ROYAL PHOENIX - The Hawkes Racing-trained Royal Phoenix is a three-year-old son of Animal Kingdom going to the provincials for the first time in the PF Formation Sand And Concrete Class 2 Handicap (1100m). Royal Phoenix finished third at Kensington resuming last start after over-racing in the early and middle stages with the blinkers on for the first time a welcome gear change. A Flemington winner as a two-year-old, Royal Phoenix looks well placed in a provincial class two and with the first-up run under his belt launching from an ideal gate gets his chance to return to the winner’s stall for the second time.
SWEET DEAL - Just one win from 13-starts wouldn’t generally be considered a strong form reference for a provincial class one however when punters consider that five of the last seven runs for the John Thompson-trained Sweet Deal have been in Stakes races, the low winning strike rate pales into insignificance. A three-year-old daughter of Casino Prince, Sweet Deal will be chasing her second career win when she lines in the Hawkesbury Equine Veterinary Centre Class 1 Handicap (1400m). A Beaumont Newcastle maiden winner on September 5, Sweet Deal has been competitive in races like the Tea Rose Stakes (sixth beaten three-lengths), a Reginald Allen Quality (eighth beaten three-lengths) and a P.J Bell Stakes (beaten just over three-lengths) in her seven subsequent runs. Indeed, the only time Sweet Deal wasn’t contesting Stakes races in the sequence, the filly finished runner-up in strong benchmark races at Newcastle and Warwick Farm. Sweet Deal simply looks too good for her rivals back to a provincial class one.
BEZZINA - The Chris Waller-trained Bezzina looked a run short for 1500m at Kembla when resuming last start but looks a genuine winning chance todaywith that run under his belt. Yet to place in five city runs, Bezzina looks a genuine provincial class horse and his two runs away from town back up the assertion. After three unplaced city runs, Bezzina went to Kembla to break his maiden status and was less than three-lengths from the winner Destiny’s Hero resuming at Kembla last start in what has the potential to develop into a strong form race. Wouldn’t want to be much shorter than the $5.50 available at the time of writing but is value at that quote.
SEABABE - Connections thought enough of Seababe to contest a couple of Stakes races in the spring over middle distance journeys and the filly gets to a suitable trip for the first time this preparation in the Vital Hospitality Group Benchmark 66 Handicap (1900m). Trained by Gary Portelli, Seababe has just the one win on her resume from 11 starts with the maiden win coming at Newcastle over 1850m on September 16. On the back of that maiden win, Seababe was less than four-lengths from the winner in the Dulcify Stakes at Randwick on September 30 before finishing down the track in the Group III Ethereal Stakes at Caulfield. Seababe has been close-up in her three runs this time in and is ready to win stepping up to 1900m fourth-up on Tuesday. The bet of the day in my opinion.
POETIC CHARMER - Similar to All Stand in an earlier race, the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Poetic Charmer only need to be close to his best to win. Returning to racing as a gelding, Poetic Charmer has shown he is a genuine city class horse in his seven starts, finishing in the placings on three occasions with his only foray to a provincial track resulting in an easy maiden win at Newcastle on November 4. Poetic Charmer looked ready to go first-up when runner-up in a recent trial at Randwick and with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle looks primed for a first-up win.