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WINNING CHANCES FOR US ON SATURDAY

Three runners for us at Flemington on Saturday including our new import Aktau while we also have a traveller to the Benalla twilight meeting.

Alburq is the first to go for us at home in race six, the Benchmark 70 Handicap over 1200m and jumping from the outside barrier of 11 under Michael Poy.

Alburq resumed with a fast finishing second at Moonee Valley and Mike Moroney is expecting another strong showing today.

“He’s trained on very well and I can’t fault him,” Moroney said. “It’s a solid enough field and he’s had some practice on the straight course last time in.

“The draw should help him I think as he shoulsd be able to tuck in behind for some cover and then make his run in the clear.

“I think all being well he will be hard to beat today and then we can look at some options at the Magic Millions meeting next month.”

Aktau (pictured) makes his Australian debut in race eight, the Benchmark 84 Handicap over 1600m with Jye McNeil riding and jumping from barrier two in the field of 14.

The son of Teofilo won last time out at Goodwood over 2200m in August and comes into this race off the back of two jumpouts at Flemington.

“He’s got staying form and he’s forward enough to run well,” Moroney said.

“He’s a little bit difficult to get a real line on as he can be a little bit revvy so while he’s gone well in his jumpouts he showed speed which was a bit surprising.

“Otherwise he’s a big, lanky unfurnished horse and he still doesn’t really know what he’s doing.

“I’m glad of the barrier as we should be able to smother him away along the inside but we go into the race not really knowing what to expect but if they run along then it should suit as he does have a high cruising speed.”

Chicago Cub runs in the last race, the Benchmark 78 Handicap over 1200m, jumping from the outside barrier 12 under Fred Kersley.

The son of Zoustar had no luck at all last time out when unplaced at Moonee Valley however, Moroney is expecting a clearer run today.

“He’s going really well and his work Tuesday was terrific,” Moroney said. “He’s run into a strong field but I am extremely happy with our horse.

“He’s trialled on the straight and handled it so I’m expecting him to run well with ordinary luck in what does look a strong race.”

Pineapple Girl is in race one at the Benalla twilight meeting, the Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate over 1606m with Rhys McLeod riding.

It will be the second start for the daughter of Olympic Glory, which finished unplaced on debut over 1400m at Pakenham but only beaten one length in a blanket finish.

“She’s pleasing us enormously and just keeps improving,” Moroney said. “Her last piece of work heading into this was excellent and with the natural improvement she’s shown I’d expect her to be hard to beat today.”


[21 Dec 19]

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