The voting here was very good but very spread. I usually like to talk about the best chances but it is hard here so I have gone for something a little different. Maybe I have too much time on my hands but I always write myself some notes to make sure I don't say the wrong thing. With no clear poll favourite, here are my notes for one of our smaller 400’s on the circuit and the last chance along with Ararat for someone to pick up a small one before Avondale ($2000), Ringwood ($3500), Bendigo and Stawell. With no Stephens, Hughes, Downes, Maurer, York or Page in the entries, someone out of the below group must win if they start. I suspect many will scratch. Hopefully they adopt the “If you don’t want to win, don’t run” policy.
In order on current form.
In last year’s Stawell 400m final. 3rd Ballarat frontmarkers in a welcome return to form. Is also starting to sprint well. Had time up after 400m heats at Stawell and Ballarat. If he runs he wins.
3rd in Stawell 400m frontmarkers last year. Was devastating in winning St Albans 300m beating subsequent Ballarat gift winner before idling around in Wangaratta 400 heats. Must have been tired at Wangaratta. St Albans form has him winning this.
2nd Ballarat backmarkers. Young up and comer with a bit of class who made Stawell 550 final last year. Looks a real thoroughbred (sorry for the horse reference her no Winx intended). Will be mixing distances between 400 and 800 so should be able to round the field up here on the soft spongey track. Will be prominent in feature events over the next few years.
Seems a big handicap for a bloke that should be off 4.50m in a 120m gift. I say should because he has 5.50m in the gift which is his Stawell lifted handicap from last season after winning Yarra 100m off 4.00m. Not far off them in heat of Devonport 400m off 17m. Beat Callum James home in Burnie 400m final and meets him 2m better off here. If not in gift final will give this a shake.
Good form in Tasmania before a 2nd at Rye and a 3rd in Ballarat backmarkers. Starting to sprint well in gifts. Is my favourite for Bendigo Opal so will not run here. As I said in another post he is trained by an astute trainer, enough said.
4th in last year’s Stawell 400m final. 3rd at Rye, 2nd at Wangaratta after leading into the straight on both occasions and being run down. Due for a change of luck. Seems to be Drummond’s bunny having been beaten by him in fastest heat time at both Stawell and Ballarat.
Seems to be in every major final finishing towards the tail in all of them. Last year Ringwood gift final, Stawell final. This year finals at Castlemaine, Rye & Ballarat. Is still young and has a handicap where he is surrounded by veterans. He is due to win something soon. Maybe $2000 Avondale 400 next week?
Sth Aussie former junior state hurdles champion who impressively won the 300m open at Marion in Jan. Goes up 3m on his SA handicap so meets Wurm better here. In last weeks Camden Classic consolation final which is a higher grade than this here. Should feature in this.
The human lumbricina was 2nd in the rich Devonport 400m Gift at Tassie Christmas carnival. Been quiet since but did pop into the Rye final. If he re-produces the Tassie form then he beats most of these.
Visitor from Scotland who was up to his neck in everything 2 years ago on last visit. Up from 60m to 65m here. If in shape can win.
Starting to get back out to his Avondale 400m winning handicap from last year. Final at Ballarat & Wangaratta. Is very tough to run down and may just take the opportunity to pinch this one.
Last year’s Ballarat gift winner on 42m!
With the bigger handicap limit and only 300+ metres to run, the female competitors will prominent. Look for anyone from recent womens finals. I suspect the best will be Megan McMahon, Jody Richards, Danielle McDowell, Stephanie Mollica. Hawks is best on handicap but out of form.
How can they all go missing this week? This could be one of the best tactical finals to watch ever.