It's like Groundhog Day on Saturday as Rosehill hosts its sixth consecutive meeting on the major race day.
The track has held up well under heavy recent traffic. However, with the rail out 6m the entire circuit and the noted difficulty making up ground in the middle of the track, you'd expect on-pace runners to have an edge at the Rosehill track.
Race 6 TAB Rewards Handicap (BM78) 1400m
There is moderate pace engaged in this race, Hussterical (5) and Maddison Avenue (11) will lead them up.
So Magic (6) and Sweet Deal (7) will cross from the middle draws to slot in just behind the leaders.
This will allow Deft (1) and Velocita (2) to be ridden more forward from their inside draws. Bella Success (3) should slot in behind those with Sweet Victory (8) sitting on her outside.
With Purpose (9) and Stock Up (10) will be restrained near last or face being caught three-wide the entire trip.
Sweet Deal won impressively at her last start, and while she goes up 4kg for that effort, she is back racing against her own sex with a class edge over her rivals. The third-placed runner in that race, Catesby, franked that form by running a strong second to Mapmaker last Saturday.
The extra 100m and the expected moderate tempo in this race is a huge plus. She draws perfectly in barrier seven and has the tactical speed to sit just behind the leaders. Plenty of ticks and at the $11 fixed odds, goes on top.
Deft has drawn to do no work from barrier one and with even breaks can fight out the finish. The concern is will the gaps will open and how far off the leaders she be if they come. Her best form has come at 1400m and beyond and there is no doubt she will relish the extra 200m.
Hussterical will dictate terms in front and prove difficult to run down. This mare by Beneteau has had one win from one start at the track and distance, and if they leave her alone for too long, she could be off and gone on straightening.
In a big push for her chances, the Waterhouse and Bott team have elected for Tim Clark to ride. Expect a perfectly timed front-running ride from Top Cat.
Velocita has drawn perfectly to take advantage of the moderate pace. She has the stats in her favour, with two wins over this distance, with one of those coming at Rosehill.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy will ride positively from the barrier to take up a more forward position, which will ensure his runner has every chance to finish off over the top of them.
Best Racing Tips
Race 7 Merry Christmas ATC Members Sprint (BM 88) 1100m
Expecting plenty of early speed in this race. The Gerald Ryan trained Tango Rain (5) will cross to the rails and lead, with Jungilized (4) having the good draw to trail the leader on the fence.
Niccobelle (12) with the 2kg claim, will speed across and offer cover to Jungilized. Niccolance (3) and Albumin (1) have drawn perfectly and will both get the gun run three pairs back.
Favoured runners Bon Amis (10), Single Bullet (11) and Redouble (13) will all need considerable luck if they are to find a spot in the running line and look likely to sit three-wide or worse the entire trip.
Niccolance returns to the races off a 130-day spell without a trial, with trainer Kevin Moses finding the services of Tim Clark. In a big push for his chances, Clark jumps off the $10 chance, Slow Burn, to take this ride.
This gelding by Nicconi has produced his best work on a Good surface over the 1100m and has had one win and a place from two attempts over the track and distance.
Drawn perfectly in barrier three, Clark will get the run of the race. He gets in well at the weights, and if both horse and jockey bring their A-game, they'll be hard to beat.
Niccolance is the best value bet of the day at $17 fixed odds.
Albumin looks to have the class edge on these runners and has won three from three at the track and distance. The inside draw and heavy traffic he is expected to face is the key reason why he's not going on top. With luck in the run, he could blow them away.
Jorda will appreciate the further drop in class and can be very competitive here. He will get back in the ruck, so jockey Kerrin McEvoy will need to use all of his patience until a run presents. If that eventuates, watch out for this girl by Exceed and Excel to be flying late.
Tango Rain will lead them up for a long way. There is a lot of speed drawn to his outside so he's unlikely to get an easy time of it in front which should take it's toll late.
Best Racing Tips
Race 8 Christmas at the Gardens (BM 78) 1500m
There looks to be moderate speed engaged here. Reflectivity (3) and Turnberry (5) both have 3kg claiming apprentices onboard, and it's likely both stables will make use of the lighter weight by sending their runners forward to lead.
Laussel (2) and Victime de L'amour (7) will also push forward to sit just off the leaders, along with Astoria (6) and Island Missile (10) close by.
Favoured runners Asterius (4) and Nai'a (12) will need to the breaks from well back in the field and given the moderate tempo predicted, will find it hard to win.
Reflectivity has drawn well and finds a race that he can control in the lead. The 3kg claim for Brock Ryan presents an opportunity to lead all the way.
Laussel will get the cosy run behind the lead and looks ready to fire third-up with the blinkers going on the first time. If there are chinks in the favourite's armour, this Godolphin Mare will find them.
Turnberry gets in well with the 3kg claim for Robbie Dolan and will get a nice time of it on-speed. A repeat of his last two efforts will see him figure in the finish.
Island Missile is the best of the rest and can fill a place if he gets luck in the run. He is a proven second-up performer, and with Kerrin McEvoy to ride, there is no doubt he's ready to rumble.
Best Racing Tips
Race 9 ATC Handicap (BM 78) 1300m
There is plenty of speed engaged in this race, with seven of the 16 runners all leading in at least one of their past three races.
Conarchie (2), Lisdoonvarna (3), Arancini (4), Dalmatia Prince (6), Discussions (8), Good Weather (11), Blue Tycoon (12) and emergency, Man of Peace (14) will all head forward.
Moet Rose (1) gets blinkers for the first time and will be afforded the run of the race. The remainder of the runners will take a sit off the speed and should get their chance with the predicted hot-speed.
Moet Rose looks to get the gun run from the inside barrier and should show further improvement with the blinkers on for the first time. Team Hawkes has targeted these types of races with great success, and with speed map favours you'd expect them to come out on top yet again.
Lisdoonvarna got too far back from the wide barrier last start and was never a winning chance. She has drawn perfectly for this, and if connections chose to ride patiently from the good draw, there is no doubt she'll be fighting out the finish.
Lord Von Costa gets speed map favours and will be flashing at them late. The concern is that he is yet to race beyond 1200m. The 2kg claim for Blaike McDougall is a plus, and it wouldn't surprise to see him fly late.
Arancini can sit just behind the leader's heel from the draw and will no doubt be in the race for a long way. His win strike-rate is a concern, and it's hard to imagine him putting his neck out to win.