Who will win the 2016 Country Championship? Free form and tips

Country Championships
THE Country Championship is more than just a horse race.

The 1400m final represents the very best country-trained horses in New South Wales and it gives the lesser-known thoroughbreds their chance in the limelight.

The prize purse of $400,000 will make a momentous difference to the winners’ lives and that’s what racing should be about.

Training powerhouses such as Chris Waller, Mick Price and Gai Waterhouse have all had their time at the top, but for one race during The Championships each year, it’s the lesser lights that get their shot at stardom.

A final field of 16 runners (with seven emergencies) will line up and the betting suggests there are only a handful of winning chances. We will break down the field to find the best value and also find some runners at big odds which could cause the upset.

Take a bet on the Country Championships at Sportsbet and if your horse finishes 2nd, 3rd of 4th you will get a cash back up to $50.


2016 Country Championships market and barrier draw

1. Lofty’s Menu (13) – $4.60/$1.80
2. Profiler (17) – $21/$6
3. Clearly Innocent (2) – $2.50/$1.40
4. Pera Pera (12) – $8.50/$2.60
5. Chrysolaus (14) – $16/$4.40
6. All Summer Long (19) – $8.50/$2.60
7. Ever So Natural (16) – $26/$7.50
8. Bank On Henry (21) – $34/$9.50
9. Mitchell Road (22) – $81/$19
10. Steakandbernaise (3) – $51$14
11. Iron Blue (8) – $67/$18
12. Something Borrowed (4) – $101/$26
13. Not A Shadow (9) – $126/$31
14. Ashjata (23) – $15/$4.60
15. Ultimate Dreamer (5) – $15/$4.40
16. Another Valley (6) – $34/$9.50
17e. Hermosa Beach (7) – $17/$4.80
18e. Carton (15) – $101/$26
19e. Another Rush (11) – $101/$26
20e. After All That (1) – $101/$26
21e. Marmaduke’s Lady (10) – $301/$18
22e. Heza Thief (20) – $301/$18
23e. Farewell Julia (18) – $501/$126

The two favourites Clearly Innocent ($2.50) and Lofty’s Menu ($4.60) have stayed steady in the win market throughout the week. The only other runners in single figures odds are Pera Pera and All Summer Long, which are both at $8.50.

The biggest market move has been from Profiler, which opened at $34. The five-year-old is now into $21 after winning back-to-back in its preparation and punters are prepared to overlook the wide barrier draw.

Most of the other runners have stayed steady with a little support coming for Iron Blue at massive odds of $67.

Country Championships winning chances and tips

1. Lofty’s Menu
Odds: $4.60
Form: 71112
Trainer: John Bateman
Jockey: Blake Shinn

The five-year-old by Supreme Class has won six from 11 races with three placings and its form leading into the final has been impressive. It won by 2.5 lengths at Canberra before winning its heat by 2.3 lengths at Goulburn. It then raced in rating 85 grade at Rosehill where it finished second behind High Midnight. That’s good form for this and only the barrier draw counts against it.

3. Clearly Innocent
Odds: $2.50 at CrownBet.com.au
Form: 62111
Trainer: Greg Bennett
Jockey: Tommy Berry

Clearly Innocent is clearly the horse to beat coming into the Country Championship Final. The Greg Bennett-trained gelding has won its last three and it has arguably been unlucky to not have won five consecutive. The four-year-old looks a promising type by Not A Single Doubt and it could even challenge at higher grades later in the season. It has drawn perfectly in barrier four and Tommy Berry is one of the best sprint riders in the world. We expect the $2.50 to shorten.

4. Pera Pera
Odds: $8.50
Form: 11511
Trainer: Mack Griffith
Jockey: Hugh Bowman

This Street Sense gelding has won four of its last five races and it didn’t get much luck when it ran fifth in the Highway Handicap. It won well enough last time out at Wellington, but its best run came at Randwick when it dead-heated for first with Shutter Bug, which has subsuqently performed well in higher grades. Hugh Bowman is a significant rider change and he can make all the difference.

6. All Summer Long
Odds: $8.50
Form: 23122
Trainer: Greg Bennett
Jockey: James McDonald

Greg Bennett has another strong chance with All Summer Long. The Snippetson gelding has finished behind its stablemate at its last two starts and it has been dealt a harsh blow in the barrier draw. The five-year-old received barrier 19 which will mean jockey James McDonald will have to pull off an outstanding ride to win. It does have the ability to ping the gates and that might be its best chance of winning. The $8.50 price should stay steady throughout the betting.

Trifecta prediction:

1st – Clearly Innocent
2nd – Lofty’s Menu
3rd – Pera Pera

Take a Country Championships trifecta at Crownbet.com.au for the best triecta payouts available.


Country Championships long-shot predictions

With such a big field and a largely untested group of horses, there is potential for a major upset. Only four horses are currently paying under double-figure odds and we should be able to find good place value.

2. Profiler
Odds: $21/$6
Form: 214511
Trainer: Stephen Lee
Jockey: Tye Angland

$21 and $6 for the place are good odds for a gelding which has won its last two races heading into the final. The five-year-old has won six from 16 overall and its two recent misses came against tough opposition in Queensland. Drawing a better barrier would have been its odds trim up significantly, but it has already dropped from $34 to $21 and that’s a big move. Profiler has the ability to cause the upset here.

Profiler to place ($6) at Sportsbet.com.au

5. Chrysolaus
Odds: $16/$4.40
Form: 7X821
Trainer: Jane Clement
Jockey: Rachael Murray

The four-year-old qualified at the very last minute via the wild card race at Muswellbrook and it now finds itself as one of the best backed outside hopes. The Jane Clement-trained gelding has a feel good story attached to it after the owner passed away earlier this year and there will be plenty of support come race day. $16 is a touch short for our liking, but the place money looks good and Rachael Murray might win her biggest race yet.

7. Ever So Natural
Odds: $26/$7.50
Form: 13122
Trainer: Cliff Bashford
Jockey: Damien Oliver

It’s rare to find a Damien Oliver-ridden horse paying $26 and punters should enjoy that fact. The son of Zizou has won three from 13 with six placings which makes placing a top three bet a good statistical decision and its recent form has been very consistent. It won at Taree three back by 1.3 lengths and has since record back-to-back placings. It drops in weight for this and looms as a genuine place chance at $7.50.

11. Iron Blue
Odds: $67/$18
Form: 70252
Trainer: Cameron Crockett
Jockey: Glyn Schofield

The six-year-old by Aussie Rules opened at $101 and has been well backed into $67. It finished second behind Pera Pera last start which is a good form guide for this. Pera Pera is paying $8.50 so the disparity in price heavily favours punters of Iron Blue. It’s clearly not the most talented horse in this field, but it could be worth a stab at $18 for a top three finish.

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