Top Choice

MR97 Handicap at Clairwood on Tuesday

Mike’s Choice is at the top of his game.

MR97 Handicap over 1200m at Clairwood on Tuesday

The best of the action in midweek takes place at Clairwood on Tuesday where a MR97 Handicap over 1200m tops the bill. Mike’s Choice and Buragh look the most likely to fight it out on current form, but it certainly doesn’t stop there, writes Steve Furnish.

The 5yo Mike’s Choice shoulders top weight.

Mike’s Choice

His two most recent wins have both been gained over 1400m, but he has won twice over 1200m earlier in his career and his recent form over today’s distance is strong. Indeed, he was only beaten 2,1 lengths when a running on sixth in the Gr2 Post Merchants in his penultimate outing and he could well have bumped a top sort when a runner up to the unbeaten Unannounced last time out.

Take Over Target

At one stage during the course of 2010, Tony Rivalland’s charge won six from seven, and four of those successes were achieved over today’s course and distance. He rose some 28 points in the handicap as a result of that string of victories though and has only made the frame once in five starts since. He has been keeping good company though, and if ready, after a break, must have a shout.

Mr Top

The veteran Mr Top has also gained most of his wins over today’s trip. Sean Tarry’s charge has been a little below best since returning from a nine month layoff in May though, and he is now without a win in eleven starts. He’s still racing off a mark five points higher than that of his latest success, and on that, a place is once again perhaps his best hope.

Orbit War

Adam Kethro’s charge performed with credit when sprinting very early on in his career, but he has proven to be at his best over further. He was not persevered with in just his second start after returning from a three month break in March, and having his first outing following another four month layoff here, he is best just watched for now.

Duncan’s Duo

Representing the stable of Duncan Howells are both Rebellious Streak and Excuse My French. The veteran Rebellious Streak has proven to be at his best over 1200m, but interestingly, he hasn’t managed to win in nine visits to this circuit. He returns from a six month break here and will probably need the run.

The lightly raced Excuse My French on the other hand is a bit of a dark horse. He progressed quickly after shedding his maiden tag in just his third career start and caused a major upset when beating the likes of Run For It and Royal Zulu Warrior over 1400m in April. Excuse My French has been sparingly raced since then, but he was finishing as well as anything when out at the weights in a very strong field over today’s distance in July. This son of Jallad is more than likely better than rated and any amount of improvement must make him a serious runner here.


Tried over various distances since making a winning debut in Jun ’10, Joey Ramsden’s charge has been ultra consistent. His two most recent outings over today’s trip have both been good ones, but on the latest of those he does look held by Mike’s Choice.


Seeking a hat trick here, this son of Jet Master has been going from strength to strength during the course of 2011. Indeed, he’s risen 13 points in the handicap and has won his latest two outings going away. The manner of those latest successes would suggest that Buragh could still be one step ahead of the handicapper, and he does go particularly well over today’s distance.

National Carrier

After being dropped fifteen points in the handicap earlier in the year, Glen Puller’s charge very quickly reeled off three wins. He’s gone back up ten points as a result of those successes though and since being stepped up in class, he’s been battling to make his presence felt.

Highwayman’s Gold

Craig Eudey’s charge has progressed steadily since taking nine runs to win his maiden and he was badly out at the weights when out of the frame last time out. He is once again taking a big step up in class here though, and having not raced since May, others are preferred.

Old Mac Donald

Thought good enough to contest the Gr1 Golden Horseshoe in just his fourth career start, Paul Lafferty’s charge has surprisingly only managed to win one race. He’s made the frame twice in four starts since returning from a seven month layoff in July, but he still performing a little below best and now up in class, he won’t find it easy here.

Punta Del Este

After winning two of his first four career starts, Dennis Drier’s charge has performed with credit since being stepped up in class. Further improvement will no doubt be forthcoming during the course of the season, but he does look well held here on his running to Buragh last time out.

Cape Winter

The most lightly raced runner in the field, Cape Winter beat Highwayman’s Gold when shedding his maiden tag. He was off the track for nine months after finishing down field in his next start though and was then not seen out until finishing third in a novice event last month. At first glance Cape Winter would look to be out of his depth here, but he is more than likely better than currently rated and he could still improve out of all proportion.

About The Pace

Although there are no out and out front runners in the field, there is enough speed in the race to ensure a fair pace. Excuse My French, Buragh and Mike’s Choice are my favourites to fight it out with preference being for the latter.

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