Tweed Coast Classic heats headline Murwillumbah card

Tweed River Jockey Club will host two heats of the 2023 Tweed Coast Classic on Friday.

On Friday, two heats of the 2023 Tweed Coast Classic and the $50,000 Super Maiden will headline Tweed River Jockey Club‘s eight-race program at Murwillumbah.

The Tweed Coast Classic will see two heats run as Benchmark 58 Handicaps (1200m), with the colts, geldings, and entires fighting it out in Race Six before the fillies and mares get their turn in Race Eight.

The first six past the post from each heat will be eligible to contest the $34,000 Tweed Coast Classic final on December 27, a feature race created by the Tweed River Jockey Club to complement the Ballina Cup Prelude program. 

It appears local trainer Matthew Dunn holds the aces in heat one, with Written Flame (Ben Looker, $4) the well-supported favourite, while Where’s The Fire (Matthew McGuren, $6.50) was in two points at the time of publishing. 

Written Flame gets in nicely with 57kg and draws softly with gate six. 

The Winning Rupert gelding is stepping up in grade and taking on the older horses, but his three-length maiden win on his home deck on October 10 and a last-start fifth over 1106m at Grafton suggests he will be right up to this grade. 
Still, it’s hard to look past the top-weight Magic In Me (Tamara Noble, $5) from the Garry Schwenke yard). 

The six-year-old is a six-time winner and was racing in Queensland metropolitan company last preparation, never finishing too far off the pace. 

The Warwick galloper was first-up from a 16-week spell at Ipswich late last month and, after good support, finished third, beaten three lengths in a stronger 1200m Benchmark 65 Handicap.

Gate seven suits, but his second-up form (6:0-1-0) and the weight (60.5kg) after the claim are a worry.

Halfahope (Andrew Mallyon, $5.50) opened favourite but has drifted in the market, but it could pay to follow the markets on Friday morning. 

The Ben Hull-trained five-year-old is a three-time winner, including an impressive three-length win in the 1200m Benchmark 60 Handicap at Ipswich in late 2022.

The Gold Coast galloper is a year between runs but has trialled up twice for this, doing enough in both runs to suggest he’ll be primed first-up at Murwillumbah. 

The fillies and mares heat has a more even spread of weights, with Class One and Two gallopers coming together, and there could be some value to find. 

Matthew Dunn prepares Smooth Torque (Matthew McGuren, $7), which is first-up from a 16-week spell. 

The four-year-old was impressive when winning her maiden over the 1310m journey at Ballina in July, and she appears to have some upside.

She’s placed at both of her first-up runs, and the wide drawn won’t be a worry, especially if the early speed battle plays out like it could.  

The Kris Lees-trained Gerety (Andrew Mallyon, $3.40) was the drifting favourite at the time of publishing, but she is coming off good runs at Scone, Quirindi, and a last-start second placing in a 1050m Benchmark 55 Handicap at the Gold Coast. The extra distance is the only real worry.

Punters have come for the Steven Wise-trained Hot and Strong (Ben Looker, $9), which has been rolled in from $14. 

The two-time winner has obvious ability and will get an easy enough lead from the inside draw, but second up over 1200m might be a test in this speedy field. 

Shot Out all the rage in Super Maiden 

The Peter Robl-trained Shot Out is set to start the well-supported favourite in Friday’s $50,000 Super Maiden (1200m) at Murwillumbah. 

Jag Guthmann-Chester will be in the saddle, and despite drawing gate 13 in the field ravished by eight scratchings, punters have flocked for the three-year-old, which has been backed in from $4.20 to $2.30.

The Showtime filly has started four times for three second-place finishes, and twice this preparation for two runner-up finishes over the 1200m at Ipswich during November. 

Shot Out had excuses on both occasions, and she looks to have found a suitable race at Murwillumbah.  

Of the remaining chances, the Chris Munce-trained Hermanita (Luke Rolls, $10) looks over the odds after three consecutive minor-place finishes north of the border.

Also, the Noel Mayfield-Smith-trained Scotland ($8) has been racing well and, last start, finished second in the $50,000 Super Maiden at Coffs Harbour. 

Murwillumbah tips – 15/12/2023

Race 1: 1 I Am Good At This – $1.80

Race 2: 9 I’m Picturesque – $4

Race 3: 8 Seeking Guidance – $8

Race 4: 4 SuperOkay – $2.30

Race 5: 10 Fast Lady – $4

Race 6: 2 Halfahope – $5.50

Race 7: 11 Shot Out – $2.30

Race 8: 4 Smooth Torque – $7

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