HIROKIN - $13 looks exceptional value for the Jarrod Austin-trained Hirokin in the Robert Oatley Vineyards 2017 Mudgee Showcase Cup (1600m). Hirokin can be a hard horse to catch but the gelding fits the classic definition of a distance specialist, seven of his eight career wins have come over the mile journey including a win in the Gooree Cup at Mudgee on May 6. Hirokin should be right at his peak after three runs back from a break and is drawn to get all the favours in the run launching from barrier two. With Mitchell Bell in the saddle, Hirokin looks well over the odds
TUNCOONA - Tuncoona from the Clint Lundholm stable brings winning form to the Craigmoor Benchmark 55 Showcase Handicap (1100m). Tuncoona has won three of her four runs this preparation culminating in a benchmark 54 win over 1000m at Warren last start with the only loss in the sequence coming on a soft (7) track at Coonamble. Tuncoona gets the good track she needs and looks set for another win.
FACE LIKE THUNDER - Face Like Thunder starts the day for us in the Emirates Park Benchmark 65 – Heat Of The Rising Star Handicap (1600m) with the mare chasing her fifth win from 11 career starts. Trained by Kris Lees, Face Like Thunder will have Louise Day in the saddle in the apprentices only race with her 3kg claim a huge plus considering she has won three races on the mare. Face Like Thunder won at Tuncurry two runs back and wasn’t totally at home on a heavy (9) surface when third at Tuncurry last start and will be suited back on good ground. Coming back from 2100m to 1600m is a genuine query but that’s why we are getting $5.50 in early betting markets, but Kris Lees would have freshened-up the mare up on the back of a 32-day break between races and at the odds is worth the punt.
IMMUNE - Regular readers of this column know how much I love debunking the theory that it is hard to win a maiden and class one in succession. Commentators tell us that last start maiden victors only win about 14 percent of class ones, but the statistics are low for one reason only – there is often more than one last start maiden winners contesting class ones on country and provincial tracks and the Vinery F&M Class 1 Handicap is an excellent example with the top three horses in betting all coming of maiden wins. The Kris Lees-trained Tycoon Street is the early favourite ahead of The Kiss from the Paul Perry stable, but I thought the win of the Todd Rawiller-trained Immune at Goulburn on debut was good enough to upset the two favourites. Immune came from last early to record an impressive win over 1300m and looks suited stepping up to 1400m on the spacious Scone circuit. At each-way odds, Immune is worth the gamble.
WAR HERO - The 63kg looked a decent test for War Hero when acceptances were declared for the Ellerston & Horsepower Class 2 Handicap (1100m) but the decision to take advantage of the 1.5kg claim for apprentice Clayton Gallagher is a decisive move. War Hero finished a close second at Muswellbrook resuming over 1000m last start in class three grade shouldering 62kg and looks well placed with a half kilo less after the claim back to a class two on Thursday. I am happy to back the apprentice at the $5.50 available in early markets.