Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up (by Thoroheads) provides in-depth summaries, tips, suggested bets and suggested quaddies.

Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up (by Thoroheads) provides in-depth summaries, tips, suggested bets and suggested quaddies.


The first provincial two-year-old race for the season opens the New Year’s Raceday and we were impressed with the trial win of the Stephen Miller-trained FEISTY FELIX at Lark Hill on December 14, working to the line under a good hold for apprentice Randy Tan. Miller stable apprentice Tan is an emerging young talent and his 3kg claim may prove valuable for the Blackfriars filly’s winning chances. FEISTY FELIX on top. The only tried horse in the race PRINCE MOURITZ goes in for second on the strength of his debut Initial Plate placing at Belmont on October 3. Would have liked to have seen him at this trials prior to this outing, however, he has race experience on his rivals and must warrant respect. MISS SOMEBODY caught the eye when winning her Belmont trial on December 21 and should enjoy a nice, soft run from the inside barrier, while GUEST EXPRESS competed well in his latest trial outing and the Simon A. Miller stable can never be underestimated with young horses.

Tips: 8-1-9-3
Suggested Bet: (8) FEISTY FELIX each way.


The speed is going to be right on here with virtually the entire field appearing to prefer leading on settling up on top of the speed, and in a really difficult race we are locking in BREGENZ on top. The Kaphero three-year-old raced outside the leader at Narrogin on December 19 and rallied well under pressure to be beaten only a head by Gondo Rose. Should be able to make the most of his inner barrier draw and may even enjoy a soft run on the leader’s back, not a bad position to be in with the cutaway rail in play. Tough race but BREGENZ gets our nod. We quite liked the trial of JUST BUBBLES at Belmont on December 21 when showing good gate speed to lead and jockey Ryan Hill did not knock her around over the final stages. Capable of leading or racing outside the leader and she warrants consideration on debut. BUSTER’S SECRET was another to trial well recently when stepping out for the first time for new trainer Robin Elliott and this mare will also push forward, while INTERCITY DISCO also possesses gate speed will more than likely attempt to hold the lead from barrier one.

Tips: 3-6-4-9
Suggested Bet: (3) BREGENZ each way.


Despite jumping up sharply in distance this looks an ideal race for the Michael Lane-trained STANDUP’N’DELIVER to break maiden status. Having not finished further back than fourth in four starts this campaign, the honest four-year-old has significantly stronger formlines than his rivals and should push forward from his awkward barrier draw. Blinkers come off to help him relax over the 2019 metres and STANDUP’N’DELIVER looks a standout here. CRAFTY RED is a Kiwi-bred staying type who has been steadily improving in three starts this campaign and should be able to tuck in and enjoy a soft run in transit from barrier one. Bred to appreciate this middle-distance and we’re expecting a top-three finish from him. GREATER IMPACT has race fitness and a staying pedigree so has to be included in the mix, while NISHIO placed in a similar assignment to this two starts back and can’t be left out of your Firs Fours.

Tips: 1-4-9-8
Suggested Bet: (1) STANDUP’N’DELIVER should be winning but will be short, so the improving (4) CRAFTY RED could be the value place play.


The Simon A. Miller-trained CANNY TIME was most impressive at the Belmont trials on December 21 when kicking clear before being eased down considerably by jockey Peter Knuckey over the final 100 metres. Don’t let the racebook fool you as this filly could have won that heat by panels and we’re expecting CANNY TIME to jump well, cross to lead and run her rivals ragged in the straight. FORTY FOUR RED is another racing first-up on the strength of a smart Belmont trial win and he did strike three rain-affected tracks during his initial racing campaign last winter. Looked very fluent in his action and jockey Jarrad Noske has hopped off our third selection WAR IN PARIS to ride the Chris Gangemi-trained chestnut. WAR IN PARIS has yet to miss a place in four starts and the two horses she finished behind at Pinjarra last start (Great Shot and Merrijig) have both won since. Another wide barrier hinders her winning chances but she does have the services of Paul Harvey, while FASHION GIRL caught the eye when running on from last to finish fourth at Pinjarra last start and look out for her steaming home at the finish again.

Tips: 12-4-7-15 (*Numbers amended after final scratchings.)
Suggested Bet: (12) CANNY TIME looks sharp and will have admirers. Play the win.


It was hard not be be impressed with the first-up performance of STAR BAY at Ascot on December 16 when charging home from well back on the turn for a slashing fourth behind stablemate Flying Image. Rating peaked at 66 after back-to-back midweek Belmont wins last campaign before sliding down to 63 at the end of the preparation, resulting in him appearing well suited with only 58kg in this grade. STAR BAY won’t have to get as far back here from the batter barrier draw and he looks one of the better bets on the program. ELEVEN SECONDS is next best and you can forget he went around first-up at Ascot on December 23 when being badly blocked for runs and suffering significant interference. Step up in distance is a query but shouldn’t have to spend a dime in running from the inner barrier draw, especially with the cutaway rail in play. LET’S GO LAKERS is having his second start for the Justin Warwick stable and has the services of his daughter and star jockey Lucy Warwick. That is a positive riding change and blinkers have been added to his gear to sharpen him up, while HUE AND CRY was well fancied first-up at Ascot on December 16 and is much better than that performance suggests. Look out for sharp improvement from him.

Tips: 6-5-2-3
Suggested Bet: (6) STAR BAY looks well placed here and makes strong each-way appeal.


This is a pretty tricky second leg of the Quaddie with a host of winning chances on paper and with a distinct lack of confidence we are placing the honest Bruce Watkins-trained DIVA ROSE on top. We have a bit of time for this mare and she showed plenty of depth here last start when finishing second behind Prentice after coming off a 28-day break. Jockey Jason Whiting has a task on his hands to slot in from the wide alley, however, if he can manage to get some cover then we expect DIVA ROSE to prove very hard to beat. Three-year-old filly IN THIS LIFE is coming out of a strong 1800-metre assignment against her own age at Ascot last start and she boxed on fairly after being ridden fairly aggressively in the early stages. Paul Harvey goes on board here and this appears to be a drop in grade. Trainer Deane Skipworth is doing a great job with GRAPHIC DETAIL and it’s hard seeing him missing a place from the handy barrier draw. Was a bit unlucky not to win last start and he should get his chance, while we were impressed with the maiden win of READY TO FIRE last start and she can’t be left out of your First Fours. Tough race.

Tips: 5-14-2-10
Suggested Bet: (5) DIVA ROSE should ease to a nice quote with her wide barrier draw. Follow her each way.


Astute trainer David Harrison has opted to utilise the 3kg claim of stable apprentice Kate Fitzgerald aboard the handy ROGER THE ROMAN and we feel this could prove the difference, with the pacey four-year-old likely to roll forward from a handy barrier draw and race on-pace. Heads to Bunbury with some sound formlines and ROGER THE ROMAN will be well fancied and deservedly so. Hard to beat. MR AFRICAN is a horse we have some time for and the engagement of Ryan Hill is a positive riding change, after the giant five-year-old missed a place when well supported at Narrogin last start. Looking for sharp improvement reasonably odds from him. Three-year-old SNACK PACK is taking on the older horses after leading them up against his own age in town last start. Trainer Lou Luciani did breeze him up in a 400-metre trial here on Tuesday (not in official racebook) and he has to rate among the winning chances in this grade, while MISS WALPOLE has been thereabouts in recent times and the Scottish Trader and Discord Witch formlines read quite well.

Tips: 3-1-6-5
Suggested Bet: (3) ROGER THE ROMAN ticks a few boxes and we can’t see him missing a place. Each way.


We follow the Great Southern racing season closely and have plenty of time for the talented Peter Western-trained ZIPABOUT, who heads to Bunbury after two Albany Rating 68+ outings this campaign. Gets in fairly well with 59.5kg after the country/metropolitan ratings adjustment and he did come to Bunbury and carry 57.5kg to victory in a similar assignment to this last February. ZIPABOUT has more than his share of ability and looms as the value bet of the day. FURIOUS DAME returns to the inner-provincial circuit after getting mowed down late by the smart Wild Ruby at Albany last start and she drops 2.5kg on that run, mainly due to Clint Johnston-Porter’s 2kg claim. She has to rate among the main winning chances, as does three-year-old AIRLIE SUN, who is coming out of tough metropolitan company in his own age group. Did win twice at Belmont during his two-year-old season so he is no slouch, while MIGHTY BLONDE drops 5.5kg after her second-up outing here on December 20. Look out for her swooping late.

Tips: 1-4-8-7
Suggested Bet: (1) ZIPABOUT is a get back, run on sprinter. Look out for him charging home at healthy each-way odds.

The Leg Up is provided by Thoroheads — Digital content producers servicing the Western Australian Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry.

​Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Bunbury Turf Club.