NIGHT racing returns to Canterbury Park on Friday night, and Nowra trainers Robert and Luke Price think Budderoo Knight can win the first edition of the Evening Star races (1250m) for 2018/19.
The seven-year-old Pendragon grey’s career has had its ups and downs in terms of form but he’s in a purple patch once again. After going a year without a win, he returned from a spell to score over 1210m at Moruya before running a credible fourth to Coruscate in town.
That’s when the Prices decided he was going good enough to set him for Friday night’s race, so they gave him a four-week freshen-up before running him at Kembla Grange, for a win, before he ran second to Ruthless Agent last start at Moruya over 1425m.
He’s peaking for his latest task.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
KOOL VINNIE (Race 7, No.3)
He has raced against much better opposition than he meets here and he’s won at the track and distance, will love the sting out of the ground and is placed to win first-up. Can get back and will need a touch of luck, but he’s got a great turn of foot.
MISS SHANTI (Race 6, No.2)
She’s been racing consistently against Saturday-grade opposition so this is her chance to record a win fourth-up.
BATTLE PLANE (Race 4, No.5)
He’s a determined horse, which is what’s required in these 1900m races, and he’ll make them earn it here.
Race 5: 1, 4, 7, 8
Race 6: 2, 4, 5, 7
Race 7: 3, 8, 10
Race 8: 1, 5, 8, 10
TRAINER TO WATCH
TEAM HAWKES can have a big first night of Canterbury Park racing with Tell Me, Arties Dreamwinner and Palladian all hopes.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
TYE ANGLAND has a host of good rides, including Intrepidacious, Costas, Budderoo Knight and Sebring Express.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“I picked this race out a long time ago because he’s well placed in it and he handles all conditions,” Robert Price said. “And if there are a few scratchings we could go around in a smaller field and be some sort of hope.
“The horse is going really well, so I’m trying not to rock the boat too much. He’s definitely back to his best form. I can’t really put my finger on it (lack of form) but he has been ultra-consistent this preparation.”
Budderoo Knight has drawn barrier one and gets one of Sydney’s best jockeys, Tye Angland, to guide him around Canterbury, where he has run second once in three attempts.
But the biggest thing in his favour is the 1250m. It’s his pet trip and he has won four times from 11 starts at the distance. The drop back from 1425m also suits and he’s rock-hard fit to run a big race.
It’s Angland’s first time on Budderoo Knight but Price is understandably confident the star jockey can give him every chance against the likes of Kool Vinnie, Arties Dreamwinner and Crafty Tycoon.
“We might have drawn too well but not too many trainers would complain about that,” Price said. “We’ve got to go forward and whether he leads or not is up to him. He’s a quirky horse and you can’t give him a dig out of the gates because he over-races, so it will be up to Tye to sort out. But he’s better somewhere out of trouble.
“He always starts well so I’d expect him to be up on the speed. I think it’s his best distance. He’s at that point where you’ve got to be careful with how you place him.”
Budderoo Knight was rated a $4.60 chance with TAB fixed odds, just behind Arties Dreamwinner ($4.40). Man Of Peace was a $5.50 hope on the third line of betting.
“I don’t think there’s a standout rival, you’ve just got to beat them all, especially around Canterbury,” Price said. “Let’s hope he can stick his head out and win.”
Kool Vinnie is a $6.50 chance with TAB fixed odds and that looks generous considering how luckless his career has been.
BATHURST & SCONE
HAWKESBURY trainer Bernie Kelly says Atum’s form is good enough to get the job done at Bathurst.
The Stratum five-year-old lines up in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1100m) and has been placed at his past four starts in the bush. His latest effort was a second placing to Gone Viral (1150m) in the same grade of race he contests on Friday.
Atum, named after an ancient Egyptian god, will be ridden from barrier eight with apprentice Brandon Griffiths, claiming 1.5kg, on board. Kelly has also made a gear change to try and lift him to another level so he snares a win.
“He’s been a bit frustrating which is why I put the ear muffs on him for this race for the pre-race,” he said. “He just overdoes it a bit so we’ll see if it makes a difference and gives us a change of luck.
“He’s drawn a bit awkward but we’ll go forward and if he has a bit of luck he should be hard to beat. He’ll try and make his own luck.”
Atum should have won last start. He was about to power past Gone Viral but the winning post came half a stride too early.
“He’s going well and hasn’t gone backwards,” Kelly said. “It was a two-horse race all the way up the straight and he had it won everywhere but at the winning post. He was in front just after it too. He just didn’t get the bob of the head.”
■ Some of the horses to watch on Friday when Scone hosts a TAB race meeting are: Attila (race 5), Serious Dancer (race 1) and Nick The Skip (race 7). The feature race on the card is the fifth event, a Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1100m, where Attila is set to start favourite.
Attila heads into his race off a classy win at Scone over the same distance when he came from seventh on the home turn to swoop past his rivals late with Greg Ryan on board.
If he reproduces that turn of foot, he’ll be tough to hold out. He loses nothing with Robert Thompson taking over from barrier two.
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (6.15pm)
3. Intrepidacious looked the part in her lead-up trial, defeating Friday night’s fellow first starter 4. Precisely by two lengths, but the pair look fairly even going into this race. If we have to go with one though we’ll pick Interpidacious. 5. Ready’s Girl is the only horse with race experience which will count for something and she’ll be an improver on a firmer track. It’s hard not to like 1. Chelsea Reign’s only trail effort which was pleasing for a team renowned for producing juvenile winners.
BET: INTERPIDACIOUS to win.
RACE 2 (6.45pm)
1. River Bird matched it with the elite as a two-year-old and providing she’s progressed from a spell, she should be very hard to beat even though she’ll improve off this run. 3. Terminology also has nice form around her behind the star juveniles and should give them something to chase. 5. Tell Me will be an improver after a slog on a heavy track first-up, while 4. Home Scene should be a bigger force this time in for a stable that improves them with each season.
BET: RIVER BIRD to win.
RACE 3 (7.15pm)
4. Stardome got shut out of a run last start at Warwick Farm and had he got it he would have been in the finish so he can do better than fourth here. 7. Heavenly Thunder is third-up and probably wanting this trip now and she should be fighting out the finish if she improves slightly. 2. Costas will love getting over this trip too and even though he was 6 ½ lengths third on debut he ran behind a very smart colt and he was looking strong to the line. He’s had a tune-up trial since which is a proven Chris Waller formula.
BET: Quinella 2, 4.
RACE 4 (7.45pm)
4. Destiny’s Own is ready to peak after a couple of good tough runs to kick-off his spring campaign and he’s going to be up on the speed and will appreciate a firmer track. 2. Arraignment was well supported last start but faded to run eighth. This is a much easier race and the trip is ideal. 5. Danzie didn’t handle a bog track last start but has great soft track form so he can bounce back. 1. Omineca ran a good race over this trip last time and should be coming home hard again.
BET: ARRAIGNMENT to win.
RACE 5 (8.15pm)
This is 4. Battle Plane’s first try at 1900m but it looks like he’ll handle it after a determined effort over a mile last start where he didn’t shirk his task and kept trying to the line. He could out-tough them. 7. Invictus Warrior was in the same race as Battle Plane last start and he was holding him over the final 100m and front the front he’s going to be tough to run down again. 1. Decapitor has nice country and provincial form and that is sometimes good enough to win over a trip at the midweeks so he might be one at odds.
BET: BATTLE PLANE to win.
RACE 6 (8.45pm)
7. Fast Train gets back onto firmer ground here after struggling to go with Heartlet at Wyong last time and he copped a bump on the home bend and probably prefers a bigger track that isn’t a tight-turning circuit so he can bounce back. 5. Semper Fidelis may have won two of her past four but it’s hard to be too confident in her after failing many times when heavily backed. 2. Miss Shanti has pretty good form around her so she should aim up and prove tough to beat at an ideal trip.
BET: MISS SHANTI to win.
RACE 7 (9.15pm)
10. Budderoo Knight will put himself into the race and he’s back in career-best form. As long he settles, he’s a big chance. As is 8. Arties Dreamwinner who didn’t run up to market expectations in a stronger race a Randwick last start but will be better for her first run at the Sydney way of going for Team Hawkes. 3. Kool Vinne has great fresh form but he’s also one of the most unlucky horses going around. He seems to run into trouble in his race. If he gets clear running, he’s got the ability to win, which he’s done at the track and distance before.
BET: KOOL VINNIE to win.
RACE 8 (9.45pm)
8. Pierina trialled very nicely like she’s going to be ready to explode first-up, which is what she did at Scone when fresh last preparation. 5. Palladian just faded a touch late first-up but his record suggests that’s not uncommon and he goes much better with a run under his belt. 1. Nictock just loves 1100m, it’s where he performs best and he’ll get a good run from the gate and is a nice each-way hope. 9. Sebring Express is flying and 10. Deft will challenge them.
BET: Quinella 5, 8.