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Monaco Consul heads to AJC Derby

Another busy weekend coming up with runners in two states on Saturday and a nice chance in the Wangaratta Cup on Sunday.
On our home track Flemington we saddle up two runners – the first of those being Abitofado who takes his place in the National Jockeys Trust Handicap over 1800m.
 
Over a recent setback (an eye injury) which saw him miss out on a couple of country cups, Abitofado has not been seen on track since winning the Stony Creek Cup in very easy style in early March.
 
A little fresh for this, he drops back slightly in distance but he did win at this very trip at Sandown back in early February. An honest performer who always tries hard, he will again be ridden by Ben Melham – due to jump from barrier ten.
 
"It is a reasonable field," said Michael Moroney, "but he should be competitive."
 
Later in the day sees the return of Mission Critical in the final event of the day, the 1400m Melbourne Cup Community Fund Handicap.
 
Having his first run since finishing last at Flemington in December, Mission Critical has since been gelded which will hopefully turn his form around - although this race may prove a little short.
 
A Gr.1 winner in New Zealand at three (beating the durable Sir Slick), he has always shown a lot of natural ability and has not always had the best of luck.
 
Our in-form apprentice Jordan Mallyon takes the ride on Saturday, his 3kg claim seeing the flashy chestnut come in well at the weights with just 50kg. And he has drawn nicely in barrier four.
 
"Hopefully when he gets up to longer trips he will start to show his true form," said Moroney.
 
All racing eyes will of course be on Randwick tomorrow where VRC Derby hero Monaco Consul wears the number on saddle cloth in the $1.3 million AJC Australian Derby.
 
Drawn ideally in barrier four with Damien Oliver to ride, Monaco Consul has been below his best in New Zealand of late – acting rather coltish. But he races extra well in Australia and, as Michael Moroney said “if he brings his A-game to Randwick he will be very hard to beat.”
 
"He seems to like racing on the rails," he added - "so his inside gate suits. He has travelled over well and we are hoping that he can keep his great Australian record intact."
 
Hopefully by Sunday the stable will be celebrating a Classic victory. And what better way to do this by winning another nice race – the Wangaratta Cup.
 
Missing out on a run as emergency last weekend, St Ives has been in fine form of late – finishing on nicely into an unlucky third in the Pakenham Cup last start. The extra distance of the Wangaratta Cup looks perfect for him. Wayne Hokai takes the ride from barrier seven.
 
"He has been up for a while but he keeps racing well," Moroney reported.
[09 Apr 10]

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