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Ballymore runners everywhere!

A particularly busy weekend lies ahead for Ballymore with runners in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

Headlining our four-state attack is Drunken Sailor who takes his place in one of Saturday's feature events, the $500,000 Gr.1 Sydney Cup.

Drawn nicely in barrier six with Damien Oliver aboard, the imported gelding looks to be one of the main chances on the back of his last start game BMW third behind Manighar and Americain.

"It looks to be a race in three," Michael Moroney said - citing Permit and Niwot as the main dangers.

"Our only concern is that he has been up for quite some time but in saying that he pulled up in good shape from his latest good run - he has done really well."

Third in the Adelaide Cup over the two miles two starts ago - forced to make his run early - Drunken Sailor boasts a consistent record at the trip and was not far away for his previous trainer in last year's Melbourne Cup.

Devonshire Duke also races at Randwick, the promising three-year-old stepping up to 2000m for the first time in the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate.

"It is a tough race," Moroney conceded, "but we do expect improvement from him."

Always well regarded, the son of Keeper was out of the placings in the Carbine Club Stakes a couple of weeks ago - pulling up distressed.

"He was suffering from a bit of back pain through to his hamstrings but he has been treated and he has responded well."

Also drawn nicely in barrier four with Damien Oliver taking his first ride on him, Devonshire Duke is capable of running a cheeky race at big odds.

Whilst it is a great day's racing in Sydney, most eyes will be on the Morphettville meeting with superstar Black Caviar lining up for her 20th start.

We won't be taking her on but we do hold high hopes for up-and-coming filly Crimson Lady who contests the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks.

An eye-catching last start third in the Gr.3 Auraria Stakes, the daughter of Volksraad is nicely primed for the step up to 2000m with Jason Lyon to take the ride.

Unfortunately however she does have the visitor's draw - barrier 20 of 20!

"It's a horror draw again (she drew 14 of 16 last start)," Moroney rued, "so she will go back again - it would be suicide to try to work forward."

"We will have to rely on there being pace on, hopefully it will be a truly run race - and Morphettville is a track you can get back on."

There is further black type action in Brisbane on Saturday and we have Viking Hero taking his place in the Listed Tails Stakes over 2100m with Jim Byrne to ride.

Running one of the best races of his career at his latest outing - a fast finishing second to Folding Gear in the Gr.3 Easter Cup at Caulfield - Viking Hero has progressed nicely since that run.

"We have worked out that is a horse you cannot push forward," Moroney said.

"He has been up for quite a while," he added, "but his runs have been well spaced and he is loking great and racing well, he should prove hard to beat."

Closer to home we take three runners to Caulfield, the first of those being Lordoftheparrots who gets the ball rolling in the opening event, the Monjon Security Handicap.

Only just beaten over the same trip (1800m) at the same track last start (striking interference), the five-year-old looks well placed at his third run back from a spell.

"We are really happy with him," Moroney said. "He meets a smart field but he looks well and he should again prove competitive."

Also close to a win is Zabisco who is fourth up in the sixth event of the day, the Ranvet Handicap over 1400m - Nicholas Hall to ride.

"He is a horse who has had to get used to the Australian style of racing," Moroney said.

"He over-raced his first couple of starts here but he is learning to relax now and he has just kept improving. We are hoping they run along a bit and if they do he should be right in the finish."

A well related son of Zabeel, Zabisco showed plenty of potential in New Zealand - finishing in the first three at each of his nine starts there - including a Gr.2 placing.

Also to be ridden by Hall, Bonnie Mac is the third of our Caulfield trio - lining up in the final event, the Louise Cooper Plate over 1200m.

The winner of her last three from just four starts, the daughter of Thorn Park is highly regarded and another bold showing is expected.

"It is probably still short of her best distance," Moroney said, "but she has been kept fresh and her last win was a good one - she is a pretty smart mare."

One more runner for Saturday, debutant Marble Prince taking his place in the opening event at Seymour - an 1100m two-year-old maiden.

"He will be better at three," said Moroney, "but he has drawn nicely (barrier four) and he has shown enough in his jump-outs to justify giving him a run at two, it will be interesting to see how he goes."



[27 Apr 12]

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