Canberra trainer Luke Pepper can land a lucrative prize if his mare Gold Touch delivers her best in the Rodney Parsons Handicap (1400m).
The Open Handicap is not your typical $25,000 country race. It’s a Gold BOBS event which will give eligible horses a bonus of up to $90,000 if they win.
Gold Touch has already won six races in 20 starts but can almost double her prizemoney if successful on Thursday.
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Maid Of Ore has won four of her past five starts and is great each-way odds at Wagga. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“It’s incredible that we’re running for that type of money, so I’m very much looking forward to it,” Pepper said.
“These BOBS horses, as they get older, can now come back and race for these BOBS Gold races. It’s very exciting and I’m happy to have my horse in the race.
“It will be a nice race to pull off.”
The five-year-old is coming off a sixth placing at Canterbury last month but was unsuited in the run. Pepper knew Gold Touch was no chance of winning halfway through the race but it hasn’t dented his confidence.
“I put a big line through it,” he said. “She’s a mare that likes a bit of sting out of the track, even though she’s won on good surfaces.
MATT JONES’S TOP PICKS
BEST BET: ROOM NUMBER (Race 5, No.9)
This Reliable Man filly has gone from strength to strength at her first preparation and she can go up in grade and win again. She’ll need to improve but she looks to have it in her.
NEXT BEST: PISA MY HEART (Race 6, No.5)
This horse was pretty good last start and should get even better now second-up for a leading stable in the region. Expect a near peak performance.
VALUE: MAID OF ORE (Race 7, No.2)
She’s got a big weight and will be better over further but her class should take her a long way here. She’s ran well first-up in the past and may be a tough over the odds.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
Race 5: 1, 5, 9, 10
Race 6: 2, 5, 9, 12
Race 7: 1, 2, 6, 10
Race 8: 2, 4, 6, 9
TRAINER TO WATCH
DANNY WILLIAMS is starting what looks to be a promising young horse, Hot ‘N’ Hazy. It was a very good trial and we can take him on trust. Pisa My Heart is also a big hope.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
JEAN VAN OVERMEIRE partners Gitan again along with Underground Music, who looks a good hope in the third race.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
Jean Van Overmeire has some good rides at Wagga. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“We were expecting a wet track but as the day went on it just kept drying up. It was on-pace dominated and we ended up right back in the field and just went around.”
Apprentice Ellen Hennessy has been given the job of guiding Gold Touch from barrier 12 and she will have a big weight advantage on Maid Of Ore and Animalia.
Gold Touch has also won twice and placed another three times at Wagga Wagga.
“We’re going back to a track that she absolutely loves and she gets in with no weight on her back with the claim of Ellen,” Pepper said.
“She’s sat three wide and won from there and she doesn’t like being cuddled up too much near the fence, so I’m not really worried about the gate.
“A lot of the chances have drawn awkwardly in the race as well, so there will be a lot of luck involved and some of the better chances will carry a lot of weight.”
Pepper said the horse who gets an uninterrupted passage will likely win in the capacity field.
“It’s an open race,’’ he said. “There are some good horses in it but they are carrying the weight of good horses and we’re right down on the limit.
“She’s in good order. I don’t really know why she’s always gone so well there.
“It’s a big, open track and she does take a bit of time to balance up.”
Pepper wasn’t sure if Tycoon Lily would run in race six because of a very wide gate.
“She has missed a few runs due to weather so we might need to run her,” he said.
“She’s quite quick and has led over 900m but with that draw she would have to be extra quick to cross them. But she’s been running well.”
Trainer Mick Miladinovic said Serb Alert will appreciate the step up in distance at Wagga. Picture: Simon BullardSource:News Corp Australia
Meantime, Serb Alert is a three-year-old filly who acts like a rising seven-year-old.
Bred and owned by Canberra trainer Mick Miladinovic, the Alert filly ran second on debut at Sapphire Coast over 900m when coming from the back of the field.
The step up to 1000m in a Maiden Plate at Wagga looks ideal, she will be ridden by Kayla Nisbet out of barrier four and she should get a perfect run in transit.
“She’s surprised me,” Miladinovic said. “I thought she might have done it a bit tough off that long trip but she hasn’t looked back from that run, so I’m very happy with her at the moment.
“My son is in it but my wife forgot to put his name down so he’s not very happy about that but we’ll get it fixed up soon. My young fella named him, too.”
Serb Alert shouldn’t have to make up too much ground this time and off her last run, she doesn’t deserve to drift in the betting as she tries to upset the Hayes/Dabernig favourite Dalaalaat.
“I think she will like getting out in trip,” Miladinovic said.
“Her mum (Princess Dani) was a 1600m specialist. Judging on her run last start, she was just warming up and wasn’t even stressed about it. Things don’t bother her and as long as she settles in the run she’ll get even further.”
Serb Alert first excited Miladinovic when he let her rip on the track at home with a horse he felt would have done better.
“I had a full-brother to her and he was a totally different horse, so she’s surprised me,” he said. “When I started putting her through her paces, there was one there that I thought could be my best horse and this one went ahead and the other one hasn’t made it to the races yet.
“This filly has just done everything right and she acts like she’s an old professional.”
Sky Racing news update 12.02.2020
Sky Racing news update 12.02.2020.
MATT JONES’S INSIDE MAIL
RACE 1 (1.15pm)
Big Day Out will be much better for the experience on debut when he came from well back to be edged out in a photo. He’s drawn the fence here and should be handy in the run and be in a better spot to strike. Previso will also be an improver at start two. Hot ‘n’ Hazy won a trial effortlessly and showed good gate speed, so expect a forward showing. Shahi ran in a Gimcrack and now she’s at Wagga at start three looking for a kill. The same can be said for Sundus from the Hayes/Dabernig stable.
BET: HOT ‘N’ HAZY to win.
RACE 2 (1.50pm)
Dalaalaat owes the punters one here and will be fitter but will need luck from a wide gate. Serb Alert was doing her best work late over 900m on debut and she should get the dream run from an inside barrier. The Lookdown went over the line quite comfortably in his trial and Emma and Lucy Longmire know how to get an each-way chance over the line. Merc ran third last time but it was against Valarian, who broke through at start 15. There’s improvement off it though.
BET: SERB ALERT to win.
RACE 3 (2.25pm)
Up Bombowlee has a slightly better gate here and it will help him race in the first three or four and that’s where his best results have come. Fitness isn’t an issue, either. Sassy Annie has a similar racing pattern but might be suspect over the last 50m. Underground Music should enjoy 1300m and she’s third-up with form behind Katalin, who looks like a potential Group filly for Godolphin. Revellers has had a little break since a third lacing in November but will carry a little residual fitness into this.
BET: UNDERGROUND MUSIC to win.
RACE 4 (3.05pm)
Sir Eagle drops a little in grade here after being luckless at Kembla Grange last time but still made up nice ground from the back over 1400m, so the mile looks good for him. Costa Chin Chin looks like a determined horse who will make them earn it here. He will keep coming at them. Opposite meets him at the same weights again and there doesn’t look to be much between them while Goodradigbee will enjoy getting out to a mile third-up.
BET: COSTA CHIN CHIN to win.
RACE 5 (3.40pm)
Room Number is drawn out wide again and gets an extra furlong to beat them this time after coming home hard at her past two starts at a mile. This is her chance to win again after she swamped them last time. Defy won’t have an issue being in the finish over this trip and every time he comes down to Wagga he runs in the top two. Auburn Boy will battle away to the line while Via Condotti comes into this off a second placing but will need to improve off that up in grade after running home in an average time. Resort is an each-way hope with the big weight.
BET: ROOM NUMBER to win.
RACE 6 (4.15pm)
We haven’t seen Silks ‘n’ Stars since her debut win more than a year ago but going off her trial, behind the handy Logan River, she looked quite good and gets the services of Mathew Cahill so she might be one to watch. Pisa My Heart will go better second-up after running third when trying to lead all the way first-up. Eltham Palace has come back better this time in as has Indicators On, who wasn’t disgraced in a Highway last start, and is a real 1000m specialist.
BET: PISA MY HEART to win.
RACE 7 (4.50pm)
Why is Maid Of Ore at about the $8 mark? She was favourite before running ninth in the Country Classic (2000m) in November and has first-up form. Esteem Spirit comes off a second in a city Saturday race at Randwick when hitting the line hard late but has mixed his form this time in. Gold Touch was no match for them in town last time but gets back to her favourite track and gets in light at the weights. Logan River trialled very well and Animalia will be coming at them late.
BET: MAID OF ORE each way.
RACE 8 (5.30pm)
Rosy Dawn’s been consistent to start her career and her lead-up trial showed that she hasn’t gone backwards in her break and a good draw is important in a capacity field. Mr Aloysius drops back in grade after racing pretty well in a Highway race and he likes to take bad luck out of the equation and race handy. Ilvermorny will probably sit just off them and despite wanting more ground, he could run a cheeky race fresh.
BET: Quinella 4, 9
Originally published asWagga tips: Mare ready-Maid for victory
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