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It's another packed day of racing across Australia on Saturday
  1. Horse Racing

Australian Racing: Ceasefire to be over at Muswellbrook

There are eight meetings due to take place on Friday and we have three selections for readers.

Race 5 Muswellbrook

Ceasefire @ 4.00

Race 6 Cranbourne

Jenniferwish @ 3.60

Race 5 Rockhampton

Art By Concorde @ 2.50

Ceasefire to score

The fifth race at Muswellbrook is an intriguing 1280m handicap. A soft 6 track is forecast with Damaged expected to have his supporters following two good efforts at Benchmark 72 level this spell.

The most recent of those came when beaten just over a length in a 1100m contest on a soft 5 track at Warwick Farm just over two weeks ago. The Exceed And Excel gelding has won at this venue in the past when scoring over this distance in the Denman Cup back in October.

However, it is Ceasefire that is preferred on this occasion, with the selection having performed well when racing first up in a Benchmark 68 event over 1200m at Gosford at the end of last month.

The selection is expected to strip fitter for that outing which came on a soft 5 surface. Ridden by Aaron Bullock on that occasion, the five-year-old was checked in the straight and is seeking a third win in four starts at this venue.

Handler Paul Messara does well here and his representative can help him improve on his impressive 45% strike-rate (15/33) here in the last year.

Jenniferwish to deliver Cranbourne success

Cranbourne plays host to an eight-race card, with the sixth race to jump a 2025m Benchmark 64 contest. Hopkins looks likely to jump as favourite following a good fourth-place finish when racing at Benchmark 64 level in a 2040m contest at Moonee Valley a week ago. 

Trained by Reece Goodwin, the five-year-old usually comes from off the pace, so barrier eight should prove no issue with Luke Nolen up.

Jenniferwish is untried at this distance and is selected to get the better of the gelding having shown some good form over 1600m in recent starts. The filly was a narrow winner of a Restricted 64 contest over the 1600m trip when contesting a 10-runner event at Pakenham in January.

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Since then the daughter of Mshawish has acquitted herself well in two starts including when beaten less than two-and-a-half-lengths into eighth in a Benchmark 80 contest at Moonee Valley. Jamie Mott is expected to have his mount settled in mid-division here and, with that in mind, the pick has a good barrier jumping from four off the rail. 

While the step up in trip is an unknown, handler Luke Oliver does well here and his charge has shown a liking for this track in the past, albeit over a much shorter distance than she tackles on Friday.

Art to complete hat-trick

The fifth race on the Rockhampton card looks a good opportunity for Art By Concorde to complete a hat-trick. The 1600m Benchmark 65 contest sees a field of nine set to line up, including the Under The Louvre gelding, who won at Benchmark 65 level over 1200m at Cunnamulla earlier this month.

Trained by Craig Smith, the pick should have no issues with the extra distance he encounters here having won by a narrow margin when winning over this course and distance prior.

That effort came in a Benchmark 65 contest on a soft 5 track, but the good 4 surface here should pose no issues, as he has won four times on a sound surface in the past. The six-year-old is bidding to register a fourth win in nine starts at this venue and certainly looks capable of continuing his good run of form this time around.

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