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.


Competitive all aged maiden to get the day under way and it is hard to go past KEEPER’S TALE, who returns to racing after placing on debut at Belmont back in June. Showed she was in good form with a smart trial win at Belmont recently, when clocking the second-fast heat time of the session, and the horse that beat her on debut (Slik Sam) won at Ascot on the weekend. KEEPER’S TALE looks to have a bit of class about her and should be winning first up. SHIBUYA CROSSING bounced back from a disappointing debut for a sharply-improved placing at Northam last start. Liked the way she hit the line behind a smart one in Floyd on that occasion and she is unlikely to be $91 again here. CHANTAIN didn’t enjoy the best of runs from a wide alley second up last start and can improve from a low draw with regular jock Randy Tan back on board, while MR MURT will be stepping out for the first time in 52 days but comes out of a strong form race that included talented types Lusaha and Faeirie Whisper. He can figure without surprising.

Tips: 10-5-4-7
Suggested Bet: (10) KEEPER’S TALE to win.


The Lindsey Smith stable is in red-hot form and their run of success looks set to continue with PARIS TEXAS dropping back in class after a brave fourth behind Caipirinha in the listed Placid Ark Stakes second up at Ascot last start. Finished alongside Stored Energy and beat home Leitfaden on that occasion, and if those fillies were in this they would be starting odds-on favourites. PARIS TEXAS for the win. MASTER MAGICIAN was one of three Darren McAuliffe winners at Ascot on November 16 when making the most of a soft lead to score first up over this distance. Looks the likely pacemaker in this and if he gets it cheaply again he’ll be mighty hard to run down. RISING SEA failed badly as favourite at Ascot last start, but he is much better than that, as evident by his placing behind the well-regarded Humanity at Ascot beforehand. We’re expecting to see more from RISING SEA in this, while well-bred former Victorian filly PLATINUM POWER makes her debut after a hard-fought maiden win at Mornington last start. Is in good hands and she can’t be taken lightly.

Tips: 6-1-2-5
Suggested Bet: (6) PARIS TEXAS to win.


Superbly-bred $420,000 yearling purchase VERY TEMPTING appears to have this all aged maiden at her mercy after hitting the line hard at each of her three starts to date. The super-slow pace didn’t really suit her at Ascot last start, getting left flat footed when the sprint went on, but she kept coming to work her way into second place. Connections will be hoping for a more genuine tempo in this event, but William Pike should be able to park her close to the leaders from a low draw, and she should be afforded every opportunity. VERY TEMPTING will be short but will be winning. JAZ ME UP was a heavily backed favourite when racing second up here on November 10, but she always seemed to be in trouble, getting bottled up between horses for the most part and not getting a lot of galloping room in the straight. We’re willing to forgive that run, as she had genuine excuses, and the strong backing suggests she’s a well thought of filly. Honest mare DIXIE WIN is next best having finished third despite featuring prominently in the Stewards Report last start. Should enjoy a soft run from the inside alley and another forward showing is expected, while MADISON ROSE showed promise when last in work and has been sharpened up for this first-up assignment with two satisfactory trial performances.

Tips: 11-12-3-4
Suggested Bet: (11) VERY TEMPTING to win.


This is a very tough second division of the All Aged 1400-metre Maiden and we’ve decided to stick with the strength in selecting the Team Williams-prepared debutante UNDER OFFER on top. Showed gate speed to cross and lead in a recent Belmont trial, and he wasn’t put under a huge amount of pressure from William Pike late. We’re expecting him to work forward from the wide alley to either lead or race outside the leader, and if he can get a breather at some stage mid-race, should have a kick left for the finish. UNDER OFFER each way. The Durrant/Miller-trained AT THE READY has been well schooled at the trials and looks ready to run a race on debut. Did a good job over 1450 metres at his most recent hit out and should be able to slot into a handy position from the draw. IMPRESSIVE STAR was run off his feet on debut at York, after being kept safe in betting, and we’re expecting an improved showing from him jumping from the inside alley over the seven furlongs here, while LADY EMILY ran her heart out at Northam last start and if she can reproduce that effort here will take some catching.

Tips: 14-10-4-6 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (14) UNDER OFFER each way.


Another tricky puzzle to solve here with a host of first starters clashing with some promising race experienced youngsters. And we feel as though MENIN ROAD will give you the best run for your money, with the natural front-runner looking all over a winner on debut last start before being collared late by the heavily backed Young Gina. Drops back to the 1100 metres for this assignment and apprentice Mollie Clarke appears certain to send him forward to lead again, where we believe he’ll be mighty hard to run down. MENIN ROAD all the way for the in-form Brett Pope stable. Local filly HENNY JEAN appears to be the best of the first starters following her quality four-length trial win recently. Has a solid pedigree on the dam side, hailing from one of WA’s great families, and we’re expecting a forward showing from her on debut. NODUSTONME is a youngster with more than his share of ability, however, the awkward alley hinders his winning chances a little, while the well bred NO SAY IN IT wasn’t knocked around at the trials recently and could figure first up without surprising.

Tips: 2-13-3-4 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (2) MENIN ROAD each way.


This is a competitive first leg of the Quaddie and we were very impressed with the recent trial performance of the Justin Warwick-trained CAPRICORN DANCER. Worked to the line stylishly to place behind the sharp Key To Fame on that occasion, suggesting the four-year-old has returned in tip-top condition this preparation. Yet to race over anything less than 1300 metres so the distance is a slight query first up, however, she did sprint well fresh to place first-up last campaign and we expect her to take some beating in this. CAPRICORN DANCER to power home late and get the cash. The Graeme Ballantyne stable has been posting some positive results in recent times and he has OUR MATE CHARLIE racing in career-best form. Awkward barrier draw does hinder his winning chances but he has race fitness and form on his side, and he shouldn’t be taken lightly. Promising type SALTY races first up from a break but showed he was pretty forward when hitting the line hard to place in two lead-up barrier trials. We expect him to make his presence felt fresh, while EYES WIDE OPEN is a mare we have a bit of time for and she should enjoy a sweet run jumping from a low draw first up here.

Tips: 4-3-1-5
Suggested Bet: (4) CAPRICORN DANCER to win.


Things don’t get any easier in the second leg of the Quaddie with a host of winning chances engaged, however, we were taken with the effort of JUST DOUGIE in the Regional Championship Heat last start and the local seven-year-old looks ready to produce a peak performance third up in this. Apprentice Fiona Bell’s 3kg claim will come in handy and she should be able to land in a prime position from the good barrier draw. JUST DOUGIE loves racing at Bunbury, looks really well suited and we’re happy to have him on top. BIG CAROLINE simply didn’t get a look at them at Ascot last start and connections have gone with a riding change, booking ‘The Wizard’ himself William Pike. Has 60.5kg and a wide gate to contend with bit the Team Giadresco mare is in peak form and has to rate highly back in this company. HE’S PACKING is a lightly-raced four-year-old we have a bit of time for and he showed he was in good nick with a solid trial hit out recently. Would have preferred to see him in a Class 1 but we’re still confident of a forward showing first up, while on-pacer PIRATE’S FORTUNE wasn’t far away against some smart types in town last start and is capable of running a cheeky race at odds.

Tips: 4-1-10-11
Suggested Bet: (4) JUST DOUGIE each way.


MAKATIES KEEPER couldn’t have been any more impressive when coming from off the pace to score a dominant win in a similar assignment to this here on Melbourne Cup Day, displaying her customary sharp turn of foot. Bruce Watkins has this mare performing ultra-consistently this preparation and jockey Jason Whiting should be able to land where he pleases jumping from a good gate. MAKATIES KEEPER on an each-way basis. QUITE REGAL will no doubt be the punters’ elect with the Durrant/Miller camp teaming up with William Pike after a last-start Ascot placing. Should be just about ready for a peak performance third up, but we felt he may be a little vulnerable dropping back to the mile, with his best efforts mainly coming over 2000 metres and beyond. SAINT STEPHEN had no luck at his first two runs this preparation but he made amends with a fast-finishing victory here last start, coming from well back on the turn between runners to score. Liked the way he hit the line on that occasion and he certainly has claims in this tougher assignment, while BOOM BOOM BANG will relish racing back at his home track and his win here two starts ago was impressive.

Tips: 7-1-2-5 (*amended after final scratchings)
Suggested Bet: (7) MAKATIES KEEPER each way.


Local mare BLACK FREDA tasted defeat for the first time when resuming in a similar assignment here on November 10, finishing runner up behind Boom Boom Bang. Her trial beforehand suggested she may have been a little underdone for that first-up hit out, but we still liked the way she worked to the line, despite being under pressure a fair way from home. Should have benefited greatly from that run and we’re tipping BLACK FREDA to hit back hard. BY DECREE has always shown ability and reminded everyone when scoring first up at big odds last start. Drawn to get the run of the race again and if she holds form will take a power of beating. DUSHA ZACHISTKI should find this easier than what he has faced at his first two runs this campaign and we’re expecting him to figure prominently, while RUSSIAN RIVER got us out of jail when winning the last here on November 20 and has to rate among the better chances again in this.

Tips: 6-11-8-2
Suggested Bet: (6) BLACK FREDA 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.