Worth a closer look....

The ThoroughbredNEWS team delve into races of interest over the weekend including the Stewards’ Cup meeting at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Odds with as at Friday 8.30am. Race times are all local.

Friday night

The Valley Race 2 – 7.00pm Powerflo Solutions Plate (1000m)

Could this be the lead we have been looking for. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable has elected to keep Hauraki Gulf for this race rather than send the debutant to Adelaide and run at Gawler. The draw may have influenced the decision along with the forecast hot temperature predicted in Adelaide on Saturday, but interestingly the stable has scratched Decent Raine from this race and she is also in over at Gawler. Adelaide-trained Gosden has also been scratched from this race to run at Gawler and has been backed from $6 into $3.50. Anyway, Hauraki Gulf will be worth keep an eye on early in Friday night’s program. - CB odds: $5.50

The Valley Race 7 – 9.30pm Chandler Macleod VOBIS Gold Carat (1200m) 

Orlando Grove still has a long way to go to match the deeds of big brother Streets Of Avalon but the signs are promising in the early stages of her career. Orlando Grove broke her maiden status at Sandown last start after a promising debut at Yarra Valley last month. Like her brother, Orlando Grove is trained at Mornington by Shane Nichols who has wasted no time in chasing a rich city purse. Nichols will be hoping to drive home from The Valley with a city double under the belt as he also saddles Streets Of Avalon in the Group 2 Australia Stakes, run 90 minutes before Orlando Grove. - CB odds: $15


Gawler Race 3 – 11.35am Coopers Brewery Handicap (1712m)

It’s worth noting that earlier in the week Tanker had nominations for three events on the Gawler program and at least one for a race in his home state of Victoria. Ultimately, the training combination of Ciaron Maher & David Eustace settled for this Benchmark 72, for which the three-year-old son of Pride Of Dubai is the highest rated and gets the services of gun apprentice Lachlan Neindorf with his 2kg allowance. A good winner over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley in handy Melbourne metropolitan company, Tanker has subsequently ‘bombed’ in two starts since but is possibly placed with the aim of getting his career back on track. — PF odds: $3.70

Randwick Race 1 - 12:40pm The Paul Hoffmann Handicap (1000m)

A pressure race for two-year-old’s whichever way you look at it. A capacity field of 13, plus six emergencies, tells us that the holy grail for the juveniles, the Golden Slipper is just eight weeks away and winning and stakes earnings are vital to make the field. For a juvenile right now, a day is a life time as young minds and bodies are stretched to the limit, one slight mishap and the Slipper is gone. More pressure, the TAB $3 favourite, Ashema, has barrier 19 for Tommy Berry, 13 without the emergencies. The Annabel Neasham trained I Am Invincible filly was second in the Inglis Nursery on December 12 from barrier four after leading at the 400m and going down by 2-¼ lengths. The second favourite, Arthur Frances, for John O'Shea and Hugh Bowman, has barrier one. The Foxwedge colt has won his two trials, the latest by 1-¾ lengths over 900m at Randwick on the January 4. More Pressure for the trainer is the ownership group of Arthur Frances, Mrs I O'Shea, Mr BJ O'Shea and Mrs FJ O'Shea. Good luck John. - RB odds: $3.30

Sandown Race 5 – 3.20 pm Ladbrokes Easy Form Handicap (1600m)

Warrnambool trainer Matthew Williams will have his foot in two camps when he brings Intellective and Quantum Mechanic to Sandown. Williams prepares Intellective for a large ownership group, including his wife Ultra, while he also is the caretaker trainer of a number of horses trained by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr’s who require a quieter lifestyle at his Warrnambool base. While victory by Intellective would be more lucrative for Williams, he also knows things could get a little prickly if his charge was to touch out Quantum Mechanic. Williams expects Quantum Mechanic to be hard to beat on her last start placing at Flemington and her work during the week. - CB odds: $2.30

Randwick Race 7 - 4:20pm Sky Racing Active Handicap (1400m)

Recent import Zegalo (Ire) is one of the more interesting runners of the day on the Randwick program in Sydney where the former Newmarket-based galloper is set to have his first start for Chris Waller. A lightly-raced four-year-old, Zegalo is yet to finish out of the first three after eight starts at some of England’s most prominent tracks, albeit in restricted company under the careful supervision of trainer Roger Varian. As so many of Varian’s horses are given the opportunity to fulfill their true potential as older horses, it’s safe to suggest that Zegalo’s best form lies ahead. Thus, his progress over the coming months should be followed closely. — PF odds: $7

Sandown Race 8 - 5:20pm MRC Members Handicap (1500m)

Translator was shaping-up as a very handy prospect for Ballarat trainer Nigel Blackiston before his form started to taper-off towards the back-end of his previous campaign. The four-year-old son of Helmet won a couple of races in succession before running an eye-catching third behind the talented Right You Are, showing his best form around 1600-1700m and when blinkers were applied. His first-up effort was promising enough and, significantly, he’s back wearing blinkers for his second start this preparation. — PF odds: $13


Sha Tin Race 7 – 4.05pm (HKST) 7.05pm (AEST) Group 1 The Stewards' Cup (1600m) - Sunday

After Saturday's racing in Australia without stars there is a significant star beaming brightly from the north, the Francis Lui and Vincent Ho combination with Golden Sixty (AUS). Last seen winning the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Mile on December 13, it was the five-year-old Medgalia d'Oro gelding's 14th win from 15 starts adding up to HK$51.3m, A$8.9m, in stakes. There is not just Golden Sixty's undoubted talents, but also Vincent Ho's nonchalance in his riding as he chooses the time to let his champion go. Frances Lui said at Happy Valley on Wednesday night; “He’s Ok, everything is good - he’s ready.” Bet into TAB’s massive combined HKJC pools and while Golden Sixty will be at slim odds, the price and the watch will be worth it. For the watch, plus the full and uninterrupted broadcast from the Hong Kong Jockey Club's broadcast team, go to Live Steaming from 3.30pm AEST. - RB

Golden Sixty and Vincent Ho airborne at Sha Tin, picture Hong Kong Jockey Club