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Boxing Clever Weekender with Gerard Daffy

Queensland's night of nights will be headlined by the $525,000 G1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup and $225,000 G1 TAB Queensland Cup, while in Melbourne, the time-honoured G2 Sir John McKenna takes centre stage. 

TAB's Gerard Daffy has cast his keen eye over EVERY RUNNER in all three events to help you find a winner.  

G1 TAB QUEENSLAND CUP (710m)

Albion Park Race 6, Thursday 

THIS race has a bit of a ‘Nationals’ feel about it as four states are represented, so let’s break the race down and see if we can find the winner.

BOX 1 - BEDROCK FRED 
Trainer: Tony Brett
TAB Fixed Odds: $2.60
PUT together three wins on the trot here and from the gun draw is the one to beat. Catapulted out of the 2 last week and raced away to win in 41.57, second best of the night. Ran 41.42 the previous week. In form, the only niggling doubt I have is both Super Estrella and Collinda Patty are capable of matching it with Bedrock Fred to the first turn if he only begins on terms with the others. Obviously hard to beat but I think the value lies elsewhere.

BOX 2 - SUPER ESTRELLA
Trainer: David Smith
TAB Fixed Odds: $5
SURPRISINGLY run down by Oh Oh Range in last week’s heat after pouncing on the lead at the start. First split was a quick 15.75, but she was run down in a steady 41.90. That was her first run on the track, so have to take that into account, but needs to improve dramatically to feature in my opinion unless she establishes a big lead, and then the race changes complexion.
Super Estrella trainer David Smith counting the cost of yet another flood

BOX 3 - DAYS OF THUNDER 
Trainer: Warren Nicholls
TAB Fixed Odds: $13
HAS improved her own weight recently and although she will be at the tail of the field early, I think she can win. With a few potential leaders here there is a strong chance of trouble at the first turn, and provided Days of Thunder can stay within touch (about 6 lengths) I think she can mow them down. Huge effort to trounce noted G1 performer Gypsy Wyong last week and that came after a similar effort two weeks ago in 41.67, the same time as she ran last week. Knows every grain of sand around this track, will be a rough ride for her backers early, but she looks terrific value at $13.00 each way.

BOX 4  - OH OH RANGE 
Trainer: Ned Snow
TAB Fixed Odds: $9
THE youngster of the field but what he gives away in age he makes up for in talent. Stalked Super Estrella last week and proved too strong in 41.90. I thought they should have run a little faster than that, but it is worth remembering that Oh Oh Range did run the fastest of ‘The 715’ heats at the Gardens a month ago. He can be hit and miss at the start so the blue box is not ideal as he will have Collinda Patty and Drako Bale cutting down from the outside. Stays under notice as he has a lot of upside.

BOX 5 - GYPSY WYONG
Trainer: Thomas Dailly
TAB Fixed Odds: $19 
FOUR-time G1 winner who has amassed $492,000 in prizemoney over her career. Has raced here on five occasions for four seconds, and on what we have seen here over the last two weeks she is clearly racing a few lengths below her best. For that reason she is going to need a lot go her way from the bad draw to feature in the finish.

BOX 6 - COLLINDA PATTY
Trainer: Jason Thompson
TAB Fixed Odds: $5
A STAR Victorian who set the track alight last week leading all of the way in 41.51, with an early split of 15.75. Those times are similar to Bedrock Fred, but Collinda Patty was having her first run at Albion Park. Three runs ago she also led all the wat at Geelong in a flying 38.90 over 680m, and was simply too quick for Aston Velvet and recent Sandown Cup winner Untapped. If she finds the front I doubt if they can run her down, but there is enough speed in this race to say that there could be early congestion. Still, seems a nice price at $5.50.

BOX 7 - ZIPPING KANSAS
Trainer: Jason Magri
TAB Fixed Odds: $5 
WAS NO match for Collinda Patty last week, beaten a tick over three lengths after chasing her all of the way. Was always in a winning position but was no match for the winner. We all know what he can do, and he actually isn’t that badly drawn out here as Collinda Patty on his inside will be looking to cut across the face of the field. Most of his wins have come from outside draws, but he is taking on a very good field of stayers here. Not ruling him out as his capabilities are well known.

BOX 8 - DRAKO BALE
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
TAB Fixed Odds: $26 
FROM the same camp as Gypsy Wyong, and probably approaching the end of his career. Won a heat of ‘The 715’ at the Gardens when leading all of the way, and he did the same thing at his previous run at Sandown in a fair 41.93 … but that night he defeated Bedrock Fred fair and square! ‘Fred’ has improved a stack since that night, and Drako Bale did plug on well when a three length second to that same dog in the heat last week. On that alone probably has at least a place hope but going to need some luck in the first 100 metres.

TIPS

3. DAYS OF THUNDER
6. COLLINDA PATTY
1. BEDROCK FRED
7. ZIPPING KANSAS

G1 SKY RACING BRISBANE CUP (520m) 

Albion Park Race 8, Thursday

THE second G1 of the night will be the Sky Racing Brisbane Cup, and there appear to be a host of winning chances..

BOX 1 - PHOTO MAN
Trainer: Gavin Clifton
TAB Fixed Odds: $4.20 
A VICTORIAN who has had a really good campaign up north having already won the Flying Amy. Also had the red box on that occasion and led all the way to beat Amron Boy in 29.71. Battled on well behind Just A Sort last week when beaten by 1 length in 29.70, so around that time seems to be his benchmark. The draw is the big plus for him here, 6 red boxes for three wins and three seconds, and he either leads here or camps up behind the outside division. Either way a realistic hope.

BOX 2 - BLACK MAGIC ROSE
Trainer: Fred Swain
TAB Fixed Odds: $14
CONTINUES to surprise, and only had eleven starts to date. Ran third in the Flying Amy and then led last week when going down to Equalizer by a nose. Another with plenty of early zip, and will need to use that here if she is to feature in the finish.

BOX 3 - BIG OPAL ROCKS
Trainer: Mario Briganti
TAB Fixed Odds: $6.50 
ONE of the fastest dogs in Australia, and all are waiting for him to campaign over the longer journeys. Strange run last week, he is desperate for the fence, found it early around the first turn, then moved off the track in the back straight. Regained the lead to just hang on and beat Shipwreck. That run suggested something was amiss but trainer has had him checked out and all appears to be ok. If he is right, from this draw, he could blow them away. IF!

BOX 4 - EXTRA MALT
Trainer: Leanne Hall
TAB Fixed Odds: $13
A VETERAN local champ who has won 14 of her 38 starts track and distance. Got all the breaks in an upset win last week running 30.06, and as she has been only average out of the boxes here recently is probably going to need a lot of luck to go her way again. One thing in her favour of those who will be out the back early is that there is a lot of pace here and there could be big trouble approaching the first turn.

BOX 5 - IMPACT
Trainer: Shane Ellis
TAB Fixed Odds: $9.50 
HAD the benefit of the red box last week when led all the way in 29.80. That made it four from four off the inside, he is another who loves Albion Park where he has won 10 from 21 out of these boxes. Ordinary beginners either side of him here so he should find his feet early but not sure he can cross or hold out the Brett pair drawn out wide. On his best form he can win but the draw worries me.

BOX 6 - EQUALIZER
Trainer: Jason Thompson
TAB Fixed Odds: $6.50 
WHAT a star! Defending champion who will need things to go his way if he is to make it back to back Brisbane Cups, but he is such a sagacious sprinter you can never rule him out. Unbeaten from 5 appearances at Albion Park and has arrived in time to win the last two weeks when seemingly in an impossible position. Tardy to begin, flops to the rails, then races for luck. Will have the crowd roaring if he can repeat the dose again. A must for exotics.

BOX 7 - JUST A SORT
Trainer: Tony Brett
TAB Fixed Odds: $5 
ONE of two Tony Brett runners in the rich final. Led all the way from the inside last week winning in 29.70 with a first split of 5.47. A much better dog when he does lead, but has struggled to get the start right on occasions when drawn out wide. I doubt he could come from behind in this field, so he cannot afford to begin on terms with them. It would be a surprise to me if he was to win, but remember, it is T Brett putting the polish on him!

BOX 8 - ORCHESTRATE
Trainer: Tony Brett
TAB Fixed Odds: $3.70
TONY BRETT has done an amazing job to get this dog right again, and winning, after he spent several months on the sidelines. Showed his customary dash from the boxes last week when he ran 5.44 to the judge before winning in 29.70. His early pace is his biggest asset, and while plenty have found the task of winning at Albion Park from box 8 beyond them, Orchestrate has exited the pink over the 520 metres six times for five wins. On that record he is deserving of favourtism, but he will need to be on his best behaviour early if he is to cross and win. I think he can, and have put him on top.

TIPS

8. ORCHESTRATE
1. PHOTO MAN
6. EQUALIZER
3. BIG OPAL ROCKS

G2 SIR JOHN MCKENNA MEMORIAL (595m) 

THE Sir John McKenna Memorial may only be a G2 race but it is always one of the most sought after features each year at Sandown, particularly since it has found its place over the 595 metres.

This year will be no different, and it has drawn together a really good field, and finding the winner has proven a bit of a task since the box draw was conducted.

BOX 1 - RICCARTON RICK
Trainer: Robert Redenbach
TAB Fixed Odds: $3.60 
ONLY posted one win from eleven starts here over the 595, the last 40-50 metres has always posed a problem. However he does have the necessary speed to kick up and hold them out here, and if he is to win, that’s what will have to happen. Some good beginners in this field, but the red box is such a big advantage he cannot be ruled out. I did think he deserves to be a better price.

BOX 2 - ASTON ULYSSES
Trainer: Paul Abela
TAB Fixed Odds: $3.30 
LOVES the track, loves the distance, and loves an inside draw. Ticks all the boxes and from box 2 looks likely to just settle off the early speed battle, and then power home. Has won four of his eleven starts track and distance, one of those in 33.81. Did lead all the way here 3 starts ago in 34.12, a serviceable run but I thought perhaps he might be getting to the end of his career, but showed he still had it last week.

BOX 3 - STOUT MONELLI
Trainer: David Geall
TAB Fixed Odds: $3.30 
CREATED an impression at his first Victorian start last week since transferring to the kennel of Dave Geall. Had an impeccable record in SA and put the race beyond doubt last week when he stepped to the front from box 2, winning in 34.06. A much better dog when he does lead, his biggest problem on Thursday will be kennel-mate Hill Top Jack (box 8) and Spanish Miss (box 4), both lightning fast beginners, likely to be applying plenty of early pressure. If he can begin and hold that duo out, then he is the one to beat, if not, well he could be in big strife early!

BOX 4 - SPANISH MISS
Trainer: Diane Ireland
TAB Fixed Odds: $26 
A COUPLE of lengths shy of this class but her one asset is she can ping the lids. As mentioned above, that must be a concern for supporters of Stout Monelli, but even if she was to find the lead around the first turn, I doubt she can hang on for a win.

BOX 5 - RUFUS SCRIMGEOUR
Trainer: Lisa Cokerell
TAB Fixed Odds: $26 
SCORED a huge upset win in his heat last week recording a steady 34.23. Normally an average beginner, he will also need plenty to go his way if he was to win again.

BOX 6 - XINMIN BALE
Trainer: Daniel Gibbons
TAB Fixed Odds: $26 
ANOTHER outsider who will find the going very tough from a horrible draw. Led in 9.24 early last week before Rufus Scrimgeour ran him down. A win here would be a surprise.

BOX 7 - MEPUNGA WARRIOR
Trainer: Jeff Britton
TAB Fixed Odds: $6.50 
FASTEST heat winner (33.98) but did have the advantage of box 2 and now moves out to the black box. Can be treacherous early from this start if you don’t come out, but I think he may be able to get a cart across off Hill Top Jack. Versatile performer over any distance and has always displayed great track sense as we saw in his heat last week. Going to be tough from the draw but that is why we can get $6.50, he would be half that if he drew near the rails. I think he is worth taking the risk with.

BOX 8 - HILL TOP JACK
Trainer: David Geall
TAB Fixed Odds: $7
FROM the samekennel as Stout Monelli, and similar racing pattern…at his best when in front. Although Hill Top Jack has three wins from nine starts here over the 595m, the last 80-100 metres are an issue for him as he tires. As mentioned, there is plenty of early speed in this race, he will be the one cutting across, but can he get that all important lead? I’m not sure he can, but he might set the race up for Mepunga Warrior.

TIPS

7. MEPUNGA WARRIOR
3. STOUT MONELLI
2. ASTON ULYSSES
1. RICCARTON RICK

Gerard Daffy is part of the TAB Media team based in Queensland. Gerard can be heard daily on RadioTAB which includes his popular Thursday morning program, On The Lure and Sky Sports Radio. Gerard also appears regularly on SKY 2’s The Catching Pen with Jason Lincoln and Matt Jackson.

*Prices correct at time of publishing.

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