Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up by Thoroheads provides in-depth summaries, tips and suggested bets.
Race 1 – 1:05PM FARMERS CENTRE MAIDEN (1230 METRES)
It’s Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup Day and we kick things off with the traditional Two-and-Three Year Maiden, and it looks a race between first-uppers ONE POINT LADY and TRAMONTANE. The Steve Wolfe-prepared ONE POINT LADY enjoyed a promising start to her career as a juvenile, with three minor placings from as many outings, and kicked off her three-year-old season with another minor placing over this trip at Belmont back in August. Wasn’t knocked around when matching strides with promising stablemates What About Moses and Starorio in her Albany 20/01 trial, has no doubt been set for this race and stands out as the horse to beat. TRAMONTANE was hard in the market when a $4.20 chance at his Belmont debut and was a $2.80 favourite prior to being withdrawn when shin-sore at Northam last September. Stretched out well enough in a strong Lark Hill 17/12 trial, but hasn’t been sighted since which does suggests a setback, however, it’s obvious this fellow has his share of ability and Albany lad Darren McAuliffe will have him ready to make an impact. KRISTELLA comes to Albany after a competitive effort down the Pinjarra Straight 1000 at her first start for the Terry Brennan stable, and should get every chance from the low draw, while VICIOUS VILMA ran too well to be ignored against some smart opposition last start.
Suggested: 6. ONE POINT LADY win.
6. ONE POINT LADY
8. VICIOUS VILMA
*Numbers amended after scratchings.
Race 2 – 1:45PM REPTILE HAVEN MAIDEN (1500 METRES)
Going to follow up with WHAT ABOUT MOSES. Was keen on him first up and, after being $2.90 to $2.45, he kicked clear with 200 metres to go, before being gunned down late by stablemate Starorio. Did roll back into the cutaway rail section of the straight on that occasion, which is probably not the best place to be, so the run was full of merit and with natural improvement should be strong on the line stepping up to 1500 metres. Maps to advantage from a low draw and with regular stable rider Shaun McGruddy back on board, looks hard to beat. ROSE THIEF caught the eye here on debut and followed up with a really competitive effort in a $30,000 Maiden at Ascot last Saturday. Shaun O’Donnell is a master at winning on pick-up rides and this mare stands out as the main danger to our on-top selection. SURE CONVICTION was forced to sustain a long/sweeping forward run at Narrogin 25/01 and boxed on quite well under the circumstances. Race fit and in reasonable form, so he must be included, while former Peters Investments galloper SO GREAT put in a good run at his first outing for new trainer Dave Hopperton and is capable of running on into the top four again.
Suggested: 7. WHAT ABOUT MOSES win.
7. WHAT ABOUT MOSES
10. ROSE THIEF
14. SURE CONVICTION
5. SO GREAT
Race 3 – 2:15PM “NON AQUA CUP 1996” HANDICAP (1500 METRES)
Tipping a fast start for Steve Wolfe with STARORIO on top, but he has saddled up four winners at the last two Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup Days, so no surprise to see another big haul for the region’s leading trainer. This filly has always shown promise and it was hard not to be impressed with the way she hit the line first up over 1230 metres, getting over the top of stablemate What About Moses and appearing to do it with a bit in reserve. This is a pretty decent Class Two Handicap, so the rise in grade is a test, but she appears to have city-class potential and with even luck should be hard to hold out. READ THE RIOT ACT probably should be unbeaten in three starts since joining the Roy Rogers stable, and the $2.90 to $2.50 move last start was spot on when a strong winner over 1230 metres. Interesting to see how he handles the 1500 metres with 60kg, but Rogers has rarely trained better and Daniel Staeck has been the dominant rider in the Great Southern this season, so READ THE RIOT ACT must be respected. YOU AM I won over 1450 metres here three back and has toughed it out well under difficult circumstances since, while PURE GEM and MERIT DREAM are both expected to drift back and run on well late.
Suggested: 9. STARORIO win.
4. READ THE RIOT ACT
2. YOU AM I
3. PURE GEM
Race 4 – 2:50PM ALBANY STOCK FEEDS HANDICAP (1600 METRES)
BUNKER BUSTER is coming off a 37-day break, but backing in champion trainer Adam Durrant to have him spot on for this assignment. The eastern-states import has recently been transferred from Frank Maynard, but his last three results for Maynard were very strong and he appears a four-year-old with a bright future. Has some strong formlines through his Ascot 19/12 effort and should enjoy a suitable midfield run from the low draw. Track specialist MONGOLIAN WARLORD put in a flat run at Ascot last start, but the form out of that race reads well and no surprise to see sharp improvement from him back on his home deck. IONYX was coming off a 36-day break with Pads on his front feet last start and although heavily commissioned ($3.90 to $3.20) he performed below expectations. Obviously had a setback after his Boxing Day win, but if right he can race on speed and give this a shake, while nothing really went right for ROWIE last start and from a nice low draw should get his chance to compete for a top-four finish.
Suggested: 7. BUNKER BUSTER win.
7. BUNKER BUSTER
4. MONGOLIAN WARLORD
Race 5 – 3:20PM HELLOWORLD AT 140 LOWER YORK HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
Found this 1100-metre ‘Open Sprint’ to be a little tricky, with the potential for a rough result, but all things being equal VIKING FORREST should give his supporters a run for their money. Really competitive in the last two runnings of the $100,000 Fitzpatrick Plate, finishing third in 2019, so he can perform at Percy Spencer Racecourse and should appreciate coming back to a distance where he has a strong profile. Chris Parnham is a good booking and expecting VIKING FORREST to run over the top late. BLIZZARD EXPRESS was huge in defeat last start when bungling the start and whipping around the field to race outside leader. Fought on bravely under the circumstances and from a low draw with no weight, he can make an impact. 64.5kg topweight CANDLELIGHT STAR has the services of 3kg claimer Jessica Gray and should be strong late, as always, while SIR SNUGALOT was only plain second up but with more positive tactics can find the rail in front, and give them something to catch.
Suggested: 3. VIKING FORREST each way.
3. VIKING FORREST
9. BLIZZARD EXPRESS
1. CANDLELIGHT STAR
7. SIR SNUGALOT
Race 6 – 3:50PM MARK LINFIELD LONGMORE SCOTT KNUCKLE BALL HCP (1100 METRES)
Have a strong opinion of MORGS FREEMAN and although he faces a tough task from a high draw, does appear to have the class to still get the job done. Easily took care of business here three weeks back, with all his sectional times stacking up very well on the day, and this fellow does look a city-class horse in the making. With any luck MORGS FREEMAN will be hard to beat. MALILANGWE was $3.70 to $2.90 at his first appearance for Roy Rogers and duly saluted, holding out in-form stablemate Read The Riot Act. Races best fresh so will be interesting to see if he can elevate second up, but he only has to hold form to finish top three in this. Liked DEHEUNE at Bunbury last Sunday and she ran on well after getting too far back. Maps sweetly from the low draw and with only 55kg she should figure prominently, while STEP RIGHT UP put in his best effort yet since arriving in the Great Southern last start and that result was too strong to ignore.
Suggested: 5. MORGS FREEMAN win.
5. MORGS FREEMAN
4. STEP RIGHT UP
Race 7 – 4:20PM RYDE BUILDING COMPANY HANDICAP (2100 METRES)
Found this to be another trap race, with the potential for a blow-out result, but simply had to stick with topweight and likely favourite DEALING. Have always had a bit of time for this fellow and he’s really starting to put it all together, including a win over Albany Cup fancy He’s A Parker at York last start. Gives himself every chance on top of the speed and has carried 58kg to victory twice in his last three starts. DRIVIN’ ME WILD is a very hard horse to catch, but his best form stacks up against this opposition and no surprise to see him run a big race reunited with Jordan Turner. Great training performance by Roy Rogers to get CLASSIC JACK to win 1450 to 1925 metres last start. Harder here from high draw, but is simply racing too well to be dismissed, while track specialist MASS EFFECT should conserve plenty of energy from barrier one and KHAWAJA shouldn’t be left out of your exotics.
Suggested: 1. DEALING win.
4. DRIVIN’ ME WILD
3. CLASSIC JACK
2. MASS EFFECT
Race 8 – 4:55PM WELLINGTON & REEVES ALBANY CUP (2100 METRES)
This is certainly one of the better Wellington & Reeves Albany Cups we’ve seen for a while and the 6kg spread makes it a very intriguing handicap. Was really keen on HE’S A PARKER at Ascot 26/01 and did a really good job to get up and win, being forced to plot a wider than expected path on the turn. His late sectionals were impressive and former leading trainer Hec McLaren has wound back the clock in recent times, posting some strong results with his small squad. Perfectly positioned down on 54kg and expecting him to give this a mighty shake. THE BIG SHOW has enormous staying talent and stands out as the horse to beat. Bungled the start last time and only went down a half-length on the line, and looks really well in sliding down from 59kg to only 55.5kg. If he jumps and controls the race on top of the speed, it could be a one-act affair. AMERICAN JOY comes through the same race as our top two selections and ticks plenty of boxes with a low draw, 54kg and few ride the Albany circuit better than Shaun McGruddy. She’s a major player, while the effort of PRYING TOM last start was much better than it reads. He’s a class stayer and a genuine winning chance.
Suggested: 8. HE’S A PARKER each way.
8. HE’S A PARKER
3. THE BIG SHOW
5. AMERICAN JOY
2. PRYING TOM
Race 9 – 5:30PM DUCIMUS @ RIVERCRESTPARK HANDICAP (1230 METRES)
Keeping it short and sweet in the luck last on Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup Day, with the Steve Wolfe-prepared BOXONLUCY set to run a race at each-way odds. Was really strong first up behind Fair Nakita in the fastest race of the day last start and the four-length margin back to third highlights the merit of the performance. Set to roll forward from the high draw and fight out the finish. The big-finishing MESSIAH is right back on top of his game and he’s suited from the low draw back up over the 1230 metres. COLD AS COLD is flying but the high draw leaves him with a lot of work to do late, while the ever-consistent on-pacer ITS NOT TRADING is a must for your exotics.
Suggested: 12. BOXONLUCY each way.
3. COLD AS COLD
2. ITS NOT TRADING
*Originally published at 9:00am on Friday 8 February 2019.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Albany Racing Club.