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By Darren Winningham | Thursday, September 27, 2018

We are back at Doomben this weekend.

It is Grand Final weekend – AFL on Saturday and NRL on Sunday. For the record I am tipping West Coast Eagles and the Melbourne Storm. Outrage and social media commentary has raged since Storm’s Billy Slater was cleared of a shoulder charge last weekend.

My opinion has always been it appeared to be a shoulder charge and if it was “illegal” why did not the match officials award a penalty try. If he didn’t take him out the way he did the try would have surely been scored when he crunched Cronulla’s Sosaia Feki into touch in the game last weekend.

On reflection I think that the real underlying issue here is the shoulder charge rule itself. Was Slater undertaking a shoulder charge tackle that posed an unacceptable risk of injury to the opposing player? In my opinion NO!

Therefore, downgrade the charge or find him not guilty and let him play!

If I was on the adjudicating panel that would have been my thinking on the incident. Shoulder charges come in all shapes and forms. The most callous acts are the ones where a player wilfully runs and slams an opponent in the chest or the head. This tackle executed by Slater did not have this intention nor the result.

I am sure I am going to be plagued by some filthy comments on this view – especially from Rooster supporters after he carves you up on Sunday!


The track is rated “SOFT” (Thursday afternoon) and the rail will be 4 metres out the entire course this weekend.

The weather man is forecasting more rain and equivocal weather leading into Saturday so keep your eye on the weather. In the past horses that have led when the track is wet and chopped up have had a distinct advantage.

The meeting has some small and challenging fields. Also be sure to view my tips Randwick (Saturday) at the bottom of the article.

I must mention Michael “Muppy” Hellyer. He heads to Sydney to partner the David Vandyke trained Baccarat Baby who has won her past five starts in the Darley Flight Stakes (Group 1) over the mile. Good luck to the filly and team Vandyke and Muppy!

WINNO will be back at the track this weekend.

Josh Fleming is in good form on the tip as well. He has beaten me in the last two weeks – time to destroy him this weekend!

NB: As this form assessment was made prior to race-day, please check final fields and track conditions for any changes on the day.


Race 1

Small field – bet with caution.

Miss Quaintly (3) is trained by David Vandyke and is to be ridden by Jeff Lloyd. The stable has an opinion of this filly and she has won here over the mile. Second up now she should be ready to show something. There has been good backing to say that she will run a race as well with her being backed from $3 to $2.20 in early markets. She has some heavy track form as well – just in case the weather and track deteriorate.

Ailreach (2) is a mud lark as well. She has won two times on heavy tracks. Last start here she was a gallant second beaten under a length by Baccarat Baby (engaged in Group 1 Flight Stakes Randwick). That form looks solid for this race. Jimmy Orman gets the ride this weekend. She will certainly test this favourite.

A Man To Watch (1) has the winkers applied this weekend. His two runs since resuming have both been solid – but he just doesn’t seem to finish off his races. Maybe the gear change by Tony Gollan will switch him on.

Selections: 3-2-1-5


Race 2

I like the Robert Heathcote trained Stella Victoria (9) to continue on her winning way. She has won her past two starts now and is looking for a hat trick of wins. She looks perfectly placed in this field and will be hard to knock off.

Splitter (8) ran an honest race last start when beaten by Scallopini. She will be competitive again but I think she may be meeting a classy one here and find it hard to get past Stella Victoria (9).

Hingus Rose (1) races well on this Doomben circuit and does like damp conditions. She gets in with a light weight after the 3 kilograms claim for apprentice Jackson Murphy. Jackson will be looking for a win after having a recent holiday on the beach in Hawaii – I just hope he can ride at the 54.5 kilograms!

Selections: 9-8-1-5


Race 3

A Class 3 race over 2020 metres – now this is tough! I think I will head and grab some lunch whilst they go around!

I see that Ethan Ensby has Latino Lover (1) dropping back in grade after losing his rider in the Lismore Cup nine days ago. The horse and jockey were both okay there. Justin Stanley has been booked to ride.

Impavido (5) is trained by Bjorn Baker and debuts in Queensland. He is only lightly raced with a recent win at Gosford to his credit. I am not too sure how he will shape up here. He is an odds-on favourite – too short for me!

Sofie’s Gold Class (13), trained by Debbie Newham, has won her past two starts and steps up to the 2020 metres for the first time. The win at the Sunshine Coast last start would suggest that she will appreciated the longer distance and I expect her to go close.

Sir Barnabus (3) just keeps plugging away – maybe he can fill a place.

Selections: 13-5-3-9 rough chance 1


Race 4

The Open Sprint.

Snitz (6) is resuming for the Matthew Dunn stable at Murwillumbah. The Snitzel gelding was dynamic winning a recent trial on the Gold Coast with Jim Byrne aboard three weeks ago. He is renowned for his first up efforts and he will handle soft ground.

Ryan Maloney who is riding is great form takes the ride on him for the first time. From barrier 1 I think he will jump and just settle in behind the leaders. There is some good speed in the race so it should suit this runner.

Tawfiq Boy (4) has won his last two starts. He steps up in grade this weekend and with his fitness and the recent form he could be the testing material for Snitz (6).

Fiery Heights (1) will be the likely leader here this weekend. He has been very consistent since resuming for his new stable – Barry Lockwood. He won well first up and since then has placed in both of his subsequent starts.

Selections: 6-4-1-8


Race 5

Kris Lees is well represented with Not Surprising (7) and Progression (8) – both have been racing well.

Progression (8) is making his debut in Queensland this weekend after an average run three weeks ago at Kensington. This mare, who has some solid form on wet tracks and drawn in barrier 3, should be in the finish.

Smartypy (11) was average as favourite last weekend at the Sunshine Coast. I think back to Doomben and a soft surface we may see an improved effort.

Blue Seattle (10) is trained by Tina Cotsiopoulos and will be ridden by Andrew Spinks. This mare is third up this weekend. She handles a wet track well and I think now she has two runs under her belt she may be ready to show her best form this weekend.

Bella Occhi (9) is trained by Ben Currie. She has drawn badly in barrier 14 and may struggle from that barrier.

Oradonna (2) trained by Lindsay Gough has some wonderful form on wet and heavy tracks. Despite being a seven-year-old she may be able to sneak a place.

Overall it is an open race and there are many chances. It may pay you to go wide here.

Selections: 10-8-11-9 rough chances 2 & 7


Race 6

Another open field and there are many chances.

Beau Arrow (11) trained by Matthew John Dunn will be ridden by Rikki Palmer. This five-year-old gelding has had three career starts and has won all three! Last start he stepped to Saturday grade and stormed home late and posted a striking victory.

I’ve Gotta Nel (13) has had a stable change and is now trained by Barry Lockwood. This runner loves to jump and run along in front and he gets the chance to do that this weekend from barrier 4. He has won on damp tracks as well. I think that he is a great each way chance and I am putting him on top.

Barnsley (15) is second up and if the track does not get into the heavy range should find a place.

Rob Heathcote trains Bold Chance (14) who I thought would be hard to beat first up after some impressive trials but on the day in the parade ring I thought he would benefit from the run. So, on that assumption I expect him to strip fitter and possibly cause an upset in this race. He has a 100% record with two second up starts for two wins – that may just mean that he can in the money here with Ryan Wiggins aboard.

Selections: 13-14-11-15


Race 7

The mile race for the program – another open field.

Cedarwood (3) has a tongue tie applied this weekend – and I see that Damian Browne is back riding! Welcome back Brownie! This Chris Waller trained runner has been running consistently without setting the track on fire. Maybe the tongue tie will assist him this weekend.

Road To Heaven (4) I think needed the run when she resumed here three weeks ago. He steps up in distance to the mile and Jeff Lloyd remains aboard. He will be in the money.

Rob Heathcote will be probably out on the Doomben track doing a rain dance. His runner Foxy Affair (6) loves heavy tracks and he could benefit is the track and weather has deteriorated. His last start was okay – but just didn’t finish off the race over the mile. He may strip fitter for that effort.

Galtero (12) is trained by Gollan Racing and he is lightly raced with only six starts. He has resumed from a spell and won his two starts and is just working through the grades. He may just be able to get away with this race. The only concern is that he does not have any exposed form on wet tracks.

Selections: 4-12-3-6


Race 8

Toby Edmonds trains Reach For Heaven (11) who was narrowly beaten in his last two starts. I think he gets his chance to break through for his maiden win in Queensland this weekend.

I am very wary of Good Time Charlie (12), trained by Michael Lakey, who was desperately unlucky last start when he got jammed along the fence at Doomben and could not see daylight and went to the line hard held. On this run and if Dale Smith can get out this weekend he will probably test this lot.

He is fourth up this preparation and is likely to be hard to beat. He has no form on wet surfaces in race starts however, I did manage to find a replay of a trial win on a Soft track back in April. I think that he will cope with a wet track.

Courtza King (4) just keeps turning up each week. Brad Stewart always seems to get the best out of this Gollan trained gelding. Despite being a seven-year-old he loves this Doomben track and always runs a race!

Most Exalted (10) was well supported first up here and ran a nice race. Where there is smoke there is usually fire!

Super Suave (6) is trained by Liam Birchley and Jackson “McLovin” Murphy is aboard. The three-kilogram allowance may assist this weekend. He has some solid wet track efforts as well.

Selections: 12-11-6-10 - rough chance 4


Race 9

Future Event (12) is trained by John Zielke. Last start was run down in the shadow of the posts in the Lismore Cup when he carried 58 kilograms. This week he gets 54 kilograms and Rikki Palmer is aboard. I think he will lead again and with the light weight be hard to roll. The other point with this runner is that he loves wet tracks and he should get that this weekend.

My Giuliano (3) was an impressive winner last start here on a soft track – he probably should remain on the radar.
Prioritise (4) won well here when he led all the way and ran them into the ground over a mile last start with Michael Murphy aboard. He steps up to the longer distance for the first time - $2.40 too short for WINNO!

Brilliant Jet (5) is the one that I would have a watch on – he like his runs to be spaced out. I think this weekend we may see an improved performance.

Exoteric (8) has been smashed since the markets opened firming from $11 to $5.50. Jeff Lloyd is aboard – watch out!

It is an open race the last – it may pay to take the field in your exotics and go narrow in the earlier legs!

Selections: 12-3-8-4 rough chance 5


Jockey Challenge

Well it looks another easy win to Jeff Lloyd this weekend – he has a solid book of rides!

Early Quaddie (races 2 to 5 NSW only)

8,9 / 5,13 / 4,6 / 8,10,11 - cost is $24 to $1

Quaddie (races 6 to 9)

11,13,14 / 3,4,12 / 6,11,12 / 3,4,8,12 - cost is $108 to $1

Value Quaddie (races 6 to 9

13,14 / 4,12 / 11,12 / 3,4,12 - cost is $24 to $1

Treble (races 7 to 9)

3,4,12 / 6,11,12 / 3,4,8,12 - cost is $36 to $1



R1 – Satin Socks (12) from 6,7 & 3
R2 – Exceed The Stars (6)
R4 – Luvaluva (11)
R5 - Redzel (1) - (special)
R6 – Miss Fabulass (2) - (special) from 6
R7 – Unforgotten (7) from 3
R8 - Midterm (7) from 9 &10
R9 – Problem Solver (15)

Good luck and good punting!

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