The Graeme Bate-trained chaser has won his past three starts at Albion Park, including his heat and final win in the Group Two Imagetec Gold Coast Cup where he collected a $25,000 winner’s cheque with a swift time of 29.90.
The Group One Garrard’s Winter Carnival Cup is the curtain closer for the 2009 Sky Channel Winter Carnival in Brisbane, and is worth $50,000 to the winner.
The heats last week saw Velocette dominate his field in 30.02 from box seven, with another blistering first sectional of 5.74.
Lining up from box six tonight, it will be a mad dash for the lead with another Group Two title winner, High Earner, on his inside in box five.
High Earner has won three Group Two races this year including the Brandons Queensland Derby on June 18.
However, he has struggled to beat Velocette since his arrival, and will be hoping to pick him up in this final.
One of Graeme Bate’s other starters in the race, Dyna Forte, is also ranked a good chance, jumping from box eight after finishing second behind Trew Millions in the heats last week.
Trew Millions is one of two from the Melbourne-based Tina Womann kennels, and has drawn box seven, and will benefit from Velocette’s early speed on his inside.
Trew Millions ran impressively to hold out Dyna Forte in his heat, running in a very good time of 30.05 from box six.
The other Womann-trained performer in the final is Matching Outcome, who burnt the field in his heat to run the fastest first sectional of 5.63 from box five, and winning in an overall time of 30.05.
Finishing second behind Matching Outcome was a top performance from Kelvyn Greenough’s Cindeen Shelby, who ran a very good race despite it being her first start at Albion Park.
The Bombastic Shiraz-bitch has beaten some of the stars of the track in recent weeks in Melbourne, including Group One winner Fedex, and is sure to improve from the race experience at Albion Park.
Another top effort in the heats came from another Graeme Bate-trained performer Turanza Bale, who chased down High Earner to claim victory. Jumping from box three, he should not be overlooked with a strong record of three starts for one win, and one second on the track.
Ranked outsider, Paddy Bell, is another to keep an eye on proving he shouldn’t be taken lightly making his second Group final in recent weeks. Paddy Bell will jump from box four.
Other racing on Winter Carnival Cup night will see the return to Brisbane of Group Three Big Dog Cup winner Santino Marella.
The Stephen Rolf-trained dog produced a very strong effort to take out the $22,000 600m race on June 25, and will this week line up in the fourth and fifth grade Give Me Five At Stud (Race 5) over 600m.
However, he will have strong competition from box four in Dashing Corsair, who has forged a solid grounding in qualifying for 520m group races, and will be trying to uphold his perfect 600m record of two starts for two wins.
From the two starts, Dashing Corsair ran a blistering 34.80 on the 25 June, and will be hoping to hit similar timings this week.
Race seven, the Best Eight Chris & Maureen Garrard 520m is sure to be a very interesting race.
Recent form in Group racing would suggest Azastar would head into the race as favourite after showing talent last week running second behind Paddy Bell in the Winter Carnival Cup heats.
However, Christine Robartson’s Elma Fud will be a very strong chance from box one, an alley he has only seen once in his 29 starts, winning it by four and a half lengths.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 5 Number 4 Dashing Corsair
- Race 6 Number 1 Classy Cha Cha
- Race 7 Number 1 Elma Fud
- Race 8 Number 6 Velocette