SUBTLE GREY - Early betting for the Maiden Plate (1600m) sees the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Battle Fury a $2.25 favourite with Subtle Grey from the Wayne Wilkes stable at Taree looking huge overs at $14 when you consider there was only .12 of a length between them last start at Newcastle. Battle Fury led and was no match for the winner Delfuego over the latter stages and held on for second with Subtle Grey taking late ground off the Waterhouse and Bott four-year-old. Granted, Battle Fury is having his third run back from a 581-day break and on face value would have improvement left in him, but the question is how much after having three trials adding up to close to 3000m in distance leading into the first-up run. Subtle Grey has been placed in three of his five starts and meets Battle Fury well at the weights after the 3kg claim for Chloe Baker. Whichever way punters look at the race there is no way to justify such a substantial price difference which makes Subtle Grey the value in the race.
TINKER DAN - There is no shortage of early speed in the Bill Rutledge Stakes (1600m) which plays into the hands of the John Steinmetz-trained Tinker Dan. A four-year-old son of Dylan Thomas, Tinker Dan has hit his straps in recent times winning three of his last six starts including a class two win at Kembla defeating a subsequent metropolitan winner in Tamarack before a close third in a benchmark 70 handicap at Canterbury last start lumping 59kg. Whilst Tinker Dan is no slouch when it comes to early speed he is a horse that can take a sit as well and from barrier 3 on Saturday with Jean Van Overmeire in the saddle should find himself with the run of the race right behind the leaders. Tinker Dan looks well weighted carrying 56kg after Overmeire’s 1.5kg allowance and stands out as the bet of the day.
POMELO - The two Provincial Championships Qualifiers to date at Wyong and Hawkesbury have seen the top benchmark rated horse win on each occasion and $7.50 looks attractive odds for the highest rated horse on Saturday – the Gwenda Markwell-trained Pomelo who has a 5-point rating advantage over the field or 2.5kg in weight terms. Pomelo won a Qualifier in 2017 before finishing fourth in the final at Randwick and goes into Saturday’s race first-up from a break but did looked primed for a big run fresh when runner-up in a recent Warwick Farm trial. It will be no easy task with Pomelo taking on the likes of Bon Amis and Newsfan, but the mare does look the value in the race with $7.50 available on race morning.
PRAHAAR - “Tragedy beaten” is a phrase often used when describing a horse that was desperately unlucky in a race and the debut run of Prahaar which lines up in the South Coast Floor Coverings Metro & Provincial Maiden Plate (1300m) was a case in point. Unlucky may not be the best description because Prahaar was the cause of his own demise having his first career start at Randwick on February 2. There is little doubt Prahaar was going to charge away for an impressive win until the filly shifted out abruptly at the 50m and dislodged rider Jason Collett. Subsequently Prahaar missed the kick by two-lengths before a closing third at Canterbury last start after she raced wide without cover from the 600m. Trained by David Pfieffer and a Corey Brown ride, Prahaar is going to be a handy filly when she puts it all together – I am happy to take the punt that it could come as early as Friday.
O’SO TEMPTING - On face value coming back in distance doesn’t look ideal for the Burleigh-trained O’So Tempting who will be striving to record his third win from three starts in the Hibernian Class 2 Handicap (1050m) but that’s the reason the Corporate Bookmakers are letting us on. A four-year-old son of O’lonhro, O’So Tempting has exhibited a touch of class in his two wins to date giving the leaders six-lengths start at the 200m before overwhelming his rivals late in a 1010m maiden at Moruya on debut before once again asserting his superiority over the latter stages winning a class one at Goulburn over 1200m on February 12. Back to 1050m could work in O’So Tempting’s favour as he did over-race stepping up to 1200m and whilst it is too early in his career to be definitive about his future he is starting to look a horse that will perform best charging home late over the short courses. A quick look at the stats tells me horses that win their maiden and class one in succession have a 33 percent winning strike rate when they step up to a class two at Goulburn which makes the $4.60 available in early betting look terrific value for O’So Tempting.