BEDTIME STORIES - It’s always a risk declaring one in a race where half the field are first starters, but I reckon the Greg Ryan ride Bedtime Stories can remain unbeaten in the Kings Hall Jewellers Silver Goblet Showcase - 2YO Handicap (1110m). After a solid performance at Mudgee when third to Nictock and Galaxy Warrior, who have both come out and produced big runs first-up, Bedtime Stories with Ryan in the saddle gave punters who backed the daughter of Dubleo into $1.45 no cause for concern racing away in the straight for a soft win at Coonamble on debut running quicker time than the benchmark 60 winner on the day over the same trip. Nuke from the Gerald Ryan yard resuming as a gelding on the back of a runner-up finish in a Rosehill trial is the early $1.90 favourite and the reason we are getting decent odds about Bedtime Stories, however I am happy to take the punt.
SKIN DEEP - Mudgee trainer Gayna Williams dominates the Dubbo Chamber Of Commerce Rhino Cup (1610m) with Foxdown the early $1.90 favourite ahead of the stablemate and Greg Ryan ride Skin Deep at $4 however there is enough evidence to suggest the bookies might have the market wrong. Skin Deep and Foxdown finished first and second at the track and distance on May 6 with the former prevailing by 1-3/4 lengths after covering ground in the run and there is only a half-kilo weight turnaround in favour of the early favourite. Foxdown went on to win at Mudgee at his next run before finishing just over five-lengths from the winner in a Highway Handicap at Rosehill last time whilst Skin Deep has been placed in both subsequent runs including a runner-up finish behind Husonique at Dubbo last start with the winner adding merit to the performance recording back to back wins at Armidale last start. The evidence suggests the price differential should not be as wide as it is which makes Skin Deep the value in the race.
THROUGH THE CRACKS - When deciding whether or not to invest on horses on wet tracks without any evidence they will handle I tend to rely on the trainer’s judgement. The trainer would have seen their horses work on wet ground and although race conditions are different, the fact connections have decided to race is a source of confidence. There is no trainer’s judgement I respect more than Angela Davies and if she is taking one to the races on wet ground I am happy to be on board. Davies will be represented by Through The Cracks in the Stacks Law Firm CG&E Maiden Handicap (1255m) with the three-year-old son of Wanted having little go his way on debut at Muswellbrook. Backed from $6.50 into $3.80, Through The Cracks was bumped heavily at the start and settled well back in the field before making up good ground in the straight to finish just over a length from the winner. With the benefit of race experience and suited stepping up in distance, Through The Cracks only needs even luck in running on Friday to be making amends.
CLEVANNIC - Whilst yet to race on a heavy surface, Clevannic has won three from four on soft ground so I reckon we can take the chance on the Kris Lees-trained gelding in the WIN Television Class 3 Handicap (1408m) being somewhat of a wet-tracker when you consider he is still a maiden from 11-starts on good ground. Placed two from four in his current preparation racing on good tracks on each occasion including a close second at Quirindi last start, Clevannic is twice a winner in the 1400m distance range and looks well placed to return to the winners list on Friday with conditions likely to suit.
UNDERGROUND - Connections seem to have found the key to the Brad Widdup-trained Underground who chases back to back wins in the Mercedes-Benz Canberra Benchmark 62 Handicap (1900m). A three-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro, Underground has won two of his eight career starts with both the victories coming when the gelding has been allowed to roll along out in front. Underground came under notice with a close to nine-length winner at Kembla fourth-up last preparation over 2400m and went straight to the front at Mudgee last start and was never in danger over the 2000m. 3kg apprentice Qin Yong handled Underground with aplomb at Mudgee last start and will be in the saddle again on Friday. There is little doubt Underground will take up the running again and if that’s the case he is the superior stayer in the race.