The Leg Up: Ascot Preview – Saturday 16 March 2019

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Race 1 – 12:39PM GUINNESS PLATE (1200 METRES)

Expecting first-upper DOWNFORCE to give this a shake. The $100,000 half-brother to G1 winner Silent Sedition was spelled after an Initial Plate minor placing, but stretched out very well in a smart Belmont 5/03 trial win. Should get a sweet on-pace run from the low draw and is the gaps appear, he goes close. AMELIA’S CONTRAIRE had valid excuses when rolled as a $1.85 fave on debut. Should find the front and take some catching. WARBLER met with strong support on debut and expecting him to elevate second up, while MARCEE A LADY and POWDERBELLE should both be running on strong late.

Tips: 2-13-4-9
Suggested: 2. DOWNFORCE each way.

2. DOWNFORCE
13. AMELIA’S CONTRAIRE
4. WARBLER
9. MARCEE A LADY

Race 2 – 1:17PM SEPPELT WINES HANDICAP (1200 METRES)

Have a lot of time for CUP NIGHT and anticipating a big first-up effort. Progressed nicely last prep and held his own against some class opposition, and looked in good order with a strong Belmont 5/3 trial win. Enjoys being ridden patiently, so does need luck in his races, but with clear running he should be very hard to hold out. Blinkers and William Pike go on CAERHELAN, backing up after hitting the line hard last Saturday. Has some class about her. Big finisher HENTY GAL maps rearwards, but will be steaming home, while it was hard to ignore the recent trial win of first-upper MEGACHINO.

Tips: 5-4-7-10
Suggested: 5. CUP NIGHT each way.

5. CUP NIGHT
4. CAERHELAN
7. HENTY GAL
10. MEGACHINO

Race 3 – 1:57PM THE MERRYWELL HANDICAP (1600 METRES)

Very keen EXPRESS FLIRT. Carried 60kg to maul his midweek opposition two back and just didn’t get the favours when well supported last start, when cramped for room at vital stages behind Bella’s Idol. Pike has had two rides for two wins on this fellow, so him back on is an obvious positive, and Express Flirt maps to advantage also. REBEL KNIGHT stands out as the main danger, with hot hoop Mitch Pateman on board. 3YO taking on the older horses from a potentially-awkward draw, but last two wins have been strong. SPIRITUAL WARRIOR and THE ESCORT round out the top four.

Tips: 1-3-4-2
Suggested: 1. EXPRESS FLIRT win.

1. EXPRESS FLIRT
3. REBEL KNIGHT
4. SPIRITUAL WARRIOR
2. THE ESCORT

Race 4 – 2:37PM VALE MR RILEY HANDICAP (1100 METRES)

Kept coming back to SARACINO. The triple G2 winner lit up the Belmont 5/3 trials with a sizzling 1000m heat win, leading and cruising to the line stylishly. Did a similar thing prior to failing in the Prince Of Wales Stakes at his WA debut last November, but happy to back in Gangemi Racing to have him worked out by now. If he replicates his trial form, look out. EPIC GREY is suited back in this grade after a brave Pinjarra Classic effort. Must be respected. Rising star ELECTRIC LIGHT is the interesting runner. Follow the market closely first up, while DAM READY is humming at present.

Tips: 1-7-6-3
Suggested: 1. SARACINO win.

1. SARACINO
7. EPIC GREY
6. ELECTRIC LIGHT
3. DAM READY

Race 5 – 3:15PM WAYNE BROOKS 60TH BIRTHDAY HANDICAP (1200 METRES)

Going to follow-up with RESISTANCE. Was keen on her last start and she was one of a few hard-luck stories in that race, held up at vital stages and going down narrowly in a blanket finish. Suited coming back to 1200m from a better draw, and her strong form and race fitness appeal. MACROY loomed to win a fourth straight in a similar event last time, but couldn’t quite get it done. Still, she’s flying this prep and Kate Witten rides her well. DIABLERIE has slotted in nicely with new trainer Brock Lewthwaite, but the high draw makes things tricky, while MORE ACES races on-speed and boxes on.

Tips: 6-4-5-1
Suggested: 6. RESISTANCE each way.

6. RESISTANCE
4. MACROY
5. DIABLERIE
1. MORE ACES

Race 6 – 3:50PM NATASHA STAKES (2200 METRES)

ADORNMENT is odds-on to win the G3 WA Oaks in two weeks time and is the obvious horse to beat in this, but don’t be surprised to see stablemate DARK CHOICE take it up to her. Dark Choice was a little wayward in the Ascot 1000 Guineas, but after balancing up she attacked the line hard late. The blinkers have been added to help her concentration and with even luck in running, she’s going to be hard to hold out. Adornment and William Pike face some obstacles from the high draw, but both are classy enough to overcome. While ASSETRO and VINTAGE STOCK are expected to be running on strong late.

Tips: 11-1-2-4
Suggested: 11. DARK CHOICE each way.

11. DARK CHOICE
1. ADORNMENT
2. ASSETRO
4. VINTAGE STOCK

Race 7 – 4:25PM SCHWEPPES-J.C. ROBERTS STAKES (1800 METRES)

Some different formlines to sort through, but confident the Lex Piper Stakes is the best reference, and naturally found it very difficult to look past REGAL POWER. Withstood a spirited FRED DAG challenge to be lifted over the line by Pike last start, and seems to be growing in confidence every time he goes to the races. He’s the one to beat. Fred Dag was so strong at the end of 1600m last time and with a soft run in transit, should be charging home again. Like PLATOON as a horse and he’s building nicely towards a peak, as is on-pacer BLACKWOOD RIVER, who should elevate with the blinkers on.

Tips: 1-5-3-2
Suggested: 1. REGAL POWER win.

1. REGAL POWER
5. FRED DAG
3. PLATOON
2. BLACKWOOD RIVER

Race 8 – 5:05PM TABTOUCH – BETTER YOUR BET HANDICAP (1400 METRES)

Tough race and ended up siding with first-upper NOIR DE RUE each-way. Like the way he developed during a tough 2018 campaign, successfully transitioning from Kalgoorlie to town, and thought his Lark Hill 11/3 trial effort was full of merit. 1400m is short of his best, but can show some dash fresh and maps to get a sweet run from the inside alley. TURBO POWER got all the favours when winning first-up and looks set to enjoy a similar run from another low draw. 54.5kg suits also. SPECIAL DELIVERY didn’t fire last Saturday but can rebound, while TOUCH OF SILVER gets back and swoops late.

Tips: 3-14-5-8
Suggested: 3. NOIR DE RUE each way.

3. NOIR DE RUE
14. TURBO POWER
5. SPECIAL DELIVERY
8. TOUCH OF SILVER

*Originally published at 7:00am on Thursday 14 March 2019

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