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.


The Bunbury Turf Club’s 2016/17 season opener kicks off with a pretty decent ratings handicap and we’re excited to see what the lightly-raced five-year-old KING RIVER can do at his first run back from a break. Emerged as a sprinter with a bright future late last preparation, rattling off very sharp sectionals to place second at his past two starts at Belmont in June, and he looked in good nick when given an easy time of things behind The River in a recent barrier trial. KING RIVER ticks all the boxes and is the obvious on-top selection here. Not many stables are travelling better than Jimmy Taylor’s in recent times and his talented four-year-old RECOILED looms as the main danger, with significant race fitness and a 1.5kg advantage on our on-top selection. This horse goes good and can’t be taken lightly. Local mare DISTANT MEMORY has won four from eight at her home track and has been wound up for this assignment with two recent barrier trials. Saluted first-up last prep and will make her presence felt fresh, while FURIOUS DAME is tough as nails and had to be slotted in to our first four.

Tips: 2-5-4-3 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (2) KING RIVER to win.


Another strong ratings handicap at this stand-alone Saturday meeting that sees an intriguing clash between developing sprinter-milers SCALES OF JUSTICE and COMING BACK. The pair are both racing first-up and both performed well in recent barrier trials, however, we’re comfortably leaning towards the Lindsey Smith-prepared SCALES OF JUSTICE as our on-top selection. This fellow was scratched from last Saturday’s Birthday Stakes in preference for this event and he appears to be a horse destined for big things, with connections no doubt having one eye on a tilt at this year’s Railway Stakes. SCALES OF JUSTICE can justify the hype by getting the job done first up. COMING BACK has had an interrupted 2016, racing only once, but possesses some strong formlines from racing in this company at his past three appearances. Performed well at the trials, has a good fresh record, and we expect him to get back and charge home late. STABLE SECRET made light work of his rivals at Belmont last Saturday week and hits this race with form and fitness, and should enjoy the gun run from an inside alley, while SPIN DA WHEELS has been performing super consistently and must warrant consideration back on his home deck.

Tips: 4-6-7-10
Suggested Bet: (4) SCALES OF JUSTICE to win.


The Peters Investments operation is really starting to flex their muscles and we’re tipping the cerise and white to make a statement at this meeting, with impressive mare FOREVER DIAMONDS likely to start a short-priced favourite to win her third race in succession. The rapidly-improving four-year-old couldn’t have been more impressive in this company at Belmont last Saturday week and only bad luck appears to stand between her and a hat-trick of victories. FOREVER DIAMONDS too good. Wily Albany trainer Steve Wolfe has thrown his smart three-year-old ONE SHORT in against the older horses, perhaps utilising this assignment as a stepping stone towards the Belgravia Stakes at Ascot on October 22. Has some impressive formlines and is well in on the 54kg limit, and it wouldn’t surprise us to see him figure prominently at his first start in 49 days. PINZU hasn’t done a lot wrong in his short career and showed he was in for a successful four-year-old season with a sharp recent trial performance. Should get every chance from the inside draw and he shouldn’t be underestimated, while local mare KRAKKA VISION has some ability and can run a cheeky race fresh with only 52.5kg on her back.

Tips: 4-12-3-10
Suggested Bet: (4) FOREVER DIAMONDS to win.


A tricky Graduation Handicap awaits here with a host of contenders squaring off with a variety of differing formlines. After sifting through the data we’ve come up with local mare BIG CAROLINE on top, with the five-year-old coming off a tough Class 3 victory when racing wide, without cover, throughout with 59.5kg on her back. Champion jock Paul Harvey has got his eye in and should be able to park the resilient five-year-old in a winning position, jumping from the good draw. BIG CAROLINE looks mighty fine at each-way odds. RIPPER RIO is a horse with more than his share of ability and he looked razor-sharp when winning first-up over an unsuitable 1100 metres at Northam recently. 12-day turnaround after such an impressive peak performance is a slight concern, however, we still expect him to make his presence felt. The Wizard, aka William Pike, has given punters a guide by opting to ride up-and-coming staying talent QUITE REGAL in preference to other contenders and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him storming home late and playing a part, while ROYAL SUPREME is another get back/run on type who will appreciate apprentice Randy Tan’s 2kg claim.

Tips: 2-5-4-1
Suggested Bet: (2) BIG CAROLINE each way.


Doing the form for this Graduation Handicap is a tough gig and we’re going to go a little wide by selecting the Justin Warwick-trained SOMEDAY ONE DAY on top. We’ve been tracking this fellow’s progress and liked his the way he hit the line when scoring a soft win in the feature maiden at Belmont last Saturday week. Obviously this is harder, but he appears likely to get a sweet run in transit from the good draw and we feel as though SOMEDAY ONE DAY will present good each-way value in this tricky line up. DANCE MASTER will no doubt vie for favouritism and it is hard to fault his good recent form. Was ridden closer last start and didn’t quite finish off as well as we know he can, so we’re expecting him to be ridden more patiently. Look out for him chiming in late. Local four-year-old HINCHINBEEL is flying this preparation and is on the hunt for a fourth straight victory. Awkward barrier hinders his winning chances but he’s still an obvious contender, while Sharon Miller’s team have been posting some positive results in recent times and her smart customer PRYING TOM will no doubt have his share of admirers, especially with William Pike in the saddle.

Tips: 11-3-4-8
Suggested Bet: (11) SOMEDAY ONE DAY each way.


Great to see a full field facing the starter over the 2200-metre journey and it’s hard to go past another JT Warwick-prepared runner in the form of gifted stayer CHARLESTOWN. The sparingly-raced seven-year-old relished stepping back up to the 11 furlongs at Belmont last Saturday week when easily taking care of a similar line up. CHARLESTOWN is well suited at the weights (only 1kg off the limit) and this appears to be another stepping towards some of the feature staying races on offer in the months ahead. Former Victorian galloper SKELLIG created a big impression when blowing his rivals away at a Belmont midweeker last month and he drops 2.5kg stepping up into this grade. 31 days between runs isn’t ideal but we still expect him to compete well. ALREADY FAMOUS was placed here in the listed AHA Cup last March and he should be fitter after two runs back from a break. Look out for an improved showing third up, while old-timer VERDELLO BLUE is always a chance in these staying handicaps and is a lock for your First Fours.

Tips: 4-14-6-2
Suggested Bet: (4) CHARLESTOWN to win.


Cracking line up here for the inaugural TABtouch Classic and the Bunbury Turf Club would have to be stoked with the support this race has received. The barrier draw has proven to be the main factor in separating the major players and we’ve locked in the exciting SAUL’S SPECIAL on top. Rated in the top three two-year-olds in the state last season, the Dan Morton-trained colt wasn’t knocked around in a recent barrier trial and new hoop Brad Parnham should be able to land in a winning position from the low draw. Morton Racing saddled up a treble at Northam on Wednesday and SAUL’S SPECIAL can continue the stable’s hot form in this $100,000 Classic. SWEET ORA is tough as nails but she’ll need to be to overcome a wide gate and still win, with William Pike likely to press forward and chance his arm. Gets in amazingly well under the set weights and penalties — meeting GEE BOSS 5kg better after a neck defeat last start — and SWEET ORA is a serious player. Last season’s Magic Millions winner THE RIVER returns and couldn’t have been any sharper in his recent barrier trial. Wide gate and top weight makes things tricky for this uber-talented chestnut, but with a slice of luck in running he will take some holding out. While the Simon A. Miller-trained ATACAMA SKY was one of the better juveniles in town last season and warrants respect first up.

Tips: 2-8-1-4
Suggested Bet: (2) SAUL’S SPECIAL each way.


Outstanding finish to a terrific card and it’s interesting to see William Pike on board HEART STARTER after having piloted stablemate CHOCOLATE HOLIC to four straight victories in the past two months. In saying that, the untapped HEART STARTER did win twice at listed level in his three-year-old season and showed just how forward he is with an impressive recent trial win. Another rising star from the Peters Investments operation, HEART STARTER, who is well treated at the weights, may simply be a class above his rivals and blow them away first up. CHOCOLATE HOLIC has taken all before him this campaign, rising from a 62 rater to a mark of 79, thanks to four wins and a second from five runs. The experienced Peter Hall will have his first ride aboard the smart four-year-old and CHOCOLATE HOLIC is the obvious danger. We were quite taken with the win of INFATHUATED last Saturday and the in-form gelding drops 4.5kg after that four-length triumph. We have included him in the mix, while former eastern stater ABBASSO has shown a bit at the trials recently and the Jimmy Taylor stable is so hot right now. Don’t dismiss anything he saddles up.

Tips: 14-11-7-4 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (14) HEART STARTER 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.