The final Group 1 of the season but there is plenty of interest in the support card with boom horse Incentivise going around.
With the rail out six metres all horses will get their chance but the firm surface can make it tricky for some.
The top interstate riders have been dominant through the Carnival and that should continue here.
Race 1- Tatts Stakes Two-Year-Old (Listed) 1830m
The first true staying test for the two-year-olds but a muddling tempo and small field means the best ride wins. Tony Pike has struggled to get a result this Winter Carnival but Melody Belle’s half-brother TUTUKAKA (3) has shown promise placing behind Volcanic Rock and Tiger Heart at her past two outings.
BALMAURICE (2) hasn’t won this preparation but his breeding suggests this distance will be right up his alley. He won at this track on debut and wasn’t far away at Ipswich last week over 1350m
GENERAL WOLFFE (1) has had plenty of racing and is also on the quick back-up after finishing on BALMAURICE’s heels last week at Ipswich. He has stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree and having his eleventh start as a two-year-old is seasoned enough for this.
Betting Strategy- TUTUKAKA (3) should be too good but “odds-on look on”.
Race 2- QTIS Three-Year-Old Fillies Handicap 1200m
The well-bred REDOUTE’S IMAGE (1) shed the non-winners tag in a modest Class 1 Plate last start but has placed and performed competitively in much stronger races than this. At her two previous starts for Kris Lees at Eagle Farm when a two-year-old she ran third to Tumbler Ridge over 1300m and fourth to Rothfire over 1000m which augurs well for this.
Steve Tregea has found another smart one in ELOQUENTLY (8), a sister to his useful performer Rhyming. She has hit her straps this preparation winning her past three at Toowoomba the latest a Benchmark 62 over 1200m beating Maya Bay.
MICROWAVE JENNY (9) resumed in a Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1200m at the Gold Coast and was held up in the straight before getting clear to hit the line hard for a close-up third. This is harder but she won second-up last preparation and Ben Thompson will have her closing late.
BETTER THAN BEST (4) ran in the same race as MICROWAVE JENNY when resuming and ran out of puff late after showing early speed. She has won twice second-up, blinkers go back on and will get every chance with Ryan Maloney from gate three.
Betting Strategy- Think the market has it right and will stay out.
Race 3- QTIS Three-Year-Old Colts and Geldings 1200m
The non-winner’s tag is starting to haunt MASS DESTRUCTION (1) which keeps finding one better. At his last outing he was narrowly beaten by his stablemate Setanta in Listed company over 1200m and finds a weaker field here. Tony Gollan has kept Hugh Bowman on to try and turn things around and from gate two it can be third time lucky.
GAROPPOLO (6) has been taking on better company than this and not been disgraced. He has won here previously and with Jaden Lloyd’s 3kg claim is well treated at the weights. He will get back in running but there should be enough speed in this and GAROPPOLO can power home.
There are plenty of wraps on KINGSTON’S HERE (5) which was dominant when resuming at the Gold Coast last start over 1200m. This is harder but he drops 5kg and with Ben Thompson just has to overcome the wide gate.
ACROBATIC (3) didn’t come up last preparation but showed promise earlier winning two of his first five starts and has benefited from a recent trial. He has won at this track previously beating Safework over this trip and from a good gate can show up fresh for Jim Byrne.
Betting Strategy- Will give MASS DESTRUCTION (1) one more chance. Two units to win.
Race 4- Tatts Gold Crown (Listed Fillies and Mares) 2137m
Chris Waller is always hard to beat in these and POLLY GREY (1) is by far the highest rated horse in the field. She warmed up for this in the unsuitable Sapphire Stakes over 1600m behind stablemate Nudge and her winning efforts in the Lord Mayor’s Cup and Gosford Cup at her previous two outings are strong form references for this. Tommy Berry has won at his last two rides on her and can make it a hat-trick.
WALKING FLYING (3) has won twice and hasn’t been disgraced at all five outings since coming North the latest when beaten just over three lengths in the Sapphire Stakes. Last preparation she wasn’t beaten far in the Group 1 Australian Oaks when fifth to Toffee Tongue and if Ben Thompson can elicit a repeat WALKING FLYING will be in the finish.
ZAYYDANI (7) outclassed a moderate Class 4 field over 1800m at the Gold Coast last start and whilst this is harder, three starts back she placed in Listed company behind In Good Health. ZAYYDANI can be risky at the gates but will appreciate the big track and if Kerrin McEvoy has her in touch on straightening can be strong late.
LA GRISA has benefited from two outings in Saturday restricted grade at Rosehill since resuming. She is up in class but has the services of James McDonald and will do no work from gate one.
Betting Strategy- Three units to win on POLLY GREY (1).
Race 5- Battle Of The Bush Final 1200m
RATHER SALUBRIOUS (7) was narrowly beaten here in a midweek Benchmark 85 over 1400m when ridden by Wendy Peel three starts back. His subsequent efforts have been a second at Jandowae and a win at Goondiwindi in qualifiers for this final. Wendy Peel can’t claim here but David Reynolds has entrusted her to get the job done.
GALAPAGOS (10) isn’t the easiest to follow but he has placed in much stronger races than this and Robert Faehr won on him recently. He has won five of nine starts around this trip and draws to do no work.
AHWAHNEECHEE (4) has been a consistent performer throughout his career and has placed in Saturday grade previously. This trip is his limit but with Hugh Bowman to ride he will be prominent for a long way.
ESKDALE GIRL (12) was caught wide and not disgraced behind Phobetor last start in a strong midweek Handicap and Luke Tarrant stays on. She beat RATHER SALUBRIOUS when qualifying at Jandowae but meets him 5.5kg worse.
Betting Strategy- A race for the speculators. For the record I don’t mind GALAPAGOS (10) at 100/1.
Race 6- Tattersall’s Cup Group 3 2400m
All interest will be with INCENTIVISE (4) which has won his past four starts by huge margins the most recent a nine-and-a-half length romp at Ipswich in the Provincial Stayers Final, a Benchmark 70 event. That was preceded by a nine-length destruction of a Benchmark 80 field where the runner-up was last week’s Ipswich Cup winner Happy Go Plucky. This is several levels harder and he has to handle the quick back-up but is clearly a talent. The 3kg drop in weight helps and Anthony Allen will go forward to make his own luck.
The class runner is MIRAGE DANCER (1) which won last year’s Group 1 Metropolitan Handicap and has placed in a Caulfield Cup, far better form than most of these will achieve.
SOUTHERN FRANCE (2) has been battling since his win in the Group 2 Zipping Classic in 2019 but there is not a lot of depth in this field. Craig Williams is in fine form and he could be the difference.
Betting Strategy- Hoping INCENTIVISE (4) goes on with it but a fit and well MIRAGE DANCER (1) will be a test.
Race 7- Benchmark 80 Handicap 1000m
Consistency is hard to beat and GENZAI THE WOLF (5) is in fine form this preparation winning a Benchmark 85 here last start beating Dr Why Not and subsequent winner Superium. Justin Huxtable takes the mount, claims 1.5kg and won here on him over this trip in a Benchmark 72 four starts back. The drop back in trip doesn’t hurt and off a strong speed GENZAI THE WOLF can pounce late and win again.
The one with upside is the resuming three-year-old SHOOTING FOR GOLD (6) which has won four of eight starts. He won his only previous start here and warmed up for this with a solid trial win at Doomben when ridden by Baylee Nothdurft. This trip suits first-up and he may be too sharp.
DEVIL’S TEMPTATION (4) has come back in good order comfortably accounting for a Benchmark 70 field over 900m at the Gold Coast last start. This is harder but he drops 1.5kg and has Ryan Maloney from a good gate. He has abundant speed and will be hard to pass.
Betting Strategy- Staying with GENZAI THE WOLF (5). One unit to win.
Race 8- Tatts Tiara Fillies And Mares Weight-For-Age Group 1 1400m
You could pick six here and still not get a placegetter.
SAVATIANO (2) is the class mare of the field but returned lame last start at Eagle Farm when favourite in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup. Her previous Sydney form was very strong winning the Group 2 Expressway over 1200m, the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes over 1300m and being beaten a lip in the Group 1 All-Aged Stakes. She trialled well recently on a heavy track at Rosehill and at her two earlier outings at Eagle Farm won the Group 3 Moreton Stakes and ran third in this race to Invincibella and Pohutakawa. Winkers replace blinkers and with Josh Parr she will be given every chance. It is just a question of whether she handles the firm track.
TOFANE (1) is coming of a Group 1 Stradbroke win over this trip and that can’t be discounted. Craig Williams stays on and whilst she will get back from the wide gate can finish off strongly.
SUBPOENAED (8) didn’t have a lot of luck in the Stradbroke and wasn’t far away at the finish. She is better drawn here and with Hugh Bowman replacing Ronnie Stewart will get every chance from gate two.
ODEUM (16) just missed to BROOKLYN HUSTLE (7) here in the Group 2 Dane Ripper over 1300m and meets that mare 2.5kg better. The extra distance will help and with James McDonald can exact revenge.
Betting Strategy- Take your pick and good luck.
Race 9- WJ Healy Quality Handicap Group 3 1200m
Ciaron Maher hasn’t had one of his best Winter Carnivals but AWAY GAME (6) could help change that. She was only run down late when resuming in the Listed Hinkler Handicap here over 1200m and improves second-up. Kerrin McEvoy stays on and from gate eleven she can cross and be on the speed throughout.
The Snowdens’ rarely miss when they come to Queensland and HIGHTAIL (5) has had two trials to prepare him for this first-up tilt. He has raced well at previous visits to Queensland winning the Gold Coast Guineas and placing in the Magic Millions. He failed at his only Eagle Farm outing in the 2020 Stradbroke but has a good first-up record and will run on for Tommy Berry.
ZANIAH (7) hit the line hard in the Group 2 Moreton Cup over 1200m and will enjoy a strong speed, She has been racing well for Kris Lees since coming North, goes well for Andrew Mallyon, likes Eagle Farm and can finish off.
EXHILARATES (3) disappointed last start in the Group 2 Dane Ripper over 1300m and blinkers come off. She won the Listed Helen Coughlan here over 1200m against her own sex here two starts back and over the more suitable trip with Hugh Bowman can close off strongly.
USMANOV (2) is in top form winning his past two outings the most recent being the Listed Lightning Handicap over 1000m here. He steps up in distance but and goes well for Baylee Nothdurft and from gate two can set his own tempo.
Betting Strategy- Two units to win on AWAY GAME (6).
BEST BET: POLLY GREY (Race 4 No 1)
NEXT BEST: AWAY GAME (Race 9 No 6)
VALUE BET: GENZAI THE WOLF (Race 7 No 5)
Quaddie numbers are:
Race 6: 1,4
Race 7: 4,5,6
Race 8: 1,2,8,16
Race 9: 5,6,7
Originally published asGraeme Carey previews Eagle Farm Saturday
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