Once again, the Highway Handicap will have the most starters on Saturday’s metropolitan program at Rosehill Gardens, with 16 gallopers to go around in the 1400m Class Three country-restricted event. More than half the field has had a start in the Highway this preparation, and Thunderbet’s Johnny ‘Highway’ Patton has the job of finding a winner.
I think it’s an extremely even field with some of the chances ones that haven’t come to town before. There will be scratchings, and if the bottom three horses get a start, they’ll be ultra-competitive as they all love a rain-affected track.
The track condition is a soft six, and the rail is out three metres for the entire track.
My first pick is Associate ($3.60). Usually, I wouldn’t say I like tipping horses that have only won one race and are going up in class against others who have won three.
Still, this 4YO gelding has been lightly raced for trainer Danielle Seib, and last preparation ran a very creditable fourth in the Wagga Guineas on a soft track.
This preparation, he has had one start at Randwick, finishing fourth when not having the race run to suit, as the track that day was favouring leaders.
The Goulburn galloper goes into this having over a month off and, last week, had a very soft trial at Rosehill Gardens.
Tommy Berry stays on board, and if it can handle the wet, which I think will, he’ll be very hard to beat.
My second pick is Bon Frankie ($6).
Trained by Aaron Clarke at Braidwood, this 5YO gelding goes into this second-up.
Its latest run was in a Class 3 Country Boosted race at Moruya, where it finished second on a heavy 8 track.
It goes into this second up, which it has raced well before, and it loves the distance and sting out of the ground.
It races up near the pace but doesn’t lead. He should get the perfect run behind them, and if Tyler Schiller goes on board, it will give a great sight.
My third pick is Agirlsbestfriend ($18).
Its latest start was at Taree in a Benchmark 66, where the tempo of the race didn’t suit.
The 4YO mare is trained by Marc Quinn, who is having a great run now.
She goes into this third-up and loves the trip. Jenny Duggan goes on board, and the Port Macquarie runner drops five kilos, draws barrier five, and, on paper, appears over the odds.
The Queanbeyan galloper has been running very consistently in Highways, and at his last start two weeks ago at Randwick over 1600m, he gave a great sight out in front.
Trained by Rex Cole, the 7YO returns to 1400m for this event, and the capable apprentice Molly Bourke stays on board. The only worry is the wet track but he is massive odds.