Tips from Brad Gray
All your tips, form and analysis for Sunday’s Albury Country Championships Qualifier.
Winner: 15. Levee Bank ($6) This four-year-old mare had been in terrific form but really burst into Championships contention with a brilliant win in the Country Championships Preview race at Wagga last start. She was given an early dig by regular jockey Megan Taylor to find the front and never looked in danger, booting clear to win by more than three lengths. She is untried out to 1400m but that 1300m win suggests she’ll relish it. It could actually be the making of her. Prior to that she ran a flashing second to French Halo over 1000m at Orange and that mare has since bolted in at Wellington, franking the form. There is a real sense of timing about Levee Bank.
What the trainer says (Kerry Weir): “We were a little bit worried about the 1300, whether she’d get it. She’s a speedy little thing but the further they went, the further she went away from them”
Levee Bank's dominant last start victory
Quinella: 4. Challenge Accepted ($4.20) He is a pretty classy horse Challenge Accepted. Go right back to the start of his career and at just his second outing he ran second to Snoopy at Moonee Valley. Snoopy went on to place in Group Two company at his very next start. He has also run second in an Albury Guineas over this same 1400m trip while he bolted in at this track on debut. He resumed from a spell at Wangaratta and found the line sweetly over 1170m. That’ll clean him up nicely for this assignment. The query is the wide gate. How big of a start is he going to be giving away to Levee Bank?
Challenge Accepted's Albury Guineas second
Trifecta: 9. Forever Newyork ($6) After showing little in his first preparation as a two-year-old, he has come back a much stronger galloper at three and the results were instant. He strung two wins together before being tested in a Highway Handicap at Rosehill beaten only five lengths by I Told Georgie. He subsequently lines up at Wagga and never really found a spot in the run which left him a sitting shot and was nabbed on the line. There was plenty of merit in his fighting second. Drawn a middle gate, Brendan Ward should be able to position him in the first half without too much trouble. He’s a big player.
What the trainer says (Gary Colvin): “He’s pretty forward. I think he’s improved since his last campaign. He’s a three-year-old on the way up and we thought we’d give him a crack.”
Forever Newyork's last start second
Roughie: 12. Ruark ($11) The sentimental race favourite. Watch the video below if you are not yet familiar with the backstory of this horse but it’s fair to say that there won’t be a dry eye in the joint if this four-year-old got the money. It’s an ambitious plan from Brett Cavanough to present him here first-up off a year-long spell but you can never underestimate the stable! This four-year-old didn’t quite come up last time in but in his first preparation he showed plenty of promise. He won’t have to spend too much petrol to find a spot from barrier 5. Knockout hope.
What the trainer says (Brett Cavanough): "His trial was OK, nothing sensational, but it was alright.” "However, we worked him and he lit up the track. He's improved a great deal so we're pretty happy with him."
Ruark's best win - Albury November 2015
Related article Ruark Can Deliver Emotional Win
*All prices courtesy of TAB and are correct as of 9am Friday on 17 March.
Grafton Perfect Dare $2.10 (1st) Sunny Fame $11 (13th) My Cousin Bossy $13 (7th) Roughie: Foxy Walk $71 (5th)
Goulburn Ruthless Agent $6 (4th) Pumpkin Pie $2.50 (1st) Shutter Bug $8 (6th) Roughie: Steel Frost $17 (2nd)
Dubbo La La Loopsy $2.50 (2nd) Eagles Dare $17 (6th) A Magic Zariz $7 (8th) Roughie: Coming In Hot $11 (10th)
Taree Cogliere $6 (1st) Ever So Natural $4.20 (3rd) Shotgun Roulette $7 (2nd) Roughie: Dubai Sights $11 (6th)
Scone Art D'Amour $6 (10th) All Summer Long $4.60 (3rd) Caerless Choice $6 (1st) Roughie: Sassaby $15 (6th)
Wellington Galaxy Warrior $4 (2nd) Absolute Ripper $6.50 (12th) Distinctive Look $6.50 (1st) Great Choice $9 (scratched)