While we’re lucky to get an entire card of quality fields in a mid-week provincial meeting, there are always a few names that bob up and raise the eyebrows. Northam this week is no different, with the seven-race program containing some pretty ordinary maiden battlers but also some promising types who look to have bright futures ahead of them.
Fresh off achieving her first win in Victoria back in June, Perth Cup-winning jockey Kyra Yuill also makes her mark as WA’s first dual-licenced competitor when she trains and rides both Boomnbust in Race 6 and Motorvator in the last.
Racing & Wagering WA introduced the dual jockey/trainer licence in August following requests from the Western Australian Jockey’s Association, and is intended to provide “a pathway for riders to transition from riding to other fields within the industry.”
Both Yuill-trained gallopers resume on Thursday after breaking their maidens in Albany last preparation.
Meanwhile, the first race on the card sees Song Of Vincent return to the Avon Valley to try and get the maiden out of the way. The son of Your Song produced a strong run late to just miss to Vigneto about a month ago, after both horses hit the line hard behind the talented Abdicator back in August.
Dark Tactics comes out of the same Vigneto run and should be ready to go third-up with 53kg, but will have to improve if he’s to beat Song of Vincent in the opener.
Planet Five gelding Luc’s Star should also develop from his first-up run in a Saturday maiden, where he had to be restrained back to last from the wide alley and worked home well without threatening. He gets closer from barrier 4 this time and should be a lot fitter.
Race 2 presents probably the trifecta of the day, with Rhi’s Rocket backing up from last Saturday behind Blitzem Someday and Cuanzo coming off a spell with two tough trials under his belt.
While Rhi’s Rocket had excuses three-deep over the 1000m last week, his first-up run two starts back was a third to Sovereign Hall, who meets him better at the weights here again. And despite Lou Luciani throwing apprentice Brodie Kirby on-board Cuanzo to save 3kg, the successful Oratorio gelding is a first-up winner and has had two recent trails; the first being 2.5L off Listed winner Great Shot, who’d go around here at Winx odds despite his run over the weekend; and an encouraging win last week at Lark Hill in 56:82s.
If you’re playing the early quaddie you’ll want to take the field in race 3, with the most successful of the raced gallopers being a last-start 5th at Toodyay. Interestingly, however, Gary Hitchcock has engaged Bobby Boo Boo back to the 1100m after a failed last-start staying attempt at Pinjarra over 2000m. I’ll be happy just to watch this one; anything could happen.
The first leg of the main quaddie presents an exciting clash though, with the three-year-old maiden attracting the return of Lindsey Smith’s Captain Stirling after his debut second to Cognac during the two-year-old races in July. Cognac is nominated for this weekend’s $100,000 3YO Bunbury Classic.
The son of Written Tycoon bolted in at Lark Hill by 6 lengths before that debut run, but will have to contend with the outside gate and a couple of other impressive runners on Thursday, too.
The Neville Parnham-trained The Nicconian ran a disappointing last two weeks ago after an 8 length trial win, but actually only went down by 3.5L behind Ocean Jewel who is also engaged for the Bunbury Classic. The Nicconi gelding can definitely improve second-up with race experience under his belt.
Patronize filly Nonna’s Jewel has a case after being far from disgraced behind the jaw-dropping Mikimoto, while Vernon Brockman’s She Loves To Talk has similar claims after finishing second in a trial behind fellow Peters/Williams/Pike gelding Stageman, who put them away first-up at Belmont last Wednesday.
Alan Mathews also has an exciting filly to debut in this race, with the daughter of Alfred Nobel, Cool Dynamite, being unbeaten in the three trials of her short career so far.
I’m A Love Man and Absolute Magic will likely lead the markets in the Class 1 staying event in race 5, after both storming home behind Balmontgomery last Wednesday. They look the two main chances, although Quick Reflects won here two back and despite being a maiden, Drivin’ Me Wild is a consistent Demerit stayer who deserves to break through soon.
The penultimate 1300m event in race 6 gives some more class 1 horses the chance to get their second win in a very open race. Though the form around Outstretch, Woodman’s Keep, Capricorn Dancer and Sealed With A Kiss may be the strongest, it’s interesting to note that Wild Fusion’s victory in his Toodyay maiden was run in faster time than the Class 2 event over the same distance on the same day. He could give cheek.
Forty Four Red and Starkle dominate the form references in the last event on Thursday, with The Blue Nipper and Wavehill Spur close behind.
The Gangemi-trained Forty Four Red was just 0.3L off Star Value last start, who came out over the weekend to beat Just Like Fire and Chasing Chaos at Belmont with a devastating turn of foot. Starkle has claims through the consistent Take It Like A Man, and Captain Bonehead can improve second-up on a Good track.
All-in-all it seems a pretty tricky card for the punt, but from a love-of-the-sport perspective it’ll be an intriguing program with the winner of the 3YO maiden likely to have a long future in the winner’s enclosure.