Ascot Racecourse stages the feature racing in Perth on Saturday and we pick out the best bets each weekend to be backing.
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Ascot Tips March 25
Race 2 - AMELIA PARK HANDICAP - 1500m - 01:58pm
Well, INFATHUATED finally got the cash for us last week and hopefully everyone got fixed odds early before he was smashed into a short price. He’s backing up for the fourth week in a row but seems to be relishing all this racing. Last week’s 2.5-length win was ultra-impressive, he’s got his confidence up now, and although he has to carry a bit more weight in the same grade, he’s a big bull and the drop back in trip will cancel out the extra 1.5kg.
Race 3 - FIFTH LEG HANDICAP - 1200m - 02:35pm
I’m taking on the $2 favourite Blackline, and although my confidence is somewhat lacking, there is a strong reason why. Blackline won at Pinjarra over 1200m in a time of 1:11.08 and easily had his rivals covered as he cruised to a nine-length victory. MEGA MINX won by a smaller margin in 1:11.07 and was pushed out to the line. So Blackline easily has more room for improvement, but my query is how he will go second-up, while he also drops 1kg. Mega Minx is third-up from a spell and will be right at his peak while he drops from 57.5kg to 52kg. Blackline will try and lead from barrier 9 and may be taken on by More Aces while Mega Minx will stalk his every move with the 5.5kg less than last time. Blackline could just be too good, but on weights and times, Mega Minx is the value runner.
Race 7 - AUTO CLASSIC BMW HANDICAP (1600m) 5:00pm
POLITICS got the cash for us last time when he let loose with a scintillating run – he still has more upside and just needs a bit of luck slotting in from the wide gate to be winning. Goes up 1kg but is ready to peak in a near identical race.
Previous Ascot Tips:
Race 1 - TABTOUCH HANDICAP (1600m) 1:14pm
INFATHUATED only missed out by half a length last time when coming from the tail of the field so I’m sticking with him again. Should be at his peak now and can break through for his fourth win at the track.
Race 5 - NATASHA STAKES - 2200m - 03:45pm
ROYAL STAR is a talented filly that just peaked on her run last time when trying to wind up from last. That run would have brought her on and William Pike gets back aboard. Drawn better this time – she’s the one to beat.
Race 8 - GET THE TABTOUCH HANDICAP - 2200m - 05:35pm
BLUSTERY is most consistent at the track and trip having won two and placed five from eight attempts. She hit the front too early last time before being run down, but with any luck from the tricky gate this time, she can add to her impressive record.
Race 5 - MASTER PLUMBERS AND GASFITTERS ASSOCIATION TRPY (1400m) 3:55pm
I’m giving INFATHUATED another chance here. He was great first-up over 1400m and then weakened badly last start over 1600m. The quick back-up suggests he’s come through the run well, and with blinkers back on and dropping to 1400m there is no reason he can’t bounce back. Some of his best wins have been when leading so with fitness on his side and the inside gate to kick off from, I’m hoping he tries to run them off their feet.
Race 6 - REHAU UNLIMITED POLYMER SOLUTIONS HANDICAP (1600m) 4:30pm
POLITICS peaked third-up over 1600m last campaign and comes into Saturday’s mile race at his third run this time. Barrier 8 may be tricky but he’ll be looking to slot in around midfield anyway. Veuve De Vega looks hardest to beat, but at value, I’m with Politics.
Race 7 - WORLD PLUMBING DAY-J.C. ROBERTS STAKES - 1800m - 05:05pm
FINAL SALUTE and Western Temple meet Gangbusters 2kg better at the weights here and both can improve significantly third-up. Western Temple weakened over 1600m up on the speed while Final Salute was doing his best work late so he gets the nod over the 1800m journey. William Pike aboard and he’ll be hungry for success.
Race 5 - VALE SID RICHARDSON HANDICAP - 1200m - 03:50pm
RED PADDY is probably the most consistent galloper going around in Perth at the minute and looks suited again on Saturday. The 1kg drop in weight and extra 100m to wind up from last look ideal, and with Chinetti setting up a quick early pace, he should get the race run to suit.
Race 6 - SCHWEPPES-ASCOT 1000 GUINEAS (1800m) 4:25pm
ROYAL STAR was a late scratching last time and has now had five weeks between runs but she’s all class and should be winning this. The daughter of Redoute’s Choice was very impressive winning last start when stepping up to 1400m with three weeks between runs. She hit the line very strong and was eased down nearing the line. Best of the day.
Race 8 - VALE BRANDAN THOMPSON HANDICAP (1600m) 5:35pm
I tipped INFATHUATED last start off a good barrier trial, but once again, he just looked like a solid miler. He has won three and placed two from six starts at the track and now gets to his favourite trip from a good barrier this time. He’s fitter now and can camp behind the speed and go bang with 1.5kg less in the same grade as last start.
Race 5 - LEX PIPER STAKES (1600m) 2:58pm
Fifth-up from a spell over 1600m with a solid 1600m run under the belt is always a recipe for an honest performance, and DUKEAZZA fits the bill. He was the beneficiary of the short-priced favourite, Royal Star, being a late scratching when he scored at the track and trip last start. Good early speed here should give him every chance to finish off strongly.
Race 6 - PERAK TURF CLUB TROPHY (1200m) 3:40pm
PATAPUS has great form around Royal Star and maybe didn’t handle the one-week back-up before running a brave 3rd against the older horses last time at Pinjarra when she jumped from barrier 16. Has a distinct fitness edge over most of these and can run a big race from up on the speed.
Race 7 - DETONATOR STAKES (1800m) 4:20pm
There’s no reason to drop of POUNAMU who has got the job done for us three times in a row now. He absolutely loves this track and the step up in trip looks ideal. The barrier is an awkward one but this fellow owes us nothing and is flying.
Ascot Tips February 18
Race 6 - CYRIL FLOWER STAKES (1200m) 4:00pm
DURENDAL finished runner-up last start for the third time in a row but he does look like the one to beat again. He meets his last start victory, Divine Calling, 1.5kg better at the weights and he should be getting the run of the race from barrier 2. Will be better for stepping up to 1200m last time and should be strong through the line.
Race 7 - CHALLENGE STAKES - 1500m - 04:35pm
William Pike would have had his pick of the three Grant and Alana Williams-trained runners and has stuck with REGAL MOON. He also rode the in-form Amaliemoo to victory two starts back so he must have a big opinion of Regal Moon. She was really charging home late over 1200m last time so the step up to 1500m looks ideal.
Race 8 - STONE MOTHERLESS AFTER THE LAST HANDICAP - 1400m - 05:14pm
INFATHUATED has won three races since joining Justin Warwick’s stable and he only took the horse to Ascot once in that time which resulted in a brave win over Pounamu. He has won three and placed two from six starts at the track and has trialled up twice in preparation for this. He can speed over to lead from barrier 10 and will give them something to catch.
Ascot Tips - February 4
Race 2 - LUCKY ROOSTER MAIDEN - 1200m - 01:33pm
WHO’S THE GURU has his first start for the new stable and despite showing little to date, his 3.5-length barrier trial win was impressive. He just needs a bit of luck from the tricky gate to be winning.
Race 3 - AMELIA PARK HANDICAP - 1600m - 02:13pm
ROYAL STAR is the best of the day over in Perth and she can make it three from three. The daughter of Redoute’s Choice was very impressive winning last start when stepping up to 1400m with three weeks between runs. She hit the line very strong and was eased down nearing the line. Extra trip suits and she’ll strip fitter here too.
Race 8 - FIFTH LEG HANDICAP - 1500m - 05:20pm
A few top chances have drawn wide here but SHADY GRAY should charge forward and offset the wide gate. He was unlucky not to have won two starts back and then scored a strong victory last time. Aaron Mitchell’s 1.5kg claim will help, and at nice odds, he’s a top hope.
Race 1 - GET THE TABTOUCH PLATE (1100m) 12:46pm
Fred Kersley may have found a smart one in DEBELLATIO. The two-year-old Smart Missile colt won his first 950m barrier trial in 57.910 and then went quicker when winning his next (56.620). He came from dead last on the turn to win his most recent barrier trial and looked as if he was going half-paced. 1100m first-up on a big track looks ideal and he’ll be charging home in the straight.
Race 5 - SCENIC BLAST STAKES (1200m) 3:20pm
Although Volkoff defeated Durendal last time, the latter was unlucky and now meets his victory 2kg better at the weights. Having said that, Durendal’s stablemate, KING’S TROOP, appeals with far more upside. The winner and runner up beat him convincingly last time but as I said, he has more upside at his third run this campaign, and from barrier 4, he’ll get a soft run and can strike at nice odds.
Race 8 - AMELIA PARK HANDICAP (1400m) 5:15pm
SHALO trialled well at Larkhill and hasn’t missed the first two placings in seven starts at the track. The son of Danehill Express showed good early speed to lead throughout in his second trial, and when he was challenged by Wroughted in the straight, he kicked on hard to the line. He should be able to lead at a leisurely tempo and kick strongly at his favourite track.
Race 1 - GET THE TABTOUCH PLATE (1000m) 12:48pm
Darren Mcauliffe’s two-year-old filly MASSAGI was quite impressive in a barrier trial recently and can win on debut. She showed good speed to lead at a leisurely tempo and was never out of first gear as her opposition were pushed out to try and run her down. Had plenty to offer and can deliver on race day with William Pike in the saddle.
Race 5 - STONE MOTHERLESS AFTER THE RACES HANDICAP (1000m) 3:20pm
Some good early speed here should see CUANZO settle three pairs back along the rail before waiting to strike in the straight. There are a few other backmarkers that will start to swoop out wide on the turn, and I think that will give Cuanzo the best chance to get up along the rail and finish over the top of them at the last minute.
Race 6 - AUTO CLASSIC BMW CHINESE NEW YEAR RACEDAY-4 FEB (1200m) 4:00pm
PRESENTATIE was a tragedy beaten first-up from a spell after missing the start by four lengths and starting to charge home before getting blocked for a run. If she jumps well this time, Pike can steer her into the winner’s circle.
Race 6 - SUMMER LOVING-$5 EARLYBIRD TICKETS HANDICAP - 1400m - 04:20pm
PARIS DREAM has placed in five of seven runs at the track but has failed to break through for that elusive win. He’s had every chance in both runs this campaign but has just lacked that killer blow at the end. Having raced over 1400m and then 1600m in both runs this campaign, I think the drop back to 1400m now will see him really finish off strongly. With 1kg less from the inside gate, he can enjoy the run of the race behind the speed before taking a rails run in the straight and sprinting clear. Looks over the odds at $18 & $4.80.
Race 7 - MISS ANDRETTI STAKES (1100m) 4:55pm
Chris Gangemi’s new stable acquisitions, Durendal and Kings Troop, went very well last start, but considering Durendal had fitness on his side and had an easier run in transit when finishing in front of his stable mate, KINGS TROOP is the one I want to be on. His only win in the eastern states came over this trip when second-up. He was finishing better than anything last start and should be better suited over the slightly longer sprint trip. He’ll have to go back from the wide gate but will be finishing fast.
Race 8 - JAMES BOAG'S PREMIUM HANDICAP (1200m) 5:30pm
RED PADDY scored for us at $13 last start and can do it again. He simply loves this track and trip, and although he’s drawn wide, he can go back like last start and build on the turn before hitting top gear in the straight. This is tougher but he has a little less weight and is peaking fourth-up from a spell.
Race 1 - AMELIA PARK HANDICAP (2200m) 12:29pm
QUITE REGAL can score an upset win over the ultra-consistent Masseratti now that he is ready to peak. He simply ran out of steam as he was stepping up from 1675m to 2200m last time. With that run under his belt I expect him to be powering home at his fifth run from a spell.
Race 2 - JAMES BOAG'S PREMIUM HANDICAP (1200m) 1:04pm
RUN LIAM RUN has a good second-up record and only just missed behind Tommy Who last time. He had to settle in last place from the wide gate but has drawn barrier 1 on Saturday and can sit closer to the speed. Red Paddy finished 3rd behind him last start and his since franked the form by winning as a $13 chance I tipped last week so the form looks strong.
Race 5 - TABTOUCH RACE REPLAYS HANDICAP - 1500m - 03:00pm
POUNAMU scored for us a couple of weeks ago and can do it again from a good gate. He should settle three pairs back, one off the fence, and there will be no excuses in the straight after enjoying a soft run in transit. Cronkite is the danger but it’s hard to see him reversing the 3.2-length margin from last start.
Race 2 - PERTH CUP HOSPITALITY - BOOK NOW HANDICAP (1600m) 11:34am
VENGABUS looks an each-way special all day. He’s tried to lead at his past two starts over 2100m and 2200m in $100,000 races and now drops back to a $60,000 event over 1600m and only carries 57kg (half a kilo less than last time). He won his only start at the track and trip, is rock-hard-fit and can try and lead all the way again at $9 and $2.20.
Race 7 - A.T.A. STAKES (2200m) 2:44pm
Stepping up 600m in trip was all that stopped STAR EXHIBIT from scoring again last time. He peaked on his run while a stronger stayer, Kia Ora Koutou, surged to the line. With that run under his belt, he can go onto score before heading to the Perth Cup.
Race 8 - HEINEKEN 3 HANDICAP (1200m) 3:20pm
RED PADDY represents exceptional each-way odds in this. He should have won first-up this campaign where he was two lengths from Disco Metal ($4.60 second fav on Saturday) and then overraced last start which saw him a bit flat when asked to sprint. He’s still finished 3rd on both occasions yet he is a $3.20 Place chance. He’s placed four from five at the track and distance and looks ready to peak third-up from a spell. Great value chance in an open race!
Race 1 - MCFARLAND PLUMBING HANDICAP (1600m) 12:48pm
Jaspara is in career best form as a five-year-old. Two starts ago he was too good for Preselection who has since come out and won in town. Last start he came with a terrific turn of foot and looked the winner at the 100m but was just worried out by Astronomite ridden by William Pike. Astronomite has also since come out and won again. Jaspara should get the last shot at them and be too good running over the top.
Race 3 - LWP PROPERTY GROUP HANDICAP (2200m) 2:08pm
It was a big step up in distance last start for O’Reilly’s Crumpet jumping from 1600m to 2100m. He moved up to the leaders like the winner but was outstayed in the 50m. He goes down 1kg from that effort and will strip fitter. Pike stays aboard which is a big positive. He should be right in the finish.
Race 5 - STARSTRUCK CLASSIC (1600m) 3:22pm
COSMIC STORM is unbeaten in three runs over 1600m and was unlucky getting caught wide last time. She peaked third-up last campaign over this trip to record a 3.25-length victory, and if William Pike has any luck from barrier 10, she’ll be charging home to score again.
Race 7 - TED VAN HEEMST STAKES (2100m) 4:30pm
Although Perfect Reflection is the class horse here, $3 is too short when there has to be a big query on her getting the distance. Stablemate NEVERLAND will appreciate the step up in trip and was taking ground off Perfect Reflection in the Kingston Town Classic after covering more ground on the turn. At $7, she’s a more appealing bet, and with a favourable barrier (2) she can upset the favourite.
Race 8 - GRAEME COLLOPY HANDICAP (1400m) 5:10pm
The wide barrier cost Cronkite the win two starts back, and from barrier 12 on Saturday, the favourite is again vulnerable. POUNAMU on the other hand simply excels at this track, loves the distance, and was terribly unlucky last start when being held up twice – should have won. He drops back in trip and has drawn barrier 2 which should see him sitting just behind the speed. With fitness on his side, regular rider Patrick Carbery can get him into the clear early and use his fitness to outrun them.
Race 3 - TABTOUCH PERTH CUP DAY - 31 DEC HANDICAP 1600m
Outlaw Pete has improved steadily all preparation and looks ready to peak fourth-up. Second up he was bolting in behind the leaders but never saw daylight in the straight and finished sixth untested. Last start he settled back in the field off a slow tempo. He still ran on gamely and beat all but the William Pike ridden Star Exhibit home. The 1.5kg claim will help. Watch for him running all over the top of them in the final stages.
Race 4 - A.J. SCAHILL STAKES 1400m
First Among Equals is another one that looks ready to win fourth-up. He has gotten better this preparation as he stepped up from 1100m to 1200m. The extra 200m here should suit down to the ground. After being blocked for runs in his first two starts this prep he showed what he could do in the Winterbottom Stakes peeling six wide on the turn and coming with a great burst of speed to finish a game fourth behind some of Australia’s most promising sprinters in the likes of Sheidel and Takedown. This race is easier and WFA conditions suit. This looks his race.
Race 7 - JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION TROPHY 2200m
More than happy to be with Tonto at the each-way odds. Forget last start where he blew the start by six lengths and went around to practice after that. The start prior he was ultra impressive winning the listed Ascot Gold Cup. He beat the likes of Dark Alert in the race who is the equal favourite in this race. The extra distance will suit, look for him to bounce back well and be right in the finish.
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