Canterbury Race 4 No.2 Gouldian – $2.60
Yes, he’s not been the most trustworthy of horses, and yes, he’s not lived up to his early potential, but gee Gouldian looks extremely well placed here and has seemingly come back in great order this prep. Staying has always been his caper and the fact that he’s run so well in his two starts this time in over shorter trips, hopefully means that we’ll see the best of him as he gets to his preferred trips. He gets to 1900m now, but more to the point, his opposition here is pretty weak, even for a restricted midweek event, and quite frankly, if Gouldian can’t overcome this lot, I’m not quite sure Godolphin could keep him around. Don’t think he’s quite ready for North Queensland yet.
Canterbury Race 1 No.4 Lord Marmaduke – $4.80
Think David Vandyke has got a talented galloper on his hands here with Lord Marmaduke – the half brother to former speedy stakeswinning mare Calchris looked the winner first up at Kembla before his fitness gave out late and he was run down by Deluxe. Really liked the way he showed good speed to lead there and then accelerated away from his rivals when asked and think it was obvious that he would have won the race if he was deeper into his prep. Now either way he’ll get every chance here to atone – he’s drawn the fence and Jason Collett will have the option to either kick up and lead or be stalking behind the pacemakers and the likelihood of a softish surface won’t be an issue, if anything it may find out a few others, but Lord Marmaduke has proven it won’t bother him.
Canterbury Race 3 No.2 Regimental Force – $6.50
We all remember Regimental Force’s boom getting lowered at his debut – it wasn’t his fault punters sent him out 2’s on when he ran a tiring third to what turned out to be an ultra smart juvenile in Astern. The Slipper campaign was put to bed on that but he returns here with two nice trials under his belt and they may be looking to get him to Queensland for some black type at some stage during the carnival. Thought he’s second trial in particular proved that he’s ready to make a winning return in maiden grade, he finished right next to Jericho, who is another talented youngster we might see during the Brisbane Carnival, and both were under similar pressure. He draws well, gets some weight relief with Lester Grace’s claim, and as long as he can handle the sticky track he is well and truly good enough to be in the finish of this.
Sandown (Lakeside) Race 6 No.7 Burton – $2.60
If you’ve seen Burton’s last start demolition of a maiden field at Ballarat then you probably don’t need too much convincing if you’re thinking of backing him in this. The David Brideoake prepared gelding lengthened like a quality horse when he got to the front there and put paid to his rivals a long way from home, eventually winning by a whopping 11 lengths. A son of Pins from former quality staying mare and New Zealand Derby placegetter Nahayan, will no doubt eventually get further, but he stays at the mile here in a deeper field and draws the outside barrier, so it certainly presents a new challenge for him. But the manner in which he won was enough to think that he really doesn’t have to improve on that to be going close back against his own age, even though technically he’s gone up in grade, and as long as he gets a fair run in transit he will put paid to these and they’ll look to a stakes race, possibly either in Adelaide or Brisbane during the carnival.
Canterbury Race 7 No.2 Meiner Freccia – $13
Quite obviously a horse that’s going to appreciate further as it gets into his prep, Japanese import Meiner Freccia has already shown that Kim Waugh has injected a bit of speed into his legs since arriving in her stable and he looks attractive odds in what seems to be an even field of restricted type milers in the last. His Australian debut was impressive, winning a maiden at Newcastle before he solid third at Wyong when the race didn’t pan out the way they would have hoped and he did a pretty good job to run third behind easy winner Sheilarized. Would like to see them be positive again on him in this – Boys Day Out will lead, especially with the light weight, and Cheeky Devil, who’s drawn the outside gate is bound to come across and sit outside him – that should give Meiner Freccia the chance to slot in behind those two with any luck and get every hope to run them down late. No doubt it would be better if this was a 1900m race and not the 1550m, but guess that’s why you’re getting double figure odds about him – he’s got some upside this guy and that couldn’t be said about too many of his opponents here.