TROPICANA LASS - We don’t see too many benchmark 49 races on TAB days on the country circuit which makes the Brett Thompson-trained Tropicana Lass a stand out bet in the Spanline Benchmark 49 Handicap (1300m). Benchmark 49 races are usually the domain of old geldings or struggling mares well past their best and that’s the case on Tuesday with the 10 rivals for Tropicana Lass having a combined total of 488 races between them for 37 wins. It’s unusual to see a lightly-raced three-year-old filly in these type of races, especially one with a bit of upside, Tropicana Lass has only raced twice winning easily at Warren on debut before being nailed on the line at Gilgandra last start. Tropicana Lass would only need to be in the same form to handle her older rivals on Tuesday with Greg Ryan in the saddle and the bookies are letting us on with $3.10 available with Sportsbet at the time of writing.
STORMCRAFT - Starcraft gelding Stormcraft is back with Grafton trainer David Kelly after a successful stint in Victoria with Darren Weir and will be defending an unbeaten first-up record when he lines up in the Pacific Highway Runners Reunion Return To Racing Handicap (1000m). After winning two of his first six career starts with David Kelly including a maiden win over 1015m at Grafton, Stormcraft was transferred to Weir with the now five-year-old winning three races on the Victorian provincial circuit and was only a half-length from the winner when fourth in race at Sandown. Stormcraft hasn’t raced for 100-days but did enough in a Grafton trial when third on December 3 to suggest he can make it five from five fresh.
STELLA’S CHANCE - One win from 17 starts is not a strong form recommendation but the soft track at Grafton brings Stella’s Chance into play in the NRRA Championships Qualifier March 11 Benchmark 55 Handicap (2200m). Trained at Grafton by Wayne Lawson, Stella’s Chance has a substantially better record on soft and heavy tracks with a win and three placings on rain affected ground with his only win coming over the 2200m at Grafton in soft conditions when he raced on the speed. Stella’s Choice should settle in the first three in running and with the sting out of the ground will take plenty of running down at good odds.
TYPHOON BONNY - The Neil Godbolt-trained Typhoon Bonny is another whose chances aren’t diminished racing in soft ground. A winner of two of her four starts to date including a debut win at Port Macquarie on a soft (7) track on July 15, Typhoon Bonny will be chasing back to back wins in the Patriots Bloodstock Benchmark 56 Handicap (1100m) after winning at Kempsey on January 9. Drawn to advantage in barrier two and proven in the conditions, Typhoon Bonny looks set to continue her winning way.
PERUN - The Waller stable will be represented by Perun in the Supply Class 1 & Maiden Plate (2400m) with the son of Mastercraftsman crying out for 2400m. Perun is a maiden taking on class one horses but the 2kg allowance for horses that haven’t won a race means the maidens win their fair share of class one and maiden plates in NSW. Looking somewhat one-paced this preparation, Perun looked beaten straightening at Gosford last start before rallying back to finish less than a length from the winner finishing the race off in a manner that suggests the three-year-old will relish getting to 2400m. Drawn to get all the favours in the run launching from barrier one, Perun gets his chance to wipe his maiden status.