2022 The Hunter Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Thu 10th November 2022


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Another new addition to the Racing NSW calendar in recent years, The Hunter, is a 1300m quality handicap held at Newcastle Racecourse. Although not a Group 1, the $1m feature has attracted some big names since its inaugural running in 2019 and was taken out last year by top class sprinter Lost And Running.

Looking at the market, Dabble has the Waterhouse/Bott trained, In The Congo, favourite at $4.20 off the back of his run in the Golden Eagle. Fourth emergency, Waihaha Falls, is well in commission at $4.40 as is the Godolphin trained, Vilana, at $5.50. Queensland galloper, Apache Chase ($7.50), and seasoned gelding, Eleven Eleven ($9.00), are also given a chance.

As we know, horse racing can be a tough game at the best of times, and this year’s Hunter looks a real head scratcher for punters. 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 Hunter 2022 along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Apache Chase (13) – $7.50
Jockey – Jim Byrne 59kg
Trainer – Desleigh Forster

G1 winning Queenslander who hasn’t been far away at Randwick his past couple, the latest behind Rocketing By in the Sydney Stakes. Has to lug the top weight here which is no easy task but is a class horse and will be in it for a long way.

2. Overpass (18) – $15
Jockey – Rachel King 58.5kg
Trainer – Bjorn Baker

Finished 2.7L from the winner in The Everest two back before an ok run in the Golden Eagle last start. Looks better suited back in trip here but has drawn off the track with a lot of weight. No doubt he’s good enough to win but prefer him over 1100m/1200m.

3. Eleven Eleven (16) – $9.00
Jockey – Tommy Berry 58kg
Trainer – Gregory Hickman

Ran well first up, despite being no match for Bella Nipotina, in the Manikato Stakes. Generally improves second up and will appreciate the rise in trip but will need luck from the gate. No doubt he’ll be set for the Magic Millions Carnival in January but this looks a good stepping stone and Newcastle should suit.

4. Gem Song (6) – $19
Jockey – Hugh Bowman 57.5kg
Trainer – Kris Lees

Found the line well first up in the Sydney Stakes. Is a two time winner here at Newcastle, both at Group 3 level, and should get a nice run in transit from the good draw. Bowman goes on and he looks one of the main contenders here second up at a good price.

5. In The Congo (2) – $4.20F
Jockey – Tim Clark 57kg
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

The 2021 Golden Rose winner who led everywhere bar the post first up in the Sydney Stakes. Led them up again last start and was far from disgraced in the Golden Eagle. Drop back to 1300m looks ideal here and he’ll land straight on the bunny from the inside draw. Tough to beat.

6. Vilana (9) – $5.50
Jockey – Nash Rawiller 57kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Sprouted wings first up to score a dominant win in the Silver Eagle. Drew 20/20 last start in the Golden Eagle and was again very good through the line. Has been better treated by the barrier draw this time round and should appreciate a genuine tempo here. Nash sticks with him and he looks very hard to beat here.

7. Ingratiating (4) – $20
Jockey – Sam Clipperton 56.5kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Second of the Godolphin runners who has been back to the trials following his last placed effort in The Everest. Steps up to 1300m now, where he is untried, but won’t spend any petrol from the good gate. Has plenty of ability and some good form on paper but a few too many question marks here.

8. Bandersnatch (5) – $18
Jockey – Koby Jennings 56kg
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

Ran I Wish I Win to 1.2L first up before being outbobbed by Aegon at Caulfield. Worked from the wide gate with 61kg last start and was entitled to weaken late. Will enjoy a much better run in transit here, is a winner at Newcastle and will appreciate the weight drop. Going well this prep and deserves to be included in winning calculations at good odds.

9. Lion’s Roar (11) – $81
Jockey – Reece Jones (a) 56kg
Trainer – John O’Shea

G1 winner who returns here after a twelve month spell. Has some very strong form lines on paper and is a winner here at Newcastle. Recent trials suggest he may need this but is capable of figuring in the money if he’s close to peak condition.

10. Sky Lab (15) – $34
Jockey – Jason Collett 55kg
Trainer – Paul Perry

Resumes here off the back of an unplaced run in the Doncaster Handicap. Given two solid hit outs at the trials leading into this. Broke his maiden here at Newcastle but may need this run and will be better suited over further as he gets deeper into the prep.

11. Skyman (10) – $13
Jockey – James McDonald 55kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Resumed off a short spell to claim the Rowley Mile last start. Comes into this off the back of a similar break and has looked good in two recent trials. The McDonald/Waller combo has been lethal of late and he shouldn’t be far away come the business end.

12. Expat (20) – $31
Jockey – Tyler Schiller (a) 54kg
Trainer – Mark Newnham

Tough on pacer who wasn’t far away behind Promise Of Success last start at Randwick. Is a winner at this track and is a four time winner at the trip but will need everything to go his way from the carpark draw. Place chance at best.

13. Swats That (14) – $21
Jockey – Zac Lloyd (a) 54kg
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Top class mare who hasn’t won for over two years now. Covered ground and did well to finish as close as she did last start at Randwick. First up run behind Baller and Roch ‘N’ Horse reads well and if young hoop, Zac Lloyd, can weave some magic from the tricky draw, she will be in the finish.

14. Tycoonist (19) – $34
Jockey – Chad Schofield 54kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Enjoyed a nice run when he finished on the heels of the placegetters last start in the Sydney Stakes. Wasn’t far away behind Private Eye and Roch ‘N’ Horse the start prior. Another who has to overcome a bad gate but can figure in the finish with luck.

15. Aramayo (8) – $61
Jockey – Ashley Morgan 53.5kg
Trainer – Sam Kavanagh

Former Chris Waller trained galloper who resumes here for the new yard. Finished second in the G1 Epsom Handicap this time last year behind Private Eye. Not sure he’s going as well now but has been given two solid hit outs in preparation for this and shouldn’t be far away from the action.

16. Gravina (1) – $17
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy 53kg
Trainer – James Cummings

Another of the blue army runners who chased home Argentia at Flemington last start. He recorded a good win at Caulfield the start prior and wasn’t far away behind I Wish I Win before that. Should get a suck run from the inside gate and has no weight on his back. Can figure in the placings if the gaps appear at the right time.

17e. Brutality (17) – $19
Jockey – Regan Bayliss 54kg
Trainer – Joseph Pride

Ran some good late splits in the Premiere Stakes first up before another strong finish in the Sydney Stakes. Took ground of them again last start late in the Winners Stakes and despite the form line reading 769 this prep, he is absolutely flying. Connections will be itching to get a run here because if he does, he’s a definite winning chance.

18e. Through The Cracks (7) – $26
Jockey – Brenton Avdulla 54kg
Trainer – Angela Davies

Gosford trainer gelding who resumed behind the smart Clemenceau and chased hard to the line. He has a good record here at Newcastle and races well second up. Another who, if he gains a start, can race competitively.

19e. Blondeau (3) – $71
Jockey – Kathy O’Hara 52kg
Trainer – Chris Waller

Got back and failed to fire first up in the Sydney Stakes. Has since been back to the trials where he was given a quiet time. Has plenty of potential and a lethal finish on him when right, but hard to have in this field based on his latest effort.

20e. Waihaha Falls (12) – $4.40
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy 52kg
Trainer – John O’Shea

Made good ground through the park first up in the Sydney Stakes to finish right on the winners heels. Drops 6.5kg here and has a good second up record. Easy to understand why he is second favourite but looks unlikely he’ll gain a start. If he does, he can win.

Final Word

The glamour and glory of the Spring Carnival may be over for another year, but the good racing hasn’t stopped and this year’s Hunter is a prime example.

Really like the way Vilana has come back this prep. He was a dominant winner first up in the $1m Silver Eagle before charging home in the Golden Eagle last start. Fair to say the outside gate ruined his winning chances there, but from the nice draw here can race closer and looks the one to beat.

Not often you see a race where the emergencies are so well respected and look hard to beat. Brutality has finished well in all three runs back this prep, running some fantastic late splits, most recently behind Private Eye. This race looks an ideal target and despite the wide draw looks very hard to hold out. Waihaha Falls can also run a big race if he gains a start, but his chances of doing so look slim.

In The Congo will make his own luck on speed and should be nearing peak condition third up, Gem Song is capable second up and Skyman has trialled well leading into this and won first up last prep off a similar break. Bandersnatch is another who should be included in exotic bets.

The Hunter TipLogo

6. Vilana – Each-way ($5.50/$2.15)

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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.