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After coming into him at juicy odds last start, Scream Park looked all over the winner at this track a fortnight ago with 200m to run. But Gauguin fought a little too hard, and the Chris Waller trained four-year-old just couldn't reel him in.
He led that race early and Hugh Bowman appeared to be dictating the speed, but James McDonald pushed forward midrace on the eventual winner in what was the decisive move. If he had it over again I don't think Bowman would give up the lead.
Now MacDonald jumps aboard Scream Park, and this looks an easier event than last start. I can't see McDonald leading on him here though, as there's a few in this field that really do like to take up that role. I envisage Scream Park being one or two pairs back, and as long as James can get going when he needs to, I think he'll prove too classy late and get his first win this time in.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
After a lovely debut at Wyong in a pretty handy maiden, Gentle Persuasion was brought to town. In her first start she loomed up and just failed to go on with it late behind Nuke here almost a month ago. She was then slightly held up and in the worst part of the track when missing out in a photo to She's Furline at the Kenso track last week.
She had to be ridden cold from the wide draw there, but here, she's drawn perfectly in barrier 2, and there's no way James McDonald will give up that advantage around this circuit. He'll sit just behind the leaders and have this filly ready to produce once they straighten.
I tossed up whether to make her the best, but either way, I think she's better than these and she can chalk up her first metro win here.
At set weights, it's really hard to see how any of these can beat a horse who ran Graff to a head and that's what Mickey Blue Eyes did on debut at Hawkesbury back in late April. Although he was disappointing at his next two starts, they were in much harder grade than this, and you'd think if he even brings something close to the form he displayed at his first start, then he'll be much too good here.
Being out of a Zabeel mare, he's most likely going to be a three-year-old who eventually appreciates longer than the 1300m of this, but from the good draw, Regan Bayliss should be able to put him where he's comfortable. Barring any traffic issues he really should be too strong late.
OVER THE ODDS
It's fair to say Portman probably hasn't lived up to the early expectations his connections may have had for him. He was never going to be a star, but he appeared to be a good class open grade galloper in the making at least, but his Autumn campaign was fairly poor.
He returns here, and perhaps he's still got a chance to become what they thought he could be. He's still only six and has just the 17 starts under his belt, so it's not inconceivable to think there's some potential for upside.
The five furlongs of this race is short of his best trip, he's more a miler, but whilst still fresh, in midweek grade, at a track he clearly has a liking for, I can see him racing well. At the big quote on offer he'll get a little of mine.
Leg 1 - 3,6,7,8,9
Leg 2 - 4,5
Leg 3 - 1,2,4,7
Leg 4 - 5,9,11,12,15
($100 = 50%)
Leg 1 - 1,9,10,14
Leg 2 - 1,2,4,12
Leg 3 - 3,6,13,14
Leg 4 - 6,8
($100 = 78.13%)