BEST mates Matthew McCudden and Andrew Adkins are teaming up to bring down the big boys with Shelley Beach Road on the Kensington track at Royal Randwick.
The Port Macquarie men have known each other all their lives and McCudden said it was a dream come true when they won with Shelley Beach Road last start when first-up at her home track on the mid-north coast.
“Andrew and I have been best mates forever and when I got my trainers licence six months ago all we wanted to do is win a race together,” McCudden said. “We got it with Shelley Beach Road on Port Cup day and now we want to do it in town.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
SAVACOOL (Race 3, No.1)
She’s on a quick back-up after running in a much stronger race on Saturday. She will be strong through the line and gets an easier run this time from a good draw.
REGENT (Race 6, No.5)
I like the look of him third-up. After a long lay-off he was always going to take a few runs to hit top gear and this should be his day to shine.
SHELLEY BEACH ROAD (Race 7, No.5)
She’s got the form behind her to win in town and off a tune-up win at Port Macquarie will improve further. Ignore her second-up stats. She just needs luck from the gate and she’s a hope.
Race 4: 2, 5, 6
Race 5: 5, 6, 9, 10
Race 6: 3, 5, 10
Race 7: 1, 4, 5, 11
TRAINER TO WATCH
JAMES CUMMINGS has a strong team heading to Randwick with Colombina, Regent and Medovina all winning chances.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
BRENTON AVDULLA is riding well and has the horses to deliver him a win or two with Gretzky, Mad Fox and Medovina looking the best of them.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
“She’s strengthened up and matured a lot in her break and I gave her a few weeks to get over that first-up run and she’s been feeling great at home so I wouldn’t change a thing with her.”
The five-year-old Shellscrape mare is set to start around $20, which is over the odds considering she finished less than two lengths off star galloper Victorem in the Country Championships earlier in the year.
She won fairly comfortably at Port Macquarie on October 5 after spelling for 24 weeks and having just the one trial.
The team thinks it’s the perfect formula for her to snare a city win against this likes of Medovina, Sophiella and Ellie’s Encore. Her second-up record isn’t as good as her first-up one but McCudden isn’t concerned about that either.
“I wouldn’t read too much into it. She’ll go a lot better in this race than she did first-up. She hadn’t raced for six months but has come back very well,” he said.
“She’s 100 per cent flying under the radar. I saw the prices on Monday night and I could not believe it. She shouldn’t be a 20/1 chance. She’s only at that price because she’s a country horse, not because of her form.
“She just got beaten by Victorem in the Country Championships when she wasn’t at 100 per cent. She’s the type of horse that gives it her all.”
Adkins just has to find a comfortable spot from a wide gate. McCudden said he’s like the mare to be one pair back and as long as she has cover isn’t worried if she’s caught three deep.
She’ll roll forward from the gate and look to make it four wins from as many starts over 1100m.
“She’s going super but it’s a shame we drew and ordinary gate. The way she’s going at home gives us enough confidence that she’s a good chance,” McCudden said.
“I didn’t think having a big weight was in our favour at first but we’ve won with 60kg or more twice already whereas most of the field hasn’t so that could be in our favour as well.
“We just need a bit of luck in running from the gate. She’s unbeaten at the 1100m and we’ve had this race in mind since she won first-up. It’s custom made for her.”
Meantime, Warwick Farm trainer Clare Cunningham knows Time Out Of Mind has the talent to win on the Kensington track at Royal Randwick but she’s also aware of his tendency to cost himself a win.
The Dream Ahead five-year-old races in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m) after running fifth at Newcastle last start over 900m. He got well back that day and was having his first start for Cunningham after racing for Kris Lees in the past.
He came from 10th to run fifth, three lengths off Falerina, but Cunningham said he couldn’t have won the race if he wanted to.
“He needs to improve after hanging in badly for no reason last start, but this race doesn’t look overly strong. He just threw it away last start,” she said. “We’ve tries a few little things at home and hopefully they’ve worked. He’s got some tricks in him.”
Cunningham will apply a nose roll to Time Out Of Mind hoping it changes his racing style.
It’s the first time he’s had that gear applied and it will also be the first time star jockey James McDonald rides him out of barrier five.
Cunningham has her fingers crossed in a field without a stand out runner. It’s not the hardest race he’s contested and he’ll be hard to beat if he brings his A-game.
“He’s good enough to run competitively and is going well,” Cunningham said.
“He’s a happy horse and is nice and sound. He’s got no excuses in this race and it’s up to him. He’s a metropolitan grade horse on talent. James will give him every chance from the gate and hopefully that run under his belt brings him on.”
Meanwhile, jockey Brenton Avdulla will appeal his suspension which was handed down on Saturday for his ride on Evalina at Randwick. The appeal will be heard on Thursday at 10am and if he is successful he’ll be clear to ride in the Melbourne Cup.
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (2pm)
John O’Shea could beat the three Chris Waller runners here with 3. Galway Girl. She won nicely last start at Newcastle and is fit and ready to go on with it. She could lead them and control the race. 1. Orcein is back in a more suitable class of race here after going down in higher grade last time but it’s strong form so is very winnable for him. 2. Ritmico beat stablemate 4. Romani Girl two starts back but don’t be surprised if that result is reversed here.
BET: ORCEIN to win.
RACE 2 (2.35pm)
6. Colombina won well first-up on a heavy track but she’s raced well on firm surfaces too against the likes of Pure Elation and Gem Song, so there’s a lot to like about her with James McDonald guiding her from a good gate. 4. Knight Arrow has had two trials ahead of his first-up run and he showed more than enough at his first preparation to be confident in him running well, and he’ll improve off whatever he does here. 8. Katie Did It trialled like a good thing and backed it up on her race debut with a nice win at Wyong.
BET: Quinella 4, 6.
RACE 3 (3.10pm)
1. Savacool is on the quick back-up which is always a good sign and she drops in class from Saturday grade so this looks nice for her. 3. Semper Fidelis is also backing up from a Friday night win and she might just be starting to gain the confidence needed to be a force in town. 4. Miss Shanti chased her home that night and the drop back 100m might be what she needs. There isn’t much between the Waller trio and 2. Mazaz is also looking the goods off a great first-up run behind a smart one.
BET: SAVACOOL to win.
RACE 4 (3.50pm)
5. Gretzky couldn’t quite go with Sky Boy a fortnight ago but connections won’t be too fazed after Sky Boy came out and won on Saturday and is headed towards a Group 2 race (Villiers Stakes) in December. 6. Waruna was good in city grade last start and showed plenty of determination to get through the line strongly, so she’s an easy one to follow and will test them. 2. Nicochet had too much to do last start on a wet track from the rear of the field. That won’t be the case here. 3. Schedule put in a shocker last start but may have had excuses. On his day he’s a good horse.
BET: Quinella 5, 6.
RACE 5 (4.30pm)
6. Time Out Of Mind has the natural talent to win but has poor racing manners. A rise in trip and the addition of James McDonald might change things. 10. Mad Fox is another stacked with ability but tends to let himself down on race day. He’s won first-up, though, and is worth some thought. Steven O’Dea knows how to bring one to Sydney to win and 9. Navy looks like he can run well off a freshen up. 5. Nick On The Run can surprise his rivals, too. He looks to be in nice form and this is a good time to come back to town.
BET: MAD FOX to win.
RACE 6 (5.10pm)
5. Regent spent almost a year off racetracks and has put in two good runs on return. He’s fit now and ready to win. 10. King Hewitt is another that raced well in good company last preparation and he’s has a proper spell and is well placed here with Brenton Avdulla on board. 3. Bravissimo has the fitness edge on most of his rivals and should race forward, which is an advantage on the Kensington track.
BET: REGENT to win.
RACE 7 (5.50pm)
5. Shelley Beach Road has run less than two lengths behind Victorem and she will improve off a first-up win at Port Macquarie. The wide gate is the only concern. She will be over the odds. 11. Sophiella will also race better here after a nice first-up performance. She will strip fitter and improve a few lengths and from gate four, with James McDonald on, she’s got to be a top chance. 4. Medovina has had two lead-up trials and she’s won first-up in the past. 1. Ellie’s Encore is knocking on the door after two seconds at Warwick Farm. She does carry more weight, though.
BET: SHELLEY BEACH ROAD each way.