TRENT - To the detriment of my pocket I took on Trent at Port Macquarie last start when the three-year-old was having his first start NSW start however he will carry my cash in the Lauders Real Estate Wingham Class 1 and Maiden Showcase Plate (1600m). Trained in Victoria by Henry Dwyer, Trent worked home solidly at his first run for Matthew McCudden to win over what looked an unsuitable 1200m first-up. Trent was always going to win races in country NSW after finishing the closest of seconds in a race at Sandown Lakeside on November 22 coming from well back over 1400m before starting a $3.50 favourite when unplaced over 1800m hence my reasoning for considering 1200m too short. Wrong again, Trent worked home solidly to claim a narrow victory at Port Macquarie and in my opinion can only improve as the distance gets longer. If that’s the case Trent will take a power of beating on Friday.
INVICTA - Only one thing prevents me from declaring the Ken Parker-trained Invicta a good thing in the day’s feature, the Wingham Services Club Showcase Wingham Cup (1600m). A winner of five of his 19 career starts, Invicta has always shown plenty of promise and gets plenty of ticks on Friday having his second run back from a spell. Although Invicta has a duck egg next to his name, he was less than three-lengths from the winner in a benchmark 78 race at Warwick Farm resuming last time out. Robert Thompson has been the successful jockey in four of the five wins for Invicta and returns to the saddle on Friday after the gelding was ridden by an apprentice in Sydney and was friendless in betting easing from $26 to $101. Invicta came off a similar rating performance first-up last preparation to win the Cessnock Cup, so that’s a tick for second-up but it is also where a slight query arises. Although a winner over 1600m, the Cessnock Cup was over 1350m second-up last preparation and therein lies my nagging doubt, 1600m second-up, however at $5 in early betting I am prepared to take the punt.
TORNADO OF SOULS - The win of Tim’s Principal at Gosford on Thursday looks a solid pointer to the chances of Tornado Of Souls who will be having his second run back from a break in the Ribchester New To Darley Benchmark 65 Handicap (1100m). Tim’s Principal and Tornado Of Souls contested a metropolitan classified maiden on the first day of the Scone Cup carnival with Tim’s Principal running home strongly into second, finishing approximately a length in front of Tornado Of Souls. There was nothing wrong with the effort of Tornado Of Souls who hit the front at the 300m after sitting wide without cover on speed in the run. Tornado Of Souls weakened over the concluding stages but will be a fitter proposition on Friday second-up back to a country maiden with the son of Red Arrow standing out as the day’s best bet.
WINTER SONATA - At first glance barrier 13 looks somewhat of an issue for the Kris Lees-trained Winter Sonata striving for back-to-back wins in the Hellbent @ Yarraman Park Class 1 Handicap (1400m) however the Racenet Speedmap suggests the concerns are unwarranted. The Racenet Barrier Speedmap available here suggests Winter Sonata won’t have much difficulty crossing to either lead or sit outside the leader which significantly improves her chances. After contesting provincial races in her first two careers starts including a maiden a Newcastle two runs back in a race where the first four home including Winter Sonata have subsequently won maidens, Lees took Winter Sonata to Taree for a what turned out to be a soft maiden win. With the early speed to overcome the wide draw and still scope for improvement at start number four, Winter Sonata looks set to send punters home on a winning note.
MORE ENERGY - Here’s one that is huge odds on Saturday. Returned from a let-up in the Scone Cup and got put out of play in the straight, running into a dead end 250m from home. He wasn’t going to finish in the placings but it cost him at least two lengths, he went to the line untested and with clear running, he finishes right behind New Tipperary, the favourite here. I concede New Tipperary had no luck either and should have been in the finish but what changes this time is More Energy strips fitter and is drawn to be put into the race rather than being dragged back to last like he was at Scone from the outside gate. Think back to February, More Energy caused a surprise in the Parramatta Cup when blowing them out at $51. That day he jumped from barrier 2 and trailed the speed. Same gate here and I reckon he’s massive overs, especially with the edge off the track which he loves.