Thursday 30 November
1 Benjamin Button
8 Jaccka Cooper
7 No Added Sugar
5 Peter Forsberg
BENJAMIN BUTTON drops back hugely in class to amateur company tonight. A seven-race winner and two-time winner at Alexandra Park lands barrier one and will relish not taking on talents like Frankie Major, Better Knuckle Up and Idolou. Even with no gate speed he will sit off them and run over them late.
JACCKA COOPER has only beaten a nose on November 2 in the previous amateur race run here. Barrier eight means a hard night of it but just worked too hard in a harder race last time so give him a big each-way hope tonight.
NO ADDED SUGAR was a half-length third in that corresponding amateur race but then flopped badly at Manawatu last week. Include on his best form.
PETER FORSBERG is really only ever a chance at Auckland in amateur races. Just caught late at Manawatu on November 13 and he is the likely leader here with minimal gate speed inside him. The top four include.
5 Leo Lincoln
10 Major Jay
6 The Artful Gambler
1 Little Hoofananny
LEO LINCOLN was best of the rest behind In Excess six nights ago. Did mid-race work and stuck on well. A similar draw tonight but rates highly.
MAJOR JAY had every possible behind In Excess and Leo Lincoln on November 24. The second-row draw means a change of tactics tonight but would need to improve to win.
THE ARTFUL GAMBLER’s only sign of form was when Sailesh Abernethy drove him when second to Mr Bondi. He hops back on tonight so respect him on that. The value bet.
LITTLE HOOFANANNY has been whacking away in similar maiden races. Barrier one is a real prize and has paced sub 2:00 in her last three starts, a place chance.
CHANGE TACT didn’t cop sitting parked last time at the races on November 2. Has since returned to the trials and won last Saturday but it was just a run. From the draw her stocks have increased.
DELIGHTFUL REALITY failed to flatter on debut last Winter over a mile before being spelled. Second in his most recent workout behind Change Tact but adds to the puzzle.
INVISIBLE has put together a good Cambridge form line amongst below-average Auckland form. The draw is no help either but won’t be a maiden long.
5 Matty A
8 Keep It Klassy
9 Eye Love You
MATTY A was surprisingly average first up November 10. That was a mobile mile so back to normal conditions tonight and that first-up run came after a slower than a wet week workout the week prior. So he should be improved. Has a leg or two on most of these.
SANINARMBRO gained admirers on her third-mile night. When she made a run she was pushed off the track but still ran the fastest last half in the race. Better suited to these conditions and the second-best horse in the field.
KEEP IT KLASSY ran on fairly but a well-beaten third last week. Racing is in good form and is a win chance if there are errors.
EYE LOVE YOU looked likely for about fifty metres last Friday but folded late. Won’t get a weaker field and needs to show something tonight.
MAJESTIC BUNDY gets a mention. Only needs to trot throughout to get a decent slice of this but looks absolutely inept at the beginning of her races. One day the penny may drop.
4 Duchess Megxit
6 Sharkies Girl
7 Acushla Machree
5 It’s Nae Or Never
DUCHESS MEGXIT was beaten after conceding the chair 800m out on November 10. Got clear just too late. With a more dynamic drive, she will show her class tonight.
SHARKIES GIRL has headed to the Dickie stable. The stable had great success for the owner and the mother of this mare over the years. Her ex-trainer and regular pilot has voted with his feet but not before picking up a trial win last Saturday.
ACUSHLA MACHREE is gunning for a hat trick of wins but this would be her best win given the barrier draw she has ended up with. Mind you, four ones in a row would be scary. With the aggressive driver on she will look to head forward and use her gate speed. On form, she can’t be discounted.
IT’S NAE OR NEVER used barrier one to lead and trail on a slow pace at Cambridge on November 17. Had shown ability at the trials and has trialled right-handed as a learner. Not an easy step up tonight but watch with interest.
ALWAYS B STUNNING seems to run her best races here at Alexandra Park. Should get to the pegs quickly and did run the fastest last half albeit beaten four lengths two weeks ago. The value.
5 Luby Lill
8 Lord Popinjay
1 Faith In Manchester
LUBY LILL would have improved significantly with the first run in three months at Cambridge on November 17. Would need to mind you. Always consistent and deserves favouritism.
LORD POPINJAY defeated subsequent winner Noble Count two weeks ago at Cambridge. He got a great run but always has good manners. Broke his maiden on this track and has been trialling the house down. Each way.
FAITH IN MANCHESTER was entitled to win last week but didn’t. In good form overall and for the third time in a row draws one from a stand. Lacks the class of the top two but should place.
KIWITRIX has returned this campaign with a bout of gallopingitis. A better horse is right-handed so if you are brave enough you will get paid at some point.
SANS AU REVOIR won when last tried over 2700 against many of these on November 2. Forget about the mile run two weeks ago. Don’t leave out.
10 Aardie’s Express
3 Cos I Can
4 Simply Sam
AARDIE’S EXPRESS has headed North for her track debut. Tested at Group One level in the NZ FFA last time and came off second best. This is easier but has a tricky 35m handicap to overcome. She’s normally slow but safe off the stand. Top pick.
BACH returns North where he dropped a level or two. Third in the aged classic at Kaikoura his best effort. A three-race winner on this course. A chance.
COS I CAN has a terrible record but Alexandra Park and many of those unplaced efforts were against top age group fields. Hit the line hard in the Thames Cup two weeks ago. Moves forward in the handicaps and the distance has increased too. Could be the blowout.
SIMPLY SAM keeps fronting up week to week. Second in three of his last five starts. Steps quickly and is amongst horses that do not. Can end up in the right place early.
ALLAMERICANLOVER was freshened after not firing totally in the Spring. Not seen race day since peaking in the Methven Cup. Beat Mr Kaplan in a workout last Saturday. 35m is a long way for her, especially fresh.
DONTSTOPMENOW hasn’t been 100% since winning his first stand on October 19. Take on trust as he is an up-and-comer.
3 Nelson’s Boy
6 Hail Lucius
8 My Copy
4 Diamonds Are Forever
NELSON’S BOY has been beaten by bad draws lately. Yes, two barriers one’s on end have cost him dearly. Unlucky in both runs and is ready to win.
HAIL LUCIUS got held up turning in when the leaders stopped last week. Still yet to win at Alexandra Park in ten runs. Each way.
MY COPY stepped up in class tonight but did run home one and a half seconds quicker than anything else in defeat. Barrier eight hurts but was so good on November 24 that you can’t dismiss him.
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER found some form at Cambridge on November 17. Still not back at the Northern Oaks runner-up behind Millwood Nike level. But the draw improves slightly. Don’t dismiss her entirely.
Of the others. DENNY has barrier one on a slow front line sp should get a decent run however was beaten the length of the straight when third in the Palmerstonian last week at Manawatu.
ZLATO has been thereabouts lately in stronger fields and if you need one more it’s him.
3 Escape Artist
1 Two Eye See
5 Sunshine Selby
ESCAPE ARTIST gets an improved barrier draw and has to be looking to vanquish this frustrating run of placings in winnable races. Placed in a 1:53 mile last time and ran home in 55. Must be too good.
TWO EYE SEE placed behind Sooner The Bettor the last time he drew one but he is now a perennial bridesmaid. Strikes Escape Artist tonight and that could mean another frustrating second. One and two stand out a mile here.
SUNSHINE SELBY showed good gate speed and followed the right horse when second over the mile in 1:53 two starts ago. Forget she went around last time at Cambridge, she drew eight. A better hope of a first-four effort tonight.
CAULFIELD enjoyed some time off after a busy Spring. Won a workout on Saturday at Cambridge under a hold but got his normal barrier draw. Third or fourth is the best he can hope for tonight.
6 All Cashed Up
4 American Muscle
LOVEMETO is having a paid blowout before a NZ Derby tilt next week. Won a heat of the Victoria Derby before the fuel tank was emptied in the final 300m out. Freshened and he is a class above these. Won the Northern Derby here too. Should win.
ALL CASHED UP continues to frustrate me. Driver Crystal Hackett will not be carrying a stick tonight. Never got warm on a walk and sprint on mile night on November 20. Only starting off a 30m handicap will be like being off the front. Only five horses in front of him too suggests a massive chance to get back into form. Remember he ran third in an Anzac Cup.
AMERICAN MUSCLE won two in a row down in grades but stepped up tonight. In class, she shouldn’t be able to beat the two favourites but once in form, she tends to hold it. The distance is the negative. She is 0/8.
JASINOVA stopped after suicide tactics over 2200m last week. Moves back to the front line tonight and if Dr Luk is in a similar aggressive mood she will prove very hard to chase. Hard to see her winning though.
TRUE STORY is heading to Australia post this start and has placed in five of eight at Alexandra Park. A place chance again looms likely tonight.
Best Bet: Race 4 (4) Duchess Megxit
Each Way Value: Race 2 (6) The Artful Gambler