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  1. Horse Racing

Australian Racing: Enterprise Maximus set to cause upset

There are five meetings set to take place on Thursday including provincial meetings at Ipswich and Belmont Park.

Race 9 Ipswich

Enterprise Maximus @ 15/2

Race 8 Belmont Park

Masaru @ 15/2

Race 6 Pakenham

Gringotts @ 2/1

Maximus for Ipswich success

The finale at Ipswich is an intriguing 1350m Restricted 58 handicap contest. A good 4 track is forecast with Marcada expected to start a short-priced favourite following some good efforts this spell.

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The six-year-old performed well when winning in Benchmark 55 company at Warwick when encountering a good 3 surface last month. Justin Stanley, booked to ride here was on board that day as was the case when the pair placed second over 1500m at this level here subsequently.

Eight ran in that latest contest and while a bigger field here is no issue a draw in 12 is likely to prove more troublesome particularly given the mare likes to race close to the pace.

Enterprise Maximus is taken to upset Joe Gleeson’s mare with the son of Shamus Award having shown good form in two starts this time around. The winner of a 1200m Restricted 58 contest on a heavy 8 track at Beaudesert in December the pick subsequently delivered a good third over the same trip at Kilcoy.

That Kilcoy effort came in a Benchmark 60 event and on similar underfoot conditions to those that are forecast here. A rail draw is a positive for Georgina Cartwright’s mount and he is taken to deliver career win number four.

Masaru for Belmont Park success

The eighth race on Belmont Park’s card is a competitive looking 2100m Class 3 handicap contest. Zooropa is expected to have his supporters stepping up in distance following a third place finish at Class 1 level over 1650m here earlier this month.

The four-year-old had broken his maiden over the same track and trip two starts earlier and has regular jockey Shaun McGruddy up here.

While open to improvement on just his eighth career start the gelding has to prove his stamina here and Masaru is taken to get the better of him on this occasion. Eddie Philp’s mare has shown good form in 2023 finishing close up over this course and distance on her first two starts of the year.

The daughter of Excelebration was beaten by a narrow margin in a Benchmark 54+ event when runner-up on her penultimate start. Victoria Corver’s mount gained compensation when charging home to salute in a Class 1 event here last week however. Masaru has a fair draw in eight and looks up to completing a double.

Gringotts to break maiden

The sixth race on the Pakenham card is a 1400m maiden contest. The likely favourite Gringotts takes the eye here for the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace training partnership.

The three-year-old came home half-a-length second in a maiden over 1200m on a good 4 track at Sandown Lakeside when making his debut last month. That race is producing winners with the fourth and sixth home both scoring in the interim period.

The selection again performed well when finishing runner-up in a maiden over this course and distance at the start of the month. Tackling a soft 7 track that day he kept on well on that occasion and while he handled the wet track that day the return to a sound surface is no issue.

A wide draw isn’t ideal here but jockey John Allen knows the gelding well and should prove capable of slotting him in behind the early speed.

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