The Leg Up – Albany Racing Preview

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RACE 1 HYBLA TAVERN MAIDEN 1:10 PM (1600M)

Fairly low key start to the day and without a huge amount of confidence we’re opted to lock in Bunbury visitor RAYARNIE on top. Endured a tough, wide run in his first outing for Bruce Watkins at Ascot last Saturday week and the effort was better than it reads on paper. This Blackfriars three-year-old should appreciate being tested over the mile at this stage of his campaign and he does land in a very winnable race here. RAYARNIE each way. MAYBE ONE MORE bungled the start as a $6.50 chance at Geraldton last start and did a reasonable job to run on from last. Did place here three runs back and while he has had plenty of chances to break through already, he won’t get many better opportunities than this. VITAL BOOM is on the quick back up after being a shade disappointing when $2.50 equal favourite last Saturday. This looks a good option for him though and we’d be surprised if he doesn’t finish top three, while LACIE LOCKET finished alongside VITAL BOOM om Tradies Day and is rarely far away at the finish of her races.Tips: 7-1-2-8 Suggested: 7. RAYARNIE each way.7. RAYARNIE1. MAYBE ONE MORE2. VITAL BOOM8. LACIE LOCKET

RACE 2 GET THE TABTOUCH MAIDEN 1:50 PM (1230M)

Our best of the day comes up here in the form of TRAKIATO. The Pearce Bros are heading to town and have obviously earmarked this All Aged Maiden as an easy kill for their promising three-year-old, who comes out of a very hot race at Bunbury. Matched motors with the likes of Bon Voyage, Sariska and How To Fly on that occasion, which each of those youngsters being very well regarded, and both How To Fly and Fair Sonita (5th) both emerged from that race to win at Bunbury on Wednesday. Top heavyweight jock Glenn Smith is a quality booking for TRAKIATO and he should be getting the job done. Team Wolfe filly MYSTIC PINDAN has caught the eye when getting back and running on well at both appearances so far, and she should appreciate the addition of top stable rider Shaun McGruddy. Hard not to be impressed with the way she’s hit the line and she appears the main danger to TRAKIATOFRANKLY SCARLETT was hard in the market ($4.60) when resuming on Boxing Day, but happened to run into a very smart one in the form of Go Crying. Good effort all the same and there will no doubt be some natural improvement second up, while sparingly-raced six-year-old SON OF XENA has had obvious issues but his best is certainly good enough to give this a nudge first up.Tips: 4-10-2-3 Suggested: 4. TRAKIATO win.4. TRAKIATO10. MYSTIC PINDAN2. FRANKLY SCARLETT3. SON OF XENA

RACE 3 AMAZING ALBANY HANDICAP 2:35 PM (1230M)

Albany track specialist MY GREEK BOY is back on his home deck after a couple of Ascot runs to kick off his summer campaign. Last season’s Fitzpatrick Plate winner has saluted six times from eight starts at Percy Spencer Racecourse and is unbeaten in four attempts here over this distance. The Steve Wolfe-trained five-year-old was pretty good resuming in a competitive Ratings 72+ event two back, before popping late after setting a faster-than-average pace out in front last start. MY GREEK BOY will relish coming back to this grade, and we’re expecting him to bounce back hard and return to winning form. NATURALISTE dominated his rivals in Ratings 58+ grade on Tradies Day, parking up on speed and charging away under 60kg. Pretty impressive stuff from this fellow and he should enjoy sliding down to 55.5kg with the rise in grade. Tends to hold his form and he can win again without surprising. BIG CAROLINEhas got too far out of her ground recently, producing very similar performances when running on late at her past two starts. Hard in the market on both occasions and she’s no doubt going to have plenty of admirers again, while the enigmatic front-runner LONG KNIFE kicked back to score an upset victory back on his favourite track on Boxing Day, taking his Albany record to 18: 6-4-3. We’re expecting him to hold form and run well again.Tips: 1-4-3-2 Suggested: 1. MY GREEK BOY win.1. MY GREEK BOY4. NATURALISTE3. BIG CAROLINE2. LONG KNIFE

RACE 4 BP ROADHOUSE WILLIAMS HANDICAP 3:15 PM (1600M)

The Ratings 58+ Handicaps provide some really competitive racing in the Great Southern and this one is no exception. Any one of our four selections can win, but we ended up locking in DR SYKES on top after a very encouraging first-up effort against similar opposition on Boxing Day. Should improve naturally with that run under his belt and the 18-day break heading into this second-up assignment looks perfect. Maps to get the right and DR SYKES should be a touch too good. Tough on-pacer BOXONLUCY should be ready to produce her best third up after two placings to kick off her summer prep. Led them up, finishing alongside DR SYKES in a similar event on Boxing Day and we’re expecting her to assume in a commanding on-speed position, and if she can just settle that touch better than last time then she’s going to take some catching. PRINCE FRIAR is enjoying a cracking Great Southern season and went close to posting a third win in his last five starts when rolled by Lord Kronos in the final bound last Saturday. Can’t fault him and he’s a genuine winning chance again, while GOLD INVADER is enjoying some consistent results this campaign and has to be included in the top four.Tips: 2-3-1-4 Suggested: 2. DR SYKES win (1) & place (3).2. DR SYKES3. BOXONLUCY1. PRINCE FRIAR4. GOLD INVADER

RACE 5 XXXX GOLD HANDICAP 3:50 PM (1100M)

Promising mare DYNABELLE is one of a number of South West-based runners entered on this programme and trainer Michael Campbell appears to have found the right race for her. Bolted in down the Straight 1000 at Pinjarra, with Deep Cover and Lady Le Jean coming out of that race to win since, but she didn’t quite run out a strong 1200m when a $2.30 favourite at Bunbury last start. Has the gate speed to work forward from her high draw and assume a running position on top of the pace, and she should relish coming back to the 1100m. DYNABELLE appears pretty sharp and if she holds her form then she should just win. JESTER FERRARI has put in two solid efforts since transferring to Steve Wolfe and she was probably a bit stiff not to win on Boxing Day, finishing alongside the consistent Waychinicup. Looks set to produce a peak performance third up and she can certainly stretch our on-top selection. After a good Goldfield prep, NAZARETH is now in the care of the Pearce Bros and stretched out well enough in a competitive Lark Hill trial recently. The astute stable usually have their runners ready to fire fresh and we’re expecting this fellow to be no different, while SCOTTY BEAU ran right through the line second up in Esperance and appears to be enjoying life since arriving in the Great Southern. He’s a must for your exotic bets.Tips: 4-10-1-2 Suggested: 4. DYNABELLE win.4. DYNABELLE10. JESTER FERRARI1. NAZARETH2. SCOTTY BEAU

RACE 6 TABTOUCH LADIES DAY FEBRUARY 11 HANDICAP 4:28 PM (1100M)

This short-course Class 5 Handicap is the stand out event in terms of depth and you could make a case for at least eight of the original 12 acceptors. We opted to stick with the strength and lock in the Pearce Bros-trained MEGA MINX on top. This consistent four-year-old has hardly put a hoof wrong all campaign and comes to Albany off the back of a fighting Bunbury victory, when racing outside the leader in transit and fending off all the challengers late. Jockey Glenn Smith is likely to push forward from the high draw and come across with fellow on-pacer PUCK SHAPESHIFTER, and if MEGA MINX can land outside the leader again without burning too much fuel, then she’s going to take some beating. Likely leader PUCK SHAPESHIFTER showed good gate speed to lead here on Boxing Day, going down narrowly after rolling off the fence and allowing Twisted Mountain to slide through along the rail. Team Giadresco have this fellow racing in rock-solid form and whatever gets over the top of him will have to work for it. CAPTIVATED POINT goes well and is city-class at his best, however, he’s not quite at the peak of his powers this prep. Another who will come across from a high draw to race on-pace and he’s always well supported, so we’re expecting him to be firm in the market again, while UPTOWN FUNK is a very interesting runner having her first outing for new trainer Jonathon Jachmann. Hard to believe she’s now a 63-rater, having peaked at 74, and she’s probably the best horse in this on pure ability. Wouldn’t surprise one bit to see her get the money first up.Tips: 6-3-2-7 Suggested: 6. MEGA MINX win (1) & place (3).6. MEGA MINX3. PUCK SHAPESHIFTER2. CAPTIVATED POINT7. UPTOWN FUNK

RACE 7 AQUA ICE HANDICAP 5:07 PM (1500M)

Very tough race for anyone trying to ‘get out’ and young South West trainer Joshua Krispyn is doing a good job with his horses and we reckon his last-start Pinjarra winner HE’S PACKING can get the cash again. Came with a very strong finish to knock off well-regarded $2.10 favourite Tellem We’re Comin on that occasion, and the way the track played late in the day here last Sunday, this fellow’s get back/run on style should be perfectly suited. HE’S PACKINGlooks well placed in the Great Southern and should give you a run for your money, each way. MULGA is returning from an injury-enforced 546-day break and is clearly the class runner of this race, having placed third in the listed Lex Piper Stakes as a three-year-old back in 2016. Liked the way he stretched out in a recent Bunbury trial and he maps to get the right run for top jock Glenn Smith. Blinkers going on is a sign of intent and this fellow is heading to Albany on a mission to win. The consistent WAYCHINICUP looked home and hosed last Sunday before being gunned down late by the fast-finishing High Tea. Will no doubt roll forward from his high draw and put himself right in the firing line again and it’s hard seeing him missing the top three, while VINO BENETEAU led throughout to score a dominant victory as a $2.15 favourite in this grade on Boxing Day and has to rate among the main winning chances again. Tips: 5-1-3-4 Suggested: 5. HE’S PACKING each way.5. HE’S PACKING1. MULGA3. WAYCHINICUP4. VINO BENETEAU

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