Day two of the Scone Racing Carnival is here! The Luskin Star, Dark Jewel Classic, and Ortensia Stakes take centre stage on a stunning racing program. The Scone Carnival has grown in popularity each year since its inception, and with the amount of prizemoney on offer, no wonder this meeting is full of household names. Which stables are using this meeting as a final tune-up for the Brisbane winter carnivals, and who is in the Hunter Valley ready to peak?
Scone Race 5
Quantico can win here after a little freshen-up. His recent barrier trial behind Giga Kick reads exceptionally well for this event, and the current track conditions will suit the I Am Invincible gelding. From barrier three, he should get the run of the race, and if Jason Collett can get off the fence coming into the home straight, I expect him to figure in the finish. His injuries over the journey are the primary concern.
Malkovich will look like the winner on straightening. The Choisir gelding loves to burn the turf on top of the speed, and his recent win at Hawkesbury was brave. From barrier five, he will have every opportunity to take up his favourite role, and if he is left alone to dictate, the race could be over at the furlong. I’d prefer him over the 1000m, and I am unsure the long Scone home straight will play to his advantage.
Eleven Eleven is too consistent to dismiss. The Fastnet Rock gelding has produced two eye-catching trials leading into this event, and I expect the Hickman camp will have him fully wound up for a first-up tilt. The allocated weight and wide alley are his biggest obstacles.
Suggested Bet: Quantico @ $4.60
Scone RACE 7
Penthouse will roll forward and give them something to chase. The Capitalist filly was too fast and classy fresh, and her second-up record tells me she can put back-to-back wins together. The 53kg is a luxury; she excels over the 1100m. She has been absolutely smashed since markets opened, and I expect the money to continue until the barriers open. The rise in class is the primary concern.
Opal Ridge will start favourite after a consistent campaign. She was brilliant first-up before failing on the heavy tracks at her latest outings. The drier conditions in the Hunter Valley will suit, and she looks well-placed meeting easier opposition. The awkward barrier is her biggest obstacle.
Portray looks poised to strike from an inside draw. The James Cummings polish has attracted early market support, and the Ribchester filly looks suited to dropping back to 1100m. If the leaders go too hard during the middle stages, I expect her to take advantage in the shadows.
Suggested Bet: Penthouse @ $7.00
Scone Race 8
Tamerlane has improved dramatically over the last six months. The Golden Horn gelding was once a bookie’s favourite, and he could throw races away. He is now in career-best form, and his last two wins have been first-class. His recent barrier trial leading into this event was ominous, and I expect him to figure in the finish on Saturday. Barrier 16 may decide his fate during the early stages of the race.
Waihaha Falls is ready to win. The Sacred Falls gelding has been outstanding without winning this preparation, and peak performance for the campaign is just around the corner. He gets in exceptionally well at the weights and is ideally placed meeting easier opposition. Barrier fourteen is his biggest issue.
Gravina will be thereabouts. The Sebring gelding should be rock-hard fit at this stage of his preparation, and the step out to 1300m looks like the right move. His best form reads well for this event, but he must reproduce it! It’s been a long time between drinks.
Suggested Bet: Tamerlane @ $7.50
Scone Race 9
Finepoint looks over the odds! She drops significantly in grade and boasts form around the flying Group 1 winner Atishu. The drier track conditions will suit, and she looks ideally drawn in a middle gate. The Pins mare can peak here over her pet distance, and I expect the Chris Waller factor will attract late market support.
Short Shorts will start favourite after an impressive campaign to date. The Iffraaj mare was only narrowly beaten by a smart one at her latest outing, and her first-up win caught the eye of punters. The 1400m is perfect at this stage of her preparation, and she looks the likely leader on paper. The 53kg is a luxury; I expect her to figure in the finish with even luck in transit. The wide gate may throw a spanner in the works during the race’s early stages.
Written Beauty is one for the thrill seekers. Her best form wins this. However, there are several versions of the Written Tycoon mare. If she turns up and recaptures her mojo, she can win; if she plays up at the barriers and over-races, her chances will be gone before straightening. Take on trust.
Suggested Bet: Finepoint @ $8.00