TRAINER Gabrielle Englebrecht says her two fillies racing at Gosford on Thursday will give a good account of themselves as they attempt to turn themselves into city-class runners.
Mileage is almost there while Iva Lilo is on debut in the opening event for three-year-olds.
She only has to beat home four rivals and the Tickets filly is coming off a 2½-length trial win over 802m on March 5, which has her tuned-up nicely for this first test.
ANALYSIS: TANCRED STAKES PREVIEW
MONEY TRAIN: WHO THE PUNTERS ARE BACKING
Englebrecht’s good friend Kathy O’Hara rode her in that trial win and partners her again today from gate three. Her trainer is excited to see what she produces in race conditions.
“She’s a really nice filly but is still quite green so if anything beats her it will be herself, but she is ready to race,” Englebrecht said. “Kathy thinks very highly of the filly, as I do, and we think she’s got a bright future. This is a nice starting point for her with just the five runners in the race and the majority of them being first starters.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: RESIN (Race 7, No. 3)
She’s got some weight to carry but she was sensational in town last start and this race isn’t harder so she’ll just need to carry the weight well to win.
NEXT BEST: BATTLE FURY (Race 6, No. 1)
He’s a tough horse who won’t shirk his task and he can be forgiven for his last start. With an easier run he can bounce back today.
VALUE BET: ONLY TIGER (Race 8, No. 2)
He’ll probably start second favourite but due to Petite likely being an odds-on chance his price is going to be good enough to bet on.
Race 5: 3, 5, 9, Race 6: 1, 4, 5, Race 7: 1, 3, 7, Race 8: 1, 2, 10
TRAINER TO WATCH
The team of GAI WATERHOUSE and ADRIAN BOTT are going to play a major hand in a number of races on Thursday.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
Fresh off winning a Golden Slipper, BRENTON AVDULLA is in fine form and the confidence levels are sky high and he can continue a winning run.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“It was a good trial and there’s so much improvement in her. When you take into account how raw she is then the trial was quite impressive.”
Expect Iva Lilo to race in a similar way to her last barrier trial when she used her gate speed to get to the lead and O’Hara knows her well enough now to get the best out of her according to Englebrecht.
“I think we’ll be fairly positive and she’ll enjoy racing up on the speed,” O’Hara said. “She lacks a bit of concentration sometimes so if Kathy is firm on her out of the barriers and switches her on she’ll run a good race.”
Her other filly on the day, Mileage, has returned in great order this campaign with a nice win at Newcastle before finishing a close second last start at Goulburn. Jockey Adam Hyeronimus sticks with the Hinchinbrook three-year-old in the Benchmark 60 Handicap (1200m).
“She’s a little weapon and I’m so happy with her,” Englebrecht said. “She’s come back a very nice horse and she tries her heart out. She’s got a really good turn of foot and Adam really likes her.
“She’s got a bit of weight but I just don’t think she’s ready to race in town just yet which is why I’m holding her back in provincial grade, but if she wins this race, she’ll be going to town next start.”
Mileage has had runs over 900m and 1050m this preparation and only raced over 1000m during her first short campaign. Englebrecht feels she will come into her own on Thursday.
“She’s really come since that win (two starts back) and she’s really looking for 1200m and it will really suit her,” she said.
Englebrecht said Mileage was her top pick today but only because she’s got the proven race experience on her side.
She told punters not to underestimate Iva Lilo, though. “Iva Lilo is a very nice horse and probably of equal ability to Mileage but it’s her first start so I want to sit back and see what happens on race day when the pressure is on,” she said.
INSIDE MAIL with MATT JONES
RACE 1 (1.20pm)
2. Sedition is the only horse in the event with race experience and he’s returned well this preparation with a pair of seconds and that could be what gets him over the line here. 4. Iva Lilo is coming off an impressive trial win and the only question mark is her race manners under pressure. 6. Taniko also won a lead-up barrier trial well and it will be interesting to see who leads. A good ride may be the difference in this race.
BETTING STRATEGY: TANIKO to win.
RACE 2 (1.55pm)
1. Sondelon is shooting for three-straight wins to start his career and he’ll be out in front trying to control the race. If he gets his own way out there, he’ll be hard to run down. 2. Delfuego was no match for Sondelon last start when two lengths behind him in third but the 3kg swing in the weight will help him get closer. It’s hard to see the other three getting close to this leading pair.
BETTING STRATEGY: SONDELON to win.
RACE 3 (2.35pm)
3. Mileage is the form horse of this field but she’s carrying 60.5kg, which is 2.5kg more than she carried last start, and 4kg more than what she lugged to win two starts back. 2. Dunatun hasn’t been close to a win but is dropping well in grade and the small field helps. 4. Tinkermosa is looking for further. If 5. Darbies Blugirl holds her form from her first-up run she can go close here.
BETTING STRATEGY: MILEAGE to win.
RACE 4 (3.10pm)
1. Northern Fire has had almost a year off but has trialled well enough to consider and the stable will have him ready to do well on return. 2. Phoenix Charm is coming off just one trial, and it was a win, so it will be interesting to see how he goes on debut considering the Zariz runners have a reputation for being slow to mature. He looks determined. 4. Little Steiny returned well from a let up but will need to improve off that second placing at Muswellbrook to win this but don’t rule it out.
BETTING STRATEGY: NORTHERN FIRE to win.
RACE 5 (3.45pm)
5. Stone hasn’t been seen since his fourth placing at Newcastle last start when he was well supported so he’s a really interesting runner. Watch the betting late. 1. Sugarland Express is knocking on the door but he’s hard to have faith in after being winless from 13 starts. 3. Royal Patriot should be an improver after a break and two lead-up trials. 9. Princess Mia is shaping up nicely for this and is set to fire first-up for a breakthrough win from a powerhouse stable.
BETTING STRATEGY: PRINCESS MIA to win.
RACE 6 (4.20pm)
1. Battle Fury is a typical Gai Waterhouse runner and will be out in front and giving them something to chase. He’s tough and will be hard to run down. The move up to NSW will help 2. Siskiyou and he’s ready to break through after some good runs in Victoria. 5. Missile Attack wants a good tempo up front and if he gets it, he’ll be running on hard. Watch for him late. 4. Beauty Kanas finished in front of subsequent winner Image Neat last start and the extra 100m should suit the So You Think filly.
BETTING STRATEGY: BATTLE FURY to win.
RACE 7 (4.55pm)
1. Safado was ultra-impressive on debut when winning at Hawkesbury by more than three lengths and he can go on with it. But this isn’t an easy Class 1 race to win. 3. Resin was scratched from a race in town to come here and she was fantastic when winning at Warwick Farm last start and will provide a formidable challenge. 7. Readycatgo is on her way to stakes racing soon, according to her trainer. The winkers going on are expected to improve her a few lengths off a last-start win. 4. Valeria is another promising type who tuned up nicely in two trials.
BETTING STRATEGY: RESIN to win.
RACE 8 (5.35pm)
10. Petite is loving racing over a trip and put them away well last time and can make it two in a row with an in-form jockey to guide her. 2. Only Tiger is also loving the step up to 2000m-plus and will be strong to the line and can avenge the defeat to Petite two starts back. 1. Bon Equus will stay all day and just keep coming at them and is rock-hard fit and enjoying his racing.
BETTING STRATEGY: ONLY TIGER to win.