Preview: Hobart - Sunday, 7th August 2022

Hobart hosts the first meeting of the season before taking a three-month spell with a mammoth ten-race card and the rail out 10m. Rain is forecast however this new track drains very well so I’m not overly concerned.

R1 Tasmanian Wine Centre Class 3 Hcp, 1430m

Small field to kick off a big day of racing.  Scott Brunton looks to hold favouritism but it might be a challenge to decide which one of his that will be.

I found it hard to split the top two but eventually did settle on I'm Back (1).  Very honest gelding who has placed 50% of the time.  Gets in well after Chelsea Bakers' claim and draws the inside gate.  If he's not in the winners' box he won't be far away.

Stablemate Freak On A Lead (2) could be out to spoil the party.  David Pires takes the sit and this horse is proven over the 7 f trip.  Very consistent galloper who has won on this track.

Ravage (4) was a little disappointing last week but backs up today.  Only got beaten 3.45L behind the smart Donna's Day and will strip fitter second up.

One start on the Hobart circuit resulted in a place for Hero Of Romani (3).  The five-year-old has been hard to catch in the past but won well last time and can't be left out of the multiples.

Staking Strategy: A hard race to start the day and I found it very difficult to split the top two Brunton runners.  Ended up going with I'm Back after the claim and inside draw. 1 unit to win on I'm Back (1)

R2 Ladbrokes Punter Assist Maiden, 1430m

Chi Mazel (1) wasn't blessed with the best barrier last start but the barrier Gods have shone today and he gets every chance.  Does drop back from a mile which is never ideal however on the seven day back up I still have him clearly on top.

Was hard to miss the run of Maarkle (9) when first up in the state last week – held up and wide made it impossible for her to win and with none of that bad luck again should be in the finish today.

I had Leica Starlet (8) in my numbers last week but could only manage a fifth behind Another Prediction, who took inside runs from last to blow the more fancied rivals out.  Will strip fitter from that run and after the claim for Lizzie Annells will carry 4kgs less than the top weight.

Multisanti (4) has been in the money at his first two starts but has only managed a third placing.  Sees the Hobart track for the first time which is something I am always wary but the fact he has had market support in the past makes me think he has shown some ability at home.

Staking Strategy: Chi Mazel was brave in defeat last week from the wide draw and that won't be an excuse today.  Maarkle also did a lot wrong but with that experience under her belt, her manners may improve. 3 units to win Chi Mazel and 1 unit to win Maarkle (9)

R3 Ladbrokes Mates Mode Maiden, 1430m

Hellot (3) looks the obvious one here but can often take a run or two to find his best.  Is older now and more seasoned so expect him to still run well fresh.  Each way all day.

If Hellot is vulnerable Needs Remembering (4) looks the main danger.  Resumed on the synthetic three weeks ago putting in a decent effort to finish fourth behind the promising Gaudi Girl.  Maps to get back and with the rail out it won't be an easy task, relatively small field though and not overly strong.

Labby Rock (9) has been a model of consistency since joining the Bradley Franklin yard.  He might have won last start when 4th behind Cyclone Louie but just lacked the speed of the first three.  Interesting to note the second horse Anonymous Source was a recent winner here as well, franking that form.

Tried as a stayer when taking on Alpine Wolf in the Launceston Guineas, Geegeeslockdown (2) resumes here after a second in a recent trial.  Showed promise last preparation when running a close second in a Launceston maiden, before backing up in the Guineas when a 4.55L eighth.  Given plenty of time in the paddock before trialling late July in preparation for this.  Could be one to watch.

Staking Strategy: Hellot does look the one to beat. 1 unit to win on Hellot (13)

R4 Ladbrokes It! Maiden, 1200m

The debut of the well-bred Starcadia (14) was very good back in April and John Luttrell has given the filly time to mature.  She comes into this from two impressive trials, including a six-length win during the week.  I think this filly could win a few races and whatever she does today will improve on.

The ever-consistent Her Thoughts (10) is having another crack at breaking her maiden status after four consecutive places.  Drawn wide once again, it won't be an easy task.  Some say she should have won last start however the rail being out a further 3m today from last week makes her a lay prospect for mine.  Happy to have her as a place chance only.

Gee Gee Miss Quita (9) is yet to show the promise of her famous brothers and sisters – Geegees Blackflash, Gee Gee's La Quita and Geegees Velvet to name a few however I doubt she will be a maiden for very long.  Tried as a stayer when a lovely fourth in the Tas Oaks at the start of the year.  I expect her to want further but this is a nice race for her to resume her four-year-old preparation in.

Resuming for a new stable today, Smashing Hit (12) comes into this after two recent trials.  This mare is now seven years old after having nearly two years off but is lightly raced and her two trials suggest David Keating may have her right.  Bound to be big odds but not an overly strong field so prepared to have her in my first four.

Staking Strategy: Starcadia was unlucky and impressive on debut and after her two recent trials, it suggests she's come back as good or better and that's enough for me to have her on top. Gee Gee Miss Quita is very well bred and looks like she could have a future. 2 units to win on Starcadia (14) and 1 unit to win on Gee Gee Miss Quita (9)

R5 Jockey Celebration Day 0-60, 1430m

I don't think even Stevie Wonder missed the run of Nev's Boy (3) last start when he came from last to finish second behind the promising Donna's Day.  If he gets the same run over the extra 1 f then he is bound to again be in the finish.

I liked the run of Gee Gee Rhythm (7) last start when third behind the ding dong battle of Blushed and Thelma.  She wasn't beaten all that far and a similar performance could see her back in the winner's stall.  Gets weighted nicely after Taylor Johnstone's claim, will get back in the field which is a worry but so will Nev's Boy whom I have as the main danger.

Chosen Eagle (2) from the Adam Trinder yard has been around the placegetters in recent times and I expect a similar situation today.  Will settle midfield and get every possible chance to make his presence felt.  Each way for mine.

I thought Belle Cadeau (9) was excellent last time she raced on this surface a month ago, then was poor at Launceston since.  The claim for Chelsea Baker will help and should settle midfield from the draw.  A repeat of her sole Hobart run puts her right in this.

Staking Strategy: Nev's Boy really caught my eye last week when he came from last when straightening at the home turn, coming down the outside to run second. Little doubt if it was 7 f that day he would have got the chocolates. Only has to reproduce that to win this. 1 unit to win on Nev's Boy (3)

R6 Kevin Sharkie Mdn/cl1, 1600m

It was a tough run for Smokin' Hard (9) last week and the six-year-old mare backs up again today.  Narrowly pipped on the line by her now stable mate, there wasn't much in it but I really liked the way she fought on.  Lesser grade today and David Pires gets the booking. In what looks a race in two, it's hard to split her and Doonican, but the barrier and weight favours her.

Doonican (1) was very well fancied at his first start in the state but only managed a third behind the fast-finishing Bell Ringer Boy.  Connections tried their luck in the steward's room lodging a protest but it wasn't too be and they try again here.  Gets barrier 1 today which could be a hindrance as the horse likes to settle back in the field but gets a senior hoop on board in Siggy Carr and drops in grade.  Providing he handles this surface he is a main fancy.

Tough Cookie (10) improved last time out and gets her chance to run a drum here.  A winner of one race, she has shown little else, however, a last-start fourth earns her a spot in my top 4 today.  Drawn well, weighted well, each way prospect at odds.

You would love to own her – Powerful Pebbles (8) never puts in a bad race and is honest as the day is long.  A win and seven placings from 18 starts, you just can't ever leave her out of the multiples.

Staking Strategy: Looks a race in two for mine – Smokin' Hard and Doonican.  Despite getting beat last week I loved how Smokin' Hard toughed it out and really fought to the line. 2 units to win on Smokin' Hard (9)

R7 It's Why We Race Bm68 Hcp, 1600m

Competitive race this one with a few chances.  I have Rising Light (4) on top having his first start for Tegan Keys.  He's an honest gelding that rarely runs a bad race and has competed in much tougher fields than this.  Comes off a last start fourth behind Ubriaco who, at the time of writing, was accepted for a race Friday at Ballarat.  I really like this horse and clearly have him the one they have to beat.

The old grey Ivoryman (3) what a character he is.  Boasting 25 places and six wins, he is definitely an each-way chance every time he steps out.  Was excellent last week behind his more fancied stablemate in Sir Simon, he seems to have a connection with Troy Baker who again gets the steer and the sting out of the track will certainly play in his favour.

She's not a horse I can catch but impossible to leave her out.  Sunset Gun (7) surprised me by winning a BM62 last start but she is very honest and is well performed at this track and distance.  Gets barrier 1 and zero weight on her back – she is a leading contender.

I'm not convinced Romary (1) has come back this preparation after a stellar first two seasons.  Drops significantly in grade today but has to carry the "good horses" weight and connections have opted for a senior rider so no claim.  Comes off a 6.25L win in a two-horse trial during the week but she would have to show what she did early days to be winning this.

Staking Strategy: Rising Light has faced much harder competition than what he faces today and that combined with his form on this circuit and this distance makes him mighty hard to beat. 4 units to win on Rising Light (4)

R8 Jockey Celebration Day Bm68 Hcp, 1200m

I tipped Brinktop Lad (1) on top here, he was ok first up from a long spell and will strip fitter.  Loves the sting out of the ground and this is the lowest grade he has faced for quite some time.

Was keen on Don'Tbuckme Off (3) last start but he fought the rider and didn't settle.  Was there for a long way before fading to be beaten a length.  Gets the services of a senior rider today which may help his manners.  Each-way chance again at hopefully each way odds.

Ginny Ann (7) was a certainty beat first up in the state and then could only manage a third as a short-priced favourite the next start.  Clearly has ability and may improve on the grass.  She has won two of her starts on the soft ground which might be a blessing come the eighth race.

Stelladoni (8) prefers it over further however stayers often sprint well fresh.  Has won first up in the past and with the claim gets in below the minimum.

Staking Strategy: Gone a little wide here in tipping Brinktop Lad.  He was only ok last start but he is a good horse with a stack of ability.  He will enjoy the track conditions and faces a weaker opposition to what he's used to.  Stelladoni is an each-way chance with no weight on her back and being a past first-up winner. 2 units to win on Brinktop Lad and 1 unit each way Stelladoni (8)

R9 Elwick Functions & Events Bm76 Hcp, 1100m

It has been well-documented that trainer Barry Campbell believes Julius (1) could be a Newmarket horse, and if that's the case he should be winning this.  One of the most exciting horses in the state and very hard to beat.

Lauryn Bingley has her first race ride aboard the Scott Brunton-trained Kuroset (3) and no doubt a big thrill to get the call up to ride such a promising mare.  Meets Julius 7kgs better, performs well at the track and trip and loves a wet track.  If there was an upset this could well be the one.

Bandinelli (4) is the likely leader here but despite winning first up in the past, comes into this without a trial so may be vulnerable late.  The gelding certainly has ability and whatever he does today is bound to improve on.

Barrier 1 and 52kgs on her back I wouldn't be surprised to see Thunberg (7) make it a catch me if you can affair.  Connections thought enough of her to put her into the Group 3 Bow Mistress last start despite her only having the three wins.  Loves a soft deck and will make her presence felt.

Staking Strategy: Julius is arguably one of the most exciting up-and-coming horses we have in Tasmania and likely has more wins in store.  As mentioned above, a potential Newmarket contender should be winning BM76 in the middle of winter.  My best of the day. 6 units to win on Julius (1)

R10 Tasmanian Bloodstock Class 1 Hcp, 1100m

I had Neutralize (5) in my numbers last week only for her to be a scratching come race morning.  Another horse who has form around the smart Donna's Day.  Lauryn Bingley takes 4kgs off her back giving her the postage stamp of only 53kg.  From barrier 2 should go forward and prove hard to beat.

Little Ella Exceeds (7) was competitive in her two-year-old season and hasn't been too far away this preparation.  Has won on this track and gets in well at the weights.  Couldn't have her a genuine winning chance and would favour more the place than the win.

Siggy Carr gets back in the saddle for Dawn Eagle (2) and the two of them have partnered up before for a couple of minor placings. There has been market support for this mare at her last two starts and wouldn't surprise me to see them come for her again.  From barrier 4 she maps to get a nice economical run midfield.

The form horse here is the topweight in Twee (1).  Hasn't started in a race or an official trial since January which is a concern for me.  Sarah Cotton is a very good trainer though and often gets horses to fire first up.  Will improve on whatever she does here today.

Staking Strategy: Hoping Neutralize can take us home a winner and also give Lauryn Bingley her first winner on her first day of riding.  With only 53kgs on her back and from an inside draw, likely to go forward and hopefully hard to run down. 1 unit to win on Neutralize (5)

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