A one-two finish isn’t beyond the realms of possibility for trainer Archie Alexander in Friday’s $180,000 Commercial Club Albury Gold Cup (2000m).
The Victorian-based trainer has a leaning towards Wheal Leisure ($4.80 on TAB fixed odds), but wouldn’t be shocked if Survived ($18) delves into his bags of tricks to snare the richest race on the border. Alexander is keen to capture his first Albury Cup after finishing fourth last year with Survived on a heavy track.
“Survived is tough and raw, but he is unpredictable,” he said. “He could win or run last – he is that type of horse. He drew 14 last year and raced on a heavy track and this time will get a good surface and the inside gate. He has won three or four country cups for me and is coming back into form.”
As for Wheal Leisure [pictured left, Racing and Sports] Alexander knows what to expect. The mare will be ridden by prolific-winning jockey Dean Yendall from barrier three with Declan Bates to guide his other runner.
“She is the more classy of the two and I can see her running well. She put in a bad run last time, but she is better than that,” he suggested. “If she can win she will continue on towards the Sydney Cup. It won’t be this year, but maybe next year that I think she could run in a Melbourne Cup.
“She ran third in the Tasmania Oaks and fifth in the Australian Turf Club Oaks and won the Inglis Handicap at Caulfield. Her record is good and she would be the pick of my two.”
With the topweight Supply And Demand ($3.70 favourite) drawing the outside gate and in all likelihood pushing forward to lead, it will most like leave the chasers well spread out. Every horse below Supply And Demand in the weights will receive eight kilograms off him – a huge advantage over the distance.
Wodonga trainer Craig Widdison will also start two horses, Willi Willi ($8) and Mr Fergus ($11), while Brett Cavanough will be represented by Bray ($34) and Brazen ($26). Widdison knows it will be tough to win, but likes the form line of both of his contenders: “Willi Willi is going great and Mr Fergus is an up and comer not long out of maiden grade,” he said.
Albury contender Nothin’ Like Harry ($8) will create history if he can win at just his fourth start after making his debut last month. The giant gelding has been impressive in his past two wins after a strong debut second.
Cavanough has won the Cup previously and is pleased to have two more chances after his horses raced on Sunday: “Bray won really well and Brazen will be better for the run and drops a huge amount in the weights,” he said.
Punters will be keeping a close check on Sin To Win ($5) who has only missed a place twice from 13 starts for the Hayes and Dabernig stable. Ready to peak at his third start back from a break, Sin To Win will carry the same weight as 15 of the runners yet his form is superior to most.
Wangaratta galloper Pittsburgh ($19) and Goulburn’s Nagging ($31) will renew acquaintances for the third time in as many weeks after filling the quinella in the Corowa Cup and Albury Mile.