When on a good thing, stick to it. Punters are doing just that and have been quick to support Western Australian 4yo Black Heart Bart in this Saturday’s Group 1 Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville. Fellow W.A. galloper Delicacy did the right things by punters in the past two weeks winning the Australasian Oaks and South Australian Derby and liker her form was leading into those events, Black Heart Bart’s record is just as strong. His opening price of $5.00 was quickly taken and on Wednesday morning he had firmed to $4.40 favourite, displacing Hucklebuck ($5.00), who hits the track for the first time since winning last spring’s G1 Emirates Stakes. Second in that Emirates Stakes was Lucky Hussler who, after two sensational runs in quality races since his return, is also well in contention here at $6.00 and the only other runner under double figure odds.
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1. HUCKLEBUCK – D Tourneur (3)
The Elvstroem gelding bolstered his already impressive record with three wins from as many starts during his spring campaign last year, culminating with a head victory over Lucky Hussler in the G1 Emirates Stakes (1600m). He has looked smart in two 1000m trials over the past month as he readies himself for a return to a track and trip he is unbeaten over in two starts. Drawn well and will prove hard to beat.
2. LUCKY HUSSLER – Glen Boss (11)
Returned to racing with a very impressive 1.8 length win in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) late March and backed that up with another strong effort in the G1 TJ Smith Stakes behind Dissident. The 5yo has thrived since joining the Darren Weir stables last spring, drew wide and was posted four deep without cover midfield last start but despite the run, was more than competitive in the straight and finished sixth (1.2 lengths). Two runs back have been first class for mine and will be flashing home late.
3. SMOKIN’ JOEY – Chris Parnham (8)
The winner of this race last year at $41, the 7yo brings with him solid form for his defence. He finished second to Suavito and beat home Dissident (3rd) in the G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) before finishing third (3.1 lengths) in the G2 Blamey Stakes to Suavito again in a race where not a great deal went right for him in the run. Comes off a nine week freshen-up and when resuming off a similar break, finished strongly from the tail of the field to cross the line alongside (4th) of Dissident in the G1 Australia Stakes won by Mourinho. Has the form to figure prominently again.
4. FLAMBERGE – Vlad Duric (16)
Returned from a spell with an excellent head second to Chautauqua – at level weights, in the G2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) and backed that up well when third, under 60kgs, when third to Chloe In Paris, who was subsequently placed in G1 company, in the Listed Bob Hoysted (1000m). Drew wide, 12 of 14, when contesting the G1 The Galaxy at his most recent run eight weeks back, but was never in the hunt from out there and finished twelfth. Races well when freshened-up and will appreciate the 56.5kg but that may be offset by another poor draw at this level.
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5. THERMAL CURRENT – Ben Melham (4)
The Exceed And Excel 4yo earned his shot at this race with two good runs back from a spell for trainer Peter Moody. The first saw him finish second to Politeness – good in the recent G1 William Hill, in the Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) before being given a beautiful ride from a wide draw in the McKay Stakes at Morphettville last fortnight, which he duly capitalised on to win by 1.8 lengths with Yesterday’s Song second. Gets the right run again from the perfect draw but meets a tougher field here and will need to improve again.
6. LORD OF THE SKY – Damien Oliver (15)
Robbie Laing’s 4yo ran well in a star-studded G1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m), finishing fourth behind Brazen Beau before three weeks later, and going within a nostril of causing an upset in the TJ Smith Stakes when collared on the line by Chautauqua. He’s been kept fresh for this race since, drops down to 56.5, 2kg less than what he carried in the TJ Smith but the only fly-in-the-ointment, appears to be the wide draw. There’s plenty of speed here and he’s at his best when sitting handy to it which he may find hard to do from wide out.
7. RIZIZ – Paul Gatt (9)
Local galloper who for the third consecutive time in his past three starts, found one a shade to good when second (2.5 lengths) to Daytona Grey in the Irwin Stakes (1100m) at his most recent outing.
As always, giving his all in his racing but his past few wins have come in races a few grades below this one and whilst he’ll enjoy the 56kgs, a weight he hasn’t come close to carrying since he had 55.5kg when third in last year’s Goodwood, he’s likely to find at least a few too good here as well.
8. DAYTONA GREY – Clare Lindop (14)
Relished his preferred soft conditions and proved far too strong for his opposition in the Irwin Stakes (1100m) two starts back, winning by a comfortable 2 ½ lengths. He wasn’t as effective though on top of the ground at his following start, the G3 McKay Stakes (1100m) and only made marginal ground in the run home from the tail of the field, finishing 4.7 lengths and in sixth place behind Thermal Current. Will be giving some smart sprinters a good start here from a wide gate and if he is to have any hope of picking some of them up in the run home, would need rain effected track.
9. BLACK HEART BART – Glenn Smith (7)
Winner of six of his past seven starts with the last four in succession and all at Listed level. Each of the above wins has been better than his previous with his most recent start resulting in a resounding 5 ¼ length win in the Bunbury Stakes (1400m) in early March. The 4yo by Blackfriars looked forward in condition when competing well in a recent trial and maps to get a good run from gate seven. Hard to leave him out of calculations.
10. UNDER THE LOURVE – M Zahra (1)
Excellent run along the fence to run second in the G1 Oakleigh Plate behind Ascot-bound Shamal Wind back in February before an outstanding win when coming from near last to claim the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington a month later. He was unlucky not to make it back to back wins at his only start since, running second (neck) to Amorino in the Listed Anniversary Stakes at Caulfield. Had 59kgs and the widest gate last start, found trouble early in the straight and his effort to run second was equal to his previous starts. Needs a touch of luck from the inside gate and should it come, he’ll be right in thick of the action late.
11. IT IS WRITTEN –
From his past eight starts, only three have been away from his favourite track Moonee Valley and each of these runs have seen the Robbie Griffiths trained 6yo struggle to produce his best. He was ninth (3.2 lengths) in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield in his most recent outing four weeks ago, only held his ground in the run home under the impost of 60kgs. Drops plenty in weight but needs to make just as much improvement and away from the Valley, wouldn’t be confident he could.
12. GREGERS – Craig William (6)
Agonisingly for connections, the consistent 4yo mare finished second (head) when collared late by Miracles Of Life in the Group 1 William Hill Stakes a fortnight ago. That was her seventh attempt at G1 company, including this race last year when fourth, and she is yet to finish outside of the top four positions in any of these races. It took a big effort from a top-liner sprinter to grab her late last start and from gate six Craig Williams will have her in the box seat again. Always gives her best and will do so here as well.
13. POLITENESS – (13)
Produced her big finish to score first up at Caulfield, claiming the Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) from Thermal Current and was doing her best work late again when sixth, 1.4 lengths behind Miracles Of Life in the William Hill (1200m) a fortnight ago. Miracles Of Life is a strong form reference for this race and she drops a further 2kgs here. Drawing wider out won’t be a bother her and there’s plenty of pace engaged here which should see the daughter of Fastnet Rock with every opportunity to charge late.
14. LIGHT IT UP –
Racing well in Benchmark graded races but each of his two recent attempts in Listed races has seen the 4yo Mossman gelding, well accounted for. He finished fourth of nine (2.1 lengths) last weekend in a BM 90 and to be in contention here, needed to be winning that race and in a good manner.
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15. YESTERDAY’S SONG – (12)
Didn’t have the early speed required to hold the inside draw in the recent G3 McKay Stakes (1100m) and found himself awkwardly placed at the tail of the field as the field made the turn. He worked home well along the fence to run second (2.1 lengths) to Thermal Current, who enjoyed the perfect run throughout, but could have been closer again with a smoother run in transit. Draws wide here and faces his toughest test at this, only his eighth start, but at this stage of his career, this may be beyond him.
16. VAIN QUEEN – Katelyn Mallyon (10)
Excellent in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (4th) and William Reid Stakes (2nd) at her first two runs back this campaign and those efforts saw the John Sadler trained mare start the $4F in the William Hill Stakes a fortnight ago. From a wide draw (12 of 14) she was posted deep and at the tail of the field heading into the turn before peeling out to be the widest runner upon straightening.
Home well with Politeness on her inside but together, they couldn’t reel in the good mares Miracles Of Life and Gregers, finishing seventh (1.8 lengths). Hopefully she can settle a touch closer this time despite another awkward draw and at $10 in early markets, it is worth taking the gamble she can.
17. TUDOR – Dean Yendall (17)
Showed good speed and offered plenty of cheek as a $21 chance when second in last week’s G2 William Hill Stakes. The 3yo colt will have to again be quick out of the gates if he is to cross from a horrible draw but that effort is sure to leave him vulnerable late against some quality sprinters and hard to see him holding off the challengers of the final furlong.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Good speed with Tudor, Lord Of The Sky, Gregers, Thermal Current and Riziz all pushing forward. Lucky Hussler is the one for mine. He’ll get a nice run not too far off the pace I would think and finish strongly. Each of his two runs back have been fantastic and he’s great each-way value at $6.00. Black Heart Bart has been improving and at a rapid rate in his home-state and whilst this race represents a significant step up in class, hard to ignore him in his current form. Under The Louvre wins last start with any luck and is motoring along nicely. Like the favourite Hucklebuck, he’ll need a bit of luck from five but is going too well at the moment to let the $10.00 on offer go untouched. Best value in the race appears to be Politeness ($17.00) and Vain Queen ($10.00) who’ll both be rattling home late.
1. LUCKY HUSSLER
2. UNDER THE LOURVE
3. BLACK HEART BART