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Midweek racing

Ballymore heads to the Sandown mid-weeker with two nice runners - Nordic Duke and Sophrosyne (pictured).

Stepping up to city grade after an impressive second up victory at Werribee late last month, the lightly raced and promising Nordic Duke contests the fifth event, the Sportingbet Handicap.

To be ridden by Craig Newitt who was aboard for his latest win, Nordic Duke has drawn awkwardly in barrier 11 but only has to handle the heavy going to again prove competitive.

"The going is a bit of a question mark," Michael Moroney conceded, "but he has handled up to slow tracks and it was as good as heavy when he was placed at debut last year."

"His last win was a good one," he added, "and we have been happy with him since."

A two times winner from only six starts, Nordic Duke was stakes placed at only his second start last year and being a son of Viking Ruler he will appreciate the step up to the mile.

Kept a little fresh since a sound showing at Flemington on July 21, Sophrosyne lines up in the seventh race, the Le Pines Funerals Handicap.

Drawn out in barrier 14, the consistent six-year-old does however have the services of Steven Arnold and his 1400m record is sound.

"He has got very good wet track form," Moroney said - "in fact the wetter the better for him - and he performs well at Sandown too."

Another interesting runner for us this week is the talented Quarterbar who returns from a long injury enforced spell at Seymour on Thursday.

Kicking off in the Sportingbet Showcase over 1457m, the son of Oratorio will be partnered by apprentice Audrey Guillemin and he has drawn nicely in barrier six.

"He has had a long break but he is a hrose with good ability and he could run a nice race first up."

"He is at his best over longer," Moroney continued, noting the gelding's last start four length Doomben victory over 2220m last winter - "but he is forward enough."

Nominated for the Caulfield Cup, Quarterbar has always been well regarded by the stable and looked a leading Queensland Derby chance before going amiss last year.
[14 Aug 12]

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