Mudgee galloper could hold the key to compelling Highway

The Mack Griffith-trained Compelling Truth, ridden by Jake Pricey-Holmes, was a terrific winner at Tamworth last month. Image: Bradley Photos.

A very strong field once again lines up in the Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick on Saturday, and Thunderbet’s Johnny ‘Highway’ Patton has dissected the major players.

If you blink, you’ll probably miss the race, with the speedsters set to do battle in the 1000m Class Three Handicap. 

Half of this field is made up of last-start winners, and after assessing the form and looking at the all-important Thunderbet speed map (see below), it will be a high-pressure race, with seven speedy gallopers eyeing the lead. 

Some of these horses are first-up, are in the market, and have had recent trials going into this. 

Another significant factor is some of the riding changes, which will be positive for these runners, and this has admittedly persuaded some of my tips. 

The track is currently a soft 5, and I think this will stay the same as Sydney is expecting some rain on Friday and Saturday. The rail is in a true position.

My on-top selection is Compelling Truth ($4.80). 
The lightly raced 4YO gelding nearly broke the track record and bolted in by six lengths at Tamworth last start over this distance on a soft 5. 

The start before that, it did the same at Dubbo and in a very quick time as well. 
Mudgee trainer Mack Griffth has engaged James McDonald for the ride, a significant rider change. 

The only downside is he has drawn barrier seventeen and has heaps of speed underneath him, but the horse is flying and, with a bit of luck, will be very hard to beat.

My second pick is Once Again My Girl ($3.90), trained by Brett Cananough. 

Another lightly raced 4YO mare with an impressive record of five starts for two wins and two seconds.

The Scone galloper goes into this first-up and hasn’t had a start since October after finishing second at Muswellbrook and unfortunately bled on that occasion. 

In September last year, she started favourite at Randwick and ran second to the very smart Derry Grove in the 1000m Class Three Highway Handicap. 

A few weeks ago, she won a trial very easily at Scone in a smart time of 58.25 and did it in a canter. 

Jason Collett goes on board for the first time, and she won’t do any extra work from barrier two.

The only question mark is that she’s never been on a soft track, but she looks exciting, and I’d be disappointed if she doesn’t go close.

The Thunderbet speed map.

My third pick is Bomarea ($17). The lightly raced 3YO filly trained by Marc Quinn at Port Macquarie is back to her best distance this week.

She hasn’t raced since January when she ran over 1100m in much stronger company when contesting a Benchmark 72 at Rosehill. 

In December, she won very well at Randwick when leading all the way with jockey Mikayla Weir, who stays on board for this race. 

The only negative is that she goes up 2 kilograms in weight from that occasion, but looks over the odds and will give you a sight.

This week’s ‘each-way play’ is Bridie’s Luck ($23 & $5). 

Trained by the very astute Ron Stubbs at Albury, last start, she was a dominant winner at Wagga over this distance in a Benchmark 58. 

The start before, the Albury galloper won her maiden at Corowa in the same fashion. 

This horse only knows one way, and that’s to lead; she does go up in grade, but Tyler Schiller goes on board, and winning form is good form, and she has been able to do that on good and soft tracks. 

The 4YO drops two and a half kilograms in weight, and she’s drawn barrier one. 

This trainer wouldn’t be coming if he didn’t think he had a good chance. I can’t believe the price, and she is an attractive each-way bet all day.

Thunderbet’s selections

  1. Compelling Truth ($4.80
  2. Once Again My Girl ($3.90)
  3. Bomarea ($17)

Each Way Play:  Bridie’s Luck ($23 & $5)