Selections are based on a predicted soft 5/6 track
Race 1: Freshwater Grill @ Kempsey RSL Class 3 (1900m), 1.10pm
Connections of Port Macquarie mare 1. Nina Harker head up the road confident coming back from a Randwick Highway win in similar ground when well specked in the market, although up significantly in weight. This brings the Newcastle mare 5. So You Merge right into play via some very solid benchmark form.
Dangers: Taree-trained 4. Party Host looks the only other chance. Two starts back flew home from well back to just miss on his home track beating Mina Harker home at level weights.
How to play it: So You Merge to win and boxed trifecta 1-4-5.
Race 2: Angove Family Winemakers Maiden (1250m), 1.45pm
Another one from the Paul Perry yard in Newcastle looks very hard to beat. Lightly-raced colt 4. Sunny Afternoon hit the line nicely at Taree two runs back and wasn't far from the promising Magpie at Port Macquarie last start. This looks ideal third-up stalking the speed from midfield.
Dangers: Local 1. First Time Lucky has been in the placings three times from seven starts and craving to break his maiden. Gets a nice soft trail from an inside gate. Big watch on Newcastle filly 7. So Good To Me having her first start after a string of solid trials.
How to play it: Sunny Afternoon to win.
Race 3: Geoff Steinmetz Memorial Maiden (1000m), 2.20pm
Tricky race, but like the fact Newcastle filly 9. Mary Magpie comes back in trip after being run over late in a decent 1200m Tamworth maiden last start. Competed against much better horses back in the autumn. Comes over from a wide gate and looks to sit outside the lead.
Dangers: From the big rival Newcastle stable, first starter 4. Exdream has trialled well and is the obvious threat from the fence draw; while 2. Little Geoffrey is bursting to win a race after flooding home at his last two and just missing. Again, though, will be giving them a tidy start.
How to play it: Mary Magpie to win and quinella 4-9.
Race 4: Iron Jack Maiden Plate (1450m), 2.55pm
A few of these have done their best already, so it's hard to see anything but consistent 1. Pinnacle Power taking the major prize. Has been close-up in three of his last four runs and will get the perfect stalking position right behind the lead from an inside gate.
Dangers: Cessnock mare 6. Sweet Art is still trying to win after 20 starts, but form is better than it looks and should be able to arrest an easy lead here. Fellow Cessnock rival 2. Classicman is yet to run a place in five starts, but this has little depth, and his last-start effort at Scone at a huge price was much improved.
How to play it: Pinnacle Power to win.
Race 5: Steve Keir Memorial B66 (1000m), 3.30pm
Competitive sprint, but Wauchope-trained 2. Stoddart looks very well placed coming back from a close second in a BM 85 at Coonabarabran. While sharply up in weight, carried a hefty 60kg when easily progressing out of BM 58 class two runs back. Will get back and sweep home.
Dangers: Port Macquarie mare 4. Typhoon Bonny has been consistent without winning, but is in well at the weights here and will race right on the speed. Another Port runner 3. Golden Comet was solid in the market when winning his BM 58 from the front last start, and is ready for the next level with some weight relief; while topweight 1. He's Our Toy Boy was right on Golden Comet's heels last start and also gets a nice weight drop for the rise in grade.
How to play it: Stoddart to win.
Race 6: O'Donnell and Hanlon Handicap (1450m), 4.10pm
Very keen on Newcastle mare 4. Argie Bargie third-up at the right trip. Returned nicely in a good closing effort at Tamworth two runs back before strong through the line at Scone last start, and leading riders sticks fast.
Dangers: Ex-Victorian now Pt Macquarie-trained 1. Crystal Kingdom improved dramatically last start dropping back to a CL1 flying home to land his second career win, and while meeting stronger here, has found that winning feel and well suited by the longer journey. Queensland visitor 2. Red Cavalry looks clearly the best of the rest.
How to play it: Argie Bargie to win.
Race 7: Akubra Kempsey Cup (1400m), 4.50pm
Taree-trained 4. Sniponet was good at Taree last start as a clear-cut favourite after just missing in the Jungle Juice Cup at Cessnock. Will get a lovely run from the draw and is the one to beat.
Dangers: Former Singapore galloper 1. Zip A Dee Doo Dah is now in the stable of Newcastle's leading trainer Kris Lees. Got home hard from the back in a BM 81 at Taree, his first run for more than a year! Is weighted up to his best after competing at Listed level, and although beaten a mile in Singapore's QE II Cup, this is a big step back in grade. Drawn to get plenty of cover back in the field and launch late. Tamworth raider 5. Try 'N' Run A Muck resumed in good fashion before outclassed at Warwick farm, but looks suited here from the inside draw. Port Macquarie-trained 7. O'Driscoll powered away to win a BM 58 last start, and while this is a significant step up, he's building a nice record.
How to play it: Sniponet to win and boxed trifecta 1-4-5-7.
Race 8: Kempsey Macleay RSL Club B58 (1250m), 5.30pm
Open affair to finish, but the lone three-year-old – and another from the Kris Lees yard – 11. Lawnmeet looks the one to beat. Progressed nicely to win his Maiden at Coffs Harbour last start when well backed, and this isn't strong!
Dangers: Wauchope-trained topweight 1. Stop The Fight has only won five from 40, but is a track specialist having won two from three here. Found the line nicely this track and grade last start, and again draws to get a cosy run off the pace.
How to play it: Lawnmeet to win.