The start of the big Easter program kicks off on Wednesday night with five heats of the Group 3 Ladbrokes Magic Maiden. There are some extremely well bred youngsters looking to make a slashing start to their careers tonight, so there will be some upsets and some value for the astute (see lucky) punters out there.
Race 1: Ladbrokes Magic Maiden Heat 1 (G3) Maiden 520m
As always in this classic maiden series we will get quite a few dogs that have been held back to try to win this series. In this race, the three debutants – Zipping Novak, Tins And Rims and Mexican Bandit – will all have their admirers. Zipping Novak for the super strong Magri/Hallinan combination will be well schooled and his mum did make a Melbourne Cup final. Tins And Rims from the renowned Langley kennel is another well-bred pup whose mum has already produced Group 1 performers, and Mexican Bandit is not from Victoria, but rather the leading Lord kennels, and his mum had a great turn of paw. Of the others, Silver Luck is the sister to Doonan and Tiger Jack so could be anything, and Tania Keeping is in the very strong Charmaine Roberts kennel so must be respected. Luck will be paramount and watch the markets closely.
Race 2: Ladbrokes Magic Maiden Heat 2 (G3) Maiden 520m
Six debutants will face the starter for the first time here. Flash As’ mum won five races at HQ and is well bred. Canya Wilder for the Lords is another first starter sure to be fancied. Romantic Style is from the George Borg kennel and there have already been three winners from this litter, so watch out, although the breed is generally moderate early but very strong. Nangar Archie is supremely bred with his mum a winner of 15 races; in the hands of wily veteran trainer Dennis Barnes, he is worth a look. Let’s All Chant for Chris Carl is awkwardly drawn but again looks to have promise, and Lightnin’ Ethics for Peter Rodgers is from the same litter as Simply Limelight so will have ability.
Race 3: Ladbrokes Magic Maiden Heat 3 (G3) Maiden 520m
Ibrox Wildfire contested the rich Maitland Future Stars race taken out by Ties That Bind and was immediately put away and kept for this race, so connections obviously have an opinion. Nangar Nancy is the sister to Nagar Archie in the previous, and we expect her to be forward for this. Especially Rare is beautifully bred and up from Victoria and, although drawn tricky in the middle, will be hard to beat. What’s Thy Name from the Kayla-Jane Coleman kennel will be well educated and his mum was a quality chaser, so expect him to be very competitive. Romantic Flame is another from the strong Barcia Bale x Eva Diva litter with Romantic Storm, Style, and Power.
Race 4: Ladbrokes Magic Maiden Heat 4 (G3) Maiden 520m
We have five debutants here, including some extraordinarily bred pups. Rebel Ethics goes around for Mark Farrugia. This boy’s mum was a quality stayer, so he should be strong as an ox, although he might need some luck from box 1. Darryl’s Girl for Mitchell Northfield is a young Zambora Brockie pup whose litter mates have been flying in Victoria, so keep a close eye on him. Springview Angus for Mick Hardman will be well schooled and Mick knows how to get dogs ready for big races. Latrell Keeping from the Charmaine Roberts kennel is another from a litter that is flying and he was kept especially for this. Choo Choo Train’s mum was a star and Vic Sultana has a fair wrap on this fella, so he is definitely the one to watch.
Race 5: Ladbrokes Magic Maiden Heat 5 (G3) Maiden 520m
Simply Limelight – who has been chasing the potential star in Doonan in his first two starts – has been ultra-impressive. He has the benefit of a couple of previous races here and draws superbly. Bolt Like Elkie for Courtney Power is a promising youngster. Charlie Micallef will be hoping Mount Victoria goes like her littermates, who have been winning well at the provincials. Federal Aussie is the third from this litter to go around and it may well be worth watching his siblings. Zambidis is from the same litter as Fernando Mae so will likely have some early toe, while Embrace was sent north to contest the rich maiden series at The Gardens and was strong to the line.
Race 6: Ladbroke It! 5th Grade 520m
Zipping Sapporo gets back into a standard winnable 5th Grade here. She was a tad disappointing last week but did get held off the track and forced wide from box 8. She will be much happier here from the red, where she has won 4/5 with a second. We’re tipping her to bounce back to her best tonight, but Harrison Keeping will be a concern. He is usually a good beginner who heads to the fence, and if he does that tonight, he could cause problems for our top pick. If that eventuates, then the value might be Too Sassy, who has been slashing up north of late likes to use the track a fraction and may just zoom down the middle and cut them off. If she leads, she may well win this. Forever Thankful is going well and is a chance, and Scramjet put away We Back two starts ago, who then came out and won here last week.
Race 7: Happy Birthday Christian Hesse 5th Grade 520m
We Back did us a favour winning at good odds last start as our value tip, and there is no reason he can’t keep on keeping on here. Fernando Mae just blew the start last week; she is better than that and looks a genuine chance to lead this. The problem is that if she leads, then Go Forward Polly might get the dream cart into the race, and we know how strong she is. She was far from disgraced behind Doonan last start. Killer Boots is another with a hope, and Alice Unchained is much better drawn down near the fence.
Race 8: Lgee Heats Saturday 5th Grade 520m
Our Amelia was unlucky not to get across last week from this draw and was checked when she couldn’t cross Good Odds Emma. Nevertheless, she kept chasing and wasn’t disgraced. There is good pace under her but she can lead, and if she does, she’ll be awfully hard to run down. Lepidoptera has good Richmond 400m form and will be an interesting watch. Sinister Dreams and Traction will both get their chances from out wide but might need a touch of luck.
Race 9: Ladbrokes Easy Form Masters M1/M2/M3 520m
A very competitive Masters race sees the champ Sunburnt Highway return for start 106 on his happy hunting ground, looking for win number 39. He is not as dominant from outside boxes, but how do you tip against the champ? Angry Blizzard blew the start last time and if he returns to his best will trouble the champ. Zipping Brady broke through for a well-deserved win last time, and Rebecca Gay showed great early pace to win a 5th Grade here last week and may well hold them out from the inside. Kooringa Lucy will appreciate the massive grade drop and isn’t without hope.
Race 10: www.wentworthpark.com 5th Grade 720m
Paris And Rome was impressive when she led throughout to win here at only her second 720m race. She is only getting better and will be hard to catch tonight if she leads. Zipping Pearl is another that is better on the bunny and hasn’t led in her last couple. Cawbourne Turvey has been mixing his form, but we know he is strong and will run the trip right out, while Greg Hore’s two Hawke dogs – Penny and Jenny – will need to lift in this.
Race 11: It’s Going to Be Glorious Apr 9 3rd/4th Grade 520m
Fascinate Mel has been good of late and gets another chance to add to her account, but the key will be whether she can cross Key Bob. The battle for the lead may well decide this race; whichever of these two speedsters leads may well be in front at the judge. Springvale Hawk looks like he will get the trail and will be stalking the pace; he is a strong dog and is a definite chance. Former Queenslander Katanti, now with Jason Magri, could be an interesting runner while fresh.