SUGAR HIGH - Sugar High is somewhat of a speculator on debut in the Quain’s Bottleshop F&M Maiden Handicap (1100m) but at $6 in early betting is worth the punt. A three-year-old daughter of Excites, Sugar High is trained by Andrew Baddock with the filly running second in her only trial at Dubbo on November 7. The open trial was won by Legerity who ran solid time for the 1000m with the effort of Sugar High to finish just over a length form the winner having plenty of merit. Connections have found a weak maiden for Sugar High on Monday and the filly would only have to repeat her trial performance to be winning.
SPREZZATURA - The Clint Lundholm-trained Sprezzatura looks a standout bet in the Wellington Soldiers Memorial Club CG&E Maiden Handicap (1100m) after placings in four of his six starts to date. In fact, the only time Sprezzatura hasn’t been in the placings is when the four-year-old has contested provincial and city class races and didn’t get the best of luck in those. Sprezzatura was just a run short at Dubbo resuming on November 4, going down narrowly after looking the winner halfway up the straight and it is worth noting the third horse was five lengths away. Fitter second-up and a perfect barrier draw, Sprezzatura won’t get a better chance to win his maiden.
LEGERITY - We referred to Legerity’s trial win when discussing the chances of Sugar High in the earlier race and the merit of the trial will be put to the test again in the Barnson Surveyors Class 3 Handicap (1000m). Legerity will be having his first run for respected Dubbo trainer Peter Nestor after previously being a part of the Hawkes establishment. Legerity is a renowned trialler winning five of his six career trials but hasn’t quite lived up to the promise on race day with just one win from 10 career starts but, to be fair to the gelding, three of his four first-up runs following a trial win have been on soft and heavy tracks with the other fresh run coming in a stakes race at Randwick. $3.40 looks an attractive price for Legerity having his first run away from a metropolitan venue especially considering the upgrading of the track.
LARLABROOK - If punters are prepared to put a line through the Clint Lundholm-trained Larlabrook’s last start effort, and there is sufficient evidence to do so, the four-year-old should be a standout bet in the Newcastle Equine Centre Benchmark 71 Handicap (900m). Larlabrook finished last in a Highway Handicap at Randwick as a $5 chance on October 21 with the rider reporting his mount made an abnormal respiratory noise whilst under pressure and Stewards also reporting the gelding finished mildly lame in the off foreleg. In addition to the information in the Steward’s report, Larlabrook raced on a soft (7) track for the first time. There’s enough there to suggest Larlabrook should be given another chance. Larlabrook had won three of his previous four starts including a Randwick Class Three Highway Handicap when resuming on September 16. With regular rider Greg Ryan back in the saddle and barrier one on a good track, Larlabrook gets every chance to return to the winner’s list.
FANTASTIC MAN - The set-weight conditions of the Tyrell’s Wines Class 1 & Maiden Plate (1850m) favour the John Thompson-trained Fantastic Man who should be right at his peak fourth-up on Sunday. Fantastic Man carries the highest NSW benchmark handicap rating into the race which is always a head-start in the plate races run in NSW. There is a familiar ring to Fantastic Man’s current preparation finishing in the placings at each of his three runs this time in including a placing at Kembla last start. Fantastic Man’s last preparation started off in a similar vein with three placings including a Kembla placing third-up with the four-year-old hitting his peak fourth-up winning a Wyong maiden by a big space over 1600m. Reckon it’s a similar scenario on Sunday.