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

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

RACE 1 WELCOME TO 2017 HANDICAP 12:48 PM (1016M)

A tricky little pay one-two to kick things off and we ended up settling on capable local mare SPIRITUAL EYES. Was kept safe in betting when resuming against similar opposition at Ascot last start and worked home nicely to finish only a length from the winner. We’re expecting her to be fully tuned up for this second-up assignment and we can see her settling outside the leader and controlling the race from there. SPIRITUAL EYES narrowly. BOMBS AWAY is the class runner of the race and he makes his four-year-old return, with apprentice Tayla Stone bringing his handicap back to a reasonable 58kg. Performed well against smart opposition in a recent Belmont trial, so he appears ready to perform well fresh, and we’re expecting him to jump straight to the front from the low draw. MR AFRICAN was ridden off the pace second up at Ascot last start and showed that could be his preferred style when hitting the line hard and carving out a slick final 600-metre time. Look out for him charging home again late, while SECRET ASSAULT knocked off most of these at Ascot last start but the tricky gate means he’s unlikely to enjoy the same cozy run he experienced on that occasion.

Tips: 6-1-3-2
Suggested Bet: (6) SPIRITUAL EYES to win.


William Pike is back in Bunbury for the first time since November 30 and ‘The Wizard’ looks like returning to the winners’ circle nice and early aboard CLOAK AND DAGGER. We’ve been tracking this three-year-old all preparation and have liked what we’ve seen, settling worse than midfield on both occasions before making up many lengths in the straight. Appears to be screaming out for the seven furlongs at his third run in and the low draw may even see the Dan Morton-trained youngster being ridden a bit closer to the leaders. CLOAK AND DAGGER to get the cash. SHIBUYA CROSSING has been knocking on the door with three straight top-three finishes to his name. The awkward alley means he may have to drift back a spot further than preferred, but we still expect him to be running on into the placings again. NODUSTONME is a horse we have a bit of time for and he simply got too far out of his ground here last start. The run was much better than it appears on paper and this smaller field will also be to his liking, while DUKEAZZA competed well when fancied on debut and is bred to appreciate the step up in distance second up.

Tips: 4-2-1-5
Suggested Bet: (4) CLOAK AND DAGGER to win.


We’re impressed by local three-year-old FINANCE and are quite bullish about his winning chances here. The Greg Carige-trained son of Key Business showed up big time at the Bunbury 6 December trials, before a huge debut performance when sweeping around the field from the tail to run on into third place, in a race dominated by the on-pacers. Another awkward draw means he will more than likely drift back worse than midfield, however, he has a sharp turn-of-foot and we’re expecting FINANCE to be able to cover these comfortably. FONTAINEBLEAU looked all at sea on debut at Pinjarra recently but we did like the way she switched on late and ran right through the finish line. Gives us the impression she’ll appreciate stepping up to the seven furlongs and we’re expecting her to get back and finish off strong. AMALIEMOO jumped out of the ground late to miss out narrowly over 10008 metres here last start and looks set to enjoy a soft run in transit jumping from a good draw. This filly is no doubt going to vie for favouritism but we felt as though the distance may just stretch her and leave her vulnerable late, while PREMIUM REWARD led from barrier eight and stuck on well first up last time and we’re expecting another competitive effort from a similar awkward alley in this.

Tips: 2-11-7-9
Suggested Bet: (2) FINANCE each way.


It was hard not be be impressed with the slashing debut performance of FAST AS THE WIND at Ascot recently, with the nicely bred filly getting a long way out of her ground from barrier 14, before charging home over three lengths faster than any other runner to finish third behind in-form stablemate General Husson. The daughter of Blackfriars is unlikely to get that far back jumping from a low draw here and it’s hard seeing any of her opposition being able to match her at the finish. FAST AS THE WIND will be short but will be winning. PERSONA met with strong support second up here last start and did a pretty decent job to box on and finish as close as she did, after covering additional ground in running when unable to slot in from barrier 11. She did lead on debut, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see her work forward to set the pace and if she gets an easy time of things, could prove difficult to get past. SUPERFINE comes out of the same race as FAST AS THE WIND, finishing fourth after enjoying a nice run behind the leader. Likely to enjoy a similar passage from a good draw here and he’s a lock for your exotics, while IT’S A CHANCE was big second up in a similar assignment to this last start and is a horse with some ability.

Tips: 11-7-5-2
Suggested Bet: (11) FAST AS THE WIND to win.


We were tossing up as to which Simon A. Miller horse we were going to put on top, but we threw that plan out the window and decided to go a little left of centre and lock in MISS PLANET on top. On paper it appears as though she was a failed favourite on debut at Narrogin last start, however, that is certainly not the case with everything that could go wrong, going horribly wrong. We did kind of like the addition of William Pike to the equation, which is obviously a significant positive, and we think MISS PLANET might be able to get under the guard of some more fancied rivals. The Miller-prepared pair MR MURT and SIR SNUGALOT appear likely to fight for favouritism, and we’re leaning towards the more professional in MR MURT after SIR SNUGALOT raced waywardly on debut recently. Both are going to push forward from their awkward draws and race on speed, and both are going to take some getting past in the straight, while A PATCH ON KNEE was a big improver second up last start when being sent forward to outside the leader and he’s likely to land in a similarly prominent position jumping from a sweet draw.

Tips: 10-4-5-1
Suggested Bet: (10) MISS PLANET each way.


We liked what we saw from UNDETERRED at Narrogin last start, with the Durrant/Miller-prepared four-year-old putting his rivals to the sword at his second start this preparation. The son of Demerit toyed with his rivals on that occasion, however, he has been slowly away at both runs this campaign and we’re hoping that hasn’t become a bad habit. With a clean getaway we can see him landing in a sweet spot parked just behind the leaders and the way he hit the line at Narrogin suggests it’s going to take something decent to deny him back-to-back wins. UNDETERRED on top. Three-year-old filly DIRAJA JEWEL takes on the older horses after running into a smart one second up at Ascot, having scrambled in to win her maiden when resuming at York beforehand. Yet to miss a place in six starts to date and we’re expecting her to fight out the finish. We liked ARAFURA first up last start and she did a good job to hold on and score in a deceptive finish. This mare appears to have plenty of scope and we’d be surprised if she didn’t finish top three in this, while PUCK SHAPESHIFTER put in a below-par performance last start but we’re backing him in for a return to form, with this trip more to his liking.

Tips: 2-6-4-1
Suggested Bet: (2) UNDETERRED to win.


It’s fair to say we don’t mind William Pike’s book of rides at this program and we’re looking for ‘The Wizard’ to boot home another winner in the form of three-year-old filly THUNDER BOOM. Takes on the older horses here but her two performances against decent opposition have been full of merit and she gives the impression the step up to the mile will suit. Drawn to get the gun run and THUNDER BOOM appears to have a bit of class about her. COASTAL CHILL was massive on debut recently when drifting well back from gate 14 and running on to place second in a blanket finish. May be able to land a little closer in running from the better draw and if he can hold form he’ll take some beating. FLYING MOMENT loves racing at this circuit and came close to a break through victory when missing out in a three-way photo here last start. Shouldn’t spend a dime in running from the inside alley and she’ll be thereabouts at the finish, while A FAIR LADY comes out of the same race as COASTAL CHILL and was an equally impressive performance. Can’t catch a break with the barriers, however, and she’s going to get back and need plenty of luck.

Tips: 11-3-1-10 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (11) THUNDER BOOM each way.


One of our best of the day comes up in this race with TONKATUFF being a horse on the way up. Broke through for an overdue maiden win first up here before heading to town and making a real race of it against the heavily-backed Wrinkly at Ascot last start. That performance to charge home and finish within a length of the winner was super strong and trainer Brad Graham has this horse right in the zone at present. The wide gate shouldn’t pose an issue and may simply provide followers with a better price. TONKATUFF a class above. The Stelmach Family have been enjoying some positive results with their runners over the past month or so and KEEP FLAME ALIVE appears likely to keep the good run going in this. Performed well out of her grade here last start, looks like enjoying the run of the race from the perfect draw and has the services of the in-form Shaun McGruddy too. PICKJAM has been putting in some decent performances for the Brent Larsson stable this campaign and she might be able to run a cheeky race at odds in this, while ELITE ROCK disappointed a little last start but is capable of improving in a more suitable assignment here.

Tips: 1-8-12-4
Suggested Bet: (1) TONKATUFF to win.


The Bruce Watkins stable is on a hot streak and they appear to have found themselves a pretty decent galloper in the form of MISS SONDRIO, who’ll be shooting for a hat-trick of wins in this. The Alfred Nobel four-year-old has shown impressive acceleration to score at her first two runs this preparation and all the form around her is stacking up well, with Fair Nakita romping in here on Wednesday. Is naturally taking on some better opposition with the ride in class, but she’s got some weapons and we believe MISS SONDRIO can make it three on the trot. It is a bit of a raffle after her though, with a host of runners having claims, and we decided to include PUTERI JEWEL on the strength of her recent barrier trial effort. We liked the way she hit the line on that occasion and if she brings some of her best form, she’s capable of challenging first up. BLACK GRAPE doesn’t win too often but his first-up Ascot effort was too good to ignore and he has to be included in the mix, while TIME STREAM has William Pike on board and is drawn to get a sweet run in transit.

Tips: 6-8-7-11
Suggested Bet: (6) MISS SONDRIO each way.

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.