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This Sunday is one of the most important meetings as the countdown to the end of the season, Grand National Steeplechase day at Ballarat, gets underway. As you would expect, Warrnambool will be very heavy on Sunday.
Race 1 – Maiden Hurdle (3200m), 12.30pm
This maiden hurdle has plenty of chances but I’m in the corner of Chains of Honour. The Maher/Eustace stable don’t jump many and his trials, and recent flat run, suggest he is primed for a big run. The ground is a slight question mark but I think he’ll get through it. Expect him to get out to a more backable $3.00 or better. Hostar is a likely type trained on the track by Peter Chow. His trials were excellent and he swims. Chances don’t end there but they’re the two I’ll be on.
Strategy: Back Chains of Honour (if he gets to $3.00 or better) and save on Hostar.
Race 2 – One Jumps Win Hurdle, 3200m (1.10pm)
Some very nice types here but on the extremely heavy ground Twin Spinner looks the one. He was utterly dominant at his Aussie jumping debut at Sale. They don’t win much better than that. Stern Idol could be anything and I respect it, with Mighty Oasis and Sky Hero having good chances as well.
Strategy: Back Twin Spinner.
Race 3 – Kevin Lafferty Hurdle, 3200m (1.50pm)
The feature hurdle has thrown up a terrific field with St Arnicca and Blandford Lad being my clear top two with a lean to the former. St Arnicca ran a great race in the Galleywood here over the carnival, trainer Paul Preusker then freshened him and he was very good on the flat in the lead up to this. At $7.00 in early markets, he is a sensational bet. I couldn’t back Big Blue at all and he is real unders at $3.10 or anything close to it.
Strategy: Back St Arnicca.
Race 4 – BM120 Steeplechase, 3450m (2.30pm)
Pretty even steeplechase here but keen on Eyes Are Blue at a price. He has been freshened up since a third placing in the Grand Annual Steeplechase and anything like that effort would see him awfully hard to beat here. Chances to Getting Leggie, Cheners, Laylite and Dewrinkler.
Strategy: Back Eyes Are Blue.
Race 5 – Thackeray Steeplechase, 3450m (3.10pm)
This is a race in two for mine between Yulong Place and Flying Agent and I think the former is the one to beat with a 5Kg advantage. The Lyn Shand trained gelding has won his last two in an absolute canter including one around this circuit. He looks one right out of the box. Flying Agent will give him plenty to think about, I couldn’t possibly back Britannicus on ground this wet, another day for him.
Strategy: Back Yulong Place.