JETGIRL - Corporate Bookmakers have declared the Central West Electrical Maiden Plate (1100m) a race in two between the Bjorn Baker-trained Dexluther an early $1.45 favourite with the Mirfin-trained Jetgirl a $2.45 chance. The Bjorn Baker/Greg Ryan factor seems to be in play because on form in is hard to justify the price differential. Dexluther has been costly to punters starting an odds-on favourite in two of his four starts to date. Placed at Wyong over 1000m on debut in two runs in his first preparation, Dexluther was a $1.8 chance resuming at Orange on January 30 finishing a half-length second before starting at $1.75 when fourth at Goulburn when he led over 1000m before weakening to finish fourth. There must be some doubt about Dexluther running out a strong 1100m, after only four starts it is way to early to make a definitive judgement but $1.45 to find out looks terribly skinny. Jetgirl started favourite on debut over the Bathurst 1100m on February 11 racing on the speed before finishing just over a length from the winner. A trial win against in good time at Orange leading into the first-up run suggested Jetgirl will win races and with the benefit of race experience will test the short-priced favourite to the limit.
KEYMASTER - In a similar vein the Bookies have isolated the Watermart Country Class 2 Plate 1400m to just the two runners, the Mirfin-trained Keymaster ($2.00) and the David J Smith-trained Bel Diablo ($2.15). We took on Bel Diablo when he was a $1.45 favourite at Narromine three runs back questioning his ability to perform beyond 1100m and followers of this column were duly rewarded when out tip Prince Of Thebes saluted at upwards of $30. Bel Diablo subsequently went to Gilgandra to win over 1300m but was found wanting at the end of 1400m in a Highway Handicap at Randwick last start. My doubts about Bel Diablo over the journey remain and If I am correct Keymaster would be close to a good thing. A six-year-old son of Oratorio, Keymaster has returned to racing in good order after a 391-day break between races finishing on the placegetters heels at Orange resuming when he endured a wide run in transit before winning over 1300m at Bathurst on January 22. Keymaster went back to 1200m last time out when second to Ori On Fire at Bathurst in a class two handicap lumping 60kg. With 59kg back to a set-weight class two and proven at the 1400m, Keymaster is the standout bet at Bathurst on Monday.
VICTOREM - Local trainer Jenny Graham has Portatorio, Awesome Pluck and Victorem chasing the riches in the MNCRA Country Championships Qualifier (1200m) and whilst a win by any of the three wouldn’t surprise the latter is clearly the pick. After finishing fourth on debut at Casino where his run was enormous after buck-jumping early, Victorem has strung together three straight victories winning his maiden at Kempsey by over four- engths before overcoming a wide run in transit to win the feature two-year-old race over the Grafton July Winter Carnival before spelling. Graham took Victorem to Randwick for his return to racing in a Highway Handicap on December 16 with the son of I Am Invincible scoring a tough win. It must be said Victorem buck-jumped for a few strides early at Randwick and he wouldn’t want to do that on Sunday but there were no signs of problems in his two impressive trial wins at Port Macquarie and Taree in the 64 days since the Randwick win and I am prepared to take the punt on a horse that has the potential to be a city class galloper.
AKASAKI - Each track has what I like to call a weight threshold, it’s the point where the stats change in a negative direction and despite how good a horse’s form looks, it’s the point where I start to question whether the horse can win. 60.5kg is the point for Quirindi, horses that carry 60.5kg have a winning strike rate of 25% and an 89% profit on turnover whilst horses being asked to carry 61kg and more sees the strike rate drop to 15% with a loss on turnover of 34.3percent. The Stephen Jones-trained Akasaki is right on the threshold being asked to carry 60.5kg in the Quirindi RSL Club Lightning Showcase Handicap (1100m). A four-length win at Warwick Farm two runs back and a close second at Randwick last start rate as solid form references for an open handicap on a country track and with Greg Ryan in the saddle Akasaki stands out as the day’s best bet.
PRESENT SENSE - Ryan has the ride on the consistent Present Sense, a $6.50 chance in the Akubra Quirindi Showcase Cup (1600m). Trained at Tamworth by Craig Martin, Present Sense is one of the most consistent country horses currently racing winning four and finishing in the placings on six occasions at his previous 10 starts prior to his return to racing when a 1-1/2 length fifth in the Walcha Cup resuming from a 91-day break between races. With Quirindi having a reputation as a “horses for courses” track it is worth noting Present Sense is one for one over the Quirindi mile. Fitter second-up Present Sense will give punters a great sight.