GOOD TIME CHARLIE - The Joe Pride-trained Good Time Charlie has contested metropolitan races at his last eight starts and gets his chance to return to the winners list back to provincial grade when the four-year-old contests the Bolle Safety Australian Benchmark 74 Handicap (1200m). Good Time Charlie was a Warwick Farm winner last campaign but has been unable to get back to the winner’s stall in his four runs this time although there has been noting wrong with his form including finishing a length from the winner Satirical Magic in a Canterbury benchmark 74 two runs back on November 1 before a close second at Canterbury last time out in the race won by Eccelere lumping 60.5kg in benchmark 70 company. Good Time Charlie doesn’t look badly treated with a kilo less on Saturday and rates as the day’s best bet with leading provincial jockey Jeff Penza in the saddle.
PUPPET MASTER - Puppet Master from the Gary Portelli stable at Warwick Farm is another coming off a last start metropolitan placing when the three-year-old son of Foxwedge lines up in the Prochoice Australia 3YO Maiden Plate (900m). Puppet Master showed promise in his first preparation with three solid runs placing at Gosford and Canterbury before finishing just over a length from the winner when fourth in a Warwick Farm maiden before spelling. After a solid trial win at Warwick Farm, Puppet Master returned to racing when third at Canterbury last start after leading over 1100m when a well backed-favourite. The Godolphin filly Unwise looks to be Puppet Master’s main rival but it is worth noting there was over the three-lengths between the two in Good Time Charlie’s trial win at Warwick Farm. With Puppet Master launching from the inside gate and Unwise from the outside gate over the 900m scamper it looks like the Portelli runner will have the edge on race day as well.
FUN FOR ME - The Matthew Dunn stable tends to dominate racing on their home ground at Murwillumbah with the stable providing three of the seven early favourites on Friday but one that isn’t on top of the betting charts looks the best value of the stable runners. Fun For Me is a $3.90 chance in the Murwillumbah Truck Centre Maiden Plate (1400m) with the wet track bringing the mare right into contention. Fun For Me has been placed five times in her 13-start career with four of the five placings coming on soft and heavy tracks including successive seconds at Grafton and Ballina on tracks designated heavy (9) and (10) before finishing out of the placings back on a good track at Murwillumbah last start. With conditions to suit on Friday, Fun For Me gets her chance to record a maiden win.
MY KIND - The Barry Baldwin-trained My Kind is chasing back to back wins in the Murwillumbah Volleys Class 3 Handicap (1800m) appreciating the step up in distance and a soft track to win over 1910m at Ballina last start after finishing the closest of seconds at the Gold Coast two runs back in similar ground. Punters shouldn’t be concerned about the 2:0-0-0 heavy track statistic as the two runs were in metropolitan races when trained by John Thompson including the Group II Tulloch Stakes in the Autumn. My Kind led all the way to win at Ballina with the ability to race on the speed always a plus on the tight Murwillumbah circuit and reckon the four-year-old will take plenty of running down again.
FANTASTIC MAN - The John Thompson-trained Fantastic Man is a $3.50 chance in the Breakers Class 1 Handicap (1600m) behind the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained four-year-old Emperor’s Way at $1.60 but must be a strong chance of upsetting the favourite. Fantastic Man struggled over 1850m at Newcastle last start on the back of a 31-day break between races but placings at his three previous runs in the preparation including a length third over the mile at Kembla two runs back rate well for Thursday’s assignment. Josh Parr has been the regular rider for Fantastic Man and will be back in the saddle on Thursday after Adam Hyeronimus had the ride at Newcastle. Emperor’s Way will be the testing material but does go to 1600m second-up after placing at Hawkesbury resuming and the race fitness advantage Fantastic Man has over Emperor’s Way may well be the decisive factor in the closing stages. $3.50 Fantastic Man looks a better option than $1.60 Emperor’s Way.