THE LAWYER - With a winning strike rate of 36 percent at Ballina, any Toby Edmonds runner must be respected and that’s the case with The Lawyer which is chasing a maiden win in the XXXX Gold CG&E Maiden Plate (1300m). A three-year-old son of Sequalo, The Lawyer was in the market in his two first preparation runs but failed to fire before going to the spelling paddock. After three solid trials, The Lawyer returned to racing finishing third in a Doomben maiden on January 26 when he was forced to lead after working early in the run. The Barrier Speed Map available here suggests The Lawyer won’t spend a penny getting into the box seat in running on Thursday and with a look at the Closing Speed Map showing the Glen Colless ride have the second best closing speed in the race. The gelding is going to take plenty of beating second-up launching from barrier one.
OLD MAN SAM - The decision to take advantage of the 3kg claim for apprentice Rachel Hunt looks the decisive factor in the Blakes Marine Provincial Sprint – Class 4 Handicap (1100m). Originally allocated 61kg the claim brings Old Man Sam into Tuesday’s assignment with a winnable 58kg. Trained at Kembla by Michael Tubman, Old Man Sam has been racing well winning at his home track four runs back before finishing down the track in a Rosehill benchmark 80. Tubman gave the seven-year-old a break after the disappointing run in Saturday metropolitan company and Old Man Sam has bounced back in excellent order finishing the closest of seconds in the Moruya Town Plate on January 8 lumping 59kg before another narrow defeat in the Bega Sprint at the Sapphire Coast carrying 58kg. With 58kg back to a provincial class four, Old Man Sam stands out as the day’s best at Hawkesbury on Tuesday.
MANHATTAN MIST - Punter’s shouldn’t discount on-pace horses in an outside barrier and Manhattan Mist is a case in point in the Hawkesbury Race Club Motel Benchmark 71 Handicap (1400m). The Racenet Barrier speedmap available here instantly tells us Manhattan Mist doesn’t have to contend with a lot of speed drawn inside him and should have little difficulty crossing the field to take up the running. If that’s the scenario that eventuates Manhattan Mist is clearly the horse to beat. A three-year-old son of Manhattan Rain had plenty on a class one field at Wyong resuming on January 28 taking up the running early and racing away in the straight to win by 4-1/2 lengths running superior time to the Godolphin three-year-old Absolute which won on the same day over the same distance and looks to be the main rival.
DELUDE - The Danny Williams-trained Delude will appreciate the step up to 1400m in the Waratah Thoroughbreds Class 2 Handicap (1400m). A three-year-old son of Delago Deluxe out of the Snippets Mare Society Barber, Delude has raced on three occasions and was a Moruya winner over 1425m second-up in his first preparation. Delude looked a run short resuming at Goulburn on January 29 over 1200m when the gelding looked a winning chance at the 200m, but his run petered out over the concluding stages. With the run under his belt stepping up to a suitable journey, Delude gets the chance to go one better. Jason Collett has the ride in what looks a significant jockey change.
FASHION STAGE - The Sue Grills-trained Fashion Stage doesn’t win out of turn, but she is a competitive mare in her right grade and connections have found the right race for her to return to the winner’s list on Monday. Benchmark 55 races are where Fashion Stage seems to perform best, and the mare looks well placed in the Royal Oak Hotel Cessnock F&M Benchmark 55 Handicap (1150m). A six-year-old daughter of Duporth, Fashion Stage will be fitter for her first-up run after finishing 2-1/2 lengths from the winner Barr Hill when third at Gunnedah resuming on January 16 and has won second-up previously. Fashion Stage’s last two runs in benchmark 55 company produced a Grafton win on July 9 defeating the boys with a close third at Tamworth on June 24 preceding that win. 59.5kg looks a winnable weight back to her own sex and with Grant Buckley in the saddle looks genuine value at the $6.50 available at the time of writing.