Toowoomba’s New Year’s Eve racing action will be top class thanks to a record prize money meet for the recently upgraded track highlighted by the Bernborough Handicap 2013.
Previously held at Doomben on the Saturday after Christmas, this year’s edition of the $175,000 Listed TRC City Of Toowoomba Bernborough Handicap (1625m) runs at Toowoomba’s first race meeting since the course proper received a major redevelopment.
Bernborough Handicap nominations and weights are now out with a bumper 26 early entries taken for the end-of-year feature.
Heading the nominees with the 60kg top weight is the Paul Murray-trained Alma’s Fury.
The Refuse To Bend six-year-old has been in top form this past month running third in their two lead-up races.
After being beaten four lengths by White Sage in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) last month they improved when third again this time defeated under two lengths by Ninth Legion in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) in Sydney.
The next heaviest weighted on 57kg each are then the Kelso Wood-trained stablemates Benny’s Buttons and Someday.
Six-year-old Benny’s Buttons was last seen running a close second behind Love Rocks in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) while five-year-old Someday won their last start defeating Essington in the Listed Brisbane Handicap over the Doomben mile a fortnight ago.
Lough Neagh Stakes winner Love Rocks is a notable omission from the Bernborough Handicap nominations with trainer Steve Tregea decided the 1600m on the elevated track would be too tough an ask.
Also coming via the Brisbane Handicap from December 14 like Someday meanwhile are runner-up Essington and third placed Black Cash who were both within a length of the winner.
Darryl Hansen’s Sunshine Coast-based seven-year-old Essington ran fourth in an incredible six straight races from September through until the end of November before their brave Brisbane Handicap second when they relished a firm track.
Black Cash meanwhile will drop back a kilo from 55.5kg to 54.5kg if accepted for the Bernborough next Tuesday, the Kelly Doughty-trained Show A Heart grey looking to return to the winning form that saw them carry 60kg to victory over the 1400m at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day.
Other runners high up the Bernborough Handicap ballot and weights then include the Brian Smith-trained Group 3 winner Rothera (56.5kg) looking to return to form, the former Chris Waller-trained Firebolt (56kg) and Absalon (55kg) for Sam Kavanagh.
Also in the mix meanwhile are the likes of last start Gold Coast winner Noisy Ocean on a 10 day back-up, Brisbane Handicap fourth placegetter Billy Aucash and Peter Snowden’s in-form Sydney raider Imperil.
The Bernborough Handicap 2013 field and barriers will be out later in the week with markets to go up soon after at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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2013 Bernborough Handicap Nominations
Toowoomba Racecourse – 31/12/2013
|1||ALMA’S FURY||Paul Murray||1||60kg||104|
|2||BENNY’S BUTTONS||Kelso Wood||2=||57kg||98|
|5||FIREBOLT (NZ)||Brian Wakefield||5||56kg||96|
|7||BLACK CASH||Kelly Doughty||7||54.5kg||93|
|8||BIGGLES||Noel J Doyle||8||54kg||91|
|9||BILLY AUCASH||Brian Smith||13=||54kg||86|
|11||DELAGO PILLI||Graham Pollock||23||54kg||79|
|12||EQUISSENTIAL||Neville O Saunders||16=||54kg||83|
|14||FLYING HOME||Barry Baldwin||9||54kg||90|
|17||MR LIGHT BLUE||Barry Baldwin||16=||54kg||83|
|18||NEW DAY RISING||David Pfieffer||21||54kg||80|
|19||NOISY OCEAN||Bryan Guy||18=||54kg||81.5|
|22||SCORPIO QUEEN||Les Kelly||15||54kg||85|
|25||TO THE NORTH||Ben Currie||26||54kg||71|
|26||TYPHOON RED||Kevin Kemp||18=||54kg||81.5|