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.


Tough three-year-old maiden to kick us off, and we decided to follow William Pike’s lead and lock in TOP OF THE CLASS on top. ‘The Wizard’ hopped off SECRET PARK is favour of the Michael Lane-trained daughter of Star Witness, who looked sharp when winning a Bunbury trial recently. The form out of that trial reads well enough through Fireman Freddie, and we’re expecting TOP OF THE CLASS to overcome an awkward barrier and be too strong at the finish. Nicely bred filly SECRET PARK was well supported at her Pinjarra debut and produced an even effort down the Straight 1000. Drawn to get the run of the race stepping up to a more suitable six furlongs and we can’t see her missing a place. Debutante PINBALL WIZARD is unbeaten at the trials and will no doubt have his share of admirers, particularly hailing from the Team Williams camp, while we didn’t mind the way NAZARETH his the line on debut and should be suited up in distance with the blinkers on.

Tips: 12-11-7-3
Suggested Bet: (12) TOP OF THE CLASS each way.


The Simon A. Miller team has hit back hard over the past month and the stable’s good form looks set to continue with Denman three-year-old MANTIME. Did disappoint when well fancied at his Bunbury debut in October, however, it was hard to ignore the way he hit the line when winning at the Lark Hill trials last week, clocking the fastest heat time of the session. Has an awkward barrier draw to contend with but he wasn’t bustled in his trial and he responded by finishing off powerfully late. MANTIME appears to have an edge on these. THE GOSPEL SIN showed promise during his previous racing campaign and wasn’t knocked around in a recent Bunbury trial, his second trial outing this prep. Drawn to land in a reasonable position and we’re expecting him to figure prominently at his first start in 11 months. We’ve been tracking the progress of DIA DE LA RAZA and have liked his two efforts this prep, however, he hasn’t raced in 28 days which may suggest a minor setback. Still he’s drawn well and is more than capable of featuring, while CAYMAN BOUND has shown promise in the past and did score a soft Bunbury trial win recently.

Tips: 7-3-6-15 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (7) MANTIME to win.


The Durrant/Miller-prepared SHIBUYA CROSSING has been knocking on the door and this looks the perfect race for son of Starcraft to break through. Held his own in a competitive three-year-old event here on New Year’s Day, when stepping up beyond six furlongs for the first time, and does have the services of William Pike for the first time. The Durrant/Miller system will have this fellow primed to run out a strong mile and SHIBUYA CROSSING should simply be winning. IT’S A CHANCE has done a reasonable job in his three runs this prep, with his chances being hindered by awkward barrier draws. Should be able to be ridden closer from a better alley in this and he’s a lock for your exotic bets. ELLIOT BOY has consistently shown promise at the trials and finally transferred that form to raceday, chasing home the impressive Fast As The Wind here last start. Penny appears to have dropped and he’s among the main contenders, while the race-hardened ASIAN PEARL is dropping back from a middle-distance placing and could run another cheeky race jumping from a sweet barrier draw.

Tips: 7-5-8-10
Suggested Bet: (7) SHIBUYA CROSSING each way.


MAKATIES KEEPER and TYCOON TARGET fought out the finish of a similar event to this here on December 28 and we’re confident MAKATIES KEEPER can turn the tables thanks to a 3kg weight swing. Apprentice Kate Witten has been entrusted with the ride on the fast-finishing six-year-old, who got a little too far out of her ground last time, running on to be beaten only a length on the line. Witten has been riding in reasonable form this summer and if she can have MAKATIES KEEPER within striking distance on the turn, then they will be very hard to hold out at the finish. Tough-as-nails on-pacer TYCOON TARGET was on the quick back-up last start and relished being able to park just behind the leading pair, kicking off a strong tempo and hitting the line hard. Goes up to 59kg and topweight, but should still make his presence felt. NORTHPACE comes out of the same race as our top two selections, and did a great job to hold on and finish third after not getting a lot of peace out in front. Keith Reeves has this fellow back in good form and we’d be surprised if he didn’t finish in the top four, while FORMULA won here over this trip two starts back and wasn’t too far away in an Ascot midweek assignment last time.

Tips: 3-1-10-2 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (3) MAKATIES KEEPER to win.


The first division of the 2000m Class 1 Handicap is a wide open affair and we kept coming back to Blackfriars mare THE TEMPTRESS. Was having her first start since October when competing well in a 2000m Special Conditions Handicap at Pinjarra last start, working home nicely to be beaten only three lengths on the line against some reasonable opposition. Looks a real stayer, who likes her races being spaced, and THE TEMPTRESS may be able to provide some value dropping back in grade here. DAGORLAD was never on the track here last start, and did a big job to box on and finish fourth after being four and five-deep throughout. Should be able to get a cozier run in transit from a better draw and he’s a major player in this. PICKJAM looked all over a winner on New Year’s Day before being overhauled late by the smart Tonkatuff. That form reads well and PICKJAM is performing consistently in recent times, while maiden mare MISS RUMOUR MILL has hit the line hard over a mile at her past two outings and gets the middle-distance she has been screaming out for in this.

Tips: 6-1-9-8
Suggested Bet: (6) THE TEMPTRESS each way.


The second division of the 2000m Class 1 Handicap doesn’t get a whole heap easier, although former South Australian mare LET’S TWIST really should be winning provided she brings her A-game. Finished second twice, including being beaten a lip at an Ascot midweek assignment, before a slightly disappointing effort in a competitive Graduation Handicap at Headquarters last start. The form out of that race has stood up well through the likes of Hay Magic and Macavity though, and LET’S TWIST is dropping back in grade with William Pike taking the reins. Did finish fifth in last year’s 2500m South Australian Oaks also, so she should be primed for this journey. BOZCCADA is a real competitor and is rarely too far away at the finish of his races. Should appreciate the drop in class and distance, and we expect him to figure prominently again. CAMBO is racing super-consistently and should appreciate racing over this trip after going down narrowly over a mile at Narrogin last start, while SCANDIUM out-stayed his rivals to break through here last start and the likely pacemaker is going to take some catching again.

Tips: 5-1-3-2
Suggested Bet: (5) LET’S TWIST to win.


A full field of 12 to face the starter in this short-course dash and we’re going to stick with the race-fit/in-form VALDERI VALDERA. Hasn’t put a hoof wrong all campaign and was only broken late by the promising Radiant Girl last start, with that mare going on to place in Graduation company at Pinjarra on Saturday. Will need to push forward from the awkward draw and if VALDERI VALDERA can land in a reasonable position, without doing too much work, then she should be winning. REAL ICON has a bit of class about him and showed he was ready to run a race first up with a smart Bunbury trial performance recently. First-up record is better than it reads on paper and we’re expecting REAL ICON to make his presence felt. PUCK SHAPESHIFTER returned to winning form when sent straight to the front here on New Year’s Day. That was a strong win, and if he can jump well and find the lead then he’s going to take some running down, while sparingly-raced six-year-old TANJIER has more than his share of ability and we expect to be seeing him flashing home late first up.

Tips: 7-1-4-2
Suggested Bet: (7) VALDERI VALDERA each way.


We have a bit of time for inexperienced three-year-old FRIARS ASSASSIN and we feel as though he has what it takes to measure up against the older horses third up this campaign. Comes out of a race that included the smart General Husson, and with blinkers on he should be able to make use of his inside barrier and position himself within striking distance. FRIARS ASSASSIN each way. MATER REMEDY showed his rivals a clean pair of heels first up at Pinjarra, leading throughout to maintain an impressive winning strike rate. Hard not to be taken by that performance, and he looks likely to race on-pace and make his presence felt again. STORMY GRACE returned to form with a tough effort behind Juicing Carrots last start, with that galloper going on to win at Pinjarra on Saturday, and if she can hold her form she’ll be finishing somewhere in the first four. ROTANA BEACH is a slight query at the seven furlongs but hit the line hard to win at Ascot and has to be included in the mix.

Tips: 7-1-8-3
Suggested Bet: (7) FRIARS ASSASSIN each way.


Team Williams-trained four-year-old SEE ME SIZZLE looks ready to win dropping back in class and distance at his fourth run this preparation. Placed in a competitive Graduation Handicap at Ascot two starts back, with the form out of that race stacking up well through Point, and he didn’t have a heap of luck in a slowly run affair at Headquarters on Christmas Eve. This looks the right race for him and SEE ME SIZZLE should be getting the cash. THREESUN has been building nicely in three starts this campaign and looks well placed to compete well again in this. Races well at this track and we’d be surprised to see her missing a place. FIELD OF VISION ran out of his skin at his first start for his new stable here last start, running into the red hot Miss Sondrio. That form reads very well and if FIELD OF VISION had drawn a better gate we probably would have had him on top, while FRIAR’S GIFT improved nicely second up at Pinjarra last start and should be ready to produce a peak performance up in distance, jumping from the inside alley.

Tips: 8-9-3-4
Suggested Bet: (8) SEE ME SIZZLE 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.