DAVID Payne thinks Commentator is the next bright prospect among his group of staying horses and he’s looking forward to seeing him over 2000m at Hawkesbury on Wednesday.
The Poet’s Voice three-year-old will compete in the opening race on the card and Payne has a good reputation with stayers, particularly in recent times with the likes of Ace High and Tarka being regular Group 1 performers.
“I like to buy stayers. I prefer them,” Payne said. “I’ve trained a lot of sprinters over the years but I like a classic horse. Commentator is a nice horse and the further he goes the better he’ll go as was seen at Canterbury last start over 1900m. He’s bred to stay all day.”
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
CYCLONITE (Race 6, No.3)
He’s raced in much better company of late, although this isn’t going to be an easy race to win. If he repeats his current form this preparation he should be too strong.
ABOVE AND BEYOND (Race 3, No.3)
He returned for a dominant win last start and can go on with it here from up on the speed where he’ll be making his own luck.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
HAPPY PARTNER (Race 8, No.9)
He’s a veteran racing in good form and should be strong to the line in a field that’s pretty even so he should be sent out at an attractive enough price.
Race 5: 5, 8, 9
Race 6: 1, 2, 3
Race 7: 5, 6, 8
Race 8: 1, 5, 9, 10
TRAINER TO WATCH
CIARON MAHER and DAVID EUSTACE have only sent one runner to Hawkesbury but Quality Approach looks like a big chance in the first race.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
TYE ANGLAND always rides winners at Hawkesbury and he’s got a great book of rides with Commentator, Hemsted, Skyray and Via Veneto big hopes.
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The fact he’s only facing four rivals is the query, according to Payne, who knows Commentator will run even better in a high-pressure race.
“He’s fit but the only concern is that there might not be much speed in the race, being a small field,” he said. “He’s not a sit-and-sprint horse but I’m sure he’ll do well and I think he’s my best chance on the day.”
Dream Child would probably be Payne’s best hope if she ran up to her ability in her Maiden Handicap (1000m). She’s first-up after two poor runs in the winter which surprised the stable and punters after she ran less than two lengths behind star colt Graff in the autumn and wasn’t far off Gem Song and Madame Rouge in other runs.
“She’s been disappointing. She’s a bit of a cranky filly but I’ve given her a spell and brought her back and she trialled nicely,” Payne said.
“If she puts her best foot forward she’ll win that race. If you look at her form, she’s run against some decent horses so we’re hoping she can run up to her best.”
Heavenly Thunder is another that Payne wants to see improvement from in her Maiden Plate (1300m) after struggling at Canterbury last start over 1550m.
“She was a bit disappointing the other day but maybe she doesn’t stay so I’ve brought her back to the 1300m and she’s drawn nicely to get a good run so she’ll be competitive,” he said.
Rock Zone has been a work in progress but the All Too Hard three-year-old is improving all the time at home and he gets his chance to snare a first win in a Maiden Plate (1300m).
He’s been racing mainly at metropolitan level his whole career so this is an easier assignment.
“He’ll appreciate the 1300m and he’ll be finishing it off strongly,” Payne said.
“I think he’s a miler but he had bad racing manners where he’d try and bolt. We’ve had to teach him how to settle and he’ll go back from the wide gate.”
Momentum To Win can end the day on a winning note for Payne in a Class 2 Handicap (2000m). He has some nice formlines around him and Tye Angland takes the ride from a cushy gate.
“He’s been a bit unlucky,” Payne said. “He’s a horse you’ve got to try and get cover with straight way so he’s drawn ideally in barrier one. He’ll get a soft run, won’t have to use any petrol and things will suit him.”
Meantime, Scott Singleton has no concerns about Cyclonite backing up at Hawkesbury just eight days after a run at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
The three-year-old ran eighth behind Legend Of Condor that day but this is obviously a much easier race and Singleton hopes he can get back into the winners’ circle in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m).
“He didn’t like the wet down there but I still thought he ran an honest race,” he said.
“I didn’t expect to be running in this race but he’s pulled up that well and is eating up so he’s told me he’s running. I’ve been waiting for a sign not to run him but I can’t find one.”
Cyclonite has been racing very well this preparation, starting off with a dominant win at Hawkesbury over 1000m first-up followed by a 1 ½ length fourth behind Falerina at Newcastle a run prior to his Melbourne effort. Falerina then came out at won at Rosehill last Saturday which made Singleton even more confident about his runner’s chances.
“He’s only had the won start at home and he went terrific. He’s in good nick and if he runs like he did first-up he’ll go close,” he said. “He had 59kg on his back against Falerina and he’s only a three-year-old so this race looks good on paper.”
Lexi’s Choice is Singleton’s other runner on the day and she races in a Maiden Plate (1300m) after running second first-up when only getting caught very late in the race.
“She’s come on a bit from that run but probably goes into a stronger race this time. I’m sure she’s going terrific,” Singleton said.
“She’s drawn a good gate so I give her a bit of a chance. She led easy the other day when first-up without a trial so she was always going to improve off that run.
“I’ll leave things up to Christian (Reith). It wouldn’t worry me taking a sit but with the way she jumped last start I’m not sure if we’d be able to and I don’t want to drag her back either.”
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (1.25pm)
3. Commentator will relish every bit of the 2000m trip. The only issue for him will be the amount of speed in the race due to the small field. He needs it solidly run because he’ll struggle to win if it’s a sit-and-sprint affair. 2. Quality Approach has been working up to this trip and the blinkers go on now to help him concentrate. 1. Hostwin Epanoui should lead and is shooting for three-straight wins but he’s got the big weight and must be suspect at the trip.
BET: COMMENTATOR to win.
RACE 2 (2pm)
7. Dream Child ran less than two lengths off Graff two preparations ago but went off the boil last time in. If she recaptures her old form she wins this easy. 2. Hemsted returns after two seconds last preparation and the blinkers come off for the first time now but he’ll need a touch of luck from a wide gate. 5. Swelt also returns and ran well behind Lean Mean Machine on debut. They have taken their time with him and he’s had two lead-up trails so expect a bold run. 3. Amicus Agrippa trialled well enough to consider.
BET: HEMSTED to win.
RACE 3 (2.35pm)
Another competitive race and 3. Above And Beyond will look to continue his winning ways after an stylish win first-up over 1000m and the extra 100m suits from the inside draw. 2. Evict showed plenty of fight to win last time but probably needs to improve a length to keep winning. 1. Only Wanna Sing strips fitter second-up and will do better over a slightly shorter trip. 4. Kathaire stormed home last time to run just behind Sexy Eyes which should prove a great formline after it won its next two.
BET: Quinella 3, 4.
RACE 4 (3.10pm)
5. Galina owes the punters one here and she maps well to produce an overdue win and is rock-hard fit. As is 6. Heavenly Thunder who has been brought back in trip to run it out more strongly this time. 8. Lexi’s Choice ran well first-up without a trial so she’ll improve but this is a tougher race. 10. Sizzling Ace knuckled badly on jumping last start and was slow to recover so she can be forgiven and will likely be coming from off the speed from a wide gate.
BET: GALINA to win.
RACE 5 (3.45pm)
5. Wokurna ran into a more seasoned and in-from horse on debut and that horse came out and one it’s next start so he did well on debut when you consider that and he’ll take a lot of benefit out of that run. 8. Rock Zone is another that will improve off a first-up run in higher grade last start and he’ll love getting out to 1300m. 9. War Deck ran behind a city-class horse on debut and Joe Pride horses always go better second-up. 4. Triplicate is another who will be a good each-way hope.
BET: WOKURNA to win.
RACE 6 (4.20pm)
3. Cyclonite is racing very well this time in and comes off two strong form races and drops in grade at his home track where he bolted in three starts back. 1. Skyray has also raced in much stronger grade for a lot of his career and the penny may have dropped with him. 2. Shantou is a fresh horse and she comes into this off two trials and she’s ready to add to her impressive first-up stats from barrier one, while 5. Anna’s Joy lost momentum against Ribands last start at a vital stage and can turn the tables this time around.
BET: CYCLONITE to win.
RACE 7 (4.55pm)
6. Wolfe was a dominant winner on debut at Kembla Grange and even though this is harder he should push forward again from the gate. 5. Via Veneto has done well against some nice types so far and she stormed home first-up and was unlucky not to win so she looks a good hope now that she’s up to a mile. 8. Ivy’s Court was also in that race and if she got out earlier she may have beaten her stablemate so they will both be fighting it out again.
BET: Quinella 5, 8.
RACE 8 (5.30pm)
5. Momentum To Win ran fourth over 1800m last start after a five-week freshen up so that’s a great effort and he’s ready to win again now that he’s out to 2000m. 1. Devil’s Lair has the fitness on his side and he’ll run it out strongly after a good performance last start at the track and he carries weight well. Not all of these will run out the trip but you’d have to think 9. Happy Partner would after a strong performance over 1800m at Hawkesbury last start and with the light weight he comes into this.
BET: HAPPY PARTNER each way.