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Australian Racing: Gems Eagles can soar to victory

There are six meetings set to take place on Friday including at Muswellbrook where a heavy 8 track is expected for an eight-race card.

Race 7 Muswellbrook

Acquitted @ 2.90

Race 6 Benalla

Fox Appeal @ 4.60

Race 3 Launceston

Gems Eagle @ 2.10

Acquitted for Cup glory

The penultimate race on the card is the Muswellbrook Gold Cup, a 1500m contest which has attracted a total of 20 declarations.

Trainer Kris Lees boasts a strong hand here, with the handler’s Kinloch expected to have plenty of supporters having won twice from four starts this prep.

The second of those victories saw the six-year-old triumph in a 16-runner renewal of the Sunshine Coast Cup over 1400m at Sunshine Coast in January.

While the gelding has been beaten on both subsequent starts, he performed well when third in the 1400m Listed National Sprint at Canberra last month.

That Canberra effort came on a soft 5 track and he has won on a heavy surface in the past.

Usually ridden from off the pace, Dylan Gibbons’ mount will jump from barrier 14 here and preference is for stablemate ACQUITTED.

The seven-year-old is another to have shown good form at Listed level, with the gelding winning twice at that level in Queensland earlier this season.

The selection had resumed with a good second, beaten less than one-and-a-half-lengths in a 1300m Benchmark 94 handicap at Newcastle in November.

The son of Night Of Thunder went on to salute by one-and-a-half-lengths in the 1600m Roku Gin Tails Stakes when racing on a soft 6 surface aet Doomben.

A switch to Eagle Farm proved no issue with the gelding going on to complete a double when successful over the same distance in the Bernborough Plate subsequently.

Aaron Bullock is set to ride the ex-European galloper for the first time here and, having gone well fresh in the past, he is taken to record a Cup success in the feature.

Appeal for Benalla success

The sixth race on an eight-race program at Benalla is a 1612m Benchmark 64 handicap event.

Villasaurus arrives here in good form and is expected to feature prominently in punters' thoughts following wins in two of his last three starts.

Those wins include an impressive maiden success in a 1400m contest when jumping at odds of $1.20 at Wagga in January.

The three-year-old lost out when runner-up at Albury subsequently but made amends when racing over 1600m in a Benchmark 58 handicap at the same track last month.

Blaike McDougall has a good barrier aboard his mount and, while he looks to hold strong claims, FOX APPEAL is the pick on this occasion.

Trained by Craig Weeding, the gelding delivered a couple of solid third place finishes earlier this prep, including over 1406m in a Benchmark 64 handicap here in February.

The son of Foxwedge followed that effort up with a two-and-a-half-length third in a 1590m Benchmark 70 handicap at Wangaratta just over a month ago.

The selection was highly-tried when starting at $81 for the Country Mile Final over 1600m at Caulfield subsequently and he is taken to salute dropping in class.

Eagle to fly at Launceston

The Tasbred 2yo contest is a 1200m set weights event due off as the third race on the card at Launceston.

Stuart Gandy’s GEMS EAGLE showed plenty of ability in his two barrier trials, including when saluting by half-a-length over 800m at Hobart in February.

The selection had a number of his rivals here in behind him when placing second in an 1120m maiden at this venue on his official racecourse debut subsequently.

The form of that contest is working out well, with the winner Hoax scoring subsequently and the pick looks up to breaking his maiden at the second time of asking.

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