Warwick Farm Race 8 No.4 Muraqaba – $3.80
Muraqaba is definitely the most talented horse in this race and if he puts his best foot forward he will win. The half brother to former Anthony Cummings trained group one winner Turffontein, Muraqaba, also prepared by Cummings, was great first up this prep when knocking up late to run second behind Lunar Rise, before racing a touch flat second up when well held behind Testashadow. He’s had a few weeks off now but went back to the trials since and was pretty good when fifth behind superstar Exosphere – he wasn’t asked to do much but held his place well while some others around him were under more pressure. Like the fact he stays at the mile and from that draw can see him being in a good spot in transit – he’ll be too good for this lot if he performs even close to his best.
Warwick Farm Race 2 No.7 Most Exalted – $2.30
Most Exalted probably shouldn’t be a maiden still after he was stiff not to win at least two of his starts during his first prep but this looks a nice race for him to finally break through. He’s had the two trials leading into this, the first a very quiet one, the second he was put into the trial early and sat up outside the lead and held on well after being given just a small stoke up upon straightening. You can see he still does a few things wrong, he’s got a bit of a funny style in that he gets his head up quite high and has a look around when he gets to the front, that’s something they’ll obviously continue to work on, but the talent is there and first up over 1300m suits him perfectly. Draws well and Bowman aboard – should be hard to beat.
Warwick Farm Race 6 No.9 Puzzling Wonder – $10
It’s a Cummings fill up for Tlhe Wolf today, this time another Anthony trained horse in lightly raced 4yo stallion Puzzling Wonder. After a decent win first up last prep he just never went on with it and they spelled him after two ordinary efforts in what was probably a smart move. He returns here with the benefit of a trial under his belt, and it was quite an impressive display as he showed good gate speed to lead, was held together well into the straight and was given a bit of a rev up very late to comfortably win. One thing that was clearly evident was the amount he’d sweated up prior to the trial and think he’ll really take a lot of benefit from that effort. Now this isn’t a bad field he comes up against here and he’s drawn the outside barrier – the best plan would be to definitely see if they can cross and lead, if something like Charles In Charge wants to make a go of it early then that’s ok, just sit outside him, but they need to be very positive. There isn’t a whole heap of speed engaged so he may well be able to get to the fence. He can salute at a decent price.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 1 No.9 Recalculate – $3.60
Recalculate seems to have really turned the corner this prep, perhaps some had him marked as a wet tracker prior to now, and he can make it a hat trick of wins by saluting up in grade here. This time in the son of Testa Rossa has been able to win both starts, on good surfaces, in completely different manners – he was just dominant at Colac when a short price, before having to dig deep at Ballarat and holding off Statton. There were signs there that he’s looking for a bit further, it took him a while to hit top gear there, and he’ll get that in this, going to the 1400m. Damien Oliver has been on him in those two victories, he sticks again, and they’ve drawn to be in a great spot. This is slightly harder again but it looks the right race.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 8 No.3 Houdini The Great – $8.50
Believe we are starting to see the peak of Houdini The Great – he’s no superstar, and his racing pattern tends to lead him into strife in the run or get dictated to, but he is racing in great heart right now and with an ounce of luck here he can win this. He was well up in grade last time out when a hard closing fourth behind talented staying mare Ungrateful Ellen over the same trip as today, the start prior he ran down the in form Youl Dash For Cash, in similar grade to what he’ll face here, to score at Pakenham over 2000m. He likes a nice dry track which he should get here and although he goes up in weight from that superb last run, this race has nowhere near the depth of that, and he gets some weight relief with Ben Thompson’s claim. Open race, but if Houdini The Great runs to his last two, he’ll be right there when the whips are cracking.