Sandown (Hillside) Race 6 No.5 Popovich – $2.90
Anyone who saw Popovich win on debut here almost a month ago now, would have to have walked away somewhat impressed. The Robert Smerdon trained gelding had to overcome some difficulties in the run, but when he balanced up he attacked the line like a very good horse, beating the somewhat unlucky Longkissgoodnight, who has franked that form since by easily winning her maiden. For a first starter to be able to score in that fashion, with not everything going his way during the race, is a rare occurrence, especially in town. This is harder, no doubt, but he has big upside this bloke and with natural improvement he looks to be a galloper going further than today’s event.
Canterbury Race 4 No.5 Ashkannd – $5
Back on what should be a rain affected surface, Ashkannd can bounce back from a last start defeat as favourite and claim what would be his third Australian win. The son of English and Irish Derby hero Sinndar just didn’t stretch out on the firmer track whilst lumped with 60kgs in that race behind impressive import Evason – he also seemed to be left a touch flat footed when they sprinted and it may suggest he’s looking for even further. He’ll get that here out to the 2700m, he should get the conditions to suit, and he’s as fit as anything else in the race – if he doesn’t perform today then it may be a while before punters have him hard in the market again.
Canterbury Race 7 No.9 Painted Firetail – $3.20
A filly blessed with exciting talent, Painted Firetail missed out on the run at Rosehill on Saturday, where she was the favourite, after the last two races were abandoned. Now this is a different race altogether that she faces here – that was going to be a small field without a whole heap of pace on a bigger track; this is a big field, with pace likely to be on, and she’s drawn very wide on a tight circuit – and although it’s a midweek event compared to a Saturday grade race, this may well be a tougher task for her. It won’t matter though if she brings her “A” game and she gets a bit of luck – think she’s a filly with group ambitions and her natural talent will have her winning this with the right run in transit.
Sandown (Hillside) Race 8 No.7 Samartested – $9
No doubt Samartested was disappointing throughout her entire Spring prep – three runs, three poor performances – there would have been thoughts about retiring her you’d think, she is a group two placed filly. But the fact that they’ve kicked on her with suggests two things – firstly they probably want to find a black type win with her somehow in this campaign, and secondly they must think she’s over whatever issues there was going on in the Spring and that she’s capable of actually racing to her somewhere near her best. Her first up run indicated that she may be on her way back to somewhere near that level – in a much better race than this she was ok behind Duibio up the Flemington straight – she was even with him at the 300m before he sprinted hard through a gap and she was left a little flat footed, before making a short run and knocking up a touch late to finish sixth. She’ll now contest what is probably the easiest race she’s been in for some time, draws nicely, and gets some weight relief with the claim – her best wins this, simple as that – if the theory is that she can reach that level of performance again, then she has to go close here.
Ipswich Race 5 No.3 Don’t Deny Us – $4.80
In a good class three year old race at the Sunshine Coast last start, Don’t Deny Us was simply outclassed and the six week gap between runs and drop back to the six furlongs probably didn’t help much either. Goes back out to 1350m for this, and although back against some older types here, this race is much easier than what he faced three Saturdays ago. Be even better for him if the track dries out a bit and they get to a good surface, but with the claim and the extra fitness he’ll be right in the finish of this either way.
Canterbury Race 5 No.9 Captured – $15
Forget Captured’s last start – she was caught on the wrong part of the track and was poorly weighted against the older horses there. Prior to that the Clarry Conners trained filly just failed to run down Mosstar at Gosford and she now comes back to fillies grade for a race where she should get a few favours. She looks to get a perfect run in this – Eagle Stryke looks the only dead-set leader, Captured will sit just behind it in what could be a slowly run affair and she’ll carry on 55kgs after Andrew Adkins’ claim. Can see her attempting to challenge her before they turn and make some of the others chase her down having to give weight. Throw in the fact she looks to prefer some sting out of the ground and Captured can run a cheeky race at double figure odds.