New look for Albury Gold Cup carnival

KICKING GOALS: Wagga apprentice Jason Collins returns to the mounting enclosure after being dislodged from Flaming Aces on the way to the barriers at Murrumbidgee Turf Club on December 23. Collins has been given the all clear to resume riding and is back among the winners. Picture: Kieren L TillyALBURY Racing Club’s Gold Cup carnival has undergone a major facelift for this year.
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The Albury City Handicap has been reverted back to 1175 metres after being held over 1400 metres for the past five years.

The club has also introduced a new race, a $40,000 Albury Mile, to compliment the City Handicap on the first day of the carnival, Thursday March 26.

The City Handicap will drop back slightly in prizemoney to $40,000.

The Albury Gold Cup will remain Southern District’s richest race, worth $170,000 on Friday, March 27.

Albury Gold Cup day will be complimented by the $50,000 Flat Knacker (900m) and $50,000 Albury Guineas (1400m), that also carries a $50,000 Inglis bonus.

Prizemoney for the two-day carnival will basically stay the same.

Albury Racing Club chief executive John Miller said the idea was to try something new and bolster Thursday’s program.

“The thinking was with the City Handicap -with the prizemoney we’re offering around the 40, 50, 60k mark -to be attracting metro-type horses you really need to be up around the 100k mark,” Miller said.

“So we asked ourselves how do we develop the first day for the country and locally trained gallopers.

“We’re realists, and the first day is clearly more for those country gallopers around here and it’s good prizemoney for them.”

Albury also considered the Sydney carnival and the new Country Championships, over 1400m, when making its decision.

Miller said the club was willing to give it a try for a year.

“We’re open to it, we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

“It may work, or it might not but there is nothing to be lost without giving it a go.”

JERILDERIE mare Sweet Emily’s love affair with Moonee Valley has reached new heights.

Sweet Emily, trained by Phil Sweeney at Jerilderie, eclipsed Miss Andretti’s track record with her win at Moonee Valley between Christmas and New Year.

The four-year-old became the fastest horse over 1000m at Moonee Valley when she clocked 57.19 seconds.

She took 0.03 seconds off Miss Andretti’s time.

It continued an amazing season for Sweet Emily, who has now scored three wins at Moonee Valley in the past few months.

It is the mare’s second track record after she set a new time for the 975 metre trip at Swan Hill in October.

POWER Alert is for sale, but only at the right price.

The former Australian, owned by Trevor Sutherland and Jim Power, will have his second start in the United States on Sunday.

Power Alert was an impressive winner at his first start in the US for former Wagga man Brian Lynch and is expected to take part in a $100,000 race at Tampa Bay Downs this weekend.

Offers have flowed in since Power Alert’s first win on American soil.

Sutherland remained tight-lipped about the offers but it is believed they have been up to $250,000.

“That’s in the ball park,” Sutherland said.

“If someone comes to our price then we’ll sell him, if not then we’ll race him.

“We don’t want to sell him, but if anyone meets the conditions that we’ve set then we will.

“He’s in a $100,000 race on Sunday and if he can win that then he’s going along pretty well.”

Sutherland also revealed that Power Alert has received an invitation to the Dubai World Cup meeting in March.

Power Alert was sent to the US after bleeding twice in Australia.

MURRUMBIDGEE Turf Club will hold the only race meeting in the Southern District this week.

MTC will hold an eight-race card on Friday and received strong support with 158 nominations.

The Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m) is sure to create plenty of interest with Brett Cavanough’s exciting sprinter Just A Bullet one of 17 nominations for the race.

Other nominations include for the sprint include Battle Of Evermore, Hot Pistol, Flaming Aces, Calke Abbey and Magical Lady.

MTC chief executive Scott Sanbrook hopes start the new year how the last one finished off.

“The Christmas Party and Ted Ryder Cup meetings were great way to finish the year and we’re hoping the new one starts that way as well,” Sanbrook said.

“The sprint looks a great race and if Just A Bullet starts, that will obviously be a highlight.

“I think the strength of the nominations reflects how good the track was at the last meeting.

“We had lots of positive feedback and this is now the most nominations we’ve had for this race meeting in several years.”

Also of interest will be the 2YO Maiden (1000m) where 10 of the 12 nominations are unraced youngsters.

Wagga will go up against Gosford’s Cup meeting on Friday afternoon.

THERE was plenty of Wagga connections among the winner of the Narooma Cup on Monday.

Life Of Reilly stormed home down the outside to claim the $30,000 feature race at Moruya for Kembla Grange trainer Bede Murray and plenty of Wagga connections.

Among the ownership is Wagga men Rob Norris, Chas Mascini, Craig McIntyre and Paul Murphy.

Life Of Reilly ($3.00) edged out He’s An Angel ($15), ridden by Wagga jockey Andy Bloomfield, in the final strides.

WAGGA trainer Trevor Sutherland returned to the winner’s stall with victory at Dederang picnics last Saturday.

After starting this season with a bang, Sutherland went through November and December without a winner.

He got the monkey off the back with a winner at Dederang, when Partexpectation ($2.10) took out the 0-55 Handicap (1300m).

Sutherland expects the tide to turn now and still currently sits in the top 10 for the NSW country trainer’s premiership.

ALBURY trainer Brett Cavanough will throw Fund Trader into metropolitan company at Sandown today.

Fund Trader, a winner at Echuca on debut, will contest the $35,000 Benchmark 64 3YO Handicap (1400m).

Fund Trader resumed at Wagga last month and had no luck when fifth as the beaten favourite behind Sweetly Gliding in a 3YO Country Plate (1300m).

He will be ridden by Dwayne Dunn from barrier nine in the 10 horse field.

WAGGA apprentice Jason Collins is going from strength to strength in his comeback.

Collins rode another winner at Moruya on Monday.

This comes on the back of a treble at Wangaratta on December 20, plus wins at Yarra Valley and Wodonga in the days leading up to it.

Collins injured his ankle when he was thrown from Flaming Aces at Wagga on December 23, but has brushed that off to continue making inroads in his comeback to the riding ranks.

His boss, Trevor Sutherland, is thrilled with how Collins is going.

“He got a clearance to return after he hurt his ankle, it’s a little bit tender around the joint but you’ve got to grin and bear it if you’re going to be successful,” Sutherland said.

“He’s starting to learn that you get out what you put in.

“He’s doing a lot of things right and getting his life back on track.

“It’s a credit to him and he should be proud of himself.”

Collins will ride at Sandown today and is a chance of picking up a ride at Flemington on Saturday.

ANOTHER apprentice making a strong impression is Rebeka Prest.

Prest made her professional racing debut at Tumut on Boxing Day and was successful at just her second race ride.

Prest then went on to score on Lautrec at Corowa’s TAB meeting on December 29.

She has two wins from her first eight rides.

Prest does not have a claim after riding more than 80 winners at the picnics.

THE Sky Racing blackout is over and did not have a big influence on betting turnover for Southern District clubs.

Wagga’s Ted Ryder Cup meeting on December 23 was the meeting expected to be hit hardest but Murrumbidgee Turf Club fared surprisingly well.

Betting turnover on the race meeting exceeded more than $1.6 million, which was up significantly on the past two years.

This year’s results were aided by being a stand-alone NSW meeting, unlike the past two.

The December 23 date proved a big success, opposed to the Christmas Eve meeting held in previous years.

The Ted Ryder Cup day crowd was up 25 per cent on last year.

SOUTHERN District horses are tipped to be up against it in the Country Championships Final in April.

Sportsbet last month released the first market for the Country Championships Final with the best of Southern District’s chances featured on the sixth line of betting.

Sportsbet has made alterations to the market since its release and is still adding horses upon request.

The Brett Cavanough-trained Steakandbearnaise and Chris Heywood’s Dantains Spirit are both rated $10 chances.

Yet Tobe Convinced and Grand Allowance are next of Southern District’s chances at $15.

The $100,000 heat of the Country Championship for Southern District horses will be held over 1400 metres at Wagga on March 15.

The $300,000 final over 1400m will be held at Randwick, as part of The Championships, on April 4.

What’s On

Racing

Friday: Wagga (TAB)

Harness Racing

Friday: Temora (TAB)

Sunday: Leeton (TAB)

Greyhound Racing

Friday: Wagga (TAB)

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