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Wangoom Handicap preview

Day two of Warrnambool is about the flat racing, particularly the big sprint feature, the Wangoom Handicap. Taking the magnifying glass to cast an eye over the field is @brisburghphil.

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The Wangoom Handicap, 1200m.

Always a race that seems to spark my interest. It generally draws a pretty decent field and more often that not something stands out at first glance. This year is hopefully no exception. Below is a short history (last 4 winners) with a few details;

2012 Second Effort 56kg (13) Slow -25 days between runs
2011 Uxorious 53kg (10) Heavy - First up
2010 Stanzout 57kg (3) Heavy- 14 days between runs
2009 Arch Symbol 53kg (2) Slow – 17 days between runs

There isn’t a terrible lot we can ascertain from this short history, except for the fact that all 4 had run well at the track at some stage prior to winning the race, and 2 of them were actually trained at the track. All 4 were run on significantly ‘affected’ surfaces but we might just get a slightly better rated track tomorrow.

Weather and Track Conditions

A few showers are forecast and the track was rated a Dead 4 late Tuesday.
UPDATE - Downgraded to Slow 6 at 8am Wed, and still raining....

Race Tempo

Looks like being solid enough. Dee Bee Nine & King Cotton appear to be the most obvious to take up the running although the former may not gain a start. Population, Gybe, Constant Force, La Remas & Zamorar with Blinkers On first time can be expected to be prominent, without perhaps actually forcing the issue up front.
To summarise I’d expect the speed here to be genuine enough to give every horse it’s chance though admittedly second guessing tempo can be fraught with danger a lot of the time.

Form Analysis;

1. SECOND EFFORT- Won this race last year with 2.5kg less (same minimum weight) but is struggling for form right now, and this might be a slightly better field on paper. He is 3/3 here at this track though which is enviable, albeit all on Slow tracks. 6-7/13 at this distance another plus and his Autumn/Winter strike rate 9-3/18 is much superior to Spring/Summer 0/3-9. Not out of this but I suspect he needs it Slow or worse underfoot and is weighted to his absolute best here given recent efforts.

2. WEALTH PRINCESS- Quality mare who came off a near 2 year break to go down narrowly in this race last year to Second Effort. Prior to this years running she has had 11 months off and you can assume trainer Darren Weir will have her fit enough today with his fairly recently acquired altitude training methods. She meets SE .5kg better for last year, but does also rise in weight 2kg for this years edition which will make winning no easy task. The 2 most pertinent factors on her resume though are, her 5-2/8 record at the distance (doesn’t quite get 1400m), and liking for a reasonably firm surface, preferably no worse than Dead. She is drawn awkwardly but her class will carry her a long way. Definite Place hope at the very least but not sure I’d have her as 2nd favourite (under $5) as most markets do.

3. ZAMORAR- Scratched

4. GLANEUSE- Underrated galloper who ran 3rd to the 2 top weighted runners in this race last year. He didn’t do a lot resuming this time in but it was a similar scenario last year leading into this race. He doesn’t get significant weight relief of either horse that finished in front of him there and he comes back from 1400m today and does have better form at that distance and beyond. Dual track winner though and any give in the ground will assist (4-2/11 Dead). Place chance only it would seem from an awkward barrier.

5. TOKUGAWA- Came of age last preparation with a couple of very impressive wins including a dynamic first up performance, at Moonee Valley, at this distance, on a Slow surface. He followed that up with a good effort behind Sea Lord, beaten less than a length, but conceded 3.5kg to that galloper, who went on to win a WFA race at the same track in the Summer. That is a great form reference for this considering he gets in here with only 1kg over the minimum in a handicap race. Connections tried to test his stamina out to a mile on 3 occasions last preparation but it did seem a little beyond him. Despite that he ran a very respectable 2.5L 4th in the Waterford Crystal Mile (G2) at WFA behind the top class mare Silent Achiever. I think he can win this race if he overcomes the barrier and performs to his best at the Warnambool circuit. 11 of his 12 career runs have been on Metropolitan tracks with a debut win at Wangaratta. That alone suggests he is good enough to make an impact here, and he is weighted to win at a reasonable generous $6 quote.

6. RED COLOSSUS- Has been going well for a new stable and he ran a very nice race first up at this distance at Cranbourne with a massive 62kg impost. His second up record is quite poor though and 1200m is well short of his best distance in reality. Nicely drawn and did win his only start this track at 1700m last preparation. The drier the better for him. Place claims if he repeats that first up run.

7. GYBE- She is a bit of a query here off more than 12 months break and with only 2 runs in 18 months. Also has to contend with a wide barrier which she could overcome with her early pace. Note her good 50% strike rate on Dead tracks and her trainers ability to win races with his Sydney stable first up in Victoria. She has also won a barrier trial in preparation. They are the 3 positives I’ve come up with and not sure she can test these lacking in fitness.

8. WILD MIA- Imported Mare who is yet to race below 1700m and a huge query off nearly a 12 months break. Probably class enough with a Group 2 placing to her name but a bit hard to see her troubling some seasoned Sprint types here.

9. CONSTANT FORCE- On Pacer who has an affinity for his home circuit here. Did win first up last campaign over 1300m at Geelong (Synthetic), but other than that he has only had 1 other career start below that distance. It would appear that he is a little outclassed here against some decent sprinters at a trip below his best.

10. THAT’S THE ONE- Quality galloper who showed a surprising turn of foot first up when co leading down the straight and just beaten by General Truce at the end of 1000m. That is a great formline now after GT won at G3 level at Morphettville on Saturday. He was very good, and a little unlucky first up last preparation behind Sea Lord at level weights with that horse beaten 1.5L but then failed to go on with the job in 2 subsequent runs. Drawn a bit awkwardly here and not sure what the tactics will be this time. I’d be expecting him to race midfield which would be more his normal pattern than what we saw with in fresh run. He is a live chance here but on a weights and margins comparison with Tokugawa/(Sea Lord) he comes up a bit short of that horse, and I’m tired of seeing horses racing flat 2nd up after a great first up effort. He is favourite for a reason though and has Glen Boss aboard. Very hard to beat off that first up run and has to go into Quinellas and Exactas with his ability to handle all track conditions also a bonus.

11. ANOTHER PRELATE- A bit of a favourite of mine but not sure he’s quite up to this standard at a distance short of his best. Also drawn awkwardly and his first up form doesn’t inspire confidence.

12. KING COTTON- Worth some consideration here at a big price given he will be up on the pace and he does race well from an inside barrier. Also note a Tongue Tie goes on, and whilst he doesn’t appear to have won a race with that gear addition, he has won both times when a Tongue Control bit has been applied. Quite obviously there was a problem last start because he raced well below his best in a slightly easier race at this distance. The distance may in fact be his biggest hurdle here as he does seem much better suited at 1000m. Nevertheless, he has won here at this distance, and could give some cheek especially on firmish footing. Big value place claims if the weather holds up.

13. LE REMAS- Significantly has been specifically set for this race after winning a 1300m race at Sandown 4 starts ago. He subsequently beat Under The Eiffel at Sandown, and then went super when beaten only 2.5L by champion (arguably) colt All Too Hard in the CF Orr Stakes (WFA) at Caulfield. That is a great from reference for this race, and this horse does have a very respectable first up record. Last preparation he too ran into Sea Lord and was only beaten 1.2L by that horse in receipt of 3kg from a wide barrier. Prior to a spell he was very disappointing when stepped up to 1600m from an inside barrier. I get the feeling looking at his 0-0/4 from good barriers, and overall career runs, that he doesn’t like to be bottled up inside horses, so a pity he has drawn one again here. Best performances have been from the front at distances a bit beyond 1200m, so a good barrier jump might be crucial to his chances here. If he can get clear of the rail early it should enhance his chances. Handles all conditions and is a live chance here if things pan out for him. Definite winning chance and a must for multiples.

14. POPULATION- Ran 6th in this race last year and the 1200m here is probably short of his best distance. Would probably need a soft lead which he is unlikely to get, and the break between runs is some query (no precedent). Awkwardly drawn to make things just that little bit tougher for him.

15. AGRIPPA- This distance is short of his best and his first up form is only fair. Shocking barrier draw so looking to others to make more of an impact here.

16. DAYITA- An interesting runner from the Peter Moody stable. She has her fair share of ability but is yet to win below 1300m so would need to produce her absolute best to figure against some good sprinters at 1200. She is going to settle back in the field and would probably need a Slow track or worse to figure in the finish here. She has a decent record on Dead tracks but a not so inspiring one when resuming from a spell which is the case today. Some hope of running into a place but hard to see her winning.

17. DASH FOR VIZ (E)- Really struggles to win (4/30) but comes into this off a good first up 4th behind General Truce & That’s The One. He meets the latter 1kg worse for being beaten 1.7L though so hard to see him turning the tables. Chances would skyrocket on a track Slow or worse (3-4/12) given his ordinary strike record on better than that. Definitely worth keeping in mind if the rain comes but otherwise would be struggling to find the placegetters.

18. DEE BEE NINE (E)- Scratched

19 SOPHROSYNE(E)- Will be struggling to get a run and if he does so looks outclassed against these. Would need a very heavy track to suggest he is any hope at all here.

20. BALZEUS (E)- Only 2 wins from 13, and whilst he isn’t the worst of these, it would be tough to suggest he could trouble the placegetters given his better performances thus far. Has at least placed at this track in much weaker grade. Hard to see him getting a run in any case.

Summary

Quite keen on TOKUGAWA here providing he returns to the form he displayed in the Spring. I think he can overcome a wide barrier and think he has the stamina and turn of foot to do so. Pretty sure his best distance will be in the 1200-1400m range and looking forward to him proving that here. Hardest to beat is That’s the One who will take some stopping if he runs up to the first up effort, and Le Remas appeals too having targeted this race and shown enough ability at WFA to suggest he is good enough to win this. Wealth Princess likely to be competitive at her favourite distance and chances enhanced on a track rated Dead or better. I have them in that order.

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