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Blackbookers and Horses to Follow: Horses to follow from the track and barrier trials

  • Latest Blackbookers to note from the barrier trials
  • Horses to follow from Saturday's racing
Barrier trials at Flemington

Let the experts do the hard work for you as they keep a close eye on the latest racing and trials and highlight their horses to follow in our blackbookers file.

Countless hours go into watching replays and analysing times, and our experts’ record speaks for itself having identified future winners that have paid up to 80/1 at their next start.

Experts Aaron Hamilton, Ric Chapman and Adam Cusworth pick out their horses to follow and blackbookers, all of which are detailed below.

How to find blackbookers

Sometimes a horse charges home with a flashing red light on its head and just screams ‘back me next start.’ While that runner is almost certain to go in the blackbook, you can guarantee most of the racing public have seen the same thing and its odds will be dramatically slashed at its next start. 

Our experts dig deeper and look for the more hidden blackbookers that can be found when watching replays over and over with a well-trained eye.


Our racing experts pinpoint horses to follow from the weekend's racing action with three or four selections picked out from every Saturday's action. See the list from recent weeks below.

Horses to Follow – August 13

Star Turn

At Rosehill, a lot of the attention centred on the performance of the Golden Slipper (1200m) winner, Capitalist, in the San Domenico Stakes. The Snowden galloper failed to fire in his first run since taking out the world’s richest race for the two-year-olds earlier this year. What was somewhat lost in the wash-up was the performance of the winner, Star Turn. While the Team Hawkes-trained galloper enjoyed a 4kg advantage in the weights over his rival, his performance to take out the San Domenico was a real eye catcher, as he appeared to have plenty left in the tank at the end of the 1100m race. Cruising up to the lead at the 200m mark, Star Turn, who finished 6th in the Slipper to Capitalist, went on to win by over a length from Tango Rain. He looks to have come back a much improved specimen and his odds have been trimmed from $26 into $8 for the Golden Rose (1400m) in September. 


In Melbourne, the colts and geldings lined up in the Vain Stakes (1100m) and it was a win for Russian Revolution, who looked impressive in his own right. A horse to follow out of that race may be the Mick Price-Trained Hardham. The son of Redoute's Choice was lining up at just his second career start after taking out a maiden at Pakenham and settled back in the nine horse field, before powering home to grab 3rd. The youngster should take plenty of improvement out of that effort and the stable have indicated that the Caulfield Guineas (1600m) may be a realistic target. Look for him in the McNeil Stakes (1200m) at the same track in a fortnight and if all goes well he will then line up in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) en route to the Guineas. 


The fillies lined up in the Winslow Group (1100m) Stakes, which was taken out by the Shane Nichols-trained I Am A Star in thrilling fashion from Leotie and Athena Lass. Keep an eye out for that trio moving forward but the one to stick with might be the well-bred Leotie, who should be much better over further ground. Lining up in her third career start, the daughter of Darci Brahma made her run from the back of the field and had to duck and weave, before narrowly missing out behind the winner. The Henry Dwyer-trained filly ran the fastest closing sectionals of the race and she looks to be a real prospect for the upcoming spring.

Horses to Follow – August 6

Benny Goes Berserk

While Weir had a day out, a couple to follow from the stable that missed out include Tooleybuc Kid and Benny Goes Berzerk, the latter of whom stepped out in Race 2 of the day for the three-year-olds over 1400m. The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Zunbaqa took out that event, but the performance of the runner-up, Benny Goes Berserk, really caught the eye. The son of Street Boss settled in a midfield slot on the inside but was shuffled back as the field swung into the straight. Under the urgings of Michael Dee, the pair found a gap near the rail and made a long and sustained run to the post but couldn't quite reel in the winner, who had stolen a winning break. The performance from Benny Goes Berserk would indicate that he is one to keep a close eye on, particularly as he steps up in distance at his next couple of starts. 

Tooleybuc Kid

Another placegetter from the Darren Weir stable was Tooleybuc Kid, who was first up after a long break on Saturday. The seven-year-old was lining up in the Allen Aylett Handicap (1700m), his first start since finishing down the track in the 2015 Ballarat Cup (2200m) and did his best work, particularly late in the race, when finishing 2nd behind stablemate Royal Rapture. It was an encouraging return from the son of Denon, who did not have his best campaign last year. If he can get back to his 2014 form, he can hit the winner’s list this time around, particularly at distances around the 2000m range. 


In Sydney, racing was at a wet and soggy Randwick and one of the hard luck stories of the day was from Mediterranean in the Randwick City Council Rosebud (1200m). The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained galloper stepped out in the as a $1.80 favourite and narrowly went down to the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Thronum. The son of Smart Missile struggled in the early stages of the straight and had to be eased off the heels of the eventual winner. He was one of many of the day that didn't appear to be comfortable in the heavy going. Once he was able to gain some clear galloping room he did look more comfortable and it will be interesting to see how he performs on a drier track next time around.

Horses to Follow – July 30


The Darren Weir-trained galloper lined up for his first start since finishing down the track in the Australian Guineas (1600m) and put in a solid effort to run 3rd in the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), despite being unwanted in betting. The three-year-old, who strung together six wins on the trot over the spring and summer, settled midfield and a tad wide in the race won by Lord Of The Sky but showed he is in for another solid campaign by sticking on well. The son of Flying Spur will be a big improver at his next start and should be suited by a step up in trip to the 1400m. He looks to be a definite contender to pick up a win or two at his next few starts. 


Another Weir galloper to follow from Caulfield is the former Sydneysider, Archean. The five-year-old, who was recently transferred from the stables of David Vandyke, made his debut for the Weir stable in the last of the day at Caulfield and settled in the back half of the field as a $15 outsider. The son of Arch was badly held up from the top of the straight until the 200m mark but once he found some galloping room he worked home very well to finish in 4th position behind Marwood. Look for him as he steps out in trip and he is another one that can do the business for the premiership-winning trainer. 


The two-year-olds lined up in the Brian Reckas Handicap (1000m) at the heath and it was hard to be not impressed by the performance of the winner, Derryn, who stormed home to take out the $80,000 race at just his second career start. The son of Hinchinbrook settled towards the rear of the field and ran his final 600m in a slick 33.33 seconds, defeating some smart gallopers in the process. Mark him down in your blackbook.

Ruling Dynasty
In Sydney, the feature of the day was the Winter Challenge (1500m) and one that looks to have come back in good order is the James Cummings-trained Ruling Dynasty. The lightly raced galloper, who is better known for his form over longer distances, pushed up to settle in the front half of the field and looked a little bit flat footed at the top of the straight. However, the son of Medaglia D'Oro was able to pick himself off the canvas and kept fighting right to the line to just miss out behind Marenostro and Oxford Poet. He looks to be one that has matured over the break and should be a prominent force in some of the Sydney staying races later on.


Get all the latest trial reports from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide as our experts identify horses to follow from the barrier trials, as well as providing updates on how the big name gallopers performed.

Tatura Barrier Trials - August 16

Trial 1: ALPINE EAGLE was one of the big names at the trials and he scored a comfortable win over Almoonqith. He was never under any pressure and sat wide for majority of the trial before coming home better than anything else under his own steam. Jockey Luke Currie said he was far from wound up and he looks to be in for a big campaign.

Trial 2: ZUMA ROC ran quicker than Alpine Eagle and clocked the quickest of the 1400m trials but was asked for an effort in the straight and was clearly in need of a good hit-out. Formerly trained by Peter Moody, the son of Rock Of Gibraltar has won twice first-up and looks set for a nice first-up run for new trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

Trial 11: A veteran of 29 starts, COSTAMONY may be being set for a first-up win and looked good winning her heat by 4.5 lengths. This was the mare’s fourth trial since starting work and she can sprint well but not over any further than 1000m at this stage. She did win five from seven in 2014 and clearly has some talent, she’s just had some issues since but looks to have bounced back now.

Trial 14: Unraced gelding KEVLAR KID may have been pushed out in his trial but he missed the start badly, showed great pace to rail up and get up behind the leaders and then went on to score in the quickest time of the 1000m trials (1:05.58). If he jumps on debut, he’ll prove hard to hold out over a similar trip. He also won an 1100m trial back in June before being freshened where he was slow to begin and motored home out wide to get up. Looks to have some talent.

Randwick Barrier Trials – August 9

WINX: ran 4th, beaten a long way (nearly 10 lengths) by BOSS LANE who carried nothing on his back and was pushed right out. Winx didn't pick up like you'd expect down the running although Hugh Bowman didn't really ask her to do much. She ran home gamely without great pressure applied. FURNACES ran 2nd and he actually looked the best down the running. He was 7 lengths clear of the champ on the line.

VASHKA was 3rd in that trial, and looked comfortable, while Callipoe ran on gamely for 5th...but Winx ran past her final 50m. She ran a strong trial. Winx didn't do anything to hurt her preparation...but Furnaces is the one to back when resuming. He looked great.

JAPONISME: in the very next trial we saw this big boy and he ran 4th in his 850m trial after being handy early, steering out six wide to centre of track and not being let down at all. He ran a great trial. THYME FOR ROSES won it and was pushed out to the limit. PEARLS was 5th in the trial and she looked outstanding getting home gamely under restraint. She looks set for a good campaign in her age group. HAPTIC and DIXIE BLOSSOMS were 2nd and 3rd in the trial and both looked to be running well within themselves. Haptic in particular looked very smart.

SOUTHERN LEGEND: next trial up, and this bloke won his 850m trial in same time as Thyme For Roses, but he was most impressive. In fact, probably this was the best trial of morning. Sat with leaders and was playing with them all the way down running. EL DIVINO looked very flat in running 3rd. Hugh Bowman rode him and he was pushed and shoved home all way down running finishing a well beaten 3rd. He will improve from the run but didn't look anywhere near as good as Southern Legend. GENETEAU is a maiden galloper who ran 2nd and looked very sharp. She will win this campaign.

PRIZED ICON: came out and ran 2nd in his 1045m trial and although niggled at down the running, he did get home gamely and the effort suggests he can win this time up too. But, the winner of the trial, a Class 1 mare called TO BE SURE looked absolutely awesome. Ears pricked all way she just skated along with ease and put them all away most impressively.

EVACUATION: has raced once for a runaway maiden win at Kembla. But that won't be his only win. He toyed with these over 1045m, racing wide all way and showing pace from start and acceleration final stages. Respect when you see him in. Ran fast time too.

TORPENHOW: ran last and a long last at that in his 1045m trial behind WILD N FAMOUS who ran boldly. But, Torpenhow just cantered the whole way. Big horse who looks set to have a strong spring.

NASSACK: maiden, unraced 4YO mare who has been given time to mature. And she looked outstanding in winning this trial. If she's in at the provincials over next few weeks, just get on.

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – August 8

Trial 1: Jameka took out the first heat of the day over 990m but it was the Tony McEvoy-trained ICONIC that stood out. Obviously the close relation to Black Caviar was better suited over the short trip, but he did it so easily and could be ready for a big first-up run. He took out the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley when first-up a couple campaigns ago. He hasn’t won a race since but based on his trial, he can kick off with a win in the right grade.

Trial 4: Robbie Laing’s unraced Danerich colt ZANAHARY looks to have some speed to burn and can win on debut. He jumped to the lead and had the mouth open and wanted to go much quicker but was under a hold for the entire trial. Jockey Kevin Forrester peeped over his shoulder and would have been surprised to see how far in front he was as they cantered down the straight to record a 6 length win in the morning’s quickest 800m time (47:68). 1000m first-up on a Soft to Heavy track would see this one incredibly hard to beat.

Trial 8: TENNAYA finished nearly 10 lengths off the pace on debut back in March but looked great when finishing 3rd behind The Seductress and I Am A Star in this trial. The daughter of Danerich was never out of first gear and will be hard to beat if she lines up in a maiden race in the next couple of weeks.

Trial 13: LIRABIRD showed a fair bit of talent in her first campaign and has been off the scene for a year now. I’m guessing she’s had some injury troubles but you wouldn’t know it as she cruised to a soft 4-length trial win. She won her first two races so obviously goes well fresh.

Murray Bridge Barrier Trials – August 4

Trial 1: BIG MEMORY looked very sharp in his first public outing this campaign. He led all the way and was never put under any pressure but extended his lead in the straight while others were being pushed out. Trained by Tony McEvoy, the son of Duke of Marmalade has run some great races fresh at his last two campaigns, finishing 1.9 lengths from Mourinho in the PB Lawrence (1400m), and then 1.5 lengths from Red Bomber over 1400m in the autumn. I haven’t seen him looking this forward at the beginning of a campaign, and with suitable conditions he could win first-up but will obviously be better over further.

Trial 2: The quickest of the 900m heats was run in 0:55.05, and although Near Queue won the event, it was the David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained MIHANY that stood out. She finished a close up 2nd and was never really under any pressure and looked to have plenty left in the tank.

Trial 3: JUST PEGGY clocked the second quickest 900m time of the morning and really hit the line well to suggest she’s come back bigger and stronger this campaign. A winner of her maiden at her second start, she then finished 3rd in BM60 grade before going for a break. Although her best runs have been over 1050m, the way she finished off suggests she can get longer, but 1000m to 1100m would be perfect first-up.

Trial 10: Look out for the Jake Stephens-trained STREWTH when she hits the track – this could be a good one. This four-year-old daughter of Strategic didn’t run the quickest time (0:55.60) of the 900m heats but she was the most impressive by far. Jockey Justin Huxtable put a hard hold on her as she jumped and snagged her back to last, but the mare dashed up the inside under her own steam and assumed control within the twinkling of an eye. While most horses headed to firmer going out wide throughout the morning session, Strewth stuck near the inside and jogged to the line to hold Coobina at bay – and she was under severe pressure out wide. Looking forward to seeing this one on race day.

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Blackbookers and Horses to Follow: Horses to follow from the track and barrier trials experts keep a close eye on the latest racing and trials and highlight their horses to follow in our blackbookers file.

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