Wednesday's best racing action comes from Ballarat and Hawkesbury. Mitchell Lamb from tab.com.au takes you through the best of the chances below.
Fifth Affair has been close to breaking through for her a win on several occasions, with five placings from her 12 starts, and her form shows she has found some decent gallopers who've just simply been too good for her.
I find it hard to believe any of her rivals in this can be, or could be in the future, labelled as "decent"; this is a very, very ordinary lot she takes on, and there should be little excuse for her not to finally cross the line first.
Her two runs this prep have been encouraging. She narrowly missed at this track and trip first up before she went to town for a midweek maiden against her own age, and she was OK when fifth behind Al Ma Haha with the fourth-placed horse, Rockin' Ruga, winning last week at Warwick Farm.
Hawkesbury is her home track, and she's shown she likes racing there with three placings from as many starts. She takes on older types here, but she should really have way too much class for this lot. Cop the even-money quote and jump aboard.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
All three of Tarabai's trials have been supportive of the concept that she has some ability, and I think Team Hawkes have found a nice race for her to kick things off in.
The daughter of Sepoy arrives here after her two latest trial efforts, finishing just behind the winner on each occasion, and both times she could have easily won. She was under no pressure in the most recent trial at Rosehill, whereas almost all those around her were, at the very least, being pushed along to maintain their position.
One noticeable thing from her trials, she looks a professional filly with the pace to be right on the speed so expect Brenton Avdulla to utilise that and have her right there.
I get the feeling Avdulla may find out there's a pretty solid motor under the hood when he goes for her after they straighten.
I've got a bit of a soft spot for Critical Thinking, the reason being he is the last foal from one of my all-time favourite producers in the now deceased Professionelle. That mare was the dam of a beloved galloper of mine -- Sportsman, who provided me plenty of punting highlights -- as well as quality horses like King Of Prussia, Prisoner Of Love, Hoystar and Lucky Angel.
Anyway, enough reminiscing... outside of the soft spot I have for his mum, I genuinely do believe this son of So You Think has some talent. He broke his maiden status with a dominant five-length win at Seymour in his autumn three-year-old prep, before they tried their luck in some high-quality races up north; firstly he held on well in a strongly run Inglis Guineas at Scone before a combination of a heavy surface and perhaps his prep coming to an end saw him fail in the Fred Best in Brisbane.
Brent Stanley gave him a good break to get over that, and we now see him reappear in this very winnable restricted race. He looks the one with the most upside, has drawn fine, and should get a nice run somewhere near what doesn't appear to be a hot speed.
No idea what the plans are with him this time in -- perhaps it's a scenario of just getting him through his grades now and aim for something more significant later in the year -- but I'm certain he will eventually win better races than this. If he's fit enough, he can begin to fulfil his talent.
OVER THE ODDS
Golden Lily is a well-bred filly by the extremely talented Smart Missile from VRC Oaks placegetter Empress Lily, a daughter of champion Kiwi mare Tycoon Lil. She was sent to Canberra by Randwick trainer John Sargent for her race debut, and she was hard in the market before finishing a luckless fourth over 1300 metres.
She jumped well so Keegan Latham decided to push forward on her, but he was never able to get in, despite his best efforts, and she raced three wide the trip. She loomed up in the straight to look a real chance, but the leaders had enjoyed a pretty easy time of it up front and she just couldn't go with them late. Still, I thought her effort was brave to finish a little more than two lengths from the winner, and she's going to be much better off over further.
Now she gets to 1500 metres and there's plenty of time to the first turn so Latham can decide what they best move is after they jump from her wide barrier, pending the early speed. I expect her to have taken plenty of benefit from that debut effort, and I've got her down as a big chance here at double-figure odds.
Leg 1 - 2
Leg 2 - 2,4,6
Leg 3 - 2,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
Leg 4 - 1,2,3,5,6,9
($100 = 69.44 percent)
Leg 1 - 2,4,6,7
Leg 2 - 3,6
Leg 3 - 1,3,7,9
Leg 4 - 2,4,6
($100 = 104.17 percent)