Tumut Mile tips, trials and tribulations

The Kerry Weir-trained Billo Road could be one to follow in Saturday’s $18,000 Tumut Mile.

Race 1 – Tips: 4-6-3-7

The Henry Dowling Excavations 1000m Maiden Plate will get the Tumut Turf Club TAB meeting underway on Saturday.

Nine gallopers accepted for the race, and with two first-starters and differing form lines to call upon, finding a winner could be tough in the opening event. 

The two first starters look the most promising types though, and the Steve Cunningham-trained Kingzan is coming off a nice trial win at Corowa, where he showed good early pace to sit outside the early leader before holding on over 900m. 

The Wangaratta runner is a five-year-old having his first start, and Fiona Sandkuhl jumps abord, meaning he will only carry 56kgs when jumping from gate 7. 

The Kerry Weir-trained Jedinak was hard held when running third in a four-horse trial at Tumut on Boxing Day and former Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott runner is meant to be a classy type.

Mick Travers takes the ride but connections received no favours when drawing gate nine. 

Of the tried horses, Faithless for Melissa Harrison looks the top pick, following a third here at Tumut over the 1000m on Boxing Day and a second at Queanbeyan over the 900m on January 8. 

Zeter also needs to be respected for Terry Gibson, and Damon Budler, who doesn’t ride at Tumut too often, is booked for the ride and connections draw well with gate 1. 

Race 2 – Tips: 1-7-4-3

The second race on the program is the Blues, Brews and BBQs March 12, 1400 Maiden Handicap, with a full field and four emergencies accepting.

My wallet will be feeling it again if the Mitch Beer-trained Road To Emmaus doesn’t break through, with the border galloper surely knocking on the door of a victory. 

The four-year-old Albury runner led them up at Tumut at this distance and grade on Boxing Day, only to be run down in the final stride, beaten 0.13 of a length by Moss Road.

At Gundagai on New Year’s Day, the Globetrotter gelding simply ran into one better in Secret Harbour, but kicked on well to run second, beaten 1.45 lengths. 

Fiona Sandkuhl stays on board, and if the pair can lead from gate eight, they should be too hard to beat. 

Low Altitude finished a nice third at Wagga last week, hitting the line strongly over 1200m for Georgie Boucher. 

The Jindabyne trainer’s team is flying and the 1400m looks to suit her four-year-old that is close to a win and the gelding gets in nicely with gate two and a two-kilogram claim courtesy of the in-form Molly Bourke. 

Fighting Pleasure needs to be respected after running a solid fourth at Queanbeyan on Boxing Day over 1200m and with Mick Heagney in the saddle and from gate three, the Doug Gorrel-trained galloper will get every chance. 

The Rodger Waters-trained El Jugador could be the smoky of the field, following a good fourth over 1000m here on Boxing Day. 

The Wantabadgery runner went around for a track gallop at Wagga last week after drawing horribly in the 1200m Maiden Handicap, and from gate five and with Kacie Adams on board, an improved result would not be a surprise. 

Race 3 – Tips: 3-9-6-2

The Tumut Cup February 12, 1400m Class Two Handicap is the third race on the program. 

This is another nine-horse field, and is arguably the most open event on the program. 

Despite not winning this preparation, Fever Tree for Rob Wellington looks the best horse based on recent runs at Albury.  

Following a four-week freshen up, the five-year-old was on the pace when finishing third over 1175m at Albury, before leading them up to finish second over 1500m at the same track.

Last time out, Fever Tree was made to work hard when on the pace over 1600m at Corowa and faded to finish seventh beaten 3.08 lengths. 

Now back to 1400m and on a leader-biased circuit, the Albury runner should go close to leading from gate three for Mick Heagney and could prove hard to run down.

Rheingau, formerly trained by Darryl Rolfe, debuts in the Nick Olive yard, and needs to be respected on his best form, especially after drawing gate 2 and attracting the services of Mick Travers. 

Queen Street Boss was a good last start winner at Gundagai, while Tough James can run a race for Garry and Teighan Worsnop. 

Race 4 – Tips: 1-4-7-3

The fourth on the Tumut Mile card is the Thanks to the Tumut Turf Club committee, 1200m Class One Handicap. 

This six-furlong event also had nine acceptors and it is a race that is hard to get a read on.

Steve Cunningham will present Art Academy following a 29-week spell and an impressive trial win at Corowa over 900m on December 28. 

The five-year-old broke her maiden over the 1200m at Wodonga back in May and despite the poor draw, if she jumps and runs up to her maiden win or recent trial, she will be hard to beat. 

Mithu has been racing well for Shilleagh MeyerVale and Brad Vale following a third at Wagga back in November and a fourth at Albury on Boxing Day. 

The five-year-old is an out and out speedster too, and could very well be in front turning for home. 

Power Of Mandala needs to be respected if he starts for Dave Blundell, but he could be racing at Wagga on Tuesday.

Coin Drop is a maiden from the Rob Wellington yard, but this race is easier than some of his recent runs and it would be no surprise to see the Albury runner breakthrough at start number 23. 

Race 5 – Tips: 4-2-9-1

The feature of the day is also the penultimate event, the Ray White Tumut Mile over the 1600m journey.

This could be an action-packed event, with the likes of Gwennybegg, Crocodile Cod, Would Be King, Namarari and even Rocky High set to go forward. 

If the pace is on, three runners will benefit, in the form of Billo Road, Bay Lane and Cooee march. 

Billo Road for Kerry Weir finished third in this race two years ago, and if he gets a good run from gate one, the Andy and Sue Groves-owned galloper will be there at the finish. 

If the pace is soft, it’s hard to look past recent Tumut and Wagga winner Gwennybegg for Georgie Boucher and Adelong Cup winner, Crocodile Cod, for Kerry Weir.

It’s race of two complexions, and punters will have to wait until Saturday to find out how the race is run and won.

Race 6 – Tips: 1-5-3-10

The last on the program, or the ‘get out stakes’ for many local punters, is the Sturt Thoroughbreds 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap.  

Jelt looks the likely leader from gate 2 for trainer Craig Weeding and jockey Damon Budler.

The four-year-old is racing well, winning at Corowa two starts back, and she only ran into one better at Gundagai last start, finishing second to the Donna Scott-trained Wonderful Phrase. 

Quideem has drawn poorly but following a six-week freshen up, the big gelding could run a bold race for Richard Coulton and jockey, Mick Heagney. 

There is a lot of pace, with Miracle Night, Force Awakens, Fell’s Hero, Quideem, Jelt and Hit’em Hard all expected to go forward, meaning Eastern Breeze for Peter Clancy could get the soft trail just off the pace and be flying home when it matters most.

Eastern Breeze looks the smarter pick for favourite punters but Quideem could be the value play.