Brimham Rocks looks an each-way chance in the Chairman's Handicap. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

2020 Chairman’s Handicap Day Tips & Preview

Chairman’s Handicap Day is shaping as one of the best days of racing on this year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival calendar.

Nine races will be run and won and while there isn’t a Group 1 feature race, the depth of talent confirmed for a start in every other contest more than makes up for it.

You can find a preview for each race and my 2020 Chairman’s Handicap Day tips below.

Racecourse Village Shopping Centre BM72 Handicap (1050m) – 11:15am
No. 3 Koonunga

I’m a big fan of Sydney-based trainer Matt Smith and Koonunga looks a winning chance to me in the first at Doomben on Saturday.

She hasn’t been seen at the races since December, but Koonunga returned the stable some pleasing results last time in, winning in BM70 company at Newcastle and ending her prep second to Witherspoon in a tougher race on the Kensington course at Randwick.

Her fresh record is good, and I think she’ll be hard to beat.

Ascot Green BM90 Handicap (1600m) – 11:50am
No. 6 La Pulga

La Pulga will take winning form into the second race on Chairman’s Handicap Day and looks well placed to make it two in a row.

The Michael Costa-trained mare rarely runs a bad race and hasn’t finished worse than second at her last three appearances, winning two.

She’s actually a month between races since saluting on the Gold Coast but has been kept up to the mark with a trial.

Class 6 Handicap (1200m) – 12:25pm
No. 8 Pinnacle Star

Pinnacle Star was a beaten favourite when first-up at Ipswich and while he does face a tougher task here at Doomben, I think he’ll enjoy wholesale improvement and is primed to win.

The four-year-old son of Starspangledbanner was a strong and consistent performer for David Vandyke last time in and found form around some good horses in city races.

He’ll need some luck from a wide barrier but with Ryan Moloney in the saddle, he’ll take plenty of beating.

Listed Bill Carter Stakes (1100m) – 1pm
No. 1 Gotta Kiss & No. 7 Bellevue Star

Gotta Kiss was a dominant winner here a couple of weeks ago and is primed for a big third-up performance.

The Not A Single Doubt filly ran third behind the talented Isotope when resuming and could hardly have been more impressive last time out.

The other one that has caught my eye in this field is Bellevue Star, who brings an interstate form line into the contest.

The Waterhouse & Bott-trained filly was an impressive winner of a maiden race when resuming and was last seen finishing fourth behind the talented Macroura in the Listed Woodlands Stakes.

Any improvement on that effort would see Bellevue Star into the finish of this, and I am happy to back both fillies.

Listed Pam O’Neill Stakes (1600m) – 1:40pm
No. 1 Rocha Clock

Rocha Clock has returned to the races in strong form again this time and the Pam O’Neill Stakes looks a nice bit of black type for her.

She clearly needed the run when she produced nothing in the straight of the Group 3 JHB Carr Stakes first-up from a spell, but responded with a dominant win over 1300m at Randwick-Kensington before finishing second to Dawn Passage in the Inglis Guineas last time out.

That type of form is more than good enough for me.

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Listed Hinkler Handicap (1110m) – 2:15pm
No. 7 Pennino

This is easily the most open race on the Chairman’s Handicap card and at publish, we’re faced with a little under $7 the field.

Pennino has drawn awkwardly, but she mustered an impressive turn of foot to win the Listed Chief De Beers when first-up from a spell and with even luck, she looks capable of making it two in a row at around the $11 mark.

The Darryl Hansen-trained mare returned some fine efforts last time in, recording some excellent results in good company.

She’s clearly returned to the track in good order and will only improve for that effort.

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Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) – 2:55pm
No. 3 Brimham Rocks

Brimham Rocks is yet to show his best in two starts back from a spell, but fitter third-up and under the conditions of this race, he looks over the odds at around the $17 mark.

He’s been an excellent horse for the Waller stable throughout his career and ran well during his spring preparation last year, winning the Naturalism Stakes and finishing second in the Bendigo Cup most notably.

In what is a wide-open race for the stayers, I’m more than happy to have something on each-way.

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Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) – 3:35pm
No. 5 Grand Piano

Grand Piano hasn’t run a bad race this time and he is over the odds to win the Fred Best Classic at around the $9 mark.

The Lord Kanaloa gelding won each of his first two starts back from a spell, finishing fourth in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes but winning another couple of city races in the wake.

He’s rock-hard fit and while he’ll definitely need to be at his best to beat horses like Dawn Passage, everything here suggests that he’s going to be fighting out the finish.

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Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1350m) – 4:15pm
No. 2 Teleplay

A tough way to end the day from a betting perspective and a case to be made for plenty.

I’m eager to have an each-way play on Victorian raider Teleplay, who looks to be at peak fitness and who will relish a decent drop in class into this race.

The Written Tycoon mare hit the line well to fill the minors of the VOBIS Gold Sprint when resuming, but has finished down the order in the Robert Sangster and the Dark Jewel Classic most recently.

She has options from the rails draw and can bounce back.