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.


Only a small field to face the starter in the distance race on the card and while it wouldn’t surprise to see any one of the six runners salute, we eventually settled on in-form mare GRINDABELLA as our on-top selection. We were confident of her winning chances here on October 20 and she didn’t let us down when comfortably outstaying her rivals over this distance, and she was brave in defeat at Ascot last Tuesday, going down a head when conceding the winner 3.5kg. GRINDABELLA reunites with regular rider Randy Tan and his 1.5kg claim will come in handy over the 11 furlongs. LADY TRADER has returned as a seven-year-old in career-best form with three strong performances this preparation and she was brought unstuck in a super slowly run, leader-dominated affair at Ascot on October 26. On paper this race looks likely to be conducted at a more even pace and LADY TRADER will get her chance. THE KARNUP KID hasn’t done a lot wrong in recent times, heading to Bunbury in search of a third straight victory, but we’re thinking he might not be able to control the tempo as well as he has at his past two outings, while SAXAPAK comes out of the same race as LADY TRADER and THE KARNUP KID, and is always a contender in these type of races on his home track.

Tips: 1-3-2-5
Suggested Bet: (1) GRINDABELLA to win.


An even three-year-old maiden here, with not a lot of exposed form to work with, and we eventually came up with Nicconi filly AKIKO at her first start for new trainer Anne King. Showed a bit in two starts as a winter two-year-old and appeared in good order when producing an eye-catching effort at the October 31 Lark Hill trials. AKIKO has the services of quality hoop Glenn Smith and we’re expecting this filly to drift back and charge home over the top late. First starter THE DIARY wasn’t knocked around in his October 31 Lark Hill trial and we liked the way he found the line, stretching out nicely late, and the same can be said for fellow debutante THROUGH THE GLASS, who improved significantly at her second trial outing on the same day and hails from the powerful Durrant/Miller camp. We didn’t mind the effort of SMILES DON’T LIE in a sharp Northam maiden on October 23 and she should enjoy a nice run in transit just behind the leading division.

Tips: 6-5-11-1
Suggested Bet: (6) AKIKO each way.


A small but competitive Class 1 Handicap here and we’re liking the looks of maiden three-year-old SLICK MOVER. Was big on debut at Northam on October 13 and followed that up with an even better performance when a well-supported favourite at Ascot last Tuesday. Hasn’t enjoyed the best of luck from awkward barrier draws at either start, however, that changes here having drawn the inside alley with the cutaway rail in play. Horses are running for jockey Brad Parnham at the moment and SLICK MOVER is a progressive type, who gets his chance to record a maiden victory here. MISS ICONIC isn’t one of the punting public’s more popular horses having been a beaten favourite on more than one occasion, however, she will more than likely start favourite again here. Did have excuses last start when found to be lame post-race and at her best she will take some beating against this line up. VENUS EBONY will be starting for the first time in 50 days, which suggests she may have had a setback, however she is a mare with a big finish and her last-start York performance was pretty sharp, while FLY AWAY PETER is our value selection after having no luck in a similar assignment to this here last Tuesday. Got squeezed out when looking a winning chance on that occasion and with only 53.5kg on his back from a good gate, he can run a cheeky race at odds.

Tips: 5-3-4-6
Suggested Bet: (5) SLICK MOVER to win.


This maiden is one of the more interesting races on the program with exciting trial winners STELLAR IGNITION and JUST A FLUKE, and the promising DUTCH SPY all considered strong winning chances. And we’re going to trust our eye and lock in the Simon A. Miller-trained three-year-old STELLAR IGNITION on top after his sharp win at the October 31 Lark Hill trials. Relished the addition of blinkers on that occasion, showing impressive gate speed and striding to the line under a good hold, and STELLAR IGNITION looks like racing on-speed and taking some catching on debut. JUST A FLUKE couldn’t have been any more impressive when dropping gears like a serious talent and scoring a 7-1/4 length win at the October 24 Lark Hill trials, defeating subsequent York maiden winner Macavity. That was an exceptional trial win yet we wonder if it was a little too good, and whether he will be able to hold that peak through to this run. DUTCH SPY was well supported when resuming here last Tuesday and he worked home nicely when chasing the sharp Kramden over 1008m. Suited stepping up slightly in distance and should be able to be a little closer to the speed jumping from a handy barrier second up, so it wouldn’t surprise us to see him knock off the two main fancies, while we’re expecting an improved effort from MARY ABACUS, who had no luck first up and should enjoy the run of the race from the good gate.

Tips: 9-4-1-5
Suggested Bet: (9) STELLAR IGNITION each way.


We have been tracking the progress of the Ross Price-prepared SIR VATICAN and believe he looks ready to break through at his third run this campaign. Has caught the eye at his first two outings this prep when running on well from back in the field, however, he shouldn’t have to get as far back from the better barrier in this event. In-form senior jockey Brad Parnham replaces apprentice Fiona Bell and we’re quite bullish about the chances of SIR VATICAN here. REUNION HILL was well supported second up over the mile at Northam last start and had every chance when narrowly missing a top-three finish. Will be racing for the first time in 28 days, but he won’t lack anything in fitness coming from the Durrant/Miller yard and he has to be included among the main contenders. DIXIE WIN endured a tough run in transit jumping from barrier 16 here last start but we were encouraged by the way she stuck on to finish only two lengths from the winner. She should relish jumping from a low draw here and is a must for your Exotics, while we didn’t mind the effort of CLARKE at the October 24 Lark Hill trials and we’re expecting this three-year-old to make his presence felt on debut.

Tips: 3-4-8-10
Suggested Bet: (3) SIR VATICAN each way.


We narrowed the second division of the seven-furlong maiden to a race between AWAKEN and MAREGA, and have opted for the Peters Investments filly AWAKEN to get the job done on debut. Looked like a different horse when the blinkers were added at her second trial outing this preparation (October 24), travelling strongly in transit and displaying some gears in the straight to comfortably win her heat. That performance suggests she has class on her side and AWAKEN gets our nod. We have been encouraged by the efforts of MAREGA at his two appearances to date and he comes out of a strong form race here last start. Drawn to get the run of the race behind the leading division and will get his chance with the cutaway rail in play. MR UNDERCOVER drops back to maiden company after an eye-catching effort first-up in a sharp 1000m assignment at Ascot. We liked the way he got home on that occasion and the step up in distance is likely to suit, while ASIAN PEARL may be able to add some value to your Exotics after a sound first-up effort at Narrogin. Distance is a test but should enjoy a soft run in transit from her low barrier draw.

Tips: 12-6-9-13 (*Amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (12) AWAKEN each way.


We are looking forward to the return of unbeaten mare BLACK FREDA after an impressive two-start winter campaign netted victories over this distance at Northam and Pinjarra. The Gary Hitchcock-trained five-year-old turned in an interesting trial performance here on October 21, when struggling to keep up early, before responding to Brad Parnham’s urgings and finishing off fairly well. Appeared a little ‘ring rusty’ on that occasion but the hit-out will have done her the world of good, and this doesn’t appear to be an overly strong Class 3 assignment. BLACK FREDA to make it three from three. ONE HOT FOX appears to be the main danger after a good effort at Ascot last Tuesday. Drawn to get a nice, soft run in transit and Randy Tan’s claim gives her a 3kg advantage over our on-top pick. EXCUSE ME MAK is an honest customer who probably should have finished a little closer in this company at Ascot last Tuesday, when not getting a lot of galloping room on the turn and in the early part of the straight. She is a must for your Exotics, while don’t be surprised to see local mare SHE’S GLORIOUS run a cheeky race at odds first up. We didn’t mind her recent trial effort and she showed a bit during her previous campaign.

Tips: 6-8-3-9
Suggested Bet: (6) BLACK FREDA each way.


Veteran trainer Dennis Barker appears to have found himself a handy prospect in the form of untapped five-year-old DIPLOMAT EXPRESS, and the fast-finishing son of Danehill Express is a big chance of posting back-to-back wins. Finished powerfully from last on the turn to break through over the mile at Northam on October 27 and he appears to be a horse on the way up. Needs a bit of luck as he likes to drift back in his races but we’re pretty keen on DIPLOMAT EXPRESS each way to finish the day. BOZCCADA improved nicely second up to place behind DIPLOMAT EXPRESS last start and he looms as the main danger here. His form appears to be trending in the right direction and he shouldn’t have to spend a dime in running jumping from his low draw. We expected improvement from NOT AGAIN KEN last start and he relished the role of pacemaker when holding on to break through. Shouldn’t be troubled by the step up in distance here and we’re expecting another competitive performance, while SCORELINE wasn’t far away second up at Northam last start and should be closing in on his best form third up, over the mile and at his home track.

Tips: 2-1-3-8
Suggested Bet: (2) DIPLOMAT EXPRESS 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.