The feature races of Saturday come at Ipswich with the Eye Liner Stakes and Ipswich Cup.
In Sydney and Melbourne, it is competitive winter racing at Rosehill and Sandown.
We pick out the best bets for the key racing with our weekend best bets.
Only two last-start winners line up in this year’s Ipswich Cup but Tony Pike’s mare has had a solid preparation for this and looms as a real each-way chance. TERRA SANCTA ($7.00 TopBetta) is three starts into this campaign and looks set to show her best here. She has had two runs since crossing the Tasman (for the second time), where she finished mid-field at Doomben in Listed company then last start was never on the track when finishing sixth behind Lota Creek Gold here two weeks ago. Her last visit here saw her win three of her four starts on Queensland tracks and Pike has put the blinkers back on and removed the tongue tie for this as part of her preparation. With those three starts behind her, she should be at her peak for this and shapes up as good value.
ASTERIUS ($2.40 TopBetta) came with a booming run last start to win by 3.3 lengths as he defeated Gresham who finished 2.4 lengths from Star Of The Seas last Saturday. He has plenty of upside, will get a soft run from the inside gate and should finish over the top of them with just 54.5kg on his back.
Not only does SYLVIA’S MOTHER ($1.80 TopBetta) boast a fantastic 1100m record of four wins and a placing from five attempts, but her recent barrier trial showed she’s returned in great order. Team Hawkes stepped her out in an 894m trial at Rosehill on a Soft 7 where she just towed herself up to the leader in the straight and won effortlessly. She looks forward enough to run a big race first-up, and she maps perfectly from barrier 5.
BEAU BALMAIN ($4.00 TopBetta) was huge last start for his first run in Australia, running third behind Pacodali and Live And Free. I love the way he moves and his action around Caulfield suggests to me that he will love the big, wide open spaces of Sandown. The map looks perfect for the two favourites, I have Darabad pushing up and leading Alward and Lucabelle, with Willi Willi and Thunder Cloud behind those. Beau Balmain should find himself in a perfect spot three pairs back in the running line with Pacodali on his back.