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Former Cast-Off Set For Another Victory At Ballina

Gold Coast trainer Marcus Wilson has done a great job getting San Sierra back to winning form and believes the gelding can win his fourth race this preparation when he steps out a Ballina on Tuesday. San Sierra chases his fourth win from only six starts for the Wilson stable in the Slipway Hotel Benchmark 68 Handicap (1255m).

By Encosta de Lago out of the beautifully-bred US mare Passageway, San Sierra started his racing career with David Hayes and Tom Dabernig but failed to win in nine starts for that leading stable. He was sold and then transferred to Newcastle trainer Grant Marshall in 2016.

"My father John bought him for owner John Burton, who also has horses with Grant Marshall," said Wilson. "He won a couple of races for Grant and then John Burton sent him up to me earlier this year. He's had a few feet issues which we had to work on, but he's been going really since he's been up here.

San Sierra's trainer Marcus Wilson

"He's won three from five and his record probably could be even better. He probably should have won first-up at Beaudesert (on April 13), then he won at Lismore (on April 24) and Casino (May 25).

He was beaten at Toowoomba at his next start (June 13) but I don't think he ran out the 1300m up the hill there. We dropped him back to 1200m at Ipswich last start (June 29) and he won again."

The 1255m on a wet track at Ballina on Tuesday look ideal conditions for San Sierra to improve on his recent form. The Ballina track was rated a heavy 9 on Monday morning.

San Sierra won on a heavy 10 at Lismore four runs back and a soft7 at his last start at Ipswich: "He seems to handle all conditions and should run another good race on Tuesday."

Tegan Harrison, who has ridden San Sierra at his past three starts, continues the association in Tuesday's race. One of San Sierra's main rivals in Tuesday's race is the Beaudesert-trained Sunset Hills, who always races well at Ballina.

The rising eight-year-old has won at his past three appearances at Ballina, the most recent two starts back on June 22 when he won a Benchmark 64 Hcp (1400m) on a heavy 8. His best form, however, has been at 1400m and he does have to drop back to the 1255m on Tuesday.

Marcus Wilson also has another stable newcomer, ex-Victorian Amuthon, lining up in The Mission Breeder Bonus Challenge@Aquis Class 1 Hcp (1305m) on Tuesday. Formerly with Melbourne trainer Pat Hyland, Amuthon won at his first run for Wilson when he landed a Ballina Maiden (1250m) on a heavy 8 on June 22.

"He led from an inside gate the other week at Ballina, but will be better taking a sit," said the trainer. "He's got to take the next step after winning his Maiden and does have a trickier gate this time (barrier 11). But he's a horse I think will definitely win more races. He's a big, raw-boned rising four-year-old who will probably be better next prep."

Wilson said his only other acceptor at the Ballina meeting - Another Valley in race six - would probably not run.

View the final fields with full form & race replays for Ballina here

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