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Although there are only five heats, each heat is stacked full of talent and it’s sure to be an ultra competitive series.
The first heat features country cups king of 2013 Ronan Izmir. He appears to tick all the boxes and has drawn perfectly in box one. It’s hard to see this striking black chaser not getting the cash. He resumed from a short spell with a Ballarat placing recently and he is sure to have derived a lot of benefit from that run. In the past, he has won seven of his eight tries from the red draw and his track credentials read an impressive four wins from five tries. The Jason Thompson trained star is likely to be $1.50 or shorter but it does look to be better than bank interest.
Outside of the favourite, there appears to be a number of runners capable of filling the quinella spot. The powerful Kelvin Greenough kennel has recently acquired promising Tasmanian chaser Direct Current. If he can repeat his jaw dropping 25.20 Devonport win from last month he should give the favourite something to worry about.
Zambora Storm has the talent to feature, however sometimes his box manners can let him down. He would need to do everything right initially. Nic Nat Nui and Quara Bale may have trouble crossing from outside as there is an abundance of early speed drawn inside.
Top Four: 1 – 3 – 4 – 6
Trifecta: 1/3,4,6/3,4,5,6,7 ($12 for $1)
Trifecta: 1/3,4,6/3,4,6 ($6 for $1)
Race 6 – 425M Bendigo Cup Heat Two – 8:41PM
Heat two sees the best one bend chaser in the land strut his stuff. Like the first heat, Paw Licking is likely to start tens on and it will take a brave man to take him on. He is coming off a commanding Maitland Gold Cup win and he has won six of his nine tries from this draw. In a field which doesn’t have a lot of lid pingers, he should find himself in front soon after box rise and he is likely to give the track a record a shake.
Leesa Benz really caught the eye at Geelong last week when she was narrowly beaten over the 400 metre journey in a blistering 22.38. She can be a little hit or miss early, but if she can step cleanly, she should bring Paw Licking across early and run the quinella.
Empire Allen and Black Rip look to be the other place hopes. Both are front runners but neither has the speed to go with the favourite early.
Top Four: 8 – 7 – 6 – 2
Trifecta: 8/2,6,7/2,6,7 ($6 for $1)
Trifecta: 8/2,6,7/2,3,4,6,7 ($12 for $1)
Race 7 – 425M Bendigo Cup Heat Three – 8:58PM
Finally we get to a heat which looks to have a few chances. Deadly Vane is the likely favourite, but I don’t believe he is suited from the rails draw.
The early leader appears to be Fine Diner. If he can ping the lids like normal, he should make the race for the Gary Ennis trained Blaster. He is having his third run after a spell and he looked very impressive when scoring at Geelong in 22.47. He’s sure to be hitting peak fitness by now and the wide draw should suit.
Whata Good Size has a tremendous record on the country circuit and he recently set the Shepparton track alight with a dazzling 21.86 win. With a slow beginner drawn either side, he should get a clear run early and he is likely to be putting pressure on Fine diner and Blaster in the initial stages.
Fine Diner has a big problem running out the trip, so he is unlikely to feature. Ollie Bale and Deadly Vane look to be the two other winning hopes.
Top Four: 6 – 3 – 1 – 7
Suggested Bet: Win bet on Blaster, rove in quinellas with 1,3,7
Race 8 – 425M Bendigo Cup Heat Four – 9:18PM
Once again we get to see another short priced favourite and like the first two, he looks to be a monty as well.
Reigning Melbourne Cup champion Black Magic Opal has drawn ideally in box one and he if he pings he is likely to test the time standard set by Paw Licking in heat two. After a disappointing effort at Sale in mid march, this superstar chaser showed he was back to his best with a track record performance at Ballarat the following week. I expect he will be tens on, but he is as close as you will get to a certainty.
Veyron Bale is drawn to follow the favourite through in the early stages and if he can recapture his best form he should run the quinella. Since scoring a 29.50 Wentworth Park win in January, this highly talented speedster has experienced loads of trouble in each subsequent run.
Coco Benz has been in good form of late but she will struggle in this company. Great Spartacus should be suited by the empty box underneath him.
Top Four: 1 – 2 – 6 – 3
Trifecta: 1/2/3,6,7,8 ($4 for $1)
Trifecta: 1/2,3,6/2,3,6 ($6 for $1)
Race 9 – 425M Bendigo Cup Heat Five – 9:41PM
In the final chance to qualify for next week’s lucrative final, it is hard to go past faultless beginner Matt’s Entity. In recent months he has taken all before him, having won seven of his past eight starts, with the latest being here in a lightning quick 23.57. There isn’t a single runner who can go with him for the first 300m in this event and it’s hard to see him being run down running 23.50 out in front.
Clone Your Own is the smokey in the event. He has gone winless in his past nine starts but he is suitable out wide and there doesn’t appear to be a heap of pace drawn directly outside him. If Matt’s Entity makes any mistakes early, Clone Your Own may be able to cause a boil over.
Zipping Brock will be in the market but I think he is better suited to a longer trip, Top Secret is drawn to be in the mix throughout.
Top Four: 3 – 6 – 1 – 7
Trifecta: 3/1,6,7/1,6,7 ($6 for $1)
Trifecta: 3/1,6,7/1,2,4,6,7,8 ($15 for $1)
First Four: 3/1,6,7/4/Field ($15 for $1)
First Four: 3/1,6,7/Field/4 ($15 for $1)