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Cranbourne’s Robbie Laing might not have great expectations for Audino in the 2015 Australia Stakes this weekend but he is hoping the horse can prove him wrong on way to some easier targets over the coming weeks.
Danerich gelding Audino is one of only eight remaining runners in this Saturday’s edition of the $200,000 Group 2 Jeep Australia Stakes (1200m) running at Moonee Valley Racecourse over the Australia Day long weekend.
Nine gallopers accepted but Richie’s Vibe, who won the race 12 months ago, was scratched on Thursday after suffering a mild bout of colic.
Of those remaining the Australia Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by Peter Moody’s resuming triple Group 1 winner Dissident at $1.80.
Drawn in the outside barrier with Dwayne Dunn to ride, six-year-old Audino is the $61 roughie of the Australia Stakes betting markets.
Being the outside chance is no surprise to Laing who recognises his horse is probably out-classed in the Group 2 showdown.
With so few final acceptors however he thought he’d throw the sprinter – miler into the deep end.
“We’ve got no great expectations tomorrow but Rachel and myself own him and it’s 4000 down to 8 and it’s 8 runners so it’s a good payday,” he told RSN’s Racing & Sport.
A winner of three straight during November and December last year over 1500m – 1600m, Audino has been disappointing in his two most recent runs.
On December 20 he was beaten nine lengths when eighth to Floatmyboat in a Benchmark 90 over 1420m when weakening once put under pressure over the final 400m.
Then last start on January 10 he ran ninth beaten nine lengths by the in-form The Quarterback in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m).
While on paper that is a poor performance, Laing rated it a “super run”.
The horse got a long way back after missing the kick and found himself six lengths off the leaders with 400m to go.
He tried his heart out of the closing stages then to cut that margin in half but was never really a winning hope having been without a chance from the inside alley.
“He drew one and as it’s well documented these days the inside of Flemington’s no good,” Laing said.
“So the barrier one was the disadvantage.
“He gave away too big a start and was only beaten 2.8 (lengths) so it was a super run.”
Laing holds no illusions of grandeur for Audino in the Australia Stakes then but does hope for a competitive performance as a stepping stone for a mile race in the coming weeks.
“One thing we’ve got to look at is putting on some good on mile welters etcetera,” Laing said.
“The benchmark races are great but when you get a horse like him that hits a purple patch the benchmarks are so high now it’s impossible for him to win a nice mile race on a Saturday with 62 kilos.
“So he’s going to that race tomorrow, he’s outclassed but hopefully it’s a stepping stone to something in a week or two that we can get into.”
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