CARRY ON JAKE - Kilner rides track specialist Carry On Jake in the Guyra Cup Day Sunday 15th April 2018 Benchmark 70 Handicap (100m) with the Paddy Cunningham-trained gelding in with a winnable weight after the 3kg claim. Four of Carry On Jake’s five career wins have come at Armidale with the six-year-old suffering his first defeat over the Armidale 1900m last start when unplaced in the Armidale Cup but it is fair to say he should have been closer at the finish after being held-up approaching the home turn. Carry On Jake should be right on the speed in a race where they won’t be breaking any records and gets his chance to return to the winner’s list.
SECOND ISLAND - I know he is short in the market, but if you are looking for an anchor bet for multiples etc, the Gregory McFarlane-trained Second Island is the one in the De Bortoli Wines Class 1 Handicap (1100m) with Jenny Duggan in the saddle. Second Island’s form is superior to his rivals with a four-length maiden win at Wyong on his resume from six starts in addition to three placings. With an on-pace running style, Second Island looks suited on the tight Armidale track with an inside barrier at the 1100m a considerable advantage for a speed horse. Expecting Second Island to win easily.
THE LION/SPLINTER - Although he may well be the best horse in the race it’s hard to come into Beauty Best at $2.30 in the McDonalds Armidale Open Handicap (1100m) having his first start for 743 days. A winner of three of his four starts with the only defeat coming in the 2016 Canberra Guineas going down by the narrowest of margins, Beauty Best will be having his first start for Tamworth trainer Melanie O’Gorman on the back of two trials and he may come out and win the race easily but at the short quote I am happy to take him on. That leaves some value elsewhere and the Michelle Fleming-trained The Lion at $4.60 and Jenny Duggan’s ride Splinter looking substantial overs with $17 available in early betting. The Lion has been costly to followers of this column, but I am now convinced he is a short-course specialist after touting him as a Country Championships contender. With 54kg, The Lion will prove the testing material for Beauty Best. Splinter will be having his first start for Ballina trainer Stephen Lee and looked ready to go first-up after finishing a close second in a Grafton trial on February 8 run in solid time. Both the Lion and Splinter can be backed for a nice profit whichever wins and if we add Beauty Best to the multiples the race looks sewn up.
BRIDYN MAY - Back to a 900m scamper in country grade should see Bridyn May return to the winner’s list in the [email protected] Class 1 Showcase Handicap (900m). A Newcastle 900m maiden winner earlier in her preparation, Bridyn May has contested provincial races over longer journeys at her latest three outings finishing in the placings on two occasions including a close second at Gosford last time out when she led and was run down late. Formerly trained by Scott Aspery, Bridyn May will be having her first run for Newcastle trained Benjamin Smith and with Josh Adams in the saddle only needs to have settled in to her new surroundings to be winning.
MAKFI LASS - Although well beaten in her two runs this time in, it’s fair to say the Brett Cavanough-trained Makfi Lass hasn’t had things go her way and gets her chance to make amends in the Emirates Class 2 Showcase Plate-Country Only (1300m). Cavanough took on a Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm first-up this preparation with Makfi Lass finishing over four-lengths from the winner Star Boy but should have been closer at the finish after a chequered path in the straight before sitting wide in the without cover in a fillies and mares benchmark 73 at Rosehill last start. A winner over the mile at Scone, Makfi Lass gets to the trip for the first time this campaign and is ready to win.