Christmas Eve racing on Saturday takes us to Rosehill where the feature event on the card, the December Handicap (Race 7) over 1400m, has attracted a well-credentialed field of nine starters.
Favourite Snoopy (pictured above) will be looking to make it three consecutive wins after a measured ride by Dwayne Dunn saw him hold off Rough Justice over the same trip at Flemington a fortnight ago.
Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes credited the addition of blinkers as a key driver for his upsurge in form after he also had the better of Unequivocal on this course at his previous run.
Despite appearing well in at the weights with 54.5kgs and being a horse who makes his own luck up on the speed, our traders felt there was enough quality in this field to make him a viable risk.
We’re looking to recover some lost ground and enjoy our Christmas turkey a little more after the heavily-backed filly She Will Reign handed us a nasty result with her win last weekend.
Second-pick Religify (pictured above) has been freshened after a thumping win in the November Handicap and with Hugh Bowman in the saddle, we’re banking on him to deliver.
Having had to do a bit of work early to cross and find the lead, then-jockey Kerrin McEvoy stoked him up at the 500m mark and put a race-winning gap into the rest of the field.
To the naked eye, we felt he won with a bit more authority than Snoopy and are backing him to come out on top should they be left to fight out the finish of this race.
With most of Sydney’s leading stables represented, Gerald Ryan will be hopeful of an overdue breakthrough for capable galloper Bachman, who has been competitive at stakes level over the past 12 months despite last posting a win in the 2015 Gold Coast Goldmarket.
Tim Clark lost ground on Brenton Avdulla in the race for the Sydney jockey’s premiership after the latter’s four-timer at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Clark has talked up his charge’s hopes but we reckon he’s a place chance at best and won’t shy away from laying him as well.
Topweight Ecuador completed the McKell-Lord Mayor’s Cup double last preparation before tiring late in the Brisbane Cup to finish a well-beaten sixth.
Despite boasting a sound first-up record, some decent trial form and a favourable draw, we feel the 62kgs might prove too much of an impost over the shorter trip and are also keen to oppose him.
4. Snippet’s Land
Up north, with ante-post favourite Madeenaty set to step out in Thursday’s two-year-old race at Wyong, the Magic Millions picture will become a little clearer for a number of other juveniles following the Sky Thoroughbred Central Handicap (Race 2) over 1050m at Doomben.
Well bred filly Garrard gave a solid account of herself on debut at the Valley recently, fighting on strongly to keep Catchy honest having been urged forward to find the lead after a tardy start.
She’s been rated alongside Kelly Schweida’s Cellargirl, who made a winning start after finishing over the top of fellow acceptor Bring It Home Pop (scratched for today's race) in a two-year-old Handicap at Eagle Farm last month.
While the runner-up also showed himself to be a colt with a natural turn of foot, Cellargirl’s win was made even more impressive by the fact she was severely squeezed for room at the 250m mark.
With jockey James Orman forced to change passage and hook to the outside, Cellargirl really found the line strongly and we’d expect the punters to be keen to support her again on that showing.
Our traders were also awaiting any market moves for Tony Gollan’s She’s Our Star, who hasn’t been seen since an impressive debut win over this same course and distance back in early October.
Early favourite Houtzen, from the Toby Edmonds yard, trialled in pretty slick fashion on the Gold Coast but is listed as a second emergency and will require a couple of runners to be scratched in order to secure a start.
Indeed, Saturday isn’t the only day of racing to look forward to over the festive season with a full card of action on Boxing Day to look forward to.
Recent Kingston Town Classic winner Stratum Star appears set to take his place in the field for the Group 3 Summer Cup at Randwick, where he will lock horns with last Saturday’s Christmas Cup winner Destiny’s Kiss, recent ATC Cup winner Malice plus a number of other capable stayers.
Unibet would like to wish all of our customers a Merry Christmas and best of luck with your punting next year!
Best Bet: Amadeus (Melbourne, Race 3, No.9)
Value Bet: Jaminzah (Sydney, Race 2, No.6)
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