ZA ZI BA comes off a Saturday win to race at the midweeks at Canterbury Park but trainer Brad Widdup knows she will have to be at her best to go back-to-back.
The All Too Hard four-year-old beat home She Knows at Rosehill on August 25 and lines up in a Benchmark 76 Handicap (1100m) on Wednesday. Sam Weatherley stays on board from barrier three.
She’s third-up now and peaking fitness-wise, which is important, because she’s got to face the likes of Warranty, Coruscate and Piracy.
“She’s been very honest the whole way through and even her first-up run wasn’t as bad as it looked,” Widdup said. “Christian (Reith) didn’t want to have her overracing but was more than happy with the run.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: WAGNER (Race 8, No.12)
He looks to be untapped and should start going through his grades now that he’s got a win on the board.
NEXT BEST: GENTLE PERSUASION (Race 3, No.5)
She should have won last start and it’s easy to be confident with horses on a quick back-up.
VALUE BET: SOCIAL (Race 6, No.9)
This horse comes off a bush win but it was very impressive and there’s no doubt Rodney Northam is trying to get her in the Kosciusko.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
Race 5: 3, 5, 6, 8
Race 6: 4, 5, 9
Race 7: 2, 4, 5, 7
Race 8: 8, 9, 12, 15
TRAINER TO WATCH
TEAM HAWKES only have two starters who are nice horses, God Of Thunder and Gretzky, but emergency Desert Lord looks to have ability too.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
JAMES MCDONALD could ride four or more winners today starting off with England in the first and Wagner in the last.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“She lost it at the start first-up then came out and won her next start.
“You look at her form last preparation and it’s no surprise she’s running well this time in. She ran into I Am Excited in Listed races last preparation and it was flying and she never disgraced herself.”
Za Zi Ba has already registered a win at Canterbury and runs well on all surfaces.
Widdup was even thinking about taking her to a Group race last Saturday at Rosehill but decided this race would help her later in her campaign.
“She’s finally strengthened up now and I’ve been more than happy with the way she’s going this time in,” he said.
“I looked at the Sheraco Stakes last Saturday and a Benchmark 88 race but she drew 17 and I didn’t want to give her a gut-buster this early in the spring. She’s ticking over at the moment and is in great form. Sam’s claim is a big bonus and he’s ridden her well in the past.”
Widdup is still wary of Wednesday’s race despite the drop back in class. Kurt Goldman scratched Equal Balance from the race to concentrate on a Highway race this Saturday, which helps Za Zi Ba.
“It’s always tricky this time of the year because there’s always a few up-and-comers in the races and it looks the same in this race and she’s in that mould too,” Widdup said.
“She’s down in grade but up in weight and I think she’s been placed well.
“She’s got a good gate and the rail is out, so she’ll get a few favours in the race.”
Widdup doesn’t expect emergency Invictum Domina to get a run in the last race.
“There’s a race for her next Wednesday. She ran fourth first-up in town last start and I can’t get a run here so it just shows you how strong the racing is,” he said.
Meanwhile, Widdup said Sandbar was on track for the Golden Rose on Saturday week after he ran fifth to Lean Mean Machine in the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) on Saturday.
“He had to work early, didn’t get much of a breather then had to work again on a track that was unforgiving,” he said. “The horses that beat him home, anyone in Australia would want them and the run would have tightened him up (for the Golden Rose).”
Tinkermosa ready to rip
CLASSIC horses can often sprint well fresh and that’s what John Sargent is hoping Tinkermosa can do when she resumes at Canterbury Park.
The Alamosa four-year-old mare, who won the Murrumbidgee Turf Club Guineas in the winter, ran 12th to star filly Youngstar in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks to end her last preparation. She has had two lead-up trials before Wednesday’s race, including a win over Whiteley at Randwick in a 1050m heat on August 28.
“She’s ready to go and I’m happy with the way she trialled,” Sargent said.
“I wanted to see where we were with her because her run in the Queensland Oaks wasn’t her best when ridden upside down on a heavy track. I told Michael Walker to ride her the way she jumped and he was very happy with her after what was a good hitout.”
The record of Oaks and Derby runners fresh has historically been good and Jason Collett will have the job of finding clear running room in the straight.
Tinkermosa has drawn barrier three and likes to sit off the speed so she’ll have some traffic in front of her at the home turn.
“Nice horses can sprint very well fresh and if she can get some breaks in the run she can run a good race. She should get an easy run,” Sargent said.
“She only got beaten a nose first-up at Gosford last time in but this is a bit stronger with Wagner and a few others in there. I think she’s a good each-way chance.”
Sargent said she will only get better as her preparation goes on.
“It’s a bit short of her best but she’ll get a nice run along the fence,” he said. “She’ll get up over ground after this and I’m trying to get her some black-type over a mile or 2000m.”
Meanwhile, John Bateman is hoping for one scratching to get Common Purpose into the race.
He wants to win the race so potential Kosciusko slot holders take notice.
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (12.50pm)
1. Orcein is still looking for his first win and races as a gelding for the first time. He’s raced in much stronger company than this in the past, running behind the likes of The Autumn Sun, Graff and Gongs. 4. England has had the tongue-tie applied for the first time and Chris Waller has a very good record of bringing horses back to the trials between races and winning. 6. God Of Thunder bolted in a trial and he looks to have plenty of natural talent, while 2. Nicco Lad only improves at this trip.
BET: GOD OF THUNDER to win.
RACE 2 (1.25pm)
1. Press Box was impressive late last start after striking a bit of trouble in the run before unleashing a powerful spring and she’ll be hard to hold out again. 5. Maggie Miss in on debut and she won her lead-up trial by 13 lengths and looks to be a typical Waterhouse runner. She will look to lead and get away with it, which can be done at Canterbury. 6. So Taken got caught a bit wide last start and wasn’t far behind Press Box on the line, so don’t be surprises to see her looking like a winning chance late.
BET: PRESS BOX to win.
RACE 3 (2pm)
5. Gentle Persuasion did all but win last stat and is on the quick back-up, which is a good sign, and she looks to have a bit of class. 4. Happy Bubbles was impressive winning on debut but this is a lot harder so he’ll have to improve a few lengths to keep winning. 1. Pembroke Castle resumes and he’s not running into The Autumn Sun for a change which he’ll relish, while 6. Patron Black has the fitness edge on most of these.
BET: GENTLE PERSUASION to win.
RACE 4 (2.35pm)
4. Cosmologist is a winner and he was good first-up in winning for his new stable at Hawkesbury, and Joe Pride-trained horses generally improve a lot at their second-up run. 2. Moondancer is another bringing winning form in lesser grade into this race but hasn’t been disgraced when racing in town in the past and is fit enough to carry the big weight well. 3. Scream Park is getting to the point where a win isn’t far off. 10. Plagiarist looks to have a bit of fight in him and the trial between this race and his last-start win is a good formula. 8. Darts Away is a hope if the track is wet.
BET: MOONDANCER to win.
RACE 5 (3.10pm)
8. Scratches is a consistent mare who will keep coming at them. The only query with her is wet track form but she’s only had two runs on soft tracks and they weren’t bad. 6. Valentino Rossa is super consistent and will be strong to the line. She just needs to find a length and she just about wins. 3. Fantastic Man was close behind White Boots last start which is good enough form to have confidence in him again here. 5. Imanui hasn’t been far off them in higher grade of late so he’s an each-way hope.
BET: Quinella 3, 6.
RACE 6 (3.45pm)
5. Excellent Design has a nose roll on for the first time and she’s had three trials since July 30 to get ready for this and gets Tye Angland on from a good gate (4). 4. Deity was well backed to do well first-up and she didn’t let the punters down and she’s one-for-one second-up so the positives keep coming. Social comes out of country grade but after her first-up run it’s easy to think she can make the jump in grade. 2. Ellie’s Encore ran in a Group 2 race last start and gets a good run from the gate.
BET: SOCIAL each way.
RACE 7 (4.20pm)
4. Coruscate has a wide gate but he proved last start he could overcome that and if he can find a bit of cover he’ll still be strong late, and James McDonald sticks. 2. Za Zi Ba won a Saturday-grade race last start but has to rise 3.5kg in weight, which she deserves considering how well she raced in Lised company last preparation. 7. Warranty must be respected on her previous Group form and her trials indicate she has come back well. 5. Pendeloque is going pretty well and peaks for this.
BET: CORUSCATE to win.
RACE 8 (4.55pm)
5. Metamorphic went so close to winning again last start and the fact he’s only two weeks between runs this time will help and the Waller/Bowman combination is a great one. 8. Tinkermosa will sprint well fresh and John Bateman thinks 13. Common Purpose will run a big race if he gets a run. 12. Wagner won well last start, which was always going to happen, and his new confidence will help him go on with it. He’s the one to beat. 9. Eawase is in an easier race this time and if 15. Desert Lord gets a run he’ll give it shake.
BET: WAGNER to win.