2022 The Gong Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Thu 17th November 2022


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Feature racing moves from Newcastle to Kembla Grange this Saturday, with the running of The Gong, worth $1m in prize money. The 1600m Quality handicap is another new addition to the Racing NSW calendar and has become a target race for horses continuing their campaigns deep into the Spring. Last year Count De Rupee was too good for his rivals in The Gong, after a close up second to I’m Thunderstruck in the Golden Eagle the start prior.

The market for this year’s mile feature is very open and Dabble currently has last start Flemington winner Old Flame favourite at $5.50. A host of runners including; Hope In Your Heart ($7.50), Brutality ($7.50), Rustic Steel ($8.00) and Ridioni ($9.00) are all given a chance and it’s out to $13 or longer the rest.

With a capacity field set to do battle and no clear cut favourite, this year’s The Gong looks a tricky race for punters to get a gauge on. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you and provided our horse racing tips! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 The Gong along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Just Folk (17) – $21
Jockey – Jarrod Fry 59kg
Trainer – Joshua Julius

Bendigo trained gelding who battled away well last start at Flemington under the big weight. His efforts in the Seymour Cup and Craven Plate prior were solid. Connections will be hoping to go one better here but he has a tough task ahead of him from the wide gate and 59kg on his back.

2. Kolding (4) – $26
Jockey – Joshua Parr 59kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Knuckled badly out of the gates last start in the Champions Mile and did well to finish where he did, despite only beating one runner home. Runs prior were nothing to write home about. Needs to find on recent form but should be nearing his peak this preparation and can improve.

3. Promise Of Success (2) – $13
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy 58.5kg
Trainer – John O’Shea

Caused a boil over in The Invitation two starts back before an even effort at Flemington last time out. Drawn an inside gate again here which isn’t ideal considering her racing pattern, but should get track conditions to suit and will be charging late if the gaps open up.

4. Rustic Steel (5) – $8.00
Jockey – Brenton Avdulla 58.5kg
Trainer – Kris Lees

Put a smile on connections’ faces, and their bank account, last start when winning the $2m Big Dance at Randwick. Is unbeaten at the mile and handles all conditions. Will get a good run in transit from the nice gate and has to be considered a winning chance again.

5. Kirwan’s Lane (16) – $20
Jockey – Tom Sherry 58kg
Trainer – John O’Shea

*This horse has since been scratched.*

Chased hard to score a tough win last start at Hawkesbury over the mile. Form prior was solid. Barrier draw has done him no favours here and will need some early luck, but is hard fit now and can finish in the prize money.

6. Surf Dancer (9) – $15
Jockey – Rachel King 58kg
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Led them up and held on well last start in the Big Dance under 61kg. Had excuses the start prior and beat Old Flame fresh. Will make his presence felt early, as he usually does, and should be in it for a long way. Each-way chance.

7. Berdibek (6) – $51
Jockey – Sam Clipperton 56.5kg
Trainer – John O’Shea

Third of the O’Shea runners who resumes here off the back of the Grafton Cup. Has had two trials in readiness for this but usually takes a run or two to find his best form and may be better suited over further now that he’s nine years old.

8. Old Flame (19) – $5.50F
Jockey – Tommy Berry 56.5kg
Trainer – Peter & Paul Snowden

Was well supported at Flemington last start and won well. Steps up to a mile now where he is yet to win a race and has drawn the car park. No doubt he is one of the winning chances on form alone, but at the price on offer, there looks to be more value.

9. Sky Lab (3) – $16
Jockey – Winona Costin 56.5kg
Trainer – Paul Perry

Resumed from a spell last Saturday in The Hunter and absolutely charged through the line late. The seven day backup suggests he has come through the run well and is a winner second up and at the mile. A repeat of that effort would see him hard to beat here.

10. Atishu (14)
Jockey – Jay Ford 56kg
Trainer – Chris Waller


11. Oscar Zulu (13) – $15
Jockey – Chad Schofield 56kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Had a nice run in transit and was too good first up in the Goulburn Cup. Runner up was a strong winner last Saturday. Steps up to the mile now where he has raced well in the past and will appreciate the weight relief. Not the worst.

12. Hope In Your Heart (15) – $7.50
Jockey – Jason Collett 55.5kg
Trainer – Kerry Parker

Locally trained galloper who strung three wins together before an excellent fourth in the Golden Eagle last start. Beat home Vilana and In The Congo on that occasion which reads well and she’s a winner at the mile. Will need some luck early from the wide alley but should be strong late. Definite winning hope.

13. Brutality (11) – $7.50
Jockey – Regan Bayliss 54.5kg
Trainer – Joseph Pride

Got a long way back and made some good ground along the inside last Saturday in The Hunter. Steps up to 1600m now which is a big plus and he’s been set for this race. Will be ridden closer from the middle draw and will be breathing down their neck at the furlong. Can win.

14. Purple Sector (1) – $15
Jockey – Reece Jones (a) 54.5kg
Trainer – John Thompson

Had the race shot to pieces last start at Randwick before being nabbed on the line. Finished second to Old Flame and Top Ranked earlier this prep. Should get a nice run behind the speed from the inside gate and can run into the placings once again at good odds.

15. Love Tap (18) – $19
Jockey – Andrew Adkins 53.5kg
Trainer – Richard & Will Freedman

Returned to the winners stall first up at Flemington in BM90 grade. Will appreciate the big weight drop here and has a good second up record but will need plenty of luck from the wide gate and will find this race harder. Not out of it but needs to improve again second up to make it two from two this prep.

16. Riodini (8) – $9.00
Jockey – Tim Clark 53.5kg
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Pleasing effort first up despite finishing well back before another solid finish last start in the Winners Stakes. Should be primed for this third up and looks as though he’s wanting the mile now. One of the main hopes.

17e. Wild Planet (7) – $41
Jockey – Zac Lloyd (a) 53.5kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Hasn’t been far away, without threatening, in three runs back this prep. Racing as though the mile will suit but he hasn’t won for a long time and needs to find a few lengths to get back in the winners stall here.

18e. Parry Sound (12) – $126
Jockey – Dylan Gibbons (a) 54kg
Trainer – Sara Ryan

Former Bjorn Baker trained galloper who resumes here for the new yard. Yet to win first up from five goes and is unplaced at the mile. Will more than likely need this hitout.

19e. Steely (10) – $21
Jockey – Tyler Schiller (a) 52kg
Trainer – Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou

*This horse has since been scratched.*

Had his chance last start in the Little Dance but ran well nevertheless. Has a brilliant record here at Kembla and races well at the mile but needs to run a career best to win this. Place best.

20e. Kiss Sum (20) – $23
Jockey – N/A 54kg
Trainer – Tracey Bartley

*This horse has since been scratched.*

Ran on well first up in the Silver Eagle to finish a close up fifth to Vilana. Thrown in the deep end last start and happy to forgive. Capable of improving back in this grade but the outside draw is a big blow. Needs luck but can figure in the finish.

Final Word

There looks plenty of depth in this year’s running of The Gong and although there may not be any I’m Thunderstuck’s lining up, a capacity field of quality gallopers will greet the starter.

Hard to ignore the form of Hope In Your Heart. She strung three solid wins together before a close up fourth in the Golden Eagle last start. She beat home the likes of Vilana and In The Congo on that occasion. As we saw last year, that form is a good reference for this race and she looks hard to beat again.

Brutality has been set for this race and has found the line well over shorter trips this prep. He will be ridden closer from the middle gate here and looks the definite danger. 

Riodini has similar form lines to Brutality and looks as though the mile should suit. Purple Sector brings some strong form into the race and will enjoy a good run behind the speed and Sky Lab is more than capable of running well if he can reproduce his effort from last Saturday.

The Gong TipLogo

12. Hope In Your Heart – Each-way ($7.50/$2.65)

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*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Dabble.

Tom has had a passion for the racing industry from the time he could talk. Wether it was at school, on smoko or in his own spare time, he always had his head in the form guide.He has worked hands on in the industry for years for some of Australia’s most highly regarded trainers. As a track rider, he has put the polish on some of the best horse flesh to grace the turf in recent years including the grey flash, Chautauqua, Golden slipper winner, Mossfun and sprinter-turned-sire, Deep Field to name a few.Tom has recently hung up the boots to focus solely on his punting and tipping services. With the objective of finding plenty of winners and value in the marketplace, you’ll be sure to have a fat wallet following his feature race previews.