Both sponsored by breeding gurus the A-Team, the Thunder is the return of marathon racing to Albion Park starting from the 395m boxes to total 832m in distance, while the annual Lightning Series Final will showcase Brisbane’s best sprinters over 395m.
The last marathon race to be seen at Albion Park was in June 1993, from the 520m boxes (over 957m in total) but was stopped after safety concerns due to the extreme distance.
The A-Team Thunder, worth $5,000 to the winner, will have southern stayer Drifting poised as favourite after running in a top win for her first look at the track over 710m last week.
With six runners in the race, Drifting will jump from box four with a vacant box on her inside and is tipped to finish strongly for John Dart, who is the Queensland representative of trainer Wayne Vassallo.
However, the new distance is sure to be a challenge to pick, with top stayer That’s Twitchy also starting in the race.
Jumping from box eight, That’s Twitchy beat Queensland National Distance Champion Seminole in the heat of that series, and ran second to her in the final.
It will be a return to Brisbane for the Carine Lazari-trained stayer after failing to place in a 630m fourth grade at Ipswich last start.
A regular Albion Park distance runner to keep an eye on also in this race is Irish Fantasy, who has drawn box one.
Joining Drifting from the southern states is William Dance’s performer Laura’s Legacy, who comes up fresh to Brisbane after running two seconds at Maitland and Gosford, as well as a first over 715m at the Gardens last month.
Jumping from box two, she will surely add another dimension to the race.
Marie Reltub, in box five, and Surfin Snow in box seven, will also be interesting runners, showing form in middle distance races but yet to snag wins over the 710m.,
In contrast, The A-Team lightning (Race Eight) is sure to be an exciting sprint with fastest qualifier Black Framed drawing box one, and Grampian in box two.
The Reg Hazelgrove trained Black Framed, has shown tremendous form over the distance with six starts for four wins and one second.
In the heat, he was never in doubt winning by five and a half lengths, and seems to be the top chance in this final.
However, Rockhampton Cup winner Grampian will be hot on his heels from box two, after running in a solid heat win ahead of Rebel Undercover.
It was Grampian’s first start over the distance at Albion Park and is sure to improve on the run. Grampian’s early speed is sure to be a key factor in his run.
From a difficult box five, Bundy Assassin would also be considered a top rater, however is a tricky alley to get out of.
A top chance in this race is also Troy Sharpe’s Kay Size State from box seven, who may benefit from the wide box with the competitive dash that is sure to play out in the inside boxes.
Other regular quality Albion Park Thursday night racing is Race Three, the fourth grade Hawkins Media Solutions 520m.
It will be a great race with Shanahan Bale drawing box one and Royston Renegade drawing box eight.
Shanahan Bale has shown quick box speed in recent starts including a great start in last week’s second place to Texas Ranger, where he ran a blistering 5.67 for the first sectional.
However, Royston Renegade can finish a race strongly, and while isn’t expected to go to the lead with Shanahan Bale on the inside, will make it a competitive finish.
Andy Albion’s Best Bets:
- Race 2 Number 1 Rickaby
- Race 3 Number 1 Shanahan Bale
- Race 4 Number 4 Drifting
- Race 8 Number 1 Black Framed