HOWICK - Howick is the first of our David Kelly specials when the daughter of Denmarket takes her place in the Raine & Horne Toormina & Sawtell Class 1 Handicap (1200m). We spoke about the advantage of barrier one with regards to Toucan, but punters shouldn’t shy away from horses because of outside barriers. I will take barrier one every time providing it suits the horse, but the market place tends to over-estimate the value of inside gates versus the wide gates. There are three profitable barriers over the last five years at the Coffs Harbour 1200m, barriers 1, 14 and 16. Howick will jump from barrier 14 and it is worth noting this barrier has a 10 percent winning strike rate. A Grafton winner two runs back before a close second at Coffs Harbour last start, Howick has the form credentials to get the money and just needs even luck from the gate to be winning. I am happy to take the punt.
SUPER SHOES - David Kelly would have been smiling when a good (4) was posted for racing on Friday with Super Shoes who chases back to back wins in the Le Dain Designs Summer Cup Benchmark 70 Handicap (1300m) needing a dry surface. Super Shoes has won two races from his six starts including a Gold Coast class one victory last start with both the wins coming on good tracks with the gelding missing a place in his remaining three starts on soft and heavy ground. Super Shoes rises in grade but the 4kg weight reduction on the 58.5kg he carried to victory at the Gold Coast more than compensates the class rise. With favourable conditions reckon Super Shoes wins again.
NACHO LIBRE - Grant Buckley will ride the Paul Cave-trained Nacho Libre in what looks a significant lead in the Tyrrell’s Wines Benchmark 70 Handicap (1600m) replacing an apprentice who has been on the three-year-old in his three runs this campaign. Nacho Libre’s last win was over 1600m at Hawkesbury on May 9 and the gelding returns to provincial grade after three metropolitan runs this time in culminating in a close second at Canterbury last start when the son of Anacheeva worked home solidly but couldn’t reel in the winner Roseito. Nacho Libre should be right at his peak fourth-up and rates as the day’s best bet.
KADOMA MAN - The Glen Thompson-trained Never Been Another and Kadoma Man from the Matthew Smith stable at Warwick Farm clash again in the Egroup Security Class 1 and Maiden Plate (2360m) after finishing first and third when they met last start but there is enough evidence to suggest Kadoma Man can turn the tables. Kadoma Man was less than a half-length from Never Been Another when the judge called a halt at Gosford on December 12 but arguably should have beaten the Thompson runner. Kadoma Man was held-up for significant portion of the Gosford straight and only saw clear running over the final few strides looking to have plenty to offer whilst Never Been Another was getting an unimpeded run. As a maiden taking on class one horses, Kadoma Man is well treated at the weights meeting Never Been Another 2.5kg better for the unlucky defeat. Confident Kadoma Man can make amends.
OAKFIELD GENERAL - The Damien Lane-trained Oakfield General is our $23 speculator in the Hit 106.9 Benchmark 68 Handicap (1400m). A winner at the track and distance last preparation Oakfield General will be having his fourth run this time and was less than three-lengths form the winner last start at Newcastle. The blinkers going on for the first time looks a plus for the gelding and with the race likely to come down to what horse gets the best run in transit, Oakfield General is the one that gets all the favours in running launching from barrier two. The 3kg claim for Louise Day brings Oakfield General in with a winnable weight and $23 looks terrific overs.