CHARLEE BEAR - The Greg Kilner-trained Charlee Bear will wear the blinkers for the first time when the daughter of Choisir lines up in the Paron & Philip Builders Benchmark 60 Handicap (1010m). A winner of five of her first six career starts, Charlee Bear has struggled in recent times. However, her recent form, including an Armidale second two runs back would suggest the daughter of Choisir and a fourth-place finish at Grafton last start would suggest the mare is close to returning to the winner’s stall. The last two runs have been over 1100m and although a winner at the trip, the journey is at the outer limit of her distance range and her overall statistics back up the assertion with five of her six career wins coming over 1000m. With the blinkers on, back to her preferred journey and well-weighted after the 3kg claim for apprentice Leah Kilner, Charlee Bear has to be given one more chance.
MR TINDALL - A runner-up finish at Hawkesbury resuming last start for the Kris Lees-trained Mr Tindall looks a solid form reference for the Rediguard.com.au. GJC Lightning Prelude Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m). After being held-up straightening, Mr Tindall finished his race off nicely to be less than a length from the winner Prime Candidate taking on benchmark 65 company and looks well treated with a half kilo more back to country grade. With the first-up run under his belt and the gun run in transit from barrier five settling behind the speed, Mr Tindall will be the horse hitting the line hardest.
REPRIMAND - The Cameron Crockett-trained Reprimand stands out as the day’s best bet chasing back to back wins in the Blue Elephant Class 2 Handicap (1000m). As a general rule I have no issues with a horse going to a class two after a maiden victory provided there was enough in the maiden win to suggest the horse in question is capable of winning in stronger grade and that is the case with Reprimand. A four-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible, Reprimand had plenty on a maiden field at Dubbo last start winning by 3-1/2 lengths and running quicker time than the class one winner on the day in the process. The jump in grade means that Reprimand gets in with 56kg on Sunday and is drawn to advantage in barrier three. Take advantage of products like Ladbrokes Odds Boost and Sportsbet Powerplays to make Reprimand a betting proposition.
CORTESTA - The Gary Portelli-trained Cortesta is a filly I have always had some time for, however she is yet to repay the loyalty but reckon that will change in the Gallagher Insurance Brokers Maiden Plate (1200m).A winner of her only trial leading into her debut run, Cortesta turned in one of the better runs in the Gimcrack Stakes settling back in the field after drawing a wide gate and working home nicely. Cortesta disappointed in her two remaining first preparation runs but made a promising start to her current preparation finishing successive thirds at Hawkesbury before failing to run out the 1400m at Kembla when a beaten odds-on favourite last start. Lucky I don’t bet in the run because I would have loaded up at the 250m mark last start but Cortesta simply didn’t run out distance. Back to 1200m and getting all the favours in running from the inside gate Cortesta gets one more chance.
SOKUDO - Based on their efforts in the Fernhill Handicap when there was less than a length between the two, bookmakers have posted Sokudo the early $3 favourite for the two-year-old maiden at Newcastle with Rheingau at $4.20, but I believe the market differential should be wider. Rheingau didn’t see out the mile of the Fernhill and coming back to 1400m would be the primary reason the Godolphin colt is so close to Sokudo in the market, but the Snowden colt’s effort was terrific. After jumping awkwardly Sokudo was last early before improving along the fence to settle seven-lengths from the leaders at the 800m and was still five lengths astern straightening at Randwick. After being held-up at the 250m Sokudo only saw clear running over the last stages and should have finished closer whilst Rheingau had the perfect run throughout settling two out two back and being in a position to win on straightening. Racing is all about opinions and I believe Sokudo should be shorter in the market which makes her the value in the race.