Popular race-by-race meeting preview The Leg Up by Thoroheads provides in-depth summaries, tips and suggested bets.
Race 1 – 1:00PM REPTILE HAVEN HANDICAP (2100 METRES)
South West visitor Mark Wright looks to have found the perfect race for NOT AGAIN KEN to register his first win in 519 days. The popular grey has been out of form for some time and had some barrier manner issues as well, but two of his past three Ascot performances have been full of merit and he has slid right down in the official handicapper ratings, so to come to Albany with only 59kg is a gift for a horse of his quality. Only beaten 2.3 lengths after racing three-wide without cover throughout at Ascot 3/4, a fair effort under 60.5kg, and the form out of that race has stood up well since. Has the services of the region’s dominant rider Daniel Staeck and if he’s on his best behaviour, he really should be winning. PURE GEM continued his strong form when leading and boxing on into second in last Saturday week’s Mt Barker Cup. Is engaged at the Narrogin 18/4 meeting, so important to keep an eye on that result, but on paper at least, he’s the standout second pick. MR PAGO should be ready to step up to a middle distance at this stage of his campaign and has been in pretty good form without winning recently. Did finish third over this trip in the 2018 Albany Cup, so his best is good enough, and if he settles well for Randy Tan he’ll be making things interesting late, while TOP AGENT mixes up his form, but is clearly the best of the rest.
Suggested: 1. NOT AGAIN KEN win.
1. NOT AGAIN KEN
2. PURE GEM
3. MR PAGO
6. TOP AGENT
Race 2 – 1:40PM TABTOUCH – BETTER YOUR BET MAIDEN (1240 METRES)
This is a good option for HE’S A GUNSLINGER and expecting the Ascot-based three-year-old to take some beating. Has always shown a bit and connections thought enough of his to have a crack at the listed J.C. Roberts Stakes last month, but he finished down the track after not handling the occasion. Obviously, trainer Martin Allan has placed him to advantage in this company and hopefully the 36 days between runs is enough for him to bounce back after a bit of a gut-buster last start. Looks suited with Daniel Staeck in the saddle and he looks to have a bit of an edge on these. OSIPOVA has a similar profile to our on-top selection, having been tested in listed company last month, leading and fading in the Natasha Stakes. Previous inner-provincial results were solid, and expecting this filly to find the front and prove very hard to get past last. Liked the way WINNIE’S WINE hit the line on debut down the Pinjarra Straight 1000 last Sunday week, running a sharp final 200-metre split, and she’ll no doubt appreciate stepping up in distance, while SORAMIMI has been knocking on the door all prep and Roy Rogers almost pulled up a decent training effort when stepping up from 1300 to 1927 metres last start.
Suggested: 4. OSIPOVA win.
6. WINNIE’S WINE
3. BLUE TURNS TO GREY
Race 3 – 2:20PM AQUA ICE HANDICAP (1450 METRES)
Another visitor looks very well placed in HYPERSPACE and stands out as the horse to beat. Led and compounded when stepping up sharply in distance/grade to tackle the listed J.C. Roberts Stakes second up this campaign, but rebounded well with a strong finishing third over the mile at Pinjarra 7/4. Has the gate speed to assume an on-pace running position from the low draw and while coming back to 1450 metres is a slight query, Tayla Stone should have him rolling along and he’s going to be difficult to counter. MORE BXAAR was run off her feet first up down the Pinjarra Straight 1000, but did stick to her guns well and was doing some reasonable work over the final 200 metres. Expected to elevate second up and from a low draw with 54kg, she really should get her chance. DEFIANTLY put in an eye-catcher two back, but showed it wasn’t a one-off with a strong finishing win in a similar assignment to this last Friday. Have to respect her recent results and apprentice Jade McNaught continues to chalk up the winners, while natural on-pacer COSTA OESTE competed well at his first outing back with original trainer Paul Hunter and he’s a much better horse than his current official handicapper rating of 53 suggests.
Suggested: 2. HYPERSPACE win.
10. MORE BXAAR
9. COSTA OESTE
Race 4 – 3:00PM ECLIPSE REFRIGERATION HANDICAP (1500 METRES)
Simply couldn’t look past NOTTA MOCHA, who looks poised to post his fifth Albany win of the 2018/19 season. This horse’s past two victories strong suggests he’s city class, but trainer Roy Rogers has opted to keep him in the Great Southern for now, and you can’t blame him with this race a perfect option for Notta Mocha. Hard not to have been impressed with his ability to overcome awkward running positions to win recently and with only 56kg in this smaller field, he should be afforded every opportunity. Was keen on SENSO last Friday and he tried really hard, but couldn’t quite reel in the in-form Tranquilla Sunrise over the 1230 metres. The 2.9-length margin back to third certainly highlights the merits of the performance and he will appreciate stepping up in distance here. Tough on-pacer CHASING CHAOS had a month between runs when not too far away at Mt Barker last Saturday week and he’s a horse that improves with racing, so expecting him to come forward rising to this more suitable trip, while no surprise to see LORD KRONOS elevate significantly back at his home track and at his pet distance.
Suggested: 5. NOTTA MOCHA win.
5. NOTTA MOCHA
8. CHASING CHAOS
4. LORD KRONOS
Race 5 – 3:35PM ALBANY STOCK FEEDS HANDICAP (1500 METRES)
Happy to roll with the Graeme Ballantyne-prepared visitor OUR MATE AL. Followed him closely when last in work, going close twice when each-way odds at Bunbury in November, and the way he’s finished off at his two runs back from a break suggests he should be ready to produce a peak performance. The stable has found a nice race for him, looking well weighted in this grade at 56kg, and with a nice run from the low draw, he’s going to have plenty of fuel to be strong through the line. BOXONLUCY was very well found by the market ($3 to $2.70) and showed why when claiming victory in a similar assignment to this last Friday, thanks to a flawless Daniel Staeck ride. Expected to roll forward and find an on-pace running position from the outside alley, and will be hard to beat again. Thought the effort of WAR JEUNE was encouraging behind stablemate Boxonlucy last time, pulling hard when breezing outside leader and just tiring late. Should find the front with a minimum of fuss here and if he can settle better for Andrew Castle he can give this a shake, while BOHEMIAN LASS looks well placed coming back in grade after the Mt Barker Cup and can figure prominently.
Suggested: 2. BOXONLUCY win.
1. WAR JEUNE
5. BOHEMIAN LASS
4. LADY STINGRAY
Race 6 – 4:10PM BP ROADHOUSE WILLIAMS HANDICAP (1050 METRES)
Have always liked the looks of ATHLONE CASTLE and he returned from a lengthy absence with a bang on Mt Barker Cup Day, clocking the standout sectionals of the program to run right over the top of his rivals and win ears pricked. Did want to lay in noticeably under pressure late, which is a concern, but trainer Maurice Sheridan has added winkers to help and retains the service of quality senior hoop Peter Hall. Needs a patient ride from the high draw, but if close enough on the turn he’s going to be very hard to hold out. DEHEUNE is the obvious major danger and should have a field position advantage over our on-top selection. Placed twice here already this prep and a Bunbury winner two back, so she’s race fit and in top form. Great Southern newcomer WILLOW RIVER appreciated a more patient ride with a decisive maiden win last Friday. With similar tactics she should be closing hard late, while APOLLO is having his first run for new trainer Steve Wolfe and stretched out well enough in his recent lead-up trial. Look out for him drifting back and running on.
Suggested: 1. ATHLONE CASTLE win.
1. ATHLONE CASTLE
8. WILLOW RIVER
Race 7 – 4:40PM USG BORAL HANDICAP (1100 METRES)
Tricky race to finish the day and is does have the potential to provide a blowout result. In saying that, if he is anywhere near his best form tough on-pacer DE ANDES will give them something to catch. Was placed in Ratings 64+ company at Ascot only three starts back and did record a win this track/distance around this time last year, so this assignment is certainly a suitable one. Gives himself every chance up on top of the speed and hard seeing him missing the top three. The big-finishing MESSIAH was rocketing late at Mt Barker last Saturday week, clocking the second-fastest final 200-metre split of the day. Suited with Daniel Staeck back on board and from a low draw, with the cutaway rail in play, he should fight out the finish. ITS NOT TRADING does his best racing on his home track, and although his form has tapered off a little of late, we’re still expecting him to roll forward and box on strongly late. While the recent results from TWISTED MOUNTAIN have been pretty solid and he does have an encouraging record over the Albany 1100-metre circuit.
Suggested: 4. DE ANDES win.
4. DE ANDES
2. ITS NOT TRADING
9. TWISTED MOUNTAIN
**This edition of #TheLegUp by @thoroheadsWA originally published at 9:00am on Thursday 18 April 2019
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the Albany Racing Club.