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.


These 2000-metre maiden events are always tough and we are greeted with only a small field here to kick start a big ten event day. LADY VALOREM has improved with each run this campaign and caught our eye with a strong finishing burst behind Call Nine One One here on January 26. That was over the same middle distance journey and from barrier one we think the Paul Jordan-trained filly can get the job done. The ultra-consistent SAXSONIC JACK drops back from a higher class race at Pinjarra on January 24 where he made late ground behind Toned and looms as the main danger. BOOYAH BOY steps up beyond 1500 metres for the first time and gets in nicely with the claim to Shelby Bowtell, while BLACK LILLY has the services of the inform Shaun McGruddy, fresh from four winners at Pinjarra on Sunday.

Tips: 7-3-4-5
Suggested Bet: (7) LADY VALOREM win bet.


This is the toughest race of the day to line things up with the most experienced horse in the race coming in with just three starts and almost half the field making their debuts. We have settled on the Patronize filly STAR OF MAGIC, who looked really strong when winning her trial on January 25. The lightly raced three-year-old showed plenty of early dash and her time stacks up really well against the day’s other winners including Let It Slip, Ruby Can Run, Swedish Memories and All Gee – three of those having won races since. Trainer David Harrison clearly has an opinion of the filly after starting her in open two-year-old company back in June. Choisir filly BELAVENIR comes out of the same trial and looked to be doing her best work late when finishing third. Trainer Stephen Miller has the hottest stable in the state and we’d be silly to leave her out. The Bruce Watkins-trained BARRY’S RABBIT wasn’t too bad last start behind All Gee here on January 26, while SIRIUS PROSPECT has trialled nicely for trainer Graeme Ballantyne.

Tips: 9-7-1-4
Suggested Bet: (9) STAR OF MAGIC each way play here but keep an eye on the market.


Passenger gelding BUSH TRACK drops back to maiden company here and looks ready to win after racing in town behind The Blue Nipper and Blackwood on January 30. Finished only two lengths back on that occasion and the start prior, made up good ground behind Fermentation which is a form line we really like. Regular rider Lisa Staples jumps back on and we think the Garry Hampson trained three-year-old will take a stack of beating. SHURIKEN STAR was well supported last time in when also finishing behind Fermentation. The Fred Kersley-trained filly has trialled nicely since and should get a lovely run from an inside draw. TAME IMPALA dropped back to easier company and a more suitable 1400 metres, and gets the same conditions here. The Aaron Bazeley trained three-year-old raced on speed to finish third on that occasion and we expect him to be there abouts again while William Pike hops aboard SKYLAR STORM, who looks to have a bit of ability.

Tips: 2-10-1-12
Suggested Bet: Very happy to get involved on (2) BUSH TRACK each way.


This looks like being a strong betting race between FIRST AFFAIR and BOOM BOOM BANG, who have both showed their fare share of talent in limited time at the track. The Lindsey Smith-trained BOOM BOOM BANG is on the seven day back up after a nice second behind Kazachka last Friday – when forced to do a lot of work early to lead from a wide gate. He drops back to 1208 metres which should suit and from a more favourable draw should be able to get it a bit easier out in front. FIRST AFFAIR was huge first up behind All Settled here on Australia Day, when making up a stack of ground to just miss. We expect the Adam Durrant-trained filly to sit midfield at worst and be a big player late. There’s been money for HELLO PARIS at her two career starts which have both been disappointing, but William Pike goes on for the powerful Grant Williams stable and we will give her another chance, while RETURN ON CAPITAL has finished in the first five at his last five runs.

Tips: 2-9-10-1
Suggested Bet: We think (9) FIRST AFFAIR will start favourite, so happy to play (2) BOOM BOOM BANG each way for a bit more value.


The Simon A. Miller-trained MISS ICONIC was sent out a $1.65 favourite first up here on Australia Day when finishing second to the ultra impressive Scotty Beau. The three-year-old filly fought on well after losing a couple of lengths when challenged for the early. Jockey Peter Knuckey will likely come across from the wide gate and sit on speed and we are expecting another big run with race experience under her belt. SPECIAL JEWEL races second up after making good late ground finishing fourth behind All Settled here on January 26. The best in the business William Pike goes on, but she will need a fair share of luck after drawing the widest gate. SECRET ASSAULT will almost certainly take up the running from an inside draw and he’ll give you a good run for your money, while GRAVY should get a lovely run just behind the hot speed for jockey Jason Whiting.

Tips: 10-12-1-8
Suggested Bet: (10) MISS ICONIC will be super short, so (12) SPECIAL JEWEL each way may be the value play.


We see the return of Bruce Watkins’ highly rated MULGA here after a four month let up and boy is he going to be hard to beat. When last in the work, the three-year-old son of Vital Equine had just two runs for two dominant wins, including a three length victory over Sharkmouth. Hasn’t trialled since but William Pike sticks and we think he is set for bigger and better things. CONE BAY has had a freshen up after finishing fifth behind Glitterbell in town on January 16, when as a $2.20 favourite returned to scale with an elevated heart rate. There is no questioning the talent of the Warwick Bradshaw-trained three year old and if right could play a major part. His maiden five length win over Rosewood Hill on December 28 looks even more impressive now, with the former going on to win two races since. OMINOUS WARNING has been a tad disappointing of late but with not a lot of depth in this race, we expect the Keith Front runner to relish a drop in grade, while the Brett Pope trained GRANLARADO makes his first appearance in seven months after a nice trail behind Let it Slip.

Tips: 4-7-3-2
Suggested Bet: We are fans of (4) MULGA. Invest for the win.


The Adam Durrant-trained HUSSON MAID looks ideally placed to make it two wins in a row in this moderate middle distance affair. Won well over the less favourable 1600-metre journey last start on January 13 and steps up to the 2019-metre journey with a nice barrier and nice weight after the claim to Clint Johnson-Porter. The month between runs is slightly concerning but any stayer from the Durrant stable is going to be rock hard fit. The Ross Priced-trained CRAFTY RED had excuses when finishing fifth as favourite behind Toned at Pinjarra on January 24. The four-year-old cast a plate and was never on the track and with a 1.5kg weight swing in his advantage, we expect a much improved effort. Honest campaigner SAXAPAK has to overcome a rise in weights after strong second last start, but Mark Wright has the son of Saxon racing really well while AIN’T BAD should sit handy from an inside draw.

Tips: 7-3-2-4
Suggested Bet: (7) HUSSON MAID to win.


Our best bet of the day comes up here with the Graeme Ballantyne-trained RUBY CAN RUN looking every bit a moral. The Passenger four-year-old comes to Bunbury after a slashing second first up behind Mighty Blonde at Ascot on January 3 and gets in really nicely with 56.5kg. She has form lines through Profit Street and Kenocha, and her second-up record is strong. The only danger appears to be the David Harrison-trained TERRORIZE who races first up from a six month spell. His prior form was solid finishing behind handy types Blacksmith and Riki Tiki Tavi, and he should be thereabouts at the finish with 4kg claiming apprentice Zack Gibbs on board. From there the race falls away with SASSO’S CIRCUS resuming for Adam Durrant and SUPER EIGHTY EIGHT appearing to be the best of the rest.

Tips: 4-1-3-5
Suggested Bet: Take the shorts about (4) RUBY CAN RUN with confidence.


The Lou Luciani-trained SNACK PACK looks to have lobbed the perfect chance to bring up career win number two, with this sprint affair not having the best of depth. The three-year-old son of Fath finished just over a length behind Red Paddy in town last start and this looks a fair bit easier. He gets in here with just 55.5kg after the claim to Fiona Bell and from a handy inside draw we expect him to lead and win. CARDUP LEGEND looms as the main danger with ‘The Wizard’ William Pike jumping on. Finished a length behind Buster’s Secret on resumption, has a handy second-up record and is nicely drawn towards the fence. The Colin Webster-trained KEETO has been okay this time in, with a last-start fifth behind Queen of Choice reading well, while the Lindsey Smith-trained STUB ‘N’ COW has a win and a third from two starts this campaign and has to rate among the better chances.

Tips: 3-6-11-7
Suggested Bet: This looks a great option for (3) SNACK PACK. Invest for the win.


YES YOU CAN was a bit stiff last start when just failing to run down Flight of Fancy as a $3.50 favourite here on January 26. Was bustled and bumped down the straight and had to be steadied off heels at the 400-metre mark, but still stretched out in the final 50 metres. The Robert and Todd Harvey runner was brilliant in breaking her maiden tag at the start prior and from an inner draw should be right in the finish. FALCON CREST was sent out a short-priced favourite first up at Pinjarra when finishing fourth behind Excellently. That looks a strong form line for this race and with the claim to Clint Johnson-Porter has to rate highly. The Grant Williams-trained PARIS ROMANCE was a touch disappointing finishing eighth first up here on January 14. However, William Pike goes on and we expect sharp improvement from the three-year-old filly, while POLITICS is a get-back type and if the speed is strong, watch out for the Brett Albuino runner to be flying late.

Tips: 4-1-9-8
Suggested Bet: We really like (4) YES YOU CAN on a win-only basis.

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.