ESCHARA - It’s hard to find a reason to suggest the Godolphin filly Eschara won’t continue on her winning way in the Hungerford Hill Wines F&M Class 2 Handicap (1200m). After being well beaten at Gosford resuming four runs back, Eschara was an unlucky second at Hawkesbury on January 24 after working in the run before winning successive races culminating in a benchmark 62 win over the Newcastle 1200m last start. A three-year-old daughter of Street Cry out of the Commands Mare Altar, Eschara lumped 59.5kg to defeat the older horses last time out and doesn’t look badly treated with the same weight taking on class two fillies and mares. Brenton Avdulla will give Eschara every chance from barrier three and the filly rates as the day’s best bet.
HEBRIDES MANEUVER - The step up in distance looks ideal for the Greg Drury-trained Hebrides Maneuver who lines up in the IGA Liquor Benchmark 70 Handicap (1400m). A winner of three country races from her 11 starts to date, Hebrides Maneuver showed she was up to provincial grade chasing home Tawfiq Boy and Sweet Deal in a benchmark 70 handicap over 1200m at Newcastle on March 9. Thursday’s assignment looks considerably easier on paper with two of Hebrides Maneuver’s nine rivals resuming over the 1400m including the likely favourite Penske from the Waterhouse and Bott stable with the remaining seven runners unbale to place at their last start and were beaten by a combined margin in excess of 33-lengths. With a fitness edge on the favourite, Hebrides Maneuver with Jeff Penza in the saddle looks exceptional value at $8 in early betting markets.
CAMILLO - A 10-length defeat last start would not normally be a strong form recommendation, however it would be wise for punters to ignore the run when assessing the chances of the David Kelly-trained Camillo who puts an unbeaten Grafton record on the line in the Fight Night At The Track April 14 Class 3 Handicap (1206m). Camillo showed plenty of promise in his last preparation winning successive races at Grafton by over three-lengths on each occasion and high hopes were held for his first-up run at Rosehill in a class two Highway Handicap on February 24. In the market at $6.50, Camillo dropped out of the race quickly after sharing the lead straightening, but Stewards reported the gelding was galloped on his off-hind leg and was slow to recover post-race. A trial at Grafton in the interim suggests Camillo has recovered from the first-up run finishing a close second in what was a fast-run 1000m trial. If Camillo can return to the form he displayed last preparation, the son of Shocking will be winning.
BONSLEY - Penza rides Bonsley in the Central West Electrical Country Class 2 Plate (1335m) with the Michael C Lynch-trained gelding ready to fire having his third run back from a break. A winner of two of his eight career starts recording wins at Warren and Canberra last campaign, Bonsley had a disappointing start to his current campaign finishing down the track in a Highway Handicap at Rosehill resuming but improved considerably when less than two lengths from the winner finishing fourth in a benchmark 65 handicap at Canberra last start. With still scope for improvement third-up Bonsley is ready to win with the advantage of an ideal barrier.
MISTER MARMALADE - The step up in distance should see the Danny Williams-trained Mister Marmalade winning the Town & Country Rural Supplies benchmark 60 Handicap (1806m). Whilst two of the three career wins for Mister Marmalade have come over 1400m, the wins were earlier in his career when trained by Greg Bennett with his only win in the last 12-months coming over 2100m at Goulburn last September lumping 61kg to victory. Mister Marmalade has been getting back in his races and working home strongly including his second in a Highway Handicap at Randwick last start over 1600m and has been crying out for a middle-distance journey.