Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock are eyeing a debut victory in Sydney and a black-type breakthrough in Queensland as they chase winners across four states on Saturday.
Kris Lees-trained Princess Posh will race in the listed Tatt’s Mile (1600m) at Doomben, while new stablemate Tactical Advantage will have his first run in Australian Bloodstock colours in the July Sprint (1100m) at Randwick.
Down south, the 2014 Melbourne Cup winners have the Darren Weir-trained Mongolian Wolf in a benchmark 82 handicap (2400m) at Morphettville and stablemate Sixties Groove in the K A Morrison Handicap (2000m) at Flemington.
Australian Bloodstock director Luke Murrell was most excited about the debut of Tactical Advantage. Formerly trained by James Cummings then Joe Pride, the four-year-old gelding was in the sights of Murrell for 18 months and is returning from a minor throat operation.
“He has a heap of talent and it’s his first go for us, but we’re pretty confident,” Murrell said. “He trialled really well and I think he can go really close.”
Four-year-old mare Princess Posh was a last-start winner at Doomben on July 7 and will race at black-type level for just the second time.
“She’s won $300,000 but hasn’t really raced in a top-line race and we’re kind of forced to go that way now,” he said. “If we can a win a race like that, it obviously adds significant value to her.
“She deserves a crack at something like that. She’s so consistent and always tries hard. She likes a soft track though and it looks a little hard for her, but I think she’s a top four or five chance.”
Sixties Groove is another last-start winner for the company. The five-year-old Irish-bred gelding cruised to his first Australian victory on July 7 and shapes as a genuine spring carnival campaigner.
“He’s in a lot harder race than what he met the other day, but he’s probably come on,” Murrell said. “There’s a bit of a question mark over whether he can handle a really fast speed, which he’ll get tomorrow, but Darren said he’s improved.
“All going well, he’ll have a 2500m race in two weeks, then we’ll set him for the Caulfield-Melbourne Cups. Darren thinks he’s that level, so fingers crossed.”
Mongolian Wolf, meanwhile, was scratched from Flemington and Sydney in the search for a softer track.
“He should be favourite and Darren thinks he’ll run the trip,” he said. “That’s one in each state so hopefully we can get two or three of them.”
On Friday, group 1-winning Newcastle jockey Darryl McLellan made his return to race riding in NSW with third on the David Atkins-trained Adriana at Taree.
Meanwhile, Menari is the latest horse to secure a spot in the $13 million Everest (1200m) with slot holder Max Whitby confirming he will run for him and partner Neil Werrett.
There are three spots in the October 13 Everest yet to be determined with Chautauqua to run in the second of two enforced trials on Monday to confirm his place for GPI Racing.
James Harron and the Australian Turf Club are the other slot holders yet to name their runners.
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