Raceday focus: Best bets at Coffs Harbour today
CAPPAMORE has the numbers on her side to finally shed her maiden status when she tackles today's MTC Logistics Plate (1600m) at Nowra on Tuesday.
Cappamore, a descendant of the famed Denise's Joy family, is trained by Jason Coyle, who has a remarkable win-or-place strike rate of almost 50 per cent when competing at Nowra.
Coyle's win ratio at the venue is 22 per cent - the highest of any NSW track he has visited.
"Kembla and Nowra are my favourite starting points for horses," Coyle said. "It's a good set-up there with a nice, long run-in and you can find those weaker grade of races and get some confidence into your horses.
SHAYNE O'CASS'S BEST BETS
ELKANO (Race 3, No.2)
Lonhro gelding who has placed in all three runs, one of those was an impressive win at Muswellbrook. Looked very good late in his recent Randwick trial and is primed for a bold first-up bid.
SHAPUR (Race 1, No.1)
Half brother to Shannon Stakes winner Vashka on debut here. Was coming on nicely late when a diminishing 1.7-lengths third in a September 12 trial at Kembla.
CITIZEN'S ARREST (Race 2, No.6)
Jason Coyle-trained mare by In Her Time's sire, Time Thief. Granted, he has only won one from 19 and the recent form is '040', but rest assured she is racing a lot better than the guide suggests. Makes each-way appeal.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
WINONA COSTIN knows her way around Nowra and has a decent book of rides, the best of which may be Citizen's Arrest.
Race 4: 2,3,6,7
Race 5: 1,2,3,5
Race 6: 4,7
Race 7: 2,3,4,9
PETAIN (Race 5, No.1)
Former Godolphin galloper who ran a terrific race at his first run for new trainer Kris Lees when a closing fourth at Newcastle. Hard to hold out this time.
VACATE (Race 7, No.3)
Another ex-Godolphin horse, this one made a winning debut for new trainer Brett Dodson in a Grafton maiden on August 20. Trained here and has the talent.
SCROLL DOWN FOR SHAYNE'S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
"I find that it is generally a pretty good surface down there and the horses pull up fine from it. I've had a few starters in the Nowra Cup over the last few years and won it a couple of times, so it is definitely one of my more favoured tracks.''
One other positive statistic that works in Cappamore's favour is her jockey Kathy O'Hara's record on Coyle-trained horses. O'Hara and Coyle's joint tally stands at 60 wins and 109 placings, with earnings of just over $2.5 million.
Cappamore is well placed for victory after a string of meritorious, if not a little frustrating, performances - namely six placings from her 10 appearances.
"I thought she was there to win last start at Newcastle but she just whacked away and lost that turn of foot that she'd had earlier in his preparation,'' Coyle said.
"When she ran second down at Kembla to Kris Lees's horse, Reginae, we thought we would be knocking a maiden off with her real quick. But she hasn't done that so we've drop back in grade and stepped up in distance (Tuesday) and hopefully that is the key.
"I know it is a cliche but I think she is a mare that once we can break through with that maiden, she can go through the grades. I have always thought she could get to at least midweek metropolitan level. She has just got to knock that first one off.''
Another of Sydney's former Leading Apprentice title winners, Winona Costin, has the job on Coyle's other Nowra campaigner, Citizen's Arrest, who contests the Kennard's Hire Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1200m.
"Nowra is definitely Citizen's Arrest's favourite track, she hasn't won anywhere else,'' Coyle said. "She just got way too far back and held up at a crucial stage at Goulburn last start and the race was all over. Her closing furlong was solid and back to her favourite track over the 1020m looks ideal.
"She is racing better than her form suggests. She's not a star, but when races are run to suit and things pan out for her, she can win a race or two, for sure.''
FORMER Godolphin galloper Vacate takes his next step along the path to the 2019 Country Championships when he lines up on his home track for trainer Brett Dodson in the final race on the card at Coffs Harbour.
The lightly raced four-year-old had only two runs in the Royal Blue before changing hands, the best of which was his third placing at Kembla on October 5 behind Jim and Greg Lee's handy sprinter Lightz.
Vacate was part of Godolphin's consignment to the Magic Millions National Racehorse Sale in July and was bought by Dodson for $45,000. The new connections were rewarded with an instant return when Vacate made light work of his rivals to win his 1100m maiden at Grafton on August 20 in the speedy time of 1min 2.91sec.
"There is a lot upside to Vacate,'' Dodson said. ''Once he gets to 1400m he might be at his best. He'll have this start (Tuesday) then we will give him a month off and bring him back and set him for the Championships.''
Vacate will start from no worse than barrier five in today's Coffs Harbour Council Benchmark 58 over 1000m.
"He's had a bit of a freshen-up," Dodson said. "The only query is coming back in distance, which wasn't the plan originally, but his work has been solid and he's got a fair bit of ability so I expect him to run well.
"He was very strong late when he won at Grafton in a time that was close to the record and the horse that ran second to him (Longtga) came out and won by four lengths the other day at Grafton, so that franked the form.
"I expect Vacate to race handy from his nice draw and sit just in behind the leaders, I would imagine.''
Dodson's other confirmed runner at Coffs today is another stable recruit in Florelle, who will take some holding out at the end of the 1000m Spring Flyer. That's based on her barnstorming second in the Daniel Baker Sprint at her new home track on August 2.
"She had a bit of a niggling foot issue so we freshened her up. She had a nice jump-out the other day and her work has been solid,'' Dodson said.
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O'CASS
RACE 4 (3.40pm)
6. Miss Charlie was beaten about 10 lengths at her only two runs last campaign, the most recent one being at Gosford when she was second-last behind the quality filly Pretty In Pink. She has trialled twice for this, and both were quite solid. Her Matthew Smith-trained stablemate 3. Dizzy Miss Lizzy has also only had the two runs, in her case a fourth and a third. Should go well. 2. Delight could figure at odds.
BET: Miss Charlie each-way; Quinella 3, 6.
RACE 5 (4.20pm)
3. Azcannyaz has only managed two wins from his 35 starts but he has been runner-up 14 times. One of his three thirds was at this venue. He's third-up now off a sound run at Hawkesbury and looks well placed here. 1. Fly Forward was placed at Goulburn first-up for his new management team. Trained here and drawn well. 2. Atum is never far away.
BET: AZCANNYAZ win; Box trifecta 1, 2, 3.
RACE 6 (4.55pm)
7. Cappamore has placed at six of her 10 starts, including a second at her only visit to Nowra. She will appreciate the mile for the first time. Ready to win now. 4. King Of Navarre is an Irish-bred six-year-old with just four starts under the belt, all of them placings. Second-up now and crying out for the 1600m. 10. High Potential is also in the mix.
BET: CAPPAMORE win; Quinella 4, 7; Exacta 4-7.
RACE 7 (5.30pm)
Todd Smart's 2. Attainment, a seven-year-old son of Commands, has only won five from 51 but has placed 21 times. Placed at his only two Nowra outings. Would need at least some sting out, it seems. 9. Tempers Flare is ready to peak third-up in an open affair. 3. Leave Ya Number won here three runs back.
BET: ATTAINMENT place.
RACE 4 (3.20pm)
9. Fuji Fury is a Kris Lees-trained gelding who was well supported when he scored a popular win on debut at Taree on September 16. Has to take that next step but this is a winnable C1 and maiden over a trip he should relish. 2. Arrogant Boy has only won one race in 21 starts but has placed seven times, including at his most recent outing. 8. Ultimate Eagle was impressive at Grafton.
BET: FUJI FURY win; Box trifecta 2, 3, 8, 9.
RACE 5 (3.55pm)
1. PETAIN is an ex-Godolphin galloper who had his first run for Kris Lees on September 14 when closing off well to finish a 2.1 lengths fourth at Newcastle. Put the writing on the wall with that run for a race of this nature. Hard to beat. 2. Kadarchi is a grey from the Sue Grills camp and is never far away at the finish. 9. On The Tweed turned in a personal best last start. Progressive.
BET: PETAIN win.
RACE 6 (4.35pm)
4. Lethal Dream is a locally trained gelding who will relish the step back to this type of race after those two highly creditable runs in TAB Highways at Randwick and Rosehill, beaten about 2.5 lengths each time. Looks set-up for a rare win, albeit in an open and competitive race. 5. Waruna is another of the Kris Lees runners with claims. 2. Dixie Lad can never be ruled out of contention.
BET: LETHAL DREAM each way.
RACE 7 (5.10pm)
3. Vacate, a former Godolphin horse, was bought for $45,000 at the Gold Coast in the winter and paid an instant return for his new connections courtesy of a super impressive win at Grafton over 1100m in quick time. Will take catching again thanks to a favourable draw. 4. Golden Comet has only missed a place once in four starts and drew well. 13. No Qualm will fly home.
BET: VACATE win; NO QUALM place; Duet 3, 13.