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Golden Nugget preview

The Golden Nugget has long been a favourite race of mine, it marks the arrival of 4yo pacers onto the scene, and what a star-studded honour roll it is over the 35 years it has been conducted. Sinn Fein, Vanderport, Our Maestro, Sinbad Bay, Westburn Grant, Manifold Bay, Bonavista Bay, The Gold Ace and Im Victorious to name just a few.

Casting an eye over this year's hot field is WA harness specialist, Trent Orwin.

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Retravision Golden Nugget 4yo Championship
Gloucester Park, Group 1, $175,000. 2536m, no sprint lane
Friday. 2045 Perth time, 2345 Melbourne, 1245 London


Author: Trent Orwin
Twitter: @themightytrent3
Website: Bettingpro.com.au
Form Guide: Harness.org

“Waylade is well clear though with 100m to go – he’s bolted away,” race caller Richard Bell declared as the Gary Hall Snr-trained Waylade decimated his rivals by 11m with Bettor Offer running a clear second ahead of Classic American who finished a further 8m away in third place. That was the concluding stages of the Group 1 McInerney Ford 4YO Classic (2536m) run on November 21.

Race Overview:
The barrier draw has ensured that the $175,000 Group 1 Golden Nugget Championship (2536m) will not be a one-act affair with race favourite Waylade having drawn barrier six. But will it be one of his stablemates? Trainer Gary Hall Sr will need the big float truck tonight, he fields six runners in this Group 1 race, an incredible feat. For just the fifth time in 35 editions of the Golden Nugget, this is an exclusively WA-trained field.

Former Kiwi pacer Billies A Star adds intrigue as he is the x-factor and has drawn barrier one with star driver Luke McCarthy in the sulky. Group 1 Mares Classic (2130m) winner Majorly Foxy Styx has drawn alongside him and that mare has a tendency to pull during the race and they may do battle for the first 400m of the race.

Bettor Offer draws barrier five and will be looking to find the breeze whilst VC Manoeuvre could be the improver after drawing barrier eight. Libertybelle Midfrew is the other mare in the race and barrier nine is ideal as she will follow Majorly Foxy Styx through and should be forward of midfield in the moving line.

They aren’t the only chances in the race but they are the leading candidates and an analysis of all 12 runners chances is listed further below.

Speed Map:
There are two likely scenarios here with either

1 - Billies A Star holding the lead and Majorly Foxy Styx occupying the breeze which makes it interesting because if she starts to over-race, it means that the tempo will be pretty hot and Bettor Offer may be planted three-wide and forced to press the issue or restrain looking for a gap.

Or 2 - Billies A Star lets the freewheeling mare take up the running and gets a lovely sit behind her with Bettor Offer punching the breeze and not keen to give it up without a fight. This is the speed map that I envision will happen as an early burn at the start would be detrimental to both Billies A Star and Majorly Foxy Styx.

Assuming this speed map occurs, we have Majorly Foxy Styx wheeling and dealing out in front with Billies A Star on her back. VC Manoeuvre will be cuddled up three back the fence with Classic American likely to land four back. A Boy Named Rosie and Ohoka Cooper could be behind him on the fence.

Bettor Offer will be in the breeze with either Soho Lennon or Libertybelle Midfrew in the one-one. Three Blind Mice, Mista Rush and Waylade will be in the moving line worse of midfield and they are the three horses likely to lead up the three-wide train with Libertybelle Midfrew potentially coming out to avoid being pocketed if she is one-two.

Analysis:
FRONT LINE
Billies A Star – Will either be leading albeit forced to contend with a fair amount of pressure or will enjoy a trail and will be hoping that he sees daylight so that he can show his customary turn of foot in the home straight. Rated him a $3.70 chance and he may get to that or better on the night.
Best Price: $3.40 (Sportsbet)

Majorly Foxy Styx – Terrific win last start against open class mares in a fast mile rate of 1:56.3 after Hall Jnr drove her perfectly. On talent alone she is right in this but has yet to run over the 2536m and if she doesn’t lead then your ticket is confetti. Steps up in grade again. Rated $11.
Best Price: $21 (Bet365)

Soho Lennon – Was extremely disappointing last start after trailing Waylade and fading to finish seventh. Hall Snr has said he was a little round and hopefully he has laid off the carrots in preparation because if he isn’t at peak fitness then he won’t be winning. At his best he is a winning chance in the race and could land a nice position. Rated $31.
Best Price: $51 (Tatts/Sportsbet)

Ohoka Cooper – Completely outclassed here. He led in the Group 2 4YO Championship (2130m) and knocked up to run ninth. Last start was an improvement but cannot possibly win here. Rated $651.
Best Price: $126 (Sportsbet)

Bettor Offer – Will most likely be in the breeze and over 2536m it is very hard to win. Was a clear second last start but a couple of sit-sprinters draw better and although he is tough, he will most likely feel the pinch late. Would be favourite if he was leading though and has beaten Waylade this preparation. Rated $10
Best Price: $7 (Sportingbet)

Waylade – Aiming for his fourth consecutive victory and if he was able to find the breeze would be the horse to beat. Conditions could suit and if they go hard early and he finds a suitable cart home then he can run over the top of them. Would have been unbeatable leading. Rated $3.80
Best Price: $2.80 (TAB)

A Boy Named Rosie – Will be giving them a very big headstart and he wasn’t sighted last start (due to no luck). Has won three of six over the distance and if he got the right luck he could finish top four. Prefer his other stablemates over him but $28 the place could be worth a throw at the stumps. Rated $65
Best Price: $151 (TAB/Sportsbet)

BACK ROW
VC Manoeuvre – Expect this guy to be a winning chance and if they go like scalded cats early then he could be flying past them late. Draw is perfect for him and his last two efforts have been fantastic. The best each-way chance in the race. Rated $12
Best Price: $21 (Tatts)

Libertybelle Midfrew – Will get a lovely run throughout the event and she was a dominant winner in the Group 1 WA Oaks (2536m) after scoring by 22m. She has taken on the open age males and been competitive. She is a rising superstar and they have backed her heavily. Around $17 was offered but that is long gone. Rated $13
Best Price: $10 (Tatts)

Three Blind Mice – Group 1 WA Derby (2536m) winner defeating the likes of Machtu and Elegant Christian when leading. This is tougher due to the draw but he is a knockout hope if they run at a genuine tempo and he finds a cart home. Rated $26
Best Price: $34 (Sportsbet)

Mista Rush – From the draw it looks beyond him but he does have a fair bit of ability and would not surprise if he ran a good race. Possibly a top four chance but his last two starts haven’t suggested that he would be turning the tables on Waylade or Bettor Offer. Rated $151.
Best Price: $101 (Tatts)

Classic American – Never draws a barrier and could be searching for a couple of openings late in the race. The 2536m is no issue and he has a good turn of foot but he may be too far back and could be flashing late if he does get out but it will probably be too late. Rated $51
Best Price: $41 (Sportingbet)

Tasmanian Bromac (1st Emergency) – Could be a place chance if he gains a start and has shown he can run on late. Would be more of a chance than Ohoka Cooper.

Ultimate Major (2nd Emergency) – Would need to lead or have a soft pegs run close to the front to be any chance at all. Won’t gain a start so forget about him from this event.

Selections:
1. Billies A Star (#1)
2. Waylade (#6)
3. Bettor Offer (#5)
4. VC Manoeuvre (#8)

From a betting perspective, this is a tough race. Brimming with class but I think the favourites have all been well found in the early market. It won't be a big betting race for me and with that in mind, I'll be looking for value outside the main chances. We saw in the 4yo Championship how the weight of money for the favourite pushed every other runner in the field out well beyond their early prices, this could easily happen again, so there's no rush to get in early. Late tote prices will probably be the place to shop.

Small wagers on
VC Manoeuvre each-way
Soho Lennon each-way
Majorly Foxy Styx to win
A Boy Named Rosie to place

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