Race 2 No.5 - Robe Bay
I think this is a progressive filly and she finds a very winnable race. Her debut win at Mount Gambier was super-impressive and she backed it up with a good run on the Parks track at her second start. She was the victim of circumstances there, she sat last in a slow pace and covered too much ground around the tight home turn. I thought her last furlong there was very good though and acceleration like that can win her this race. The slight query is the 42 days between runs but Peter Hardacre's statistics with large gaps between runs is exceptional so happy to overlook that here. At present she's a similar price to The Pugilist but I expect that to change come jump time.
Race 6 No.7 - Counter Drive
I've always had time for this gelding but my knock on him has been the way he performs when racing in close proximity to other horses. Going on his two runs this preparation he may have matured in that regard and if that's the case I think he can go on and win better races than the one he faces at on Saturday. His two runs this time in have been good at 1000m and 1050m but he's been crying out for the 1200m trip he gets on Saturday. I doubt he'll lead them with the speedy Pandeia drawn out wider but hopefully he can stalk the speed and be too good late. I can see Fancy Rumble and potentially Kenyan Wonder (surely not!) holding their prices but expecting the rest of the field to all drift. That should mean that Counter Drive either holds his price or shortens. I'm happy to take the $3.20-$3.40 available at present.