IWATANI- The Mark Hatch-trained Iwatani is the winner of his only start at Armidale and looks well placed to remain unbeaten at the track and distance when he takes his place in the Regional Australia Bank Guyra Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m). Iwatani hasn’t been back to Armidale since winning his maiden over the 1100m back in 2016 but his recent form is good enough to suggest he will be right in play on Sunday. Despite finishing sixth at Muswellbrook on March 2, Iwatani was only a half-length from the winner and was far from disgraced in the H&NWRA Country Championship Qualifier at Scone last start over an unsuitable 1400m. Inside barriers are a significant advantage over the 1100m at Armidale and with Iwatani launching from barrier two the five-year-old will take a power of beating with Travis Wolfgram in the saddle.
LEGACY WARS- Steve Tregea was probably hoping this Written Tycoon four-year-old would be a speedster but like the half-brother Mandryka he has thrown to his mother who is by the stayer Helissio. He resumed off a 29 week break and one quiet trial with a solid effort in a 1210m maiden here but will be improved from that run and this 1625m race is far more suitable. Last preparation he was placed in a 1680m Maiden at Ipswich which was the only time he got to run on a good track. He should get similar conditions here and from gate one in a very moderate Maiden with Nozi Tomizawa retaining the mount gets a chance to put a score on the board.
CLIVEDEN- I tipped him the day he won at Beaudesert and since then he was caught on a very heavy track with 59.5kg at the Sunshine Coast and last start met a strong class three field at Dalby, He was far from disgraced in that finishing fourth to Jim ‘n’ Andy beaten less than two lengths and will find this class two company easier. From the inside gate with Michael Schrapel claiming 2kg he can sit on the speed and be too strong late. It is his first try over 1300m but he is by Street Cry the sire of Winx and Zenyatta out of a mare that won the VRC Oaks so the distance shouldn’t be an issue.
ROOI ROE- The “Roma Rocket”, she has won six of fourteen starts and only missed a place once and in that she ran fourth. There has been no shortage of mileage either as she has won on her home track Roma, Doomben and Rockhampton as well as placing at Eagle Farm, Birdsville, Toowoomba and Dalby. She resumes here after a 17 week break and whilst bar plates would normally worry me she has an excellent first up record and I am prepared to trust her over the 1000m. Les Tilley has won on her four times, will sit her off the speed and have her charging late.
CLUB SODA- The Congrats gelding trained by Liam Birchley was scratched last week and kept for this in the hope of a firmer surface. He may be destined for the Asian market but has been trialling strongly and could debut well. Chris Whitely knows the Gold Coast track very well and with the horse having shown speed in his trials can go forward from the outside gate and be hard to run down.