The first Saturday metro racing of 2019 is headlined by the Group 2 Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot following the decision to switch it from New Year’s Day.
As well as Ascot’s programme, Melbourne racing comes at Caulfield and Sydney racing is at Randwick with plenty of chances to get the New Year punting off to the best possible start.
Read our best bets for the weekend below:
Race 8 – Perth Cup
The focus will once again be on William Pike and his choice of horse. He has chosen ACTION ($2.30 ClassicBet) over Mississippi Delta, who won the A.T.A. Stakes when the pair clashed pre-Christmas. Pike favours Action in this one and he suited be better suited this time around in the bigger field. Action has drawn well and looks to be crying out for the 2400m trip of the Perth Cup. He won the W.A.T.C Derby (2400m) in sensational fashion earlier this year, winning by four lengths and has produced a series of nice performances this campaign by running home well over shorter distances. He is the one to beat back up to the mile-and-a-half.
On the face of it, NOMOTHAJ ($4.40 TopBetta) was a little disappointing in 5th at Ballarat in the 3&4YO Magic Millions Classic (1100m) last start. That defeat was on a slow track, which woild be against her. But those ahead that day have performed well since, giving the form the stamp of approval. The quinella horses performed well in strong company, and Usain Bowler (3rd) came out and smashed them on New Year’s Day at Flemington. Nomothaj should also benefit back on drier ground and down to the 1000m, a distance in which she has had three runs for two wins.
MISS NORWAY ($3.10 ClassicBet) has won her last two and will be out to make it three wins in a row when she lines up in Race 5 of the day. She faces a slight rise in class but it is hard not to be impressed with her two efforts so far this preparation, displaying class to win at both at Sandown and Moonee Valley. Her career record of five wins from 10 starts could be even better as at her last preparation she produced a couple of luckless runs in her own age group at Caulfield. She should launch late from off the pace.
POETIC CHARMER ($4.20 TopBetta) is another bidding to make it three in a row. The Your Song gelding led all the way two starts back and then came from well off the pace last time to score. He maps perfectly here and is likely to get the run of the race one out and one back, and with peak fitness on his side, he looks hard to beat given Regent’s best form appears to be on rain-affected ground.
GRESHAM ($2.35 ClassicBet) has just 49kg on his back in this and is the one to beat. He’s a horse than improves deeper into a preparation with wins fourth and fifth-up backing up that notion. He also had a 2nd placing behind Gaulois and 5th placing behind Avilius over 1600m at his eighth and ninth runs last campaign. He comes into this with three good runs under his belt, and with the light weight he’ll prove hard to beat.