Some of the best sprinters from Queensland and interstate will converge on Albion Park this Thursday night for the running of five heats of the Group One Winter Carnival Cup.
The race is conducted over 520 metres and competitiors will vie for a $75,000 winners cheque in next week’s final.
Queensland mentor Tony Brett has dominated the race in recent times, winning the last three with Glen Gallon (2013 and 2012) and Iso Octane (2011).
Other recent winners include Trew Millions (2009), Made To Size (2008) and Fenceline (2006).
With plenty of interstate raiders from New South Wales and Victoria all keen to take out the Cup, the Queenslander contingent will have their work cut out to maintain their superb recent record in the race.
Here is a look at the main chances in each of the five heats;
Race 4 – Winter Cup Carnival Heat One – 7:41pm
Darren McDonald returns to Albion Park with his Queensland Derby runner-up Keybow in the first heat. The son of Take The Kitty and Key Exit (Over Flo – Atlanta Belle) is a winner of 13 races, including the Group One Perth Cup and looks to have plenty of class on this field. He will exit box eight which should suit his penchant for using the track, provided he gets a clean run to the first turn.
Cyndie’s Special (1) is a speedy bitch who is drawn well and could go close to leading this field. The Bill Ison trained conveyance registered a personal best of 29.88 here last week from this box and could give them something to catch.
Auriga Legend (4) has been consistent without winning in recent times, but has a great record at Albion Park. The winner of six from 28 at the track has a personal best of 29.94 and should be thereabouts.
Rose Of Galo (3) is a winner of 12 from 31 at Albion Park and is another with plenty of early toe. She is yet to break the 30 second barrier and has been a little below her best in recent efforts.
Race 5 – Winter Cup Carnival Heat Two – 8:05pm
It is not often that you are blessed with two Australian Cup winners in the one race but that is exactly the case in heat two.
2014 Australian Cup winner Buckle Up Wes (2) headlines the heat. The son of Collision and Everlong Bale (Primo Uno – Shique Bale) will be making his Albion Park debut but has proven ability to adapt to many tracks. He is sure to take a power of beating here.
The interesting runner in the race is the 2013 Australian Cup winner Spud Regis (5). The winner of 17 races has not raced since late February and in that time has found a new home in Tony Brett’s Grandchester kennels. He too makes his Albion Park debut and will be one to keep an eye on.
Late Angel Lee (1) comes back from racing over staying trips for this event. She has recorded a sizzling 29.57 here in the past but may find the sharp drop in distance within seven days a little too much.
Maid For Ron (3) has a handy record over this trip winning five of her 12 attempts. She has a best of 29.92 but looks a little below her best on recent runs.
Race 6 – Winter Cup Carnival Heat Three – 8:25pm
Master Victorian trainer Darren McDonald produces another flying machine in Awesome Project (3) for the third heat. The son of Collision and Honour Phase (Big Daddy Cool – Hunter Tylo) is a multiple Group winner and boasts an imposing career record of 20 wins from 41 starts. He has won his last three at Sandown, all in very slick times. Barring bad luck, it’s hard to see him getting beat.
Duchess Bale (5) is another Victorian who makes the trek to the Sunshine State with a good record. She has won 10 from 21 and is a powerful type. She has been done no favours by the box draw and will be hoping for some room early.
Rue De Khan (2) is a regular top-line performer in New South Wales for trainer Dean Swain. She meets a quality field here but there is no doubting her talent.
Top Story (1) has won 16 races over this trip including a flying 29.65 effort back in February. He is drawn to give the big guns plenty of cheek here.
Race 7 – Winter Cup Carnival Heat Four – 8:44pm
The fourth heat features plenty of depth with Queensland Derby winner Flash Reality (8) taking the star billing. The Tony Brett trained son of Premier Fantasy and Orara Flash (Bond – Sweet Elite) has won five of his eight starts at Albion Park including a near-record 29.58. He has performed well from wide boxes in the past, but will be afforded no room for error early in this field.
Magic Display (1) was a finalist in the Group One Golden Easter Egg and is blessed with plenty of early pace. She has the advantage of having raced at the track in the past and is drawn to get the fly here.
Mepunga Armagh (6) is a winner of 14 races in Victoria and has gone very fast at Sandown in recent weeks. If he can cross the field early he is capable of landing an upset.
Peter’s Pick (7) is a consistent local performer who is sure to be doing his best work in the concluding stages of the race.
Race 8 – Winter Cup Carnival Heat Five – 9:08pm
The 2013 Brisbane Cup winner Kiss Me Ketut (7) makes his return to Albion Park in the final heat looking to keep his undefeated record at the track intact. The son of Bombastic Shiraz and Spiral Siyan (Spiral Nikita – Flight And Life) has won two from two at the track with a personal best of 29.82. His recent form has not been anything special and this run will be just his second back from a five-week let up. He’s one to take on trust.
The Kelly Bravo trained Gimme Fuel (2) may be better know for his exploits over slightly longer trips but he has been in sparkling form over the sprint distances recently. If he gets a clear run around the first turn, he may be very hard to hold out.
Local sprinter Yogi Blue (1) is very consistent and looks drawn well here. He has won nine from 34 at the track with a best of 29.89. He is one for the exotics.
Benarkin (5) is another stayer dropping back to the sprints for this feature event. He has been given a month freshen up by trainer Tony Brett and could be the smokey in this field.