BLACK CHILLI - Angland rides Black Chill for Markwell in the Duck Creek Dash Class 1 Handicap (1000m) with the shorter course and a set of blinkers for the first time giving the gelding the chance to record his second career win. The three-year-old was a maiden win over the track and distance on debut and whilst he hasn’t been able to place in three runs this time in there has been nothing wrong with each of his efforts. Black Chilli looked a big chance at the 200m last start and my reading of the run was he simply didn’t run out the trip when fourth behind Catmosphere beaten 1-1/4 lengths. Happy to have something back to 1000m with the blinkers on.
DEFT - A set of blinkers looks a positive for Deft which will chase her first win in the Tofs Metro & Provincial Maiden Plate (1400m). Deft made her debut on April 18 and was well in the market before finishing 2-1/4 lengths from the winner in a race that has produced two subsequent winners with the runner-up Toryjoy winning a Warwick Farm maiden with the seventh placegetter Better Than Elle going on to a Kembla victory whilst four of the remaining 10 runners have been placed in provincial maidens. Last start Deft finished third in a metropolitan maiden at Scone and although beaten over four lengths, the winner Metamorphic won by a space recording speed ratings comparable to Savatiano which was a class two winner on the day over the same journey before she won easily at Randwick last Saturday to add further merit to the form around Deft. Tye Angland should be able to give Deft the run of the race from barrier four and the daughter of Exceed And Excel is ready to win.
BARRICADE - Race fitness looks the decisive form factor in the Reeve Wheeler Memorial Open Handicap (1310m). Early betting has the Cameron Crockett-trained Artistic Beauty early favourite ahead of last-start Narromine winner Barricades from the Peter Bloomfield stable at Scone. Artistic Beauty is arguably the best horse in the race but will be first-up on Monday and although she does have a fresh win on her resume the mare has been beaten on six occasions including a close second at Mudgee resuming last time in when she carried 54 kg. In my opinion, the $3.20 best price available at the time of writing looks unders, considering Artistic Beauty will have to lump 59kg on Monday. Conversely, Barricades is race fit after winning the Narromine Diggers Cup last start. Greg Ryan sticks and four of Barricades five career wins have been at 1300m. It’s a simple equation, I would prefer to be taking $3.60 about Barricades than $3.20 Artistic Beauty.
UNBIASED - The former Godolphin gelding Unbiased is a better horse than his two wins from 19 starts would suggest and although still eligible for a class two race is the horse to beat taking on open company in the Hope Fuel Gunnedah Showcase Cup (1600m). Now with Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan, Unbiased hasn’t been able to win in six starts for the new stable however the son of Medaglia d’Oro latest two outings would suggest the five-year-old will be in the thick of things on Sunday. After finishing a 1-1/4 length third in the H&NWRA Association Country Championships qualifier at Scone on March 8 hitting the line strongly over the 1400m before returning to racing on the back of a 54-day break, Unbiased again worked home solidly finishing second to After All That in the Country Cup at Scone on May 11. Earlier in his career when racing in the Godolphin blue, Unbiased finished less than a length from the winner in a 1900m race at Canterbury and his last couple of runs indicate connections have been preparing the horse for longer races. The step up to the mile on Sunday looks perfect for Unbiased and I reckon he will be winning.
ALL STAND - The Todd Howlett-trained All Stand has a couple of things against him in the MPC Earthmoving – GJC Lightning Showcase Handicap (1000m) but with any sort of luck will be sending punters home on a winning note. Similar to Unbiased, All Stand is still eligible for class races winning four of his 11 starts and goes to open company for the first time, albeit with a wide gate to overcome. A Highway Handicap winner at Randwick last preparation, All Stand was a beaten odds-on favourite at Newcastle resuming however will be a fitter horse on Sunday. As a noted speedster, barrier nine in a field of 11 with the likely early speed drawn inside him doesn’t look advantageous for All Stand and although the four-year-old has led in eight of his races to date he doesn’t necessarily have to take up the running. Arguably All Stand’s best two runs were at Randwick when he took a sit chasing the leader before winning and a photo finish second when he was nailed on the line by the Country Championship winner Victorem after sitting outside the leader. If the likes of I’m Imogen and Azzie’s Ready drawn inside All Stand go quickly, there is a scenario that could see the Aaron Bullock ride settle third two wide with the drop on the leaders.