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.


No standouts in this wide open two-year-old maiden and, without a heap of confidence, we settled on LOVE ALWAYS as our on-top pick. The Brett Pope-trained filly was hard in the market ($5.50) at her Ascot debut last November but put in a poor one and was immediately spelled, however, we were quite impressed with her recent Pinjarra trial when running decent time considering she wasn’t fully tested. Rapidly improving apprentice Mollie Clark has the ride and her 3kg claim could prove invaluable late in the race. LOVE ALWAYS each way. BOGGY CREEK PRINCE couldn’t have been more impressive when spacing his rivals to win a recent trial here, however, that was his fourth official hit-out this campaign, suggesting he has been in work for some time. Still, hard not to like what we saw on March 3 and he has the gate speed to make the most of the good draw. SUPERIOR SMILE appears to have a heap of talent but is particularly wayward, with Jarrad Noske lucky not to go through the inside rail at the Belmont March 7 trials. Still looked a bit jittery at her most recent Pinjarra hit-out but hails from the red-hot Ben Pearce stable and they wouldn’t be stepping her out if she wasn’t ready, while we slotted in COUNTESS NATASHA for fourth, narrowly ahead of RETOSONA. Probably would have had COUNTESS NATASHA on top with a better draw, while we’re expecting improvement from RETOSONA after having little luck when well backed ($14 to $7.50) last start.

Tips: 12-1-3-7 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (12) LOVE ALWAYS each way.


Competitive three-year-old maiden and we’re going to stick with SCANDAL MAKER having selected him on top at his past two appearances. Gunned down in the shadows of the past after leading them up two back before running into the particularly sharp Scalpel last time, finishing 1-1/4 lengths ahead of Vermont Lady who we fancy to win later in the day. We expect Brad Parnham to be positive from the high draw and either lead or race outside the leader, and SCANDAL MAKER has a form and race-fitness edge on his rivals. DOUBLE EDGED comes out of the same race as SCANDAL MAKER and put up a decent debut effort after facing the breeze in the three-wide line throughout. Will benefit significantly from the raceday experience and we expect him to figure prominently. DENIM PACK ran out of his skin at huge odds ($81) against quality opposition on debut at Ascot and that effort provides him with the perfect platform for this second-up assignment. Drawn to get the right run and he has to rate among the main fancies, while SHE BANGS THE DRUM gets our nod for fourth ahead of intriguing first-starter MYBAK. SHE BANGS THE DRUM is coming off a less than ideal 50-day break, but has her share of ability, while MYBAK was never out of first gear in a recent trial here and has the key booking of William Pike. Worth monitoring betting closely.

Tips: 1-4-8-12 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (1) SCANDAL MAKER to win.


We managed to work this All Aged Maiden down to four genuine winning hopes and we’re quite bullish about VERMONT LADY, despite her record of performing below market expectations in the past. Backed into tote favourite ($2.70) when resuming here last start but found Scalpel and Scandal Maker too sharp of an unsuitable 1008 metres, however, she did hold her own late in the sit-and-sprint affair. Blinkers on and the step up to 1200 metres are ticks, as is the low draw and the booking William Pike, not to mention the recent super-hot form of the Justin Warwick stable. This is the right race for VERMONT LADY to break through. Talented type MANTIME will no doubt have his share of admirers dropping back to maiden company after three starts in Open 3YO Handicaps. We thought his last run was only fair and the 1200 metres here is a slight query, but all his formlines standout and he does have a class edge on most of these. Stablemate KIMBO’S GIRL hasn’t exactly done the right thing by her supporters over the journey, having been hard in the market when well backed at each of her eight starts. Was given a testing workout in a recent Pinjarra trial and perhaps that heat win will help her confidence level racing first up in this, while THE BUNYAH POEM notched up three top-three finishes when last in work and wasn’t knocked around in a recent trial here. Must be included.

Tips: 13-6-12-9
Suggested Bet: (13) VERMONT LADY to win.


We can make a case for plenty in this wide open All Aged Maiden and eventually came up with MAYBE ONE MORE on top. Has had plenty of chances but he appears to be building towards a peak performance with regular recent racing, after enduring an interrupted start to his prep. Backed in to tote favourite ($3.20) in a similar assignment to this here last start and was only a long head away in a three-way finish, and that effort was an improvement on his previous York result. We expect the in-form Lee Newman to work forward from the high draw to race on top of the speed and, with even luck in running, MAYBE ONE MORE looks cherry ripe to break through. The consistent WARBO N’GRATO enjoyed the run of the race from the inside draw at Pinjarra last start and ran into a horse we have a bit of time for in Taxagano. Good effort and he looks set to enjoy a similar soft run in transit from another inside alley. FLY AWAY PETER comes out of the same race as MAYBE ONE MORE and could count himself a bit stiff when unable to get the clear running he needed in the straight. Was well fancied ($4.80) on that occasion and we expect him to be well found again in this similar task, while ONAPARA ran into a very smart customer in Mycroft when returning from a a 35-day break here last start and he should enjoy the right run from a low draw. Blackfriars filly LARVOTTO in an interesting runner who could run a cheeky race third up at the mile.

Tips: 1-2-9-14 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (1) MAYBE ONE MORE each way.


Good clash this between promising three-year-olds BUSHFIRE BLONDE and MELTING POINT, and we’re going to stick with BUSHFIRE BLONDE, who was good to us last start when out-muscling Regal Class in a strong finish, with that filly going on to win on Bunbury Stakes Day. Although it was only a sit-and-sprint we felt the Bec Nairn-trained filly was strong on the line over 1420 metres and don’t expect the mile to pose any issues, especially as they are unlikely to go too hard out in front. BUSHFIRE BLONDE has gate speed, so should be able to take up a forward position from a mid draw, and we expect her to win again. MELTING POINT competed well behind smart youngster Friaresque in a similar event to this here two back and followed it up with another competitive effort at Ascot last start. Appears to have his share of ability and with William Pike in the saddle is the main danger. We didn’t mind the run of BIG CABBAGE in Class Three company at Ascot last start, confirming his preference for the mile after blowing up over the 2238 metres here two back. Pope stable continues to post positive results and BIG CABBAGE is certainly in the mix, while the ultra-consistent MISS MEIKA rarely puts a hoof wrong and she finished close-up in a similar assignment to this here last start.

Tips: 6-1-2-3
Suggested Bet: (6) BUSHFIRE BLONDE to win.


This is a tricky Class One sprint and we looked for the horse that was going to get the right run and, despite his less-than-impressive winning record, we settled on FOXINATOR. William Pike is back in the saddle having piloted him to victory at Mt Barker four back and since that win he has posted three top-four finishes, including a narrow defeat on Esperance Cup Day. Race-fit, in-form and racing back on his home deck from a good draw, we expect FOXINATOR to give you a run for your money each way. We didn’t mind GLEN ALBYN last start and he ran really well dropping back to the 1108 metres here, hitting the line hard, and we feel as though his formlines stack up nicely for this. Racing competitively and must rate among the main chances. SALTY can gallop but is very hard to catch, although, he did put the writing on the wall with a big finish at Pinjarra last start. Traffic issues on that occasion proved costly, as he would have gone close to winning with clear galloping room, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see Ross Price saddle up a winner on Bunbury Cup Day. We slipped ANOTHER REMARK in for fourth, just ahead of AVON TRADER, as he goes forward and makes his own luck, and he did set a cracking tempo in a fast race at Pinjarra last start.

Tips: 2-5-6-1
Suggested Bet: (2) FOXINATOR each way.


Really good contest this and we found it hard to separate our top four picks, eventually selecting REMEMBER BERLIN to get the job done. Was hard in the market ($4.40 second favourite) when resuming against Sunday’s Rangeview Stud Classic winner Quilista at Ascot last start, but found that super filly too good on the day. That testing first-up effort will provide him with a perfect platform for this assignment, and we do like the fact he has gate speed and is able to make his own luck out in front. REMEMBER BERLIN is unbeaten second up and we expect him to be very hard to get past late. STAR GLITTER has the best formlines of the race, coming through two fast Graduation Handicaps at Ascot, competing against some quality opposition. Does struggle to win (7.14%), but he’s rarely raced better and he does look well placed back in this Class Five handicap. Quality type DIABLERIE couldn’t have done a lot more than he did when accounting for Diamond Princess last start, with that filly going on to place here on Bunbury Stakes Day. Building a terrific record and we probably would have had him on top jumping from a low draw, while REAL ICON looked back on track on Esperance Cup Day and the form out of that race has stood up well since. Goes good when right and should get the right run from a low draw.

Tips: 2-5-8-9 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (2) DIABLERIE to win (*amended after final scratchings).


Plenty to like about this year’s edition of the Bunbury Cup and we’re strong in our views of rising star and likely short-priced favourite MATERIAL MAN. Sat outside a slow tempo in the Prince Of Wales Hotel Cup last start and was still good enough to out-sprint his rivals, no doubt enjoying the softer hit-out after two Ascot gut-busters to kick off his prep. The son of Vital Equine has already displayed courage and versatility this campaign and we’re confident he has another level to go to fourth up over the 2200 metres. MATERIAL MAN knows how to win (66.66%) and, with even luck in running, we can’t see him getting beaten. DARK ALERT was super in the Prince Of Wales Hotel Cup when racing for the first time since the Perth Cup on New Year’s Eve. This fellow has the staying chops to potentially match MATERIAL MAN and William Pike has given punters a lead by hopping off FALCON CREST to pilot DARK ALERT. Has to rate as the main danger. While FALCON CREST appeared disappointing on paper last start we don’t believe he appreciated the walk-and-sprint tempo and probably can’t run home much quicker than the 33.84 he clocked. His form through fast lead-up races stacks up so well and we’re prepared to give him another chance with big-race rider Peter Hall in the saddle, while last year’s runner-up TONTO just edges out ZARANTZ for fourth. TONTO has enjoyed the perfect preparation leading into this year’s Cup, while ZARANTZ can improve off his encouraging first-up Prince Of Wales Hotel Cup effort.

Tips: 3-4-7-2
Suggested Bet: (3) MATERIAL MAN to win.


Tough end to Bunbury Cup day, with no real standouts, but we’re sticking with SONNEN on the four-day back up. Ready for the 2200 metres now at his fifth run in and he was only a short neck away in a competitive Class 5 here on Bunbury Stakes Day. SONNEN appears to have a class and stamina edge on these. BON SIGNORE has recorded three top-four finishes over this trip leading into this assignment and must rate among the main fancies on current form. GINGER NINJA ran on well to score at his first attempt over a middle distance last start and the form out of that race stacks up well, while BOOM BOOM BANG comes out of the same race as SONNEN, although this 2200-metre journey may just see him out.

Tips: 2-7-3-11 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (2) SONNEN to win.

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.