Raceday focus: Best bets and inside mail for Tamworth and Grafton

It’s a fine line between being happy and frustrated when a horse runs three seconds in a row.

Scone trainer Stephen Jones has had to watch Gold Codes go down by half a length, 2¼ lengths and one length at his past three starts.

But he’s been looking on the bright side of things lately and said the losses weren’t because Gold Codes didn’t want to or know how to win.

He’s just ran into one better on the day which Jones is hoping isn’t the case at Tamworth on Monday when he runs in a Class 2 Handicap (1000m).

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“That’s all it is, I think. They’ve just been a little bit better than him but he’s always quite honest and sticks his neck out but just not far enough,” Jones said.

“He’s knocking on the door, they just won’t let us in.

“At least he’s running well and winning prizemoney but it would be good if he can win one day. At least I don’t have to go to owners (to explain the losses), I’ve only got to put up with myself.”

Gold Codes is by Smart Missile so he wouldn’t have minded the two soft-rated tracks he’s been on of late but he’s been able to get across dry tracks very well in the past.

That was evident when second three runs back at Newcastle in a higher rated race than the one he’s in today.

“I don’t think it will hurt him to be on a bit of a drier track. Hopefully it will do the trick,” Jones said.

“He has drawn wide gates in the past and been able to get in there somewhere.”


Trainer Stephen Jones says Gold Codes can end a run of seconds at Tamworth. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Shame Warned is also runs on Monday for Jones in a Class 2 Handicap (1600m) and he’s ran two seconds and a first from his past three.

Running out the mile isn’t a concern and Ashley Morgan will give the Shamus Award four-year-old the dream run from barrier two.

He’s also won twice and ran second on a further two occasions from five starts at the track.

“He’s a consistent type of horse who has taken another step up since his early days,” Jones said.

“He’s quite a nice horse who will get over a bit of ground late. He’s just matured and when he goes out and comes back in he’ll be better again.

“He loves the Tamworth track. That’s the reason I made the decisions to stick with Tamworth.”

Ranuncula isn’t a certain starter in a Maiden Handicap (1200m) because he drew barrier 15 in the big field.

He ran second on debut at Muswellbrook over 1000m on a heavy track when coming from 11th at the 400m.

It showed that he’s got a future and if he runs today he’ll be more suited to the extra 200m.

“It’s drawn wide so I’ll have to decide if he runs or not,” Jones said.

“He’ll take improvement out of that run, without a doubt. He’s definitely got ability and has done no wrong.”




A fair bit of Lonhro in this brown/black gelding trained locally. Turned in a rock solid debut in a very, very good race at Scone back in the summer.


Was well backed when a distant fourth at Scone. Had every chance that day but he was second-up. Can do better this time.


Lightly-raced for Godolphin gelding now with Australian Bloodstock and Cody Morgan. Trialled well at Scone and resumes ‘at home’.


Race 4: 1,3,4

Race 5: 2,3

Race 6: 2,4

Race 7: 1,3,4,9


Ashley Morgan probably won’t come up as favourite in the TAB Jockeys Challenge but he could be a real chance of winning, bar any scratchings.


BEST BET: GUEST (Race 6 No.3)

Horses who are maidens after 25 starts are not normally the pick of the card but at least he has placed 17 times, 10 of them seconds. He is so well placed today.

NEXT BEST: RIOLI (Race 5 No.3)

Won on debut and hasn’t added one since but he can boast two seconds in TAB Highways at Randwick. Last run was probably his best this time in.


Another well travelled horse; this son of Pierro won a trial at Grafton two weeks ago and seems to have talent.




Heaven’s High is a bonny mare by So You Think who has won five from 19 with five seconds and three thirds. One of those thirds was in the Daniel Baker last start. She is third-up racing at a track and distance where she is probably at her most effective. Classic Gaming ran third at his very first start to Funstar. Fast forward through time and the now five-year-old made a winning ‘debut’ for new trainer Adam Duggan at Gosford on August 11. Makes obvious appeal here. Dubai Tycoon looks suited back to the 1200m from the mile.

Bet: Heaven’s High win

Classic Gaming (yellow cap) running third to Funstar on debut. Picture: AAPSource:AAP


Lucky Elixir is having his 70th start. The Ross Cribb bred ten-year-old will be ridden by Greg Ryan who has sat on 14 times for five wins and five placings. Indeed, Ryan is looking at the very real prospect of a hat-trick of wins on the old-timer today who has never raced better. Tom’s Knight squares off with Lucky Elixir for a second straight time today having finished about a length behind him at Scone on August 18. He races well here. Butter Toast could give some cheek from the front if ridden that way again today.

Bet: Lucky Elixir win, exacta 3/2


Shame Warned has some compelling stats. The son of Cox Plate winner Shamus Award has raced at Tamworth five times recording two wins and two seconds. What’s more, the Stephen Jones trained gelding has run his best races at the ‘Tamworth mile’. Go well again. Ludivine was building nicely to his last start, third-up, win at Scone over the 1400m. This looks the logical next step for him now. Can keep progressing. The Spell was an eye-catcher in a 1400m Class 1 here last month. Trip suits now.

Bet: Shame Warned win, exacta 2/4


Former Godolphin housed gelding Anethole will have his first run in the Mugatoo colours today for Cody Morgan who would have to have been pleased with the son of Anise’s third in a recent deep heat at the Scone trials. Gets 4kg off his 61kg thanks to the claim for talented apprentice Dylan Gibbons. This is a very good race full of chances and in-form horses like Gold Codes for example who has bumped into some above average types at his last couple. Massive respect for Lagarde and Lady Jakeo’s great-granddaughter A Room Somewhere.

bet: Anethole win, box trifecta 1,3,4,6,9



Managua had one run in Victoria for Danny O’Brien (ran 12th) then one for Toby and Trent Edmonds at the Gold Coast (fourth) and will have his first for Edward O’Rourke here. The son of Pierro was never extended when a nose winner over Plonka in a Grafton 1000m two weeks ago. La Roca is a locally trained filly on debut who was third of four in her trial here the other day but sent out encouraging signs. The recent Matthew Dunn recruit Uprise has to be respected. Spring Nymph is a major player.

Bet: Managua win, box trifecta 1,3,11,14


Rioli is coming up on three years without a win; he won his first start down at Sale but hasn’t won again. That said, he has finished runner-up in two TAB Highways at Randwick for his former trainer Alan Ryan. Rioli’s best run of the four under Shane Everson was his most recent one. Be Watchful was disappointing at the price at Lismore seven days ago. Well placed again if you can be forgiving. Mr Plow is a big watch here first run for Jim Jarvis. That name again is Mr Plow.

Bet: Rioli win, exacta 3/4


Guest is a maiden after 25 starts but he might just be the best bet on the card. Granted he hasn’t been able to crack it for a win but he has placed 17 times and ten of those are seconds. He has raced here four times for three seconds and a third – in fact all his numbers are great – except that is 0 from 25. Graziano was unplaced in his first 12 starts but he turned in his PB here two weeks back when third in a pretty deep maiden. Quizzical Deel was ahead of his that day – just – and looks to be thriving since he arrived at Ballina.

Bet: Guest win


Too Hard To Call is a Gerry Harvey bred mare trained at Glen Innes by Paddy Cunningham who has found a very winnable race for the All Too Hard five-year-old to resume in. Too Hard To Call has a tidy CV and ran a huge race behind Hellenism in her only TAB Highway run (so far) back on January 25. Local Tobasco went to the front and never headed, never challenged, when Ben Looker let him roll at Casino last start. Hard to run down. Lace And Whiskey is a former SA mare new to a very good stable.

Bet: Too Hard To Call win, quinella 6/7

Originally published asTamworth, Grafton tips: Trainer to solve Code

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