Brad Gray's expert Tips for Rosehill Gardens (Saturday)

Back to Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with one of the highlights on the 10-race card being the $150,000 TAB Country Classic (2000m) that has drawn a capacity field of 18 plus emergencies.

In a wide TAB market, topweight Dream Runner has been installed the $4.40 favourite ahead of Point Counterpoint ($6.50) and Knife's Edge ($7).

The rail is in the TRUE position with the track rated a Good 4.

LOVING CILLA (Race 2, No.7) - $10 on TAB
ZETHUS (Race 9, No.12) - $19


3. Diabelli ($5 favourite on TAB) had a lot against him at Flemington on debut in the Maribyrnong Plate where he jumped a $6.50 chance, so there was plenty of market confidence around his prospects. He got back in a slowly run race down the straight where the winner slipped home in some of the fastest closing splits of the meeting. The son of Fastnet Rock was disappointed for a run late in the piece too. He was never going to win given the shape of the race but he should have finished much closer. At start two he draws a soft gate to track the speed and James McDonald has been booked by James Cummings. The barrier is hugely important looking at the make up of this field. Run of the race is likely to decide the winner.

Dangers: We've only seen 11. KIMOCHI ($7.50) once at the trials but the Brave Smash filly made a good impression. After getting back in her hit out she savaged the line in what was the fastest heat of the morning over 4 f. If she gets the first half of her race right, she should be right there in the finish. Another Godolphin galloper in 6. Heuristic ($12) was beaten five lengths on debut but it was by the best two-year-old we've seen to date in King's Gambit. He has won a Pakenham jump out impressively since then. However, the barrier doesn't help. 7. Sense Of Humour ($9) looked a natural in his one trial win. Suspect he bounces out an puts himself right on top of the speed.

How To Play It: Diabelli WIN

Race 2 - 12:55PM MIDWAY HANDICAP (2000M)

Have been chasing 7. Loving Cilla ($10) all preparation and not ready to cut my losses just yet. There's been merit to each and every one of her five runs back. The six-year-old mare was set mission impossible in a leader dominated race at Randwick two starts ago before she gave away another huge head start at Kembla Grange two weeks ago, charging home into second. That was behind Shameonus who won again a week later which ties the form neatly into the popular elect 1. Colour Sergeant ($2.25 fav). Loving Cilla isn't blessed with gate speed, she doesn't have any in fact, but hopefully she can at least settle in front of a couple. If she can do that and still unleash her booming finish, this race is winnable for her.

Dangers: Colour Sergeant boxed on well at Kembla Grange last start. Has no excuses now fitness wise being fifth-up and he drops back slightly in grade, hence the extra 7lbs. The five-year-old finds James McDonald too. Wouldn't be surprised to see more aggressive tactics adopted. It's an easy case to make but he's short enough in the market, all the same. 8. Jack Duggan ($4.20) is chasing three straight wins, winning at Quirindi by more than eight lengths before justifying being sent around at an odds-on quote again, this time at Gosford. Tim Clark sticks and he looks set to assume a controlling position again from in front. 4. Whanga Wonder ($11) has 1.7 lens to turnaround on Jack Duggan from Gosford but he looks ready to peak now fourth-up.

How To Play It: Loving Cilla WIN

Race 3 - 1:30PM TAB HIGHWAY HANDICAP (1100M)

7. Miss Kirribilli ($4 fav) has the run under her belt this time back, having run second to Salire first-up. That's now two Highway Handicap placings so she's knocking on the door at this level. The Your Song mare has been ultra-consistent in all of her only five outings recording two wins and three third placings. She led throughout to win over 6 f at Wagga in May so the step-up to 5 1⁄2 f from her first-up 5 f assignment will pose few problems. Tyler Schiller's 3lbs claim is just another string to her bow.

Dangers: 8. Extra Flash ($14) put his rivals to the sword at Scone last start. The gelding has built an imposing record (8:2-3-1) and is still improving. The timing is spot on for a crack at this company. 20. Tai Lung ($19) has the Terry Robinson seal of approval in being here at just start five. He was trapped wide and over-raced at Kembla Grange last start. There was merit to be beaten just 1.3 lens, albeit in a blanket finish. 1. Zaru ($8.50) might find 5 1⁄2 f a touch sharp but the draw may negate that. 2. Reveal The Magic ($26) has knockout claims while 13. Sussu ($5) and 15. Sammiballerina ($19) also warrant respect in a typically open Highway.

How To Play It: Miss Kirribilli EACH-WAY


At the odds want to give 5. Mission Phoenix ($6.50) the chance to go back-to-back. The lightly-raced six-year-old was brilliant when winning at Canterbury Park last start, breaking the 7 3⁄4 f track record. Mindful that Canterbury form doesn't always transfer to Randwick and Rosehill, but there's enough in the early price to take that gamble. The son of Reset is a deadest dry tracker. Last start was the first good track he'd struck in a long time. It was no coincidence that it brought out the best of Mission Phoenix again. Another advantage is his racing style. He rolls forward, controls races from in front and gives a kick. Tyler Schiller rated him perfectly last start and the in-form apprentice sticks with him. There is no denying that Mission Phoenix is going to have some talented types breathing down his neck late but he'll give a huge sight.

Dangers: 4. Tony Be ($4) was well supported at Rosehill last start and he swept home out wide to score a dominant victory. That was despite being 7 f straight out to 1 1⁄8 m and four weeks between runs. You'd have to think that there is so much more to come from the five-year-old. Finds James McDonald third-up. The challenge for 10. Floating ($3.30 fav) is replicating what he did in Midway grade last start, into better company. He's sure to relish 1 1⁄8 m on the way he finished off last start and the mile time at Newcastle he ran stacked up well across the Hunter meeting. 1. Global Ausbred ($5.50) is very dour but the winkers going back on might be able to negate that. 9. Bacio Del Mist ($31) profiles as the best roughie given the King Frankel form line.

How To Play It: Mission Phoenix EACH-WAY


3. Monte Ditto ($11) has never raced better. He isn't getting any younger as a seven-year-old but he is lightly-raced with just 32 starts to his name. He was seven weeks between runs at Rosehill last start, making late headway behind Mars Mission in what looks a key form reference for this. He didn't get a lot of room to let down with his customary sprint either. His record at Rosehill reads 8:2-1-2. It's a little surprising given his racing style. Monte Ditto has trialled since and looked sharp in winning his heat. Two starts ago he took the scalp of short-priced favourite Fire while prior to that he ran on into second behind Shades of Rose. He always needs luck at the right time but there's a lot of speed on paper so he should get his chance.

Dangers: 8. Rupertaar ($6) is three from three first-up. She's a rocket fresh. The soft gate enhances her prospects of making if four from four and she trialled brilliantly ahead of her return. When Rupertaar won first-up last preparation, 14. Twice As Special ($34) savaged the line from last. She needs everything to fall into place given her get-back style, she possesses a finishing burst few can match at this level and has knockout claims. 9. Winning Verse ($4.80 fav)  hasn't been able to recapture the form that saw her blitz her rivals at Caulfield back in May. Was sent around favourite last start over this same track and trip and although she wasn't beaten far, there were no excuses. 10. Dehorned Unicorn ($6.50) and 2. Liberty Sun ($9) map to get lovely runs tucking in behind the speed.

How To Play it: Monte Ditto EACH-WAY

Race 6 - 3:30PM TAB COUNTRY CLASSIC (2000M)

7. Point Counterpoint ($6.50) has returned in career best form. The 38-week spell clearly did the five-year-old no harm. He won the Moree Cup over 7 f first-up before backing that up at Canterbury to win at the midweeks. He's discovered a turn of foot! He then tackled the Little Dance three weeks ago and was charging through the line to be beaten a length by 1. Dream Runner ($4.40 fav). That run over the mile should top him off perfectly for 1 1⁄4 m fourth-up, a distance he has been impressive over in the past. Then throw into the mix how well he maps. Reece Jones, who rode him last start, won't have to spend a penny early to lob into a prominent position. Imagine this has been a target race for trainer Stirling Osland and his lead-in couldn't have been any better. Perfectly set up.

Dangers: Proost ($11) has hit the ground running for trainer Paul Shailer. The mare has won three of her five starts since being transferred to Port Macquarie and she's looked brilliant in those three victories. She was deep ended in the Taree Cup last start and no match in the end for Military Mission but she started hard in the market there. It was a stepping stone to get her to this race at peak fitness. Forget 4. Tudor Prince ($34) ever ran last start. He was 1 1⁄8 m back to 7 1⁄2 f and six weeks between runs. Josh Parr jumps on and he'll give a sight from in front at huge odds. 1. Dream Runner started a similar price in this race 12 months ago but didn't fire. However, was a good winner of the Little Dance three weeks ago. 18. Stella Glow ($8), 2. From The Bush ($11) (will he get 2000m?) and 9. Knife's Edge ($7) have claims too.

How To Play It: Point Counterpoint WIN

Race 7 - 4:00PM ELITE SAND AND SOIL CUP (2000M)

15. Rondino ($13) has to make the transition from benchmark racing into Listed company but stayers tend to have no trouble doing that at this level. The five-year-old is flying at the moment. He was six weeks between runs tackling 1 1⁄8 m at Newcastle two weeks ago and showed a brilliant turn of foot to get home over the top of Global Ausbred. Prior to that he put a gap on his rivals out to 1 1⁄2 m at Rosehill on a good track. His run of recent good form also coincides with getting back on top of the ground. The son of Shamus Award can only improve on what he did a fortnight ago given the set up he faced there. Tyler Schiller sticks, despite not getting to claim, but he's been on board for his last two wins. There's enough in the price to gamble that Rondino can take the next step.

Dangers: 5. Longvillers ($4.20) produced an eye-catching sixth behind Ellsberg in his first Australian run, clocking the fastest closing splits in the race. Better suited out to 1 1⁄4 m now second-up and there are no Epsom winners in this field. James McDonald is the man tasked with overcoming the wide gate. 14. Steely ($3.90 fav) has won well out to 1 1⁄8 m in the past so doubt 1 1⁄4 m pulls him particularly from the soft draw. He bumped into a potential Group horse in Nugget last Saturday at Kembla Grange. 17. Pale King ($13) is chasing three straight wins himself, with the good track also key to his chances. He'll roll forward and give cheek again. 13. Rebel Rama ($26) is capable of better than what she produced last start.

How To Play It: Rondino WIN


7. Coal Crusher ($6.50) has to stretch his brilliance to 7 1⁄2 f for the first time but if he's ever going to get it'll be at Rosehill. Curiously, Coal Crusher has never raced at Rosehill. The extra kicker is the control he maps to get up front. 14. Dajraan ($17) may coast across to keep him company from the wide gate but he doesn't have the natural speed of Coal Crusher. The five-year-old bounced back to his best at Newcastle last start, blitzing his rivals from in front. That's the key to him - let him run. His high cruising speed is his best asset and know he is hard fit deep into a campaign, there's no need to hold him Glyn Schofield has a terrific affinity with the Joe Pride-trained gelding and knows exactly how to get the best out of him. The pair have combined eight times for six wins.

Dangers: 8. Charleise ($26) was never a hope in the Hot Danish last start. She sizzled home in some of the fastest closing splits of the meting despite running fifth. First-up was a complete forget on a bottomless track. She is going a lot better than the form guide suggests. 5. Mirra Vision ($5.50 fav) should be able to offset the wide draw with a positive ride. Only Icebath beat her home in the Gr 1 Empire Rose at Flemington four weeks ago. 1. SUNSHINE RISING ($6) is a fascinating runner. He was a genuine Group One horse in Hong Kong. Hence the 132lbs impost here. He's now nine-years-old and has had one run in three years. Has trialled brilliantly. 15. Loch Eagle ($15) hit the line in a deep Benchmark race on Hunter day at Newcastle and he maps beautifully. The same can't be said for 10. Kiss Sum ($6.50) which is the knock. 11. Cisco Bay ($11) must also rate a mention.

How To Play It: Coal Crusher WIN


12. Zethus ($19) beat Clemenceau fair and square at Moonee Valley first-up this preparation and the race that Clemenceau won thereafter at Randwick is a key form reference for this. Zethus has run twice since then, hence why we are getting a price. Second-up he travelled three-deep the trip at Caulfield and boxed on well when third to Gravina, who last start ran third in The Hunter. Then last start, Zethus never looked comfortable down the Flemington straight. Some horses simply aren't as dynamic. You've only got to look back to Athelric last Saturday to see the improvement from a horse back around a bend. Tim Clark rides and if 11. Mr Mosaic ($6.50) shows his customary speed to cross to the front, there looks to be a spot outside of the leader for Zethus.

Dangers: 8. Dragonstone ($4.60 fav) clocked sizzling closing splits in defeat in The Warra last Saturday. He has backed up once in the past and produced the best win of his career. No knock as the race favourite on the strength of that performance. 10. Fox Fighter ($6) gets conditions to suit on Saturday. He too possesses an electric turn of foot, particularly on top of the ground. Back to 5 1⁄2 f doesn't hurt his chances and he flies at Rosehill (6:2-1-2). 7. Sky Command ($13) kept chasing behind Clemenceau three weeks ago, backing up her Nivison win. Her stablemate Mr Mosaic is 5:4-1-0 first-up. He'll take catching from in front. 6. NAJAMTY ($5) was brilliant first-up herself last campaign. She too relishes dry ground. Look for 2. Through The Cracks ($19) late.

How To Play It: Zethus EACH-WAY


The market has been quick to forget about 8. Bend The Knee ($23). Probably too quick to be fair. The four-year-old resumed as a gelding at Rosehill three weeks ago and the run wasn't as bad as it reads on paper. He was forced back to last in a race that turned into a sprint home over 6 f. The first four runners home settled first, second, fourth and fifth in the run. So despite running ninth beaten seven lengths, sent around as single-figure odds, he still clocked 33.16 secs for his last 3 f. He was only beaten 1.6 lengths by Vilana in the South Pacific Classic last preparation as a three-year-old. He didn't go on with it from there in Queensland, hence the snip, but it serves to highlight the ability that he has.

Dangers: Banju ($13) gets a whopping 19lbs weight swing on 2. Cavalier Charles ($19) from last start. He'll need to turn around a 2.5 lens margin from three weeks ago but he was only first-up and maps a lot better here than Cavalier Charles. 10. Tonneofgrit ($10) gets a perfect set up third-up over 7 f from a soft draw. He worked home well behind 15. Short Shorts ($8.50) last start from the rear. The blinkers go on for the first time. 3. Democracy Manifest ($6 fav) gets another chance to tick the 7 f box here but the barrier Gods haven't done him any favours. He's going to need to earn Nobody missed his slashing second behind Coal Crusher last start. 7. Akasawa ($9) is now five from six while 9. Mensa Missile ($15) is typically a tough nut to crack.

How To Play It: Bend The Knee EACH-WAY

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