Gerard Twomey takes a look at the big races at Eagle farm.
Eagle Farm – Stradbroke Handicap (Race 7)
Black Piranha is attempting history and trying to make it three wins in this race. Despite him racing well, not sure he can win and he probably prefers the jar out of the track. Love Conquers All and Beaded both come through the 10,000 with little between them.
They should have improved from that run and Love Conquers All slightly favoured with a positive 1.5kg weight swing on the mare, however they’ll both need some luck from the wide draws.
Woorim will push for favouritism and has had the perfect preparation for this race. Expect him to run very well. Thankgodyou’rehere drops 4.5kg for this and handles all conditions. He has plenty of upside and at his 4th run in he should peak for a big run.
TJ Smith (Race 5)
Hot Snitzel was super last time and in this set weight event, he’s escaped any penalty meaning his rivals need to improve significantly to threaten him. Dowager Queen should improve up to the mile now and is good value at each way odds.
Benfica has probably been set for this all along and you have to respect his trainer and his ability to get his horses to peak for big races. Have doubts about Fontelina at this level.
Queensland Derby (Race 6)
Interesting race where the fillies have been more impressive than the boys. However Shoot Out has raced well against the open class horses and back to his own age should be hard to beat. Shez Sinsational found the line strongly in the Oaks and has a big chance (had Oaks winner Scarlett Lady accepted for this she’d be favourite).
Heidilicious has enormous ability but does a bit wrong. She’s since trialled satisfactorily and a win would not surprise. Oforawesome is racing well albeit in weaker company in Melbourne. He should run a strong 2400 and the trainer/jockey combo must be respected. Happy to risk Turnitup who wasn’t overly impressive and might lack the scope of some of these.
AFL – Round 12
12 months ago the Saints V Bulldogs match would have been billed match of the round, this year, the winner will hold a faint hope of finals, while the loser will be destined to finals wilderness. Both teams have endured injury concerns but the Saints ($1.54) look more convincing on recent form, while the Dogs ($2.50) appear bereft of confidence.
The Cats and Hawks meet up again on Saturday night and this should be another beauty between these two. Since the ’08 GF the Cats ($1.40) have proven superior and are again favoured to have the edge over the Hawks ($2.98). The Kangaroos ($1.37) can keep some winning momentum when the travel to the Gold Coast ($3.12) and should be too strong for the developing Suns. The ever consistent Swans ($1.28) are expected to be too good for the young Tigers (3.72) who come off the bye.
Punters looking for value might enjoy the line market with Richmond receiving a +22.5 points start ($1.92). Fremantle ($1.78) host the Bombers ($2.05) in a game that both teams will be keen to secure the four points and keep their season ticking along. Sandilands remains on the sidelines which is a killer blow for the Dockers, while the Bombers welcome back skipper Watson and key forward Hurley.
NRL – Round 14
On Friday we can expect St George ($1.85) to be stung by their draw last week. Despite key players sidelined for Origin, Wayne Bennett is sure to have the plans in place to keep the Dragons purring along against the disappointing Titans ($1.97).
Manly host the Cowboys at Brookvale Oval in what should be a cracking game. Both sides are well matched and if their previous encounter is anything to go by this should be another tight encounter. At home, slightly leaning towards the Sea Eagles ($1.16) but at the odds the Cowboys ($5.25) represent nice value. The Raiders ($1.80) go into their match with the Broncos ($2.00) confident of claiming the points. With 5 Broncos missing through Origin the bottom placed Raiders will be pressing hard for a win.
With the home ground advantage the Warriors ($1.57) should prove too strong for the Tigers ($2.40). Only 2 points separate these teams and a win for the Warriors will increase their advantage over the Tigers. Yet again, a big match from Benji Marshall will give the Tigers a strong chance of winning.
In Origin Game 2 betting the Maroons ($1.65) remain favourites but there were some signs in Game 1 that would give NSW ($2.25) fans some hope and expect some money to come for them at home to square the series.