Raceday focus: Best bets at Kempsey, Orange
FRESH from his hat-trick of wins at Grafton on Wednesday, trainer Kris Lees is aiming to deliver his fans another zip-a-dee-doo-dah day at Kempsey on Friday with an oddly named stable newcomer.
Known to Singapore fans as Civilian, the New Zealand-bred galloper has been renamed Zip A Dee Doo Dah to race in Australia. His name change seems to have coincided with a new lease on life, given the sharp form reversal from his last outing in Singapore.
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The son of Ceccini was beaten 15 lengths on June 4 last year when clocking in 14th of 15 runners in the Listed QE II Cup (1800m) at Kranji racecourse.
The seven-year-old’s first outing under Lees’ management was an outstanding fourth in the unsuitably short Krambach Cup (1250m) on a Heavy 8 surface at Taree in October 19.
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ZIP A DEE DOO DAH (Race 7, No.1)
Former Singapore-trained gelding who ran out of his skin when flashing home for fourth in the Krambach Cup at his first run for new trainer Kris Lees. Has won up to 2000m, so 1450m suits.
MINA HARKER (Race 1, No.1)
Marc Quinn-trained galloper who won a TAB Highway at her most recent outing, so is going to take beating stepping so far down in company. Has 1.5kg off, so not badly treated for a Randwick winner.
PINNACLE POWER (Race 4, No.1)
Ridden by Matthew McGuren, should get every chance from barrier two in this suitable maiden. Now or never, though.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
BEN LOOKER, who recently passed 700 winners, can keep the tally ticking over with a strong book of rides at Kempsey.
Race 5: 1, 2, 3, 4; Race 6: 1, 6, 9; Race 7: 1, 4; Race 8: 1, 9, 11.
PARIS IN MAY (Race 1, No.3)
Scratched from not one but two races at Hawkesbury on Thursday, which is a big hint for her prospects here.
PERPETUAL MOTION (Race 5, No.1)
This huge horse, measuring 18 hands, was runner-up at his past two outings, which were preceded by a win.
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Ridden by Darryl McLellan, “Zippy” flashed home from the back to finish a diminishing 2.6 lengths behind the winner, Kopite, suggesting that the step up to 1450m today will be in his favour.
“It was a good run,” Lees said. “He might have been a touch flattered but he got home quite well. He probably exceeded expectations.”
“He is an older horse that came to us with a few issues, so I think he appreciated the giving track. A bit of a gap between runs suits him. He is a big horse — I think he will carry the weight (61kg), but that’s probably the only thing that is against him.’’
Lees’ galloper turns seven on Armistice Day, November 11, but he has had just 18 starts.
“He is lightly raced and I’d like to get him to a mid-weeker,’’ Lees said.
“He’d be up to city grade off the back of this race. His profile suggests he will get up to 1900m and that would be a little concern as to whether or not he’s looking for a bit further than the race around Kempsey.’’
Interestingly, the horse has been ridden in Singapore by two of our own Melbourne Cup-winning jockeys, Glen Boss and Michael Rodd.
BATHURST trainer Dean Mirfin could clean up at Orange thanks to some precise placement backed up by favourable barriers for his four confirmed runners.
Mirfin, who won the Country Championship Qualifier at Mudgee with Cosmologist in February, saddles up Skipper Joe, Worldly Pleasure and Kind Reward — who will all jump from barrier three in their respective races — while Winterconi was given gate four in her Class 1 mission.
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Since relocating to Joe Pride’s stables at the start of the 2017-18 season, Cosmologist has won three of his six starts — including a 2400m event at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.
Skipper Joe, a son of In Her Time’s sire, Time Thief, was backed from $13 in to $6.50 on debut at home at Bathurst on October 26 off a good trial but finished last, beaten 15 lengths.
“He drew barrier one that day and was in the gates for a long time because another horse got scratched at the barriers,’’ Mirfin said.
“He was having his first start and is not a real smart horse so he lost concentration and blew the start. Then apparently he had a couple of clods kicked up and hit him in the head. The race just didn’t work out for him at all, he is actually better than that.’’
The next of the Mirfin string to go round is Commands mare Worldly Pleasure, who has placed at two of her three runs and was fourth at her most recent outing back in July behind the aforementioned stablemate Winterconi also at home.
“She was a small, immature type of filly when she was in work last time in so we tipped her out for a spell and hope that she would grow and furnish out a bit more and she did exactly that,’’ he said. “She is going in without a barrier trial so she might need the run but her work has been good and I am anticipating a really good run from her.’’
Kind Reward, meanwhile, heads into the Spanline Handicap (1400m) having broken his maiden at Bathurst on October 26 at his seventh start and off a nine-week break. The son of Kaphero pulled off a major betting coup on that occasion being specked from $31 in to $18.
“We weren’t surprised that he ran well or even that he won but the fact that he won by 2½ lengths was a pleasant surprise,’’ Mirfin said.
As for Winterconi, she comes off a career high having finally shed her maiden status in no uncertain terms leading throughout to win by nearly three lengths at Bathurst.
“She has got a 50 per cent place record and she has run a lot of fourths, so she is very honest,’’ Mirfin said. “They ran a track record in her race the other day and she was leading by three, four and five lengths at one time. She looks as good now as I have seen her look all preparation so hopefully she will run well.’’
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RACE 5 (3.30pm)
2. Stoddart is a Wauchope gelding who has been to Kemspey six times for a win and a third. The Colt Prosser-trained galloper is quite versatile — he can race handy or can get back and finish off, depending on the speed of the race. Looks well placed here. 3. Golden Comet is a lightly raced gelding who led throughout to win at Port Macquarie but has to overcome a bad draw. 4. Typhoon Bonny has won or placed at 11 of her 15 starts.
BET: STODDART each way.
RACE 6 (4.10pm)
9. Syrah has only won two from 22 but he was fantastic at Taree when coming from 12th of 14 at the turn to finish fourth in the 1250m race. The step to 1450m should play to his favour even though he is unplaced in all eight runs at the trip. 1. Crystal Kingdom steps up sharply in distance from 1006m to 1450m but he came from off speed to win. 6. Anghiari was a distant 10-length second last start but is placed two from three at the track/distance.
BET: SYRAH each way.
RACE 7 (4.50pm)
1. Zip A Dee Doo Dah is a fascinating horse. He last raced (14th of 15) in a Listed race in Singapore in June last year. Had his first start for new trainer Kris Lees and ran a huge race when flashing up late in between horses to finish a diminishing 2.9-length fourth over 1250m. The 1450m should suit more. 4. Sniponet won the Bowraville Cup before placing second in the Jungle Juice Cup. Good run in the Krambach Cup last time when fourth. 2. Salerno is better than his Wyong performance.
BET: ZIP A DOO DAH win, quinella 1, 4.
RACE 8 (5.30pm)
9. Toast has been a long time out of the winners’ stall and has only won three from 47 starts, but that is mostly a circumstance of his racing pattern — he gives away big starts in his races. Can finish off when in the right mood, but does need everything to go his way. 1. Stop The Fight is a Gerry Harvey-bred mare who has the compelling record of two wins from three starts at the Kempsey 1250m. 11. Lawnmeet is a lightly raced winner at Coffs Harbour of his second start.
BET: TOAST each way.
RACE 5 (3.50pm)
1. Perpetual Motion could be the biggest thoroughbred horse in the country, having been measured to stand 18 hands high. The Kody Nestor-trained galloper has been in great form, being runner-up at his past couple, with a win before that. 2. Go One More, trained by Lauri Wray, was within three lengths of Godunov at Hawkesbury at his last outing. 4. Douro is capable of surprising.
BET: PERPETUAL MOTION win.
RACE 6 (4.30pm)
3. Charlie Chap is a talented horse who has figured in far better company than what he meets here — he ran an unlucky third in the Clarendon Stakes at Hawkesbury as a two-year-old. Now four, he has run well in his two starts this new campaign and could peak here. 4. Blazing Beau has done little wrong with two wins and a second from his half-dozen outings. Should go well again. 5. Azcannyaz has 15 seconds on the CV.
BET: CHARLIE CHAP win.
RACE 7 (5.10pm)
Greg Ryan is a key booking for 5. Posh Arli. The daughter of Arlington has been getting back and hitting the line hard at pretty much all of her four runs this time in, including when fourth at Canberra in a Bm55 over 1300m. 9. Fairy Fragments and 8. Winterconi are both in form. Winterconi ran a record to break her maiden at Bathurst at her most recent appearance.
BET: POSH ARLI each-way; box trifecta 1, 5, 8, 9.
RACE 8 (5.50pm)
Given the likely absence of 4. Jetgirl, this race looks to have lost its good thing. That may pave the way for 6. Operose to bounce back to form after a poor first-up showing at the Harden picnics, when tailed off last of the six runners. Needless to say, she is better than that. 2. Showgals is trained by former Orange boy Gary Portelli, who has ensured his charge gets every chance by securing Greg Ryan. 9. Juju Man is among the hopefuls.
BET: OPEROSE each way, boxed quinella 2, 6, 9.