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TEAM EFFORT will be looking to bounce back from a disaster on December 6th when the rider lost his irons and was unseated as a result. Now dropped in grade in a small field with little in the way of opposition for the lead, this front runner looks the one they will all have to catch. Both career wins have come at Laurel and today also represents a big drop in class. The draw in stall 1 is perfect for aggressive front running tactics and I’m expecting this on to make all.
A decent race this given the low grade and while Gemo will be looking to bounce back from an odds on reversal in a similar contest on Christmas Eve, he may again have to play second fiddle to Strong Ending.
STRONG ENDING was a good second in a slightly stronger grade on December 4th, and significantly has now moved to the barn of Saffie Joseph Jr – a trainer who excels with these sorts. He has a 29% strike rate with horses running first up for the yard so is excellent at placing them, added to that he gets the services of leading jockey Tyler Gaffalione. He ticks all the boxes today.
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FOCACCINA ran okay on debut when showing a lot of greenness in the early stages before finishing well when beaten 6 lengths. The significant thing here is that trainer Mike McCarthy has a lowly 5% strike rate with first time starters, which jumps to an impressive 32% with horses making their second start. They always come on leaps and bounds for their 1st run and with that in mind this one makes plenty of appeal.
Beach Bar was an emphatic winner over course and distance on December 9th and is respected here, but there was nothing in that race of the calibre of MAKEME DREAM – who is the one they’ll all have to beat here. She was running at the stronger Gulfstream Park in the autumn and holding her own in far tougher company than this, before landing an excellent fourth in a far stronger race here in December.
She gets a big drop in grade here and has a serious class edge over todays rivals. She is 2 wins from 3 here and runs for a very selective trainer who is 3 wins from 4 here this winter. I think she’ll prove too good.
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