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Neil Evans' Tips For Albury (Friday)

By Neil Evans

Track Good 4 and rail true for Showcase meeting on Listed Gold Cup Day so should play fairly even, with slight leaning away from the fence

Race 1 MAIDEN PLATE (1175m):

Tough and open maiden to get us underway, but keen at a good price on 3YO Canberra filly 13. Smartkap fourth-up into her first prep. Stuck on okay when ridden closer in the stronger Lickety Split dash on Canberra Cup day, although more effective when ridden quieter. Stable had targeted this race from a fair way out.

Dangers: Improving 3YO Goulburn filly 14. Talihina also comes out of the Lickety Split when chasing home a smart debutant winner, although has to get in here from a wide gate. Wangaratta 3YO gelding 9. Sun Master hops the border off a nice first-up closing run; while 3YO Canberra gelding 8. Scarleo got a mile back resuming in a maiden on Black Opal day before making up late ground, but better suited second-up on firmer footing.

How to play it: Smartkap each way. Odds and Evens (First 2): Split

Race 2 CLASS 2 HCP (1000m):

Plenty of chances in this one as well headed by 3YO Scone filly 5. Bellarina Magic who has covered more ground than the early explorers in two preps since last winter. Was competitive at Highway level before spelling, then returned behind a smart one in a Class 3 at Tamworth before two improving runs in Qld. Long way to the NSW-Vic border again, but she has the ability and draws to get a nice trail.

Dangers: Emerging Canberra filly 7. Shores Of Avalon is a clear threat off her all-the-way win in a Class 1 over the Canberra carnival, and draws the fence for strong trainer-rider combination. Wodonga filly 3. Dissedge has boxed on okay from on speed in his last two against deeper opposition, and gets 2kg weight drop; while resuming Benalla filly 4. Red Impulse is clear best of the rest after a smart trial, and rider takes 1.5kg off.

How to play it: Bellarina Magic each way and trifecta 5,7/3,4,5,7/3,4,5,7. Odds and Evens: Odds.

Race 3 BM 66 HCP (2400m):

Another challenging assignment for some capable stayers, but haven't been this excited about one hopping the border for the first time since Santa turned up early. Progressive 3YO gelding 3. Ready By Design from the Freedman stable at Mornington looks very well placed shooting for three wins from five in his first prep. Charged home to easily win a BM 58 at Benalla under a big weight two runs back before luckless getting home in a BM 64 at Cranbourne. Drawn out, but still the one to beat.

Dangers: Another Victorian, 4YO mare 5. Mi Keri Pi from the team Hayes camp beat a weaker field at Stony Creek two back before punctured badly in a BM 70 at The Valley. Draws the fence, and will find this a bit easier. With a crucial 3kg claim getting him back into the weights battle, Canberra 5YO 1. Fox Beat can rebound from a steady closing run behind tough stayer Corncrake in a stronger BM 70 at Kembla. Previously won two straight around this trip sitting a little closer. Echuca 9YO 2. Etna continues to race with zest, twice finishing off okay in deeper company at The Valley, and draws to get a sweet run back in the field with cover.

How to play it: Ready By Design to win. Odds and Evens: Odds

Race 4 CLASS 3 HCP (1500m):

Strong class affair over tricky middle distance which looms as a Canberra-trained showdown via the same form-line. Liked the third-up run of 4YO mare 4. Fusca who was slow to begin in a deeper BM 65 on Black Opal day before making up plenty of late ground, and this looks a lovely assignment dropping 2.5kg in weight.

Dangers: Rival and consistent mare 5. Mookareena was very game behind the winner in that same race at Canberra, and similarly gets in well down in weight from a good draw. Moruya 5YO 1. Hemmerle swept home to win a Class 2 at the Sapphire Coast before well beaten in a strong Country C'ship qualifier run in record time. Much better suited this company but handicapper hasn't missed him with 60.5kg. Local 4YO gelding 6. Benjamery flashed home for a long-awaited and deserved win in a Class 1 this track, but while he's hard fit, taking on some smarter ones here. Goulburn 3YO 12. Rent A Rock is the one on the rise having motored home to win his maiden first-up at Wagga, and trainer was quick to whip him up to this level. Showed enough in spring, including a 200/1 throw at the stumps in the Group 1 Spring Stakes, and draws to get a charmed run.

How to play it: Fusca each way and boxed trifecta 4,5,6,12. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 5 BM 70 HCP 91400m):

Good quality race, with a stack of chances. Progressive 3YO gelding 6. Southern Appeal from the leading Goulburn yard of Danny Williams, had little luck two runs back in a Highway at Rosehill before relishing the drop in grade bolting in a Class 2 at Wagga. Up in weight, but looks well suited fourth-up, and should soon lay a claim for a return to a good metropolitan race.

Dangers: Promising 3YO gelding 5. Mensa Missile from the Waterhouse-Bott stable at Randwick had little more than a working gallop winning his maiden first-up at Wyong as a red-hot favourite, and while this is a decent jump in class, he looks well above average. Another one on the rise, 3YO Wodonga filly 8. Toffee Doll hit the line impressively resuming in a BM 64 at Flemington, and one of the better weighted runners all day, but has to overcome the extreme outside barrier. Somewhat stunned 3YO Goulburn gelding 2. Cock Match opened up well into double figure odds after chasing home smart Beach Baby in a BM 66 at home under the same weight. That was his first run in 10 weeks, and late last year was beaten under four lengths at Randwick by Julian Rock who is one of the big gun chances in the Country C'ship final in two weeks. Warwick Farm 3YO 1. Savoury was very ordinary dropping out in the Listed Canberra Guineas, and finds himself weighted to his absolute best. Previous form around this grade was sound, but looks under the odds.

How to play it: Southern Appeal each way and trifecta 5,6,8/1,2,5,6,8/1,2,5,6,8. Odds and Evens: Split

Race 6 FLAT KNACKER (900m):

Blink and you'll miss the traditional short course Cup day dash where the only thing guaranteed is a wide open market. There looks a real sense of timing at good odds for smart 5YO 2. Mossman Gorge from the Matt Dale stable in Canberra. Just missed in a BM 72 at Canterbury before fighting on hard behind fresh specialist Handle The Truth in a high class sprint on Black Opal day. Sharp rise in weight, but gets a peach run from the draw.

Dangers: Consistent 5YO Victorian raider 3. Mister Mogul is the clear threat, and should be right in the finish after winning two by big margins before stuck on okay in a stronger BM 84 at The Valley. Scone 5YO 5. Another Sin also draws to be in the finish, and won his only previous start at this track. Cruised home in a Class 4 first-up at Toowoomba before close-up behind talented Heaven's High in the Armidale Newmarket; while Benalla mare 8. Beautiful Bee will appreciate chasing a hot speed after rattling home second-up in a BM 70 at Sandown.

How to play it: Mossman Gorge each way and box exacta 2,3,5. Odds and Evens: Split

Mossman Gorge runs fourth at Canberra on March 8

Race 7 ALBURY GOLD CUP (2000m):

Feature race of the day at Listed level. Lightly-raced and smart 5YO gelding 8. Attorney from the Matthew Smith yard at Warwick Farm looks primed third-up after two closing efforts in smart BM 88 company at Randwick. Is the stand-out weighted runner of the Cup on the 54kg limit, and the one to beat over an ideal trip.

Dangers: Smart 5YO Canberra mare 5. Maid Of Ore has been impressive off the speed all prep without winning, and should be at her peak fourth-up. Arguably should have won the Canberra Mile getting home late before an even run behind exciting Mugatoo in the Canberra Cup. Drawn out so will be ridden much quieter, but well capable of peeling off a race-winning final 400m. Honest Warwick Farm gelding 2. Fun Fact> is also well placed after bolting in a metro BM 87 three runs back, and then beating all bar Mugatoo in that Canberra Cup. Rises 4kg but has earned the weight. Be stunned if anything outside those three wins.

How to play it: Attorney to win and box exacta 2,5,8. Odds and Evens: Split

Attorney's second-up run at Randwick on February 29

Race 8 BM 58 HCP (1175m):

Another open sprint to close the card, and progressive 4YO Canberra mare 13. Il Professionale can bounce back after looking the winner third-up in a BM 60 at home before out-kicked in the final few strides. Will go back from a wider draw, but has a superior final 400m to most of these.

Dangers: Improving 3YO Victorian gelding 8. Dalaalaat can go close after cruising home to win his maiden as a hot fancy at Wagga, and then sticking on okay leading in much stronger metro company. Wagga 6YO gelding 6. Cryfowl resumes with no official trial, but has won two of his four previous first-up runs. Admittedly this is as tough as he wants, but is way too big a price; while also include 7YO Canberra gelding 11. Damagic in exotics after getting home nicely first-up behind a smart one.

How to play it: Il Professionale each way. Odds and Evens: Split.

All the fields, form and replays for Friday's Albury Cup meeting

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