Jan 05, 2018 06:01 PM
Best bets from Sandgroper
Banda Spice - Gold Coast R8 No.7
Sunshine Coast trainer Stuart Kendrick is confident this mare is going really well. She was no match for the Godolphin pair in the Gai Waterhouse Classic but the royal blue horses were getting plenty of favours in the first half of the field, while Banda Spice was back near last and searching for a passage in the straight. Made up significant ground and the last 50m was the best part of her race. She's capable of stringing a few wins together.
Kia Ora Star - Pinjarra R6 No.8
The progress is there for all to see and it's only a matter of time before this big fellow breaks his Saturday duck. A son of Blackfriars with plenty of stamina on the dam's side too, Kia Ora Star caught the eye finishing off hard from well back on the turn to be beaten just a long head behind more seasoned rivals at his third career start.
Most impressive about the run was the fact the Michael Lane-trained gelding was strong right to the line when the others were noticeably tiring. Getting around a tighter speed-favouring Ascot circuit in the coming weeks will likely be a challenge although an anticipated step up to 1800 metres or beyond should help offset that to some degree. Either way we should be sticking for Kia Ora Star's next couple of starts.
Gee Boss - Pinjarra R9 No.4
Even when the Ascot track favours leaders on the rail, you rarely see them win with such authority as this bloke did at his last start. After finding the front and speeding along in good sectionals, Gee Boss still recorded one of the fastest final 600 metres of the entire day to canter home by more than three lengths.
Trainer Michael Lane revealed after the race a “bad back foot” had kept his horse from showing his very best last season – and indeed kept the son of Street Boss away from the track for a prolonged period of time. His recent performance suggests it's all systems go for a highly profitable summer campaign. Support him over the short trips until he shows us otherwise.
Lanciato - Randwick R8 No.8
The last start run of the Mark Newnham-trained Lanciato when third at Rosehill suggested the five-year-old gelding has another couple of wins in him this preparation. Lanciato had a chequered path in the straight but was still able to break 34 seconds for the last 600m and only petered out over the last 75m.
Lanciato is unbeaten in two second-up runs including a 1400m win at Rosehill last preparation on a 27-day break between races and gets another 1400m race second-up this time. He races best with his runs spaced-out and a benchmark 80 over 1400m at Randwick on Saturday looks ideal.
King River - Caulfield R9 No.13 Sunday
A victim of the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit last start. Could he have won the race? That’s debatable but what we do know is he was never out of second gear for the majority of the final 600m and appeared to have plenty to offer after being well fancied in on-course betting.