Cranbourne Racing Preview: 19th January By Dean McHugh

18 January, 2024

This coming Friday, Cranbourne will host an exciting eight-race card that features some brilliant racing.

If you are looking to kickstart your weekend, read on as we reveal our best picks throughout the card.

Race 1: New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka 2024 Maiden Plate

Friday’s action kicks off with an exciting-looking maiden race where a small field of five will head down to post. 

The ante post betting for the race has focused heavily on two horses, Henry Robin and Knentii.

It is Henry Robin who is expected to start as the slim favourite, and it’s easy to see why. Making just his fourth start, he hasn’t finished outside the top three in any of his first three races. This could be the race where it all finally comes together.

In comparison to Henry Robin, Knentii is hugely exposed. Yet to win in thirteen career starts, he may find others too good once again and have to settle for another placed effort.

Race 2: Frankston Sand Soil & Mini Mix Maiden (1600m)

A field of ten will head down to post for the second race of Friday’s card, and the betting looks wide open. 

With several horses capable of landing a blow, Cherokee Brave is likely to prove popular. Having just made two starts, he has finished third and fourth. Although he is yet to win, that form is amongst the best in the field, and he could be tough to pass.

Dragoon was a runner-up when last seen. Now, without a win in any of his five starts, a repeat of his latest losing effort will see him go close.

If looking to back one at a price, Pure Power could be worth a second look. A no-show on debut, he vastly improved by finishing third last time out. With more improvements on the cards, he could be a real contender.

Race 3: Melbourne Civil Group Maiden Plate (1000m)

A field of nine will line up for the Melbourne Civil Group Maiden Plate.

In what looks like one of the toughest races to predict, much of the betting may revolve around two newcomers, Maajida and Dance With Mia.

Backing newcomers is always risky, and if you would rather side with horses with experience, then backing either Hot Toddy or Bella Cinque could be solid alternatives. 

Race 4: Reed Cranes & Haulage Maiden Plate (1300m)

The Maiden action will conclude with the Reed Cranes & Haulage Maiden Plate, where a loaded field of fourteen is set to gather. 

Despite the deep field, it’s expected that Skywriter will start as the short priced favourite. Winless in five starts, she has never finished worse than fourth and has recorded three second-place finishes. This could be the race where it all finally lands in her favour. 

Divine Miss Gee and Katerini are both respected newcomers and could have the class to land a race of this nature on debut. Respect must also be given to The Lupercal, who, despite being a large price, will be hoping to build on his fourth-place debut effort. 

Race 5: Rosemont (1200m)

Eight runners are set to compete for the fifth race on Cranbourne’s Friday card, where Huesca will be looking to win for the first time in five races. 

Despite looking strong at the top of the market, he arrives with plenty to prove after finishing well down the field when last seen. 

If looking to take him on, Master of Chant and Along the River look viable alternatives. 

Master of Chant was a winner of two consecutive races earlier in the season but since then has struggled. There will be hopes that a nineteen-week layoff could see him return to his best. 

Race 6: Chris Newman Electrics Handicap (1500m)

A field of nine will canter down to post for the Chris Newman Electrics Handicap. 

Expected to start as the favourite is Simeon. A winner of just one of his eleven career starts, he has predominantly raced at a higher level than this and takes a drop-down in class here. 

Although the drop in class is in his favour, his long winless run is a major concern. 

The Ballet Dancer won fairly recently and showed she is still in good form after finishing second when last seen. 

She’s Notorious has won two of her three career victories at Cranbourne, so she clearly has a liking for the track. Whilst winless in six, she has placed in two of her last four starts and must be respected. 

Race 7: Ladbrokes Owners Incentive Scheme (2025m)

The seventh race from Friday’s card is one of the most intriguing. There are several contenders, with Staunch being the principal among them. 

Although he has just won twice over a thirteen-race career, he has placed in two of his last four contests and should be right up with the major contenders once again. 

Deel Blaster was a winner four starts ago and has run well since, with two second-place finishes. Outclassed when last seen, he will be hoping this small step back in grade will see him return to a positive light. 

Tahlequah will rate as a massive danger to all in the field. A winner three starts ago, her third-place finish when last seen is likely to make her very popular in the betting.

Race 8: Good Friday Night Racing Handicap (1300m)

Friday’s Cranbourne card will conclude with a competitive-looking handicap. 

Thirteen horses will bid for victory, but the one they may all need to catch is Dakarai.

His win last time out was his first, and his connections will be hopeful of another bold showing. Likely to set the pace, he will give his backers a good run for their money.

Altruist was able to shed his maiden tag earlier in the season but has been unable to win since. A seventh-place finish when last seen doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence, but if he can piece it together, he could be a real danger. 

The same has to be said of Namaska. She has been in brilliant form lately, with her last three runs seeing her finish second and first twice. A bold hat trick bid looks to be on the cards, and she clearly has the class to pull the rare feat off. 

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