BLACK CHILLI - Angland rides Black Chill for Markwell in the Duck Creek Dash Class 1 Handicap (1000m) with the shorter course and a set of blinkers for the first time giving the gelding the chance to record his second career win. The three-year-old was a maiden win over the track and distance on debut and whilst he hasn’t been able to place in three runs this time in there has been nothing wrong with each of his efforts. Black Chilli looked a big chance at the 200m last start and my reading of the run was he simply didn’t run out the trip when fourth behind Catmosphere beaten 1-1/4 lengths. Happy to have something back to 1000m with the blinkers on.
DEFT - A set of blinkers looks a positive for Deft which will chase her first win in the Tofs Metro & Provincial Maiden Plate (1400m). Deft made her debut on April 18 and was well in the market before finishing 2-1/4 lengths from the winner in a race that has produced two subsequent winners with the runner-up Toryjoy winning a Warwick Farm maiden with the seventh placegetter Better Than Elle going on to a Kembla victory whilst four of the remaining 10 runners have been placed in provincial maidens. Last start Deft finished third in a metropolitan maiden at Scone and although beaten over four lengths, the winner Metamorphic won by a space recording speed ratings comparable to Savatiano which was a class two winner on the day over the same journey before she won easily at Randwick last Saturday to add further merit to the form around Deft. Tye Angland should be able to give Deft the run of the race from barrier four and the daughter of Exceed And Excel is ready to win.
SAVVY ROCK - Followers of this column got the cash at the last Grafton meeting on May 20 when we declared the Steven O’Dea-trained Savvy Rock and it’s hard to find a reason not to back-up on Monday when the three-year-old chases three straight wins in the Clarence Valley Sheds Class 2 Handicap (1720m). Bred to be a stayer being a son of Fastnet Rock out of the Encosta de Lago mare Zavana, Savvy Rock relished the step up to 1710m to win his maiden at Grafton leading all the way and recording close to the best speed ratings of the day before repeating the dose last start with an equally impressive class one victory. Savvy Rock still holds a nomination for the Queensland Derby and whilst I am not privy to plans in that regard it suggests the stable has a decent opinion of the gelding. Happy to declare Savvy Rock the bet of the day again.
BARRICADE - Race fitness looks the decisive form factor in the Reeve Wheeler Memorial Open Handicap (1310m). Early betting has the Cameron Crockett-trained Artistic Beauty early favourite ahead of last-start Narromine winner Barricades from the Peter Bloomfield stable at Scone. Artistic Beauty is arguably the best horse in the race but will be first-up on Monday and although she does have a fresh win on her resume the mare has been beaten on six occasions including a close second at Mudgee resuming last time in when she carried 54 kg. In my opinion, the $3.20 best price available at the time of writing looks unders, considering Artistic Beauty will have to lump 59kg on Monday. Conversely, Barricades is race fit after winning the Narromine Diggers Cup last start. Greg Ryan sticks and four of Barricades five career wins have been at 1300m. It’s a simple equation, I would prefer to be taking $3.60 about Barricades than $3.20 Artistic Beauty.
CALL ME BRAD - It was only April 9 the form guide showed the John Ramsey-trained Tiara Star and Call Me Brad from the Lesley Jeffries yard at Tamworth clashing in a race at Scone. Call Me Brad led early before being run down in the straight finishing third whilst Tiara Store was mentioned in the stewards report on a couple of occasions however only battled in the straight before finishing sixth. Both horses have been defeated in their subsequent runs with Call Me Brad going to Hawkesbury and Tamworth with Tiara Star racing at Scone. Sure, Tiara Star contested the Denise's Joy Stakes last start and did endure a wide run in transit, however it his still hard to justify the huge price differential between the pair. Call Me Brad with Greg Ryan taking over looks exceptional value at $9.50 in the Aqua West Class 3 Handicap (1010m) compared to the $1.70 for Tiara Star.