Seven-year-old Alma’s Fury faces a tough task in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday after drawing barrier 18 for the $1 million feature race.
The gelding will come into gate 14 following the removal of the four emergencies but that still means he’ll be jumping with the third-widest berth, inside of only Moriarty and Fancy Feet. However the presence of The Cleaner, who likes to find the front and set a fast tempo for his races, is an advantage to Alma’s Fury chances.
“At least you know there will be pace on,” trainer Tony Gollan told Sky Racing.
“Alma’s Fury also has some early pace and I hope The Cleaner breaks the field up and we can get over with some cover.”
The Queensland-trained gelding enjoyed success during the winter with successive wins in the Listed Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) and Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m). He raced well in Melbourne during the spring but couldn’t manage a win from any of his four starts.
A tilt in the 2014 Railway Stakes was planned early on in the spring, after the gelding failed to get into the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Charity Cup (1400m) on September 28, finishing eleventh of fourteen.
“We made the Railway Stakes the target for Alma’s Fury after he was beaten in the Rupert Clarke Stakes early in the spring,” Gollan said.
“The race is his grand final.”
He was last seen finishing runner-up to Hucklebuck in the Group 3 Yellowglen Stakes (1400m) on November 1. He had a great run, getting through and toughing it out well to earn a placing. Hucklebuck then went on to win the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) one week later, which has only helped improve Alma’s Fury’s form.
Alma’s Fury is a $13 hopeful in the Railway Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, which is headlined by The Cleaner at $4.80.
Michael Rodd will serve as hoop before departing for Singapore for a three-month stint. Gollan would love to win the 2014 Railway Stakes for Rodd as much as himself.
“Michael has won two Group one races for me aboard Spirit Of Boom. He has been a great help to me over the years and I would love to send him away with another Group One under his belt,” Gollan said.
Gollan will have his chance to atone for last year’s Super Saturday at Ascot, in which Spirit Of Boom was badly checked in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), a race many believe he should have won.