They may be coming up against a star-studded field of Group 1 winners but Alma’s Fury will be there fighting it out with the best of them in the 2013 Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney this weekend according to their Kembla Grange-based trainer Paul Murray.
There were 17 official nominations taken for this year’s edition of the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) to run at Warwick Farm on Saturday including an incredible 11 horses already boasting an elite level win.
Headline entries include last year’s winner Shoot Out – one of seven for Chris Waller – and Peter Moody’s star import Manighar who enjoyed an historic Group 1 triple last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
While not boasting a record quite as impressive Refuse To Bend five-year-old Alma’s Fury has also been entered for the Chipping Norton following a nice first-up win at the track on February 23.
Having found form in the summer when a close second in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm before their Listed Bernborough Handicap win also over the mile but in Brisbane during December, Alma’s Fury returned to Sydney for their resuming run last month.
At their pet track at the Farm they overcame gate 11 of 12 and carried a hefty 59kg to victory relishing the mud track, a surprise based on their previous poor record in the wet as a youngster, to score an upset victory as a 20-1 chance in the Group 1 Apollo Stakes (1400m) when ridden by Blake Shinn.
There they beat a number of other Chipping Norton Stakes hopefuls including runner-up Tougher Than Ever and third placed Danleigh, both prepared by Waller who is after his third straight Chipping success this weekend.
Murray is hopeful that the gelding can prove that win was no fluke and be competitive again on what is likely to be another bog track this weekend.
“It was so heavy they were getting into it so he wasn’t slipping and sliding,” Murray said of the track for the Apollo Stakes.
“I have no concerns now about running him on a similar track if the rain comes again.”
Murray is vying for his maiden Group 1 winner as a trainer, having handled a number for his father Bede over the years, but the fact Alma’s Fury could be that horse came as a surprise.
“I always thought Predatory Pricer would be the one,” Murray said speaking of the half-brother to ace sprinter Takeover Target who was defeated a mere half-head when second to Efficient in the 2009 Turnbull Stakes.
“And I always thought Alma’s Fury was a Listed to a Group Three horse but funny things happen in racing and now we are raising the bar.”
The 2013 Chipping Norton Stakes final field and barriers are due for release on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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