PUNTERS and connections of Stock Up are probably still wondering how she hasn’t won a race yet.
She has beaten Group 1 winner Youngstar home in a race, but three second placings from seven starts is all she has got to show.
She was just about favourite in all five runs last preparation and trainer Scott Singleton thinks she can breakthrough at Hawkesbury in a Maiden Handicap (1300m).
“She’s come back a better horse and I’d be disappointed if she doesn’t win this race,” he said.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
NATALIA (Race 5, No.11)
When a horse is quickly put away to mature after a debut win they usually come back even better and if that’s the case here she can power away from them once again for a powerhouse stable.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
MERICAN (Race 6, No.3)
He should have won last start and the extra distance here may just be the tonic to help him go one better. He’s a big horse and will be easy to spot as he runs on from off the speed.
DEVIL’S LAIR (Race 8, No.2)
This is an open race but he’s going to strip much fitter for it and has form last preparation in higher grade so if he brings his best he can snatch the win.
Race 5: 2, 3, 11
Race 6: 3, 5, 6, 10
Race 7: 3, 7, 9
Race 8: 1, 2, 5, 7
TRAINER TO WATCH
PETER and PAUL SNOWDEN have just two runners but Natalia and Saintly Sunrise are both very good winning chances.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
KOBY JENNINGS, coming off his second Stakes win last Saturday, can win on Shouson and Merican.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“It’s been frustrating, definitely. After she ran second first-up at Rosehill last preparation I didn’t think she could get beaten second-up after seeing her work.”
It was the condition of the tracks, thanks to our drought, that was giving the four-year-old Tavistock mare a tough time. She only put in one average run last preparation, at Hawkesbury, and didn’t pull up well.
“She was struggling with the firm tracks last preparation now that she’ll get a nice and soft track I think she’ll go good,” Singleton said. “Her form tapered off with each run on a firm track. She jarred up badly and wasn’t stretching out.
“The track should be perfect for her this time and she’s had a good jump out at home and is going well.”
She’ll be ridden from barrier one by Christian Reith, who has ridden her at all seven starts. She should be just off the speed.
“She’s just got to go on with it a bit more this time in,” Singleton said. “Christian won’t want to lead on her because he doesn’t want to turn her into something that just goes to the front all the time. She’ll take a sit and won’t be far away.”
Lexi’s Choice is Singleton’s other runner, a race late than Stock Up in a Maiden Plate (1300m). The Choistar filly ran eighth and sixth at her two runs as a juvenile in the winter, but she was doing her best work late in both runs.
She was beaten by Beware and Pohutukawa and both went on to race in stronger company.
Singleton says she could spring a surprise from barrier six with Jess Taylor on board.
“She was very immature last preparation but I still think she raced really well,” he said.
“She was getting to the line at the end of her races. The two-year-old races were pretty strong but she’s stronger now.
“I actually think she’s going to go really well which is why I didn’t want to run Stock Up in the same race. I put Stock Up in the stronger race and have kept this race for her.”
The three-year-old should be able to sit around midfield and will get home well again.
Her trainer thinks she’ll be winning this preparation.
“She may be lacking a bit of race practice which is the only query. Galloping her at home, I feel like she’s got one of these races in her. It might be next start though, but she’s capable of winning,” Singleton said.
Meantime, trainer Kristen Buchanan has Neruda racing to the best of his ability this preparation and he again looks the goods at Hawkesbury.
The Poet’s Voice four-year-old runs in a Class 1 Handicap (1400m) after finishing second to Watchdog last start at Wyong. Buchanan knows Neruda is a better horse than his record of one win and five placings from 12 starts suggests. He’s on the way up.
“I think the horse is in great order and I like the race for him,” Buchanan said.
“I feel that he will be much better suited on a roomier track like Hawkesbury with a big, long straight so he can balance up and get to the line strongly.
“Wyong’s straight is too short for him but he still ran well.
“The blinkers have helped him focus more.
“He was a bit laid-back before.”
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (1.20pm)
1. Evict resumes and after watching him trial you would have to be confident about him coming back a much better horse this time in. He’s placed to win first-up. 5. Magnolia Power has also been well placed after running into city-class runners to end her first preparation and she bled that day so there was a genuine excuse. 6. Belle Of Clonmel won both her lead-up trials and after watching her at her first preparation it’s easy to like her knowing she should be better this time in. 2. Paris In May race at his home track and is the one who will be over the odds.
BET: EVICT to win.
RACE 2 (1.55pm)
1. Show Me The Honey is a consistent performer and after his last run over 1200m on a Heavy 9 track you would have to be confident of him running out a strong 1400m at his first attempt at the distance. 6. Shouson has had a bright start to his career with the blinkers helping him improve at his past two starts and he’ll be tough to beat here. 4. Neruda was beaten only by Watchdog last start and it ran in town on Wednesday. He’s well placed here and if he finds a length of improvement he’s right in this. 3. Tunero will be in the market but he hasn’t got fresh form and wants further.
BET: Quinella 1, 6.
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Waller rips in to Winx critic
RACE 3 (2.35pm)
1. Stock Up is always in the market and almost also runs well but hasn’t been able to get the job done yet in seven starts. This isn’t the hardest test she’s been given so she might be able to breakthrough but she’s often left punters scratching their heads. 3. Wokurna is on debut and won his latest trial in nice fashion so expect him to hit the ground running. They have been patient with him. 2. Time Of Glory wants further but has fresh form and trialled well against Wokurna and might be the one to consider at odds. 9. Ladies’ Gem has to win one soon. He’s fit and the removal of blinkers has helped.
BET: TIME OF GLORY each way.
RACE 4 (3.10pm)
7. Wild Kingdom will improve this time in and trialled well in a strong enough heat. 1. All The Wine hasn’t won yet from 28 starts but has placed on nine occasions but he still needs to lift a few lengths to figure. 11. Banjo’s Voice just knocked up last start after nearly a month between runs and that would have really brought him on for this and the blinkers are off for the first time. He’ll probably try and lead all the way. 4. Jonjo’s Comet ran a nice race last start and he’s first-up here and should be one of the contenders based on past form and expected improvement off a break.
BET: STOCK UP to win.
RACE 5 (3.45pm)
11. Natalia powered to victory on debut at Kembla Grange and was given a break to mature. She looked the part in lead-up trial so expect her to be a real force again. 3. Excelling trialled twice to be ready for this and he looks to be a tough horse who will keep making his rivals work for a win. 5. Dream I Can was no match for a Group-standard horse last start on a heavy track but looking back to his start before at Hawkesbury (second) should give punters something to think about. 2. Dunatun has top form around him and this is one of his easiest tasks.
BET: NATALIA to win.
RACE 6 (4.20pm)
3. Merican is third-up and put in a very good run last start when he probably should’ve won at odds. The 1500m will only help him go one better. 10. Saintly Sunrise was also a fast finisher in that race when competing off a four-week freshen up so expect improvement and he could turn the tables despite Merican looking a touch stronger to the line. 6. Kaffka is well set up to run a peak performance off two trials and two improving runs. She’s fit enough now. Chris Waller horses always improve second-up so watch out for 5. Frascati Miss.
BET: Quinella 3, 10.
RACE 7 (4.55pm)
7. Segalas is a tough filly and will only be better after winning at start two at Wyong a fortnight ago. She should be nice and handy in the run from barrier three with Brenton Avdulla on. 3. Cuban Sizzle will be just off Segalas in the run and it will be a ding-dong battle between the two in the straight. 9. D’oro Rain could run past them both up the stretch after a dominant win at Goulburn last start. She’s on the way up. 1. Via Veneto wants further but is dropping in class.
BET: Boxed trifecta 3, 7, 9.
RACE 8 (5.30pm)
1. Godunov is looking for three wins from as many starts at Hawkesbury and is probably going better than his form reads on paper. He’s very fit now and should run a big race. 5. On Angels Wings smashed them last start over the same trip and the fact he’s a month between runs shouldn’t matter too much. A freshen is a good thing for him. 2. Devil’s Lair wasn’t far off the winner last start and is looking for this trip and a bigger track is a bonus. 4. Knight Star and 7. Mohican are looking like big players too in an open race.
BET: DEVIL’S LAIR to win.