Gippsland’s ‘Festival of Racing’ moves into second leg mode with six enthralling heats of the Group 2 Evans Petroleum Warragul Cup (460m) on Friday night.
Form expert The Watchdog has sifted through the fields with a fine-tooth comb and identified five cup aspirants worth a flutter on TAB’s ‘All In’ market.
Shima Shine is on the first line of betting at $4, followed by Simon Told Helen and Tiggerlong Tonk at $6, then Catch The Thief at $8.
A four-time G1 winner with stakes of $915,091, Simon Told Helen has been singled out by The Watchdog as his ‘best bet’ among the major contenders.
Trained by David Burnett, Simon Told Helen – rated Australia’s No. 1 sprinter – has finished runner-up in his past three G1 finals: Dapto Megastar, Melbourne Cup and Topgun. Prior to that, his most recent G1 win came in the Maturity Classic.
“Simon Told Helen is my top pick,” The Watchdog said. “He’s the best sprinter in the land and he’s racing with tremendous confidence at the moment. Provided he steps on terms, he should be able to burn to the lead. And he could possibly give the track record a nudge.”
Check out TAB’s ‘All In’ odds for every contender HERE
Retired superstar Aston Dee Bee is the current track record holder over the 460m trip in 25.338sec.
“Dream Wizard has to contend with Tiggerlong Tonk in his heat,” said The Watchdog. “But he’s the type that will chase very hard. From the ‘red’, he’s going to settle in the first two. With his early speed and ability to run fast times, he could run a massive race at big odds and then run a place in next week’s final.”
As for Out Of Sprite, The Watchdog said: “He has gone to the next level. He’s got tremendous early speed and if he finds the front, he’s going to take a power of beating. I expect him to make the final.”
The form expert is also buoyant about Aeroplane Eric, saying “since resuming from a spell he’s been a legend”. “He went quick at Warrnambool and trialled in 22.04sec over 400 metres (Warragul), which is an unofficial rack record. He then followed it with a 25.38sec run here last week, which is a near track record. He’s absolutely flying at the moment.”
And The Watchdog is equally assured on the chances of Midnight Monarch.
“He had a little bit of an off patch, but he’s come back. He’s flown up the straight (Healesville). Then last week at Warragul, he lit them up in the middle section. He was in a very good field and made them look second rate. He’s got the ability to be a megastar.”
WARRAGUL CUP HEATS – FRIDAY, 8 JANUARY
Heat 1 (7.54pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/4
Heat 2 (8.16pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/5
Heat 3 (8.35pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/6
Heat 4 (8.54pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/7
Heat 5 (9.12pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/8
Heat 6 (9.35pm): https://watchdog.grv.org.au/meeting/565710683/race/9
Click HERE for more info on the ‘Gippsland Festival of Racing’