Weekend Racing Preview with Chris Scholtz: 17th Feb & 18th Feb 2023

Chris Scholtz previews the Canterbury and Rosehill meetings on February 17 and 18 with selections for all races plus Trial Watch and Blackbook runners.

AFT CABIN Picture: Steve Hart

ROSEHILL February 18

RACE 3 (6) ECONOMICS: Classy sprint prospect with two wins from four starts including an impressive first-up victory over this course and distance in the Listed Heritage Stakes in the spring before he performed with credit in the G1 Coolmore at Flemington. Annabel Neasham is a real training talent and has picked her mark well, giving Ryan Maloney a feel of the colt in a strong Warwick Farm trial. Expect him to stalk a hot speed.

RACE 9: (7) LACKEEN: Easy to say Cross Talk is the horse to beat as he is a renowned first-up performer and could be gifted this race as he is the obvious leader. However he prefers affected ground with all five wins on Soft 7 or worse and could be vulnerable under 59kg which gives LACKEEN an excellent chance from the rails draw. He's another with excellent first-up credentials and was never asked for a serious effort in his recent trial. Safe each way play in a race of limited chances.

RACE 10 (2) ANDERMATT: Expecting this good class sprinter to find his best form returning to Rosehill where he has always raced well after two solid efforts since resuming at Sandown and Randwick. This class suits after he had little chance over 1000m from a wide draw last time at Randwick when dragged back and covering ground before finishing off in the fastest closing sectionals of the day when fourth behind Remarque. Well placed with Zac Lloyd's allowance as they will burn early and he has the draw to camp on the back of the speed.

ANDERMATT Picture: Steve Hart

RACE 1: 12-15-2-4

RACE 2: 5-1-2-3

RACE 3: 6-3-15-11

RACE 4: 7-2-3-8

RACE 5: 12-15-13-1

RACE 6: 7-2-10-1

RACE 7: 11-10-8-3

RACE 8: 3-2-5-4

RACE 9: 5-1-10-3

RACE 10: 2-6-8-10

ECONOMICS Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

RACE 1: Tough Highway with plenty of depth. Lightly raced (12) ATMOSPHERIC ROCK is well placed to resume from a good draw after a soft trial at Goulburn. Recent course and distance winner (2) SUPER EXTREME brings the right form with the benefit of a claim. A fitter (15) SYRIAN STAR steps up to his right trip third up but it doesn't end there with 3, 4, 5, 10 and 14 all in the mix.

RACE 2: Plenty of chances in an open Midway. Happy to play wide with (5) CUBAN GRANCHIRO rating well third up after a strong last start placing at Kembla. (1) CHEERFUL LEGEND is ready to peak but will need a smart ride as he will go back from wide gate. (2) TRUE CRIME going well but 1500m is a query if he cops early pressure. 3, 8, 13 and 15 have claims.

RACE 4: Time for these youngsters to prove if they are worthy Golden Slipper contenders. With no standout youngster about this season I'm looking for an improver and can see plenty of scope in the filly (7) MUMBAI MUSE off her strong debut placing at this course behind Sydney's best filly. Godolphin's (2) CYLINDER rated well in his spring placings and is primed to perform after a smart trial win last Monday. Gun shy of (3) KING'S GAMBIT at short odds again. Sure to be fitter but he needs to find a length or two on his first-up effort to beat this field. (8) PLATINUM JUBILEE has trialled well since her Magic Millions placing.

RACE 5: Benchmarks at this level don't come much stronger. (12) KOKORO impressed first-up and he can progress off that from a good draw with less weight. (1) SUPER PURSUIT is ready to peak but needs favours under his big weight while (13) TAJNEED is a quality type well prepared with good trials. Leave out the Waller trio 8, 14 and 15 at your peril.

RACE 6: (2) MARIAMIA (2) has been a revelation since resuming and it's clear she can win again returning to set weights against her own sex after smashing the clock to beat a G1 winner at wfa in the Expressway Stakes. The risk is getting the right run from her awkward gate. Must save on first-up specialist (7) KATALIN and the classic filly (10) PAVITRA after their excellent trials. 1, 3 (best in wet) and 6 (flies fresh) all have claims.

RACE 7: Talented import (10) KING FRANKEL holds the key. Big winner first-up from a long spell over 1815m in the spring and he's had had a similar prep with two strong trials. (11) IRISH LEGEND gets down in the weights and a big trial since his Randwick win a month ago has him cherry ripe. Runs on pace and will be hard to get past.  Respect for 3, 4 and 8 with the pace on. Taking on (5) BANJU over the extra distance with a rise in weight.

RACE 8: (3) AFT CABIN stamped his class on a similar field first-up at Randwick and clearly rates as the one to beat at very short odds as he meets all bar one on better weight terms. The 1400 is perfect for him second up (he won by six at same stage in the spring) and cannot see his Randwick rivals closing the gap, leaving the classy Kiwi (2) PIER as the one who might provide the toughest opposition after a luckless first-up placing in NZ. The likes of (4) OSIPENKO, (6) MATCHA LATTE and (10) BROSNAN (best finisher in the Eskimo Prince) will get their chance over the mile at Randwick.

KATALIN  Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

CANTERBURY February 17

RACE 5: (4) Silent Agenda (EW)

RACE 8: (6) Halo Warrior (EW)

RACE 1: 3-7-8-4

RACE 2: 6-2-1-7

RACE 3: 7-2-1-9

RACE 4: 1-2-9-6

RACE 5: 4-3-1-2

RACE 6: 3-15-9-10

RACE 7: 6-10-2-5

RACE 8: 6-8-13-5

LACKEEN Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix


NOTED TRIAL RUNNERS – February 17-21


ROSEHILL SATURDAY: Billiondollarbaby (R3); The Poacher (R3); Cylinder (R4); Tajneed (R5); Pavitra (R6); Expat (R6); Irish Legend (R7); Cross Talk (R9)


GOSFORD SATURDAY: Bundeena (R2); Miss In Charge (R6)

TAREE SUNDAY: Amokura (R5)

WYONG: Free Enterprise (R2); Grand Crusader (R2); Eagle Nest (R3)

RECENT TRIAL WATCH WINNERS: Jupitus; Smashing Eagle; Cafe Millenium; Quantico; In Secret; Anamoe; Barber; Allaboutella; Condrieu; Zulfiqar; Aft Cabin; Remarque; Madeira Sunrise; Gaylebeck; Tavs; Kokoro; Call Di; Parisal; Famous Pedrille; Rakomelo; King's Duty; Learning To Fly; So Audacious.


ROSEHILL February 13: Stylish win in the 1000m heat for Group horses on the course proper by the quality filly PAVITRA (60.08; 34.58), leading under a good hold and working easily to the line to have the measure of the race fit sprinter King of Sparta with a good margin to the others. The fastest 900m trial on the A grass saw an impressive finish for second from EAGLE NEST in a heat that looks a solid form reference.

RANDWICK February 6: The first open heat over 1000m saw a three way drive to the line with CROSS TALK (58.86; 34.71) ridden out to claim a narrow victory over MATCHA LATTE and EXPAT. MATCHA LATTE sat behind the other pair and did his best work over the last 100m and is certain to derive plenty of benefit from the trial. I liked the effort of EXPAT as he travelled strongly in the lead and was always under a good hold when the others came at him. The stayer LAURE ME IN had an easy time finishing a soft fourth

WARWICK FARM January 30: NATURE STRIP led home a star studded heat in a reassuring return. Given first use of the inside track he strutted his stuff over 824m, taking 200m to build up the revs but once in full stride his superior natural speed saw him cruise clear and lead them by three lengths into the turn. With Kerrin McEvoy swinging to him, he coasted to the line under a big hold without breaking the clock (49.34; 34.39) for the 12th trial win of his career.

ROSEHILL January 27: The second Group heat over 900m (56.67; 34.84) was won by CROSS TALK after he was gifted an easy lead, coasting over the last 200m with none of the chasers put under pressure to make up ground.

RANDWICK September 26: There was one heat for 2YOs over 737m won in good style by the Dundeel colt VOMO ISLAND (44.24; 34.02). It's surprising to see a son of Dundeel show precocious speed so early in the season but the Snowdens are second to none with their juveniles.

MARIAMIA Picture: Steve Hart


Eligible Blackbook Runners – February 17-18

QUIRINDI FRIDAY: Nosey Parker (R4)


FLEMINGTON SATURDAY: Prix De Turn (R1); Monarch Of Egypt (R1); Zoltan (R4); Millane (R7); Biometric (R8)

ROSEHILL SATURDAY: Preemptory (R1); Syrian Star (R1); Mumbai Muse (R4); Super Pursuit (R5); Lindermann (R5); Fearnought (R5); Pier (R8); Osipenko (R8); Brosnan (R8); Kiss Sum (R10) 

RECENT BLACKBOOK WINNERS: Regal Pom; Sha Of Gomer; Lekvarte; Iron Grace; Queen Air; Spacewalk; Competition; Jacquinot; Hokkaido; Levante; Deficit; Frumos; Mr Rock It; Dunkel; Sunshine In Paris; Skyman; Validated; Superium; Cavalier Charles; Vienna Princess; Athelric; Bankers Choice; Turbeau; High Blue Sea

Blackbookers – Selected February 11

(Follow for next 3 starts)

A LOT MORE LOVE: Will get better over ground    

AMENABLE: Nice prep for longer targets

CHAIN OF LIGHTNING: Sure to add her excellent record

SENSICAL: A filly to follow into the autumn

MADAME POMMERY: Top shelf filly.

MO'UNGA: Can win a big one

MR BRIGHTSIDE: Set for another good campaign

Racing and Sports