Another week and another type of track for punters to contend with this Saturday. It is a very strong meeting as you would expect for the real start to the winter carnival. There are few fairer tracks in Australia than the Sunshine Cost when the track is dry. It was opened in 1985 and was designed to incorporate just about everything you want in a racetrack. There are long runs to the first corner from all starts. It means barriers are not always that important although you don't want to get caught too deep after the first bends. The home straight is testing because it is 400m and uphill. It favours strong horses and winners on dry days can either lead or come from last. There is one quirk and that is the ridge which runs down the middle of the straight. It is several metres wide and drains both ways to the inside and outside. On wet days inside and outside of the ridge get wetter and therefore lengths slower. Jockeys are very important at the Sunshine Coast and the undoubted best is Damian Browne who has a 30 per cent strike rate at the track. On Saturday the track should be even across with the rail out two metres and little rain predicted.
Quadrella (races 5-6-7-8)
WIDE QUADDIE: 2-7-11-12/1-7-10/1-2-10/1-2-12-14-13
SKINNY QUADDIE: 2-7/1/2-10/1-2-12-14
R1 12.08pm IGA SUNSHINE COAST BenchMark 75 Handicap 2200m
SECOND OBSESSION has been racing well in NSW and is from a stable which has plenty of success here. He does get in well at the weights against some of this field.
ZIMBALI is a winner in France and his best run since coming to Queensland was at Doomben last start. He hit the line well and provided he has come up from that run will be hard to beat. The only worry is that he has been shown to be fragile in previous campaigns. The stable has plans for better staying races for him provided he stands up to a hard preparation.
LORD COCONUTS is getting fitter and didn't have much luck when fourth to Kaiser Franz last time. He can get fired up on race days but 2200m should suit at this stage.
BUCKIN THE BLUES has been a disappointment in general terms. But he has always indicated he would stay. He will be very big odds but has some rough claims.
SELECTIONS: No2 KAISER FRANZ, No7 SECOND OBSESSION, No1 ZIMBALI, No3 LORD COCONUTS.
VALUE RUNNER: No8 BUCKIN THE BLUES.
R2 12.43pm IGA SUNSHINE COAST One Metro Win Handicap 1400m
ELEGANT COMPOSURE is after six wins from six starts here. She is very honest and she can race on the pace or back in the field which seems the most likely from this barrier. Starting to get up in the weights but she has earned it.
DECONSTRUCTED was being mentioned as a winter stakes horse last campaign but has been generally disappointing this time. But this track is his favourite and if he is going to come back to the winners stall this could be it. Damian Browne also will suit him.
UNBOWED is huge odds but he does race well this circuit. He has nothing on his back after the 3kgs claim for local apprentice Sarah Eilbeck and he will probably lead or be on the pace. Any rain would also be a bonus.
SELECTIONS: No8 ORADONNA, No4 ELEGANT COMPSURE, No1 DECONSTRUCTED, No7 UNBOWED.
VALUE RUNNER: No7 UNBOWED.
R3 1.18pm RENT 2 OWN CARS AUSTRALIA QTIS Two-Years-Old Plate 1000m
IL RICCIO has been a huge tip since he won a trial by 8 1/2 lengths at Deagon two weeks ago. He is a first starter and has race experience against him. His time in the trial was very good and he is being aimed for something better. CHARNLEY RIVER is a full brother to the Group One winner Woorim. He was most impressive at his only start in January and has since trialled very well. There is no doubt he will be much better at 1200m to 1600m. But you would expect him to be hard to beat here.
WINNING RUPERT has had four trials, winning two of them. He is trained by Bjorn Baker who never brings a horse here that doesn't have a chance. He is also being aimed at better races.
GREYTSTART was very impressive on her first start when she won and then at her only run since had no luck at all and was then spelled. She hasn't trialled officially but has jumped out and she is smart. Whether she is smart enough to beat these remains to be seen.
SELECTIONS: No1 SUNDANCE, No9 IL RICCIO, No6 CHARNLEY RIVER, No10 WINNING RUPERT.
VALUE RUNNER: No13 GREYTSTART.
R4 1.53pm IGA SUNSHINE COAST Class 6 Handicap 1000m
SAMMI JAIN is always about the place in these type of races. He is also well drawn and was a very good second first up. He has excellent second up form and looks very well placed here.
APPLE THIEF has been very consistent this time in and should have finished closer when fourth last start. There will be a stack of pace here and that should help her run on.
SPIRIT OF THE DAWN has got right down in the weights with the claim here. He drops 7kgs and it is the lightest weight he has ever carried. His form at this track is also very good.
SELECTIONS: No5 ANOTHER WHISKEY, No9 SAMMI JAIN, No11 APPLE THIEF, No10 SPIRIT OF THE DAWN.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 SPIRIT OF THE DAWN.
R5 2.28pm LION DAIRY AND DRINKS PRINCESS STAKES 1600m
QUEEN OF WANDS has very strong Sydney form behind some smart horses, including the multiple autumn carnival winner He's Our Rokkii. Her racing pattern suggests she will be very well suited at the Sunshine Coast and at 1600m.
MYSTIC OPAL is Subsolar's stable mate and she looked a little unlucky when fourth last start in a handy race. The 1600m and the bigger track suits her perfectly. She is being set for the Queensland Guineas so again the stable has a wrap on her.
SELECTIONS: No12 SUBSOLAR, No2 QUEEN OF WANDS, No11 MYSTIC OPAL.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 SUBSOLAR.
R6 3.07pm MONTROSE THERAPY & RESPITE SERVICES TAILS STAKES 1600m
ADORABEEL was well beaten over 2020m last start but is back to her right distance here. She wasn't far away in some handy races in the autumn. The mare has had a stable change but that is no problem.
BEWHATYOUWANNABE is a genuine "miler" who was very good last start at an unsuitable distance. He hit the line hard and was a stakes winner at his previous start. The stable is in great form and he is another horse headed to the carnival stakes races.
JETSET LAD won last year's Brisbane Cup but his best form is around 1600m. His two runs from a spell have been good in races where he was not suited. Jetset Lad got no kudos for his last start fourth but it was probably one of the runs of the race.
SELECTIONS: No1 SIR MOMENTS, No10 ADORABEEL, No7 BEWHATYOUWANNABE, No2 JETSET LAD.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 JETSET LAD.
R7 3.47pm IGA SUNSHINE COAST ASCOT HANDICAP 1200m
MISCHIEVOUS DEVIL likes this track and does go well when fresh. She is at big odds but she has always had a wrap on her. Down on the minimum weight she is definitely a chance here.
WORTHY CAUSE is a class horse who is actually being set or the Melbourne spring carnival. This will be one of only a few runs he has this winter. Opinions are divided on his recent trial win but it was a good hit out for this.
HOPFGARTEN has raced in much better company than this without being disgraced. There is no doubt his best distance is 1600m but he should be running home hard here. He also has the bonus of Damian Browne in the saddle.
SELECTIONS: No2 CASUAL CHOICE, No10 MISCHIEVOUS DEVIL, No3 WORTHY CAUSE, No1 HOPFGARTEN.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 MISCHIEVOUS DEVIL.
R8 4.27pm IGA SUNSHINE COAST MICK DITTMAN PLATE 1000m
BLUE DESERT MOON is unbeaten and is a genuine flyer. One thing she should lead and the stable is confident she will run further than 1000m. Her jockey could have ridden three other horses in the race but stuck with her. She hasn't had a trial but has won a jump out.
SOLD FOR SONG cost only $2500 but she shows enormous potential. Connections spelled her after she won a Listed race at her third start. She doesn't have brilliant speed but if she is anywhere near them at the 150m mark, watch out! Sold For Song is even being mentioned as a Stradbroke horse and her work reportedly has been very good for a comeback run.
LA DOLCE VITA has always shown potential and goes well fresh. She won a trial against a very good line-up two weeks ago in the fastest time of the day. This is a real test for her but she is smart.
WICKED INTENT was considered Queensland's best two-year-old last season and won an open company sprint first up. He was beaten since but he is at silly odds against this field.
SELECTIONS: No2 BIG TREE, No12 BLUE DESERT MOON, No14 SOLD FOR SONG, No13 LA DOLCE VITA.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 WICKED INTENT.