Action-packed day of racing expected at Saturday's Ceduna Christmas Races

WINNER: It's Humphrey leads the field home to win the 2018 Thevenard Cup. Picture: Andrew Brooks
WINNER: It's Humphrey leads the field home to win the 2018 Thevenard Cup. Picture: Andrew Brooks

Racegoers are looking forward to the first meet of the West Coast racing season this Saturday, the Ceduna Christmas Races.

The main focus will be the arrival of Father Christmas at the racetrack, and he will be handing out presents to the children, but punters can also expect an exciting five-race program.

The feature race is the $9000 Viterra Australia Thevenard Cup over 1600 metres.

A pleasant 32 degrees Celsius is forecast, with the club catering for marquee patrons and the general public.

Bookmakers will be present, along with TAB facilities and Sky Racing channel.

Selections have been made before the final fields, jockeys and barrier draw were known.

Race 1: Viterra Australia Thevenard Cup (1600 metres)

It's Humphrey won this race last year and is the most consistent runner in this field.

His recent form at Port Lincoln has been very good, with three runs all over 1390m.

He is the likely leader and trainer Trevor Trenowden has set him for this race.

Eye The World has always proven to be It's Humphrey's main rival and they will meet again on Saturday, and while his recent form has been a bit below par, Eye The World did work very hard from an outside barrier last start at Port Lincoln.

I fancy his stablemate Dance of Heroes to run a bold race.

The Ryan Dawson-trained nine-year-old is having his third run for his new stable and I was impressed with his fifth placing behind Neva Doubt Us at Port Lincoln last Friday.

Rooboy's recent form looks ordinary, however he was caught three-wide last start and I'd be inclined to ignore that run.

Stonecast could be a lightweight chance, he ran home nicely in a quality field last start.

Tips: It's Humphrey, Dance of Heroes, Stonecast

Race 2: Ceduna Foodland Christmas Handicap (1300m)

Abbi Fede only has to handle the track and he should win this race, and while he can be a quirky horse at times it is hard to go past his two wins at Port Lincoln a month ago.

Taskmaster has run very well in tougher races recently, both times just behind the placegetters.

He has placed at this track and is certainly the main danger.

Former New South Wales sprinter Vintage Red has not been spotted for over 12 months and Ceduna trainer Rob Wilkins has spent countless hours getting this proven performer back to the track.

Tips: Abbi Fede, Taskmaster, Vintage Red

Race 3: Gypsum Resources Australia Trophy Race (1600m)

Crazy Culprit has won at this track and his recent form is excellent, having run second at his last two starts.

Saint Valentine also has won here and I was very taken with his last run at Port Lincoln.

The Simon Drewitt-trained eight-year-old was caught wide throughout and still managed to run home nicely in a tougher race than this.

Keep Digging - who has also been nominated for the Thevenard Cup - has also saluted the judge here and fought well in the same race as Saint Valentine last start.

He has won at Port Augusta and Penong this year, with 1600m being his preferred distance.

Tips: Crazy Culprit, Saint Valentine, Keep Digging

Race 4: Ceduna Meat Service Trophy Race (1000m)

This looks a tough race with plenty of chances, with Kailua looking the likely leader after showing a ton of speed at Port Lincoln last Friday.

She did stop quickly though and perhaps the last 100m could be a query.

Kaapow could be the one charging home. Trained by Julie Branford, this gelding has a good turn of foot and should be in the finish.

Serious Moonlight is not a great starter, but also runs home strongly, as proven recently when running second behind the very smart Rodney.

Zaazoe has not won for more than two years, but could be a surprise as she is having her first run for trainer Tereza Kropej.

Tips: Kaapow, Serious Moonlight, Kailua

Race 5: TerryWhite Chemmart and MGA Insurance Maiden (1200m)

Not a lot of form to go on in this race, but three horses stand out from the others: Black Diamonds, Cry Out Loud and Subjugate.

Black Diamonds led and ran a bold race when running third at Jamestown in October, but the question is whether she can run a strong 1200m.

Three-year-old Subjugate is still learning her craft, but produced her best run when running third at Port Lincoln last Friday.

Cry Out Loud is doing just that in her quest for a win.

She has been placed nine times from 24 starts, and this gives her a chance in this field.

Tips: Subjugate, Black Diamonds, Cry Out Loud