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Dick Powell’s Australian Pick of the Week Feb. 6, 2019

By Dick Powell

Race 7 at Australia A (Grafton) Wednesday night is a Class 1 Handicap going six furlongs around a right-hand turn. A field of 12 fillies and mares are entered and the ground is expected to be good.

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ESTER’S ROSE Rose (#3) (6-1) only made one start last year and, while she made up some ground, it wasn’t much of an effort at 101-1 odds. Off for almost five months, she returned in a barrier trial at Ballina, where she was third in fast time going five furlongs. The Publishing filly came back there against maidens and went gate to wire against 13 other runners going a bit farther than six furlongs. The horse who ran second that day, Maglev, won last out and is entered in race on this card. The ground was soft in Ester’s Rose’s maiden, so carrying her speed was very impressive. Also, she was sent off at 13-2 odds so there were expectations for her despite a poor debut.

Last out at Lismore, Ester’s Rose showed good again before weakening late going this contest’s distance in a fast time. She draws post 11 where jockey Luke Rolls can use her gate speed to best advantage before dropping over to the inside. On good ground, the sophomore lass should be tough to handle. Rolls is four-for-10 riding for trainer S.J. Phelps, who shows a positive R.O.I off layoffs.

The filly with the best speed ratings in the field is DAME KIRI (#2) (3-1). The daughter of Exceed and Excel broke her maiden first time out off two barrier trials, then raced third in her next three starts. Off for over five months, she didn’t do much in her barrier trial for this over a soft turf course and could be ripe for the upset of the morning-line favorite.

ABB ROY Roy (#7) (18-1) is a live longshot who took 16 tries to finally break her maiden. She did nothing last out on a soft turf course when she had a rough start and returns two weeks later while getting in with 120 pounds. If she can get away cleanly, she has a chance at a big price.

I like Ester’s Rose’s 6-1 morning-line and she is a major threat to take these all the way.

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