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Australian Racing: Astapor bids for Group 3 glory

There is plenty of racing action for punters on Saturday, including at Eagle Farm, where the Group 3 Magic Millions B.J. McLachlan Stakes takes centre stage.

Race 6 Eagle Farm

Astapor @ 4.40

Race 4 Moonee Valley

Musgrave @ 5.50

Race 6 Randwick

Principessa @ 21.00

Astapor tipped to fly in

The feature race at Eagle Farm is set to take place over 1200m, with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Storm Boy expected to jump as a short-priced favourite for the race.

The colt showed up well in a couple of barrier trials including when putting daylight between himself and his rivals in an 815m contest at Warwick Farm last month.

The youngster then confirmed that he is a horse with plenty of ability when delivering a victory in an 1100m handicap at Rosehill on debut at the start of this month.

The Justify colt won by over two lengths on a soft 6 track that day and, while he rates highly here, preference is for ASTAPOR.

The 4.40 pick will jump from next to the rail here, having registered two wins from as many starts for in-form handler Clinton Taylor.

The juvenile came home over four-and-a-half-lengths clear of his rivals in a 1050m maiden at Rockhampton on debut, while he duly followed up when stepped up to 1110m at Doomben.

That latest effort came when racing close to the pace on a soft 6 track and, having been freshened since that triumph, he looks up to completing a hat-trick with Justin Stanley on board.

Musgrave to shine at Moonee Valley

Moonee Valley stages a highly-competitive ten-race card, with the fourth contest of the day a Benchmark 64 handicap over the 2040m distance of the Cox Plate.

A good 4 track is expected, with in-form hoop Celine Gaudray’s mount Call The Union expected to have her supporters here.

The five-year-old registered her first victory against winners when delivering a two-length success in a 1600m Class 1 handicap at Sandown Lakeside last month.

The mare jumped at odds of $26 that day, but proved that was no fluke when third in a 2000m Benchmark 64 handicap at Caulfield subsequently.

However, while she looks to hold strong claims, the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained MUSGRAVE is preferred from a wide barrier.

The gelding has shown good form in his two starts this time around, including when three lengths fourth in a Restricted 64 handicap on a good 3 track at Ararat first up.

The 5.50 pick, who was tried at Listed level in Sandown’s St Leger in April, caught the eye when finishing well in placing second over this track and trip on a soft 5 track subsequently.

The form of that latest effort is working out well, with the third home winning since and a number of the beaten horses finishing in the first four on their next outings.

Highly promising Irishman Dylan Browne McMonagle rode his first Australian winner of the season at Caulfield earlier this month and he looks capable of steering the gelding to victory here.

Pride's mare expected to score

The sixth race on the Randwick card takes the eye with the 1200m Benchmark 78 handicap attracting a field of 12.

PRINCIPESSA showed good form in her last spell, including when completing a double in delivering a victory in a 1600m Benchmark 78 handicap at this venue in April.

While the 21.00 selection has been unable to salute in three previous first up efforts, she has placed on each occasion and is expected to be ridden from off the pace down in trip.

Joseph Pride’s mare is expected to strip fitter for an eighth of ten in an 800m barrier trial at Hawkesbury earlier this month.

The forecast soft 6 track is in the mare's favour and with Reece Jones up she is taken to resume with a victory.

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