Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
They’re the roughie of the field but jockey Blake Shinn will still be doing his best aboard the Guy Walter-trained Straight Albert in Saturday’s Razor Sharp Handicap 2013 in Sydney.
Shinn has a nice book of rides at the Kensington track this weekend including aboard Alma’s Fury, second in the race last year, in the day’s feature – the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1500m).
Alma’s Fury is a decent $14 chance, perhaps even over the Villiers Stakes odds at that price, and Shinn rates them as the one to beat.
“Alma’s Fury put the writing on the wall with a great run last start in the Festival Stakes,” he said speaking of the gelding’s third in the Listed, 1500m, Rosehill race from November 30.
“The first two that day, White Sage and Terravista, aren’t competing in this race, and they would have been the benchmark against him.
“He’s a classy horse, he’s drawn a perfect gate (four) and I expect him to be hard to beat.
“He’s the pick of my rides.”
Shinn’s ride in the last meanwhile is on a $71 long shot.
He’ll bring the day to a close in Race 8 with Walter’s Magic Albert six-year-old Straight Albert who is the longest priced of the 12 assured runners in the Razor Sharp Handicap field.
Straight Albert was one of the most promising Sydney cups horses in 2011 – 12 when Walter took over training from their previous horseman Michael Dobie.
Under Walter’s care Straight Albert would win the 2011 Goulburn Cup, as well as the Listed Tattersall’s Club Cup (2095m) at Warwick Farm and the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) in January of 2012.
Things went amiss after that however and the galloper has been restricted to just two races since due to injury and setbacks.
After an enforced hiatus of 20 months the horse resumed racing at Rosehill on November 30 in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m).
It was far from a stellar return however as they could only manage to finish six and a half lengths away seventh behind Zaratone.
They face a very similar field of rivals again for the Razor Sharp Handicap on Saturday then, including Starlight Stakes winning eight-year-old Zaratone ($7.50).
Also coming via the Starlight Stakes are the likes of Razor Sharp favourite Heart Testa ($3) for Chris Waller who ran second and Peter Snowden’s third placed Exceed And Excel colt Safeguard ($6.50).
Shinn is looking forward to the opportunity to have Straight Albert prove their price wrong, the in-form jockey in flying form since returning from suspension on November 24.
He’s had a 50 percent Win / Place rate since coming back with 13 wins and 13 minor placings from 52 rides as of end of night at Goulburn on Wednesday night.
“If you go back and look at my stats over the past 12 months I feel like they’ve been consistent,” Shinn told The Daily Telegraph on Thursday.
“I’ve worked very hard to be consistent on the track, and I feel I’m starting to get better opportunities because of my stronger relationship with trainers.
“I went over to Hong Kong for a holiday, but also took the opportunity to look at the racing there.
“I learned a few things, mainly the mental side of racing, which I’m trying to implement into my day-to-day routine here, and it’s working.”
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