. She signalled shes close with a game second at Hawkesbury then ran on nicely over a mile here behind Stealth Sniper who was in a controlling position throughout. She is by Snitzel so could go either way distance-wise, plus shes a half-sister to Charlie Boy, but her grand dam was a G1 Flight Stakes winner who ran third in an Oaks. Anyway, shes clearly the horse to beat.
Dangers: 5. Triplicate is something of a one-pacer but he does stay well and boxed on up on the pace at Scone last start. Hell be thereabouts again and would appreciate a staying test, if its a sprint home he could be in trouble. 3. Mushroom Rock has been around the mark of late with a placing over this course three back and another at Newcastle on Boxing Day. Drawn the inside and if he holds form hes an each-way hope again. 9. Man And Superman disappointed in the same race at Newcastle but did lead and run second here a month ago, finishing ahead of Mushroom Rock. Hell go forward and could give a sight.
How to play it: Our Dawn WIN; Trifecta 13/3,5,9/3,5,9.
Race 5 – 5.30PM JUSTIN WRENS 40th BIRTHDAY HANDICAP (1600 METRES)
7. Sensacova certainly doesnt win out of turn but she improved with each run this time in and has landed in a race thats up for grabs. Found an awkward spot at Wyong last start a month ago but worked clear and finished off to run second. Has barrier one and an in-form jockey on board so will get her chance.
Dangers: 3. Californiafirebird is fitter for two runs back and drops in grade on a handy enough second-up effort on the Kensington track behind Love Shack Baby. He should put himself on the speed and his last win was over this course back in July. Can win. 6. Inherit should be ready to show something after three runs back, she was a bit one paced at Kembla last time when beaten a couple of lengths over 1400m so the step up to a mile could be significant. Entitled to improve. 8. Northern Lights ran a much better race here a couple of week ago boxing on into third and she had some support there so it wasnt unexpected. In a wide open race shes an each-way chance.
How to play it: Sensacova E/W.
Race 6 – 6:05PM GOSFORD GOLD CUP ON 17 JANUARY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
2. Coolgardie is on debut on the back of a couple of recent trials that suggested he has some ability. Close second to Cossetot then a month between trials and picked up well late to win at Canterbury, pushed a little but it was a big gap to third. Has the inside alley and if hes solid enough in the market should run well.
Dangers: 7. Poseidon Star has been gelded since his debut back in June and I thought his trial was more than acceptable despite running eighth. It was an open class trial won by To Excess and contained the likes of Dothraki, Life Less Ordinary and Bel Sonic. He wasnt pressured and only beaten a couple of lengths. Keep safe. 1. Sound Off closed off his race with gusto once into the clear first-up over 1000m at this track and is sure to be better for it. Also drawn well and any improvement would see him right in the finish again. 9. Terminate was very well supported on debut at Newcastle and railed up behind his stablemate and winner Solera but couldnt go on with it. Fitter for that and while he will need luck hes probably worth another chance.
How to play it: Coolgardie E/W; Quinella 2 & 7.
Race 7 – 6:40PM SIGNARAMA ERINA/GOSFORD HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
7. Eveleigh has done enough in her two runs back to say shes not far off a win if she gets the breaks. Hit the line nicely behind Swelt first-up over this course then not disgraced finishing midfield on the Kensington track in what looked a strong fillies maiden. Good chance in a race where betting may be a good pointer.
Dangers: 2. Le Lude might want a touch further than 1100m but she hasnt been beaten by more than three-quarters of a length in her three starts. Probably gets back here but will be running on hard. 9. Jenaya is locally trained and there was a bit to like about her latest trial at Newcastle where she worked home under a good hold for a close second. Keep in mind. 11. Madam Ilithyia had six weeks between runs into her closing second over 1000m here on New Years Eve. From a nice draw she can be midfield or better and if she runs up to the latest effort shes right in the mix.
How to play it: Eveleigh E/W.
Tips supplied by Racing NSW.
Race replays and full form available at racingnsw.com.au.