Tamworth, Goulburn tips: Ligulate locked in on Cup

Had Ligulate drawn a decent gate, he would be starting the $160,000 Tamworth Cup (1400m) as a short-priced favourite. But the hometown horse has been given the visitor’s draw with barrier 15 for trainer Cody Morgan, who knows he will have to be at his best to win the race.

“I would say that I would have been going there thinking he could have run top three before the barrier draw which has made it a bit more difficult,” Morgan said.

“To put it in context, I won the race from an inside gate with Unbiased and most of these Country Cups and Country Championships qualifiers are won from good draws.

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Trainer Cody Morgan expects Ligulate to run well, despite a wide barrier, in the Tamworth Cup. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

“The fact he races off the speed helps and he should get into a similar position to where he got to when he won the Tamworth Country Championships Qualifier.”

Ligulate came from 12th to win at Tamworth two runs back then came from 15th to run two lengths behind Gracie Belle for eighth in the Country Championships Final last start.

If there’s one horse that can make up ground late in this race it’s him.

“He’ll get into a tricky position but he’s got a good turn of foot and is well-weighted so I think he’ll run well,” Morgan said. “He’s going to have to do a fair bit to win but he’s well and I would swap him for any horse in the race.

“I thought he was pretty dour in Sydney and this will be his fourth go at 1400m so I’ve tried to keep him as fresh as possible and I feel that’s worked. He trialled nicely without the blinkers and Andrew Gibbons has ridden the horse before so I’m sure he’ll do a good job on him.”

MATT JONES’S TOP PICKS

TAMWORTH

BEST BET

LIGULATE (Race 7, No.7)

He’s got a wide gate, which is the only thing that will stop him winning this if he brings his best form. He just needs even luck and no slow traffic in front of him before he lets down.

NEXT BEST

THE BOPPER (Race 1, No.5)

This debutant trialled like a horse that was ready to kick off his career in the best possible fashion.

BEST VALUE

HARD MERCHANDISE (Race 8, No.5)

This horse has run a lot of seconds and most of them have been narrow losses. Good fresh form means a win is possible.

LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS

QUADDIE

Race 5: 2, 6, 9

Race 6: 1, 8, 9

Race 7: 1, 2, 7, 12

Race 8: 3, 4, 5, 13

TRAINER TO WATCH

SUE GRILLS is a great trainer and she’s got a couple of horses that may surprise and run cheeky races — Danebrook (R3) and Mick’s Regret (R5). She also has Leslie James and Fantasma in the second race and Boom Rocker in the last.

JOCKEY TO WATCH

JEFF PENZA can win on Inkjet (R2), But I Know (R6), All Hollywood (R8) and McCormack (R7), if he starts.

SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS

SHAYNE O’CASS’S TOP PICKS

GOULBURN

BEST BET

MISS KEIRA (Race 6, No.2)

Jason Coyle trained filly who ws spelled after an encouraging first preparation which culminated in her running third at Kembla. Trialling well.

NEXT BEST

TRENGGANU (Race 4, No.3)

Handsome gelding from the Brad Widdup camp who won like a horse with midweek talent last campaign. Brilliant winner of a recent trial at home.

VALUE

ANAKIN SKYWALKER (Race 1, No.8)

One for the Star War fans, this first starter has looked the goods in his trials. Has quality.

QUADDIE

Race 4: 2, 3

Race 5: 1, 7, 10

Race 6: 2, 8

Race 7: 3, 6, 7

JOCKEY TO FOLLOW

KATHY O’HARA has a great book and will be hard to beat in the TAB Jockeys Challenge.

Kathy O’Hara is set for a big day at Goulburn. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

*******

Morgan also races Over And Above in the Tamworth Cup and he too was given a wide gate (16) after running third last start at Armidale over 1300m.

“He’s on the seven-day back up and on his old form, he’s won at Caulfield and that would be good enough but he probably needed a soft draw to be in the finish,” Morgan said.

In one of the other main races of the day Morgan has Whiteley in an Open Handicap (2100m) and he too has a wide draw (10) but Morgan isn’t fussed about it.

“He gets back and I feel the gate will be less of a concern for him than Ligulate in a 2100m race,” Morgan said.

“If you’re going any good you’ll start getting into it at the 600m and the horses that can stay the trip will start coming away over the last 200m and I think he will stay.

“I expect him to race quite well at his home track.”

Morgan said he’ll likely scratch a few other runners who have drawn poorly but he’s got high hopes for Jahbath in a Class 1 Handicap (1400m).

“I think he can run well. He’s set to peak and is probably the pick of the others,” Morgan said. “I think he’s ready to something at his next two runs and at $10 he’s good value.”

Meantime, Melted Moments is having his 79th start on Sunday, but the veteran is racing like a three-year-old heading into an Open Handicap (2100m) at Tamworth.

The eight-year-old has had a three-week break since running second at Tamworth over the same trip and despite only carrying 0.5kg less, he should enjoy not running on a Heavy 9 surface. Trainer David Campbell is confident of another good run as he tries to make it three wins from his past five runs.

Melted Moments is defying his age and racing in fine form. Picture: Bill NorthSource:News Regional Media

“He gets through the heavy track but when you’re carrying that sort of weight heavy tracks do take a toll on them,” Campbell said. “I think he’ll like this track better. The big weights make a difference on bog track but this time he can get up on top of the ground and carry it.

“He’s bumping along well for us and I’m happy with the way he is. I let him work a few mornings ago and he worked beautifully so I count be happier.”

From barrier 18, Kyle Wilson-Taylor will need to ride him well to get into a good spot and he’ll let Melted Moments use his gate speed.

“He can go forward. He led them up last start but hopefully he can go forward and get a trail off something,” Campbell said. “He’s pretty versatile wherever he goes. He’s raced on more than 20 tracks.”

Melted Moment has been up for a long time. He hasn’t had a spell since November 2017, but has had plenty of seven-week freshen ups along the way and is an enthusiastic horse.

“I haven’t had him the whole time but I’ve played around with him and kept him happy and it seems to be working,” Campbell said. “They know how to gallop, you’ve just got to keep their minds right and they’ll do their best for you.

“Due to the coronavirus it makes it tough to go to Queensland for mile races and so if you don’t go up in distance they stay in the stable.”

MATT JONES’S INSIDE MAIL

TAMWORTH

RACE 1 (12.30pm)

Kris Lees doesn’t just send his average ones to the bush. He likes to give his debutants a kill early and The Bopper looks to be another one with a bright future. He ran second in his last trial under a hold and looks ready to explode on debut. Zorocat last ran at the midweeks in town and wasn’t disgraced so she matches up well here. She is third-up, so expect a big run. Lucky Shadow has already won a race as an outsider in what was a slashing performance so respect her greatly.

BET: THE BOPPER to win.

RACE 2 (1.05pm)

Inkjet didn’t get the best of runs at Wyong last time as a well-supported runner and she ran third on debut here 10 months ago, so she will go well now third-up on a firmer track. She was taking ground off Buckin’ Rippa last start and they meet again here. Perhaps a placing reversal is on the cards.

BET: INKJET to win.

RACE 3 (1.40pm)

Bonnie Joy has the gate to jump and lead this race and she can be forgiven for fading late due to the heavy track last time even though it was only over 810m. She can be stronger to the line now. Danza In The Dark has a wide gate but proved last start he can sit back and rattle home. He showed reasonable gate speed in his trial, so he should be able to get away better this time. Entreat is a hope if she starts, while Danebrook is an interesting one. He ran well on debut last September but hasn’t been seen since. He’s got the Sue Grills/Robert Thompson combination behind him, though.

BET: DANZA IN THE DARK to win.

RACE 4 (2.17pm)

She’s Spicy finally gets out to 1200m after a series of eye-catching runs over shorter trips and she should be able to get into a better spot from a good enough gate and strike late. Dame Kiri only got beat by a horse that’s in form last start and has barrier two to take advantage of with Ben Looker on board. Frozen In Time overcame a wide gate to win the same grade of race last time and even though she goes up 4kg in weight, she gets a much better draw. Typhoon Bonny was great in town last time but has the carry 9kg more in now.

BET: SHE’S SPICY to win.

Trainer Kris Lees has The Bopper ready to fire on debut at Tamworth. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

RACE 5 (2.55pm)

Cody Morgan thinks Jahbath is ready to run his best race this preparation after three sound runs. Sniperess was at her strongest on the line in breaking her maiden last start but it was at Ballina and maiden form there is a query. Yawkyawk has better form after running second last start at Dubbo in a Class 1 and the Brett Cavanough stable has been flying for months. Her on-pace style makes her hard to beat and she did win her maiden two runs back by five lengths.

BET: Quinella 2, 9.

RACE 6 (3.35pm)

Melted Moments may be eight and running in his 79th race but he doesn’t now that and has the enthusiasm of a three-year-old. He will give a good sight once again. Whiteley will be the one trying to come over the top of the field late, while But I Know will also be finishing off better than most after a better ran than it read on paper at Newcastle last start. San Francisco won last start on a heavy track and should enjoy the drier surface here even more. Torrens is a huge chance but is a doubtful starter.

BET: BUT I KNOW to win.

RACE 7 (4.15pm)

Ligulate would be near odds-on in the Cup had he drawn a gate but has come out with barrier 15. He gets back anyway and all he needs is luck and to hold his recent form and he’ll come home harder than anything and be the one to beat. Bobbing will be in a similar spot to Ligulate at the 400m and he’s a proven backmarker who has a great turn of foot. Articus has plenty of form in stakes races and with three second-up wins from seven attempts, this is obviously a target race for the Kris Lees stable.

BET: Quinella 1, 7.

RACE 8 (5pm)

A very open race. Hard Merchandise has eight second placings and two wins from 17 starts, which has no doubt been frustrating for punters and connections. Two of them have been first-up, so we can expect a good run fresh from a good gate. Dubai Harbour stays at 1000m off a three-week break, which is a good tactic, and won third-up last time in. Stooge won at the provincials last time and is better than a horse that’s only won once from 11 attempts.

BET: HARD MERCHANDISE to win.

GOULBURN

Shayne O’Cass

One thousand and seven days ago, John Sargent sent a filly out of a Galileo mare down to Goulburn for her first start. That filly was Luvaluva, who won the race by four lengths, setting the platform for the Group glory to come.

On Sunday, Sargent has earmarked a Goulburn debut for another of his High Street residents, who also happens to be foaled out of a Galileo mare, this one is named Anakin Skywalker.

The son of Choisir has been an eye-catcher in his two trials, both of them at Randwick over 740m and 1040m respectively. Anakin Skywalker is one of three two-year-olds in the three-year-old dominated Goulburn Mulwarre Council Maiden Handicap (1200m), but he looks up to the task both physically and on the score of natural talent.

“He is a nice, strong Choisir son and I just thought he’s not far from turning three anyway and he gets in well at the weights, so it was a nice race to kick him off,’’ Sargent said.

“He won’t go early — he will probably just settle midfield. I have started a lot of my good horses off at Goulburn, it’s got a nice, big long straight there and it gives you a good chance.

“Anakin Skywalker is a lovely type of horse, just a very nice individual, he’s a beauty, so hopefully he will go well fresh.’’

Trainer John Sargent will put Anakin Skywalker to the test against the three-year-olds at Goulburn. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Sargent will use the Goulburn opener for Anakin Skywalker’s stablemate Spin That Wheel to have her second day at the races after his debut sixth at Kembla, where she had excuses.

The daughter of Golden Rose winner Denman raced on a fierce pace on the Heavy 10 surface, giving way late behind the eventual winner Macroura, who has a future well beyond the provincial grade.

“We’ll ride him just a bit behind the speed a bit so he can relax and finish it off,’’ Sargent said. “He got a bit wound up at his first start and just did things at the wrong end of the race so he has learnt a lot from that. He is a chance too.’’

Spin That Wheel shares the same third dam, Delightful Belle, as Belle Du Jour — the most miraculous of all four of trainer Clarry Conners’ Golden Slipper winners. Speaking of Conners, Sargent’s other runner at Goulburn is Gunaluva, whose grand-dam Quays and great grandam Pontal Lass each won Group races for the Warwick Farm trainer.

Sargent’s lightly-raced gelding is a grey like his dad, Reliable Man, and like most of the breed — all he wants to do is stay.

“I’d say as long as he is running home and I’ll put the blinkers on next start and he’ll be hard to beat from then on one he gets out to 1800m to 2000m or further,’’ Sargent said.

Originally published asTamworth, Goulburn tips: Ligulate locked in on Cup

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