The Leg Up – Bunbury Racing Preview


Thursday 14th February 2019

Race 1 – 1:39PM ZURICH MAIDEN (1008 METRES)

Intriguing short course maiden to kick things off on MGIB Raceday and it was rather difficult lining up the major players, eventually locking in first-upper EMBASSY SQUARE on top. A $60,000 yearling and half-brother to multiple city winners Flying Time and Mad Brad, this strapping four-year-old was arguably a good thing beat on debut at Northam 28/10/18, when running into traffic issues, and while he is still very raw, his Lark Hill 29/01 trial win was full of merit. Expecting Randy Tan to have him prominently positioned from the low draw and if he gets the galloping room he requires, he can go close. VEEBEE has his share of ability and was brave first up behind a smart one when forced to race three-wide without cover throughout. Should enjoy a more suitable run from a better barrier and that solid workout should bring him forward significantly. Snitzel first-starter SMINKY SHORTS hails from an outstanding family and her trial results have been encouraging, although the high draw makes things tricky, while recent Bunbury trial winners JADE REEF and SWIFT MIRAGE are both expected to have plenty of admirers on debut.

Tips: 1-2-11-9 Suggested: 1. EMBASSY SQUARE each way.


Race 2 – 2:19PM NTI MAIDEN (1690 METRES)

This looks the right race for PRINCESS PIERRO to record an overdue maiden win. A high-class two-year-old, this filly lost her way at the start of her three-year-old season, but Trevor Andrews certainly has her back on track and her past two placings behind promising pair Without Reason and Strong Heart has built trust. Like the more positive tactics they have utilised recently and she’s obviously going to be suited with top senior jock Jarrad Noske taking the reins. Maps to advantage and with even luck should be saluting. The blinkers have gone on HAPPY SANDAY at his third outing for the Justin Warwick stable and he should be ready to step up in distance at this stage of his prep. Probably should’ve gone close to winning last start and while the draw is a hindrance, this fellow still has the ability to work his way into the finish. Pretty rare to find a Peters Investments runner in front mid-race, but that’s where VINACEOUS found herself in an improved second-up showing at Pinjarra 24/01. Expected to elevate further over this trip and anticipating positive tactics again from the high draw. MR STIKLER is a horse we’ve been tracking and happy to give him one more chance at his third run in, while AMERCHEVA caught the eye in his Lark Hill 29/01 trial and could run a cheeky race at big odds on debut.

Tips: 11-1-13-6 Suggested: 11. PRINCESS PIERRO win.


Race 3 – 2:57PM CGU MAIDEN (1410 METRES)

Honestly didn’t know where to start in this wide-open Three-Year-Old Maiden and we have a feeling this is going to develop into a strong form reference moving forwards. Found ourselves making a case for over half of the field, so it’s with low confidence that we opted to roll with NICKLAUS each way. Was keen on him to take it up to $2.30 favourite Strong Heart at Bunbury 3/02, but after finding the front he unfortunately encountered significant mid-race pressure when the saddle slipped on The Divine Wind, which left him vulnerable late over the 1675 metres. That tough slog is capable of bringing him to a peak and he does look suited coming back in distance jumping from a low draw. Peters Investments first-starter DARK CHOICE has looked lovely and balanced at trials, and has obvious ability. Faces a rather tough assignment from the high draw, but still expecting her to make an impact. Pretty much exactly the same can be said for fellow debutante BLACKTASTIC, who looks a nice horse in the making and will no doubt have his share of admirers, while first-starters BOLSHOI GAL and UTGARD LOKI have shown plenty at trials, and both map to advantage from good draws.

Tips: 3-13-7-12 Suggested: 3. NICKLAUS each way.


Race 4 – 3:35PM MGIB PLATE (1410 METRES)

Keen on three-year-old FRED DAG against the older horses and he stands out as one of the best of the day. Chased hard first up at Ascot 23/01 and was particularly hard in the market against quality opposition in the $100,000 Rangeview Stud Classic (LR) last start, when looming in the straight before peaking late. That run will no doubt top him off for this assignment and he maps to enjoy a sweet run in transit, with regular rider Jason Whiting back on board. TOUCHED is racing better than her numerical form suggests, but the bar plates have gone on and that is never ideal. Still, she is building towards a peak and her best puts her right in the finish. Stablemate VITAL DANCER hasn’t quite lived up to expectations, but his last-start Pinjarra result was pretty reasonable under difficult circumstances. Maps to enjoy a much softer run and the blinkers come off to help him settle better early, while no surprise to see first-upper BUSTER’S SHADOW charging home late into a top-four finish. Has been sharpened up with two lead-up trials and the David Harrison camp are right back in form.

Tips: 4-5-2-3 Suggested: 4. FRED DAG win.


Race 5 – 4:15PM SURA HANDICAP (1208 METRES)

Less than a full field, but still not a bad Class One Handicap here, with a host of winning possibilities. But it is STORMY RULER that does appear to have the strongest formlines, having competed strongly against the likes of city-class trio Coming Around, Vital Blast and Vintage Stock in recent starts. Suited coming back in distance off a 22-day break and expecting positive tactics from Chris Parnham, from what could be a tricky draw. Race fit, in form and with even luck should take some beating. Expecting SPORTY SPICE to be fighting out the finish with William Pike back on board, beginning from a sweet low draw. Had no luck when three-wide no cover the entire at Narrogin 25/01 and she should get every chance on this occasion. DOUBLE THE PRO ran well when afforded every opportunity first up and should enjoy a similar soft run in transit, however, rising to 60kg may just take away some of his dash late, while MURRAY THE BULLDOG was rock-solid against decent opposition third up and he capable of recording another top-four finish from an inside alley.

Tips: 6-9-1-2 Suggested: 6. STORMY RULER each way.



We encounter another tricky little race and anticipating a big fresh effort from DIABLERIE at his first outing for new trainer Brock Lewthwaite. Was originally based in the south west with Bruce Watkins, where he won each of his first four starts starts at the Bunbury circuit and did go on to win at Ratings 66+ level in town and record multiple Ratings 72+ placings. Raced without a lot of luck in 12 starts with trainer Maxine Payne and his latest form is better than it reads, so he looks particularly well placed back on the provincial circuit. With William Pike on from a low draw, he should be right in the finish. DE ANDES is a tough bugger and the natural on-pacer is enjoying some of the best form of his career this campaign. The Mark Wright stable have been posting some positive results recently, and expecting this fellow to roll forward and box on strong late. CUANZO has been competitive in higher grades recently and was very strong late at Ascot on Australia Day, coming from near last on straightening. Right up in the weights, but has still has the class to figure, while SHOUHOU showed some of her old closing speed at Narrogin 25/01 and no surprise to see her flashing last with only 54.5kg on her back.

Tips: 4-8-1-9 Suggested: 4. DIABLERIE win.


Race 7 – 5:15PM CHUBB HANDICAP (2019 METRES)

Funny old race to end MGIB Raceday, which could have the potential for a blowout result. Hard to be too enthusiastic about any of these, but we simply have to side with HOODLUM THUNDER. Has obvious issues that have prevented him from fulfilling his ample potential to date, and while he’s not the most reliable horse going around, his last start Ascot placing was full of merit in what was actually quite a fast 2200-metre affair for that grade. William Pike has been given an opportunity to extract the best out of him and if HOODLUM THUNDER is on song, he really should win. TORTINA was brave when splitting in-form pair Stairwaytothemoon and Stafford’s Lad over this track/distance last time. Always tries hard and shouldn’t be far away. Was disappointed in the effort of HIGH ENERGY at Ascot 30/01, but he does look suited coming back in class and is worth one more chance, while CAPTAIN JACK is capable of bobbing up when you least expect and does race well for Randy Tan. Look out for him rolling forward and boxing on late.

Tips: 3-7-2-10 Suggested: 3. HOODLUM THUNDER win.





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