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Australian Racing: Soft ground suits The Poacher

There are six meetings due to take place on Thursday including provincial fixtures from Newcastle, Ipswich and Geraldton.

Race 7 Newcastle

The Poacher @ 5.00

Race 2 Ipswich

Cristalino @ 2.90

Race 2 Geraldton

Westozi @ 2.40

Poacher for Championship glory

The most valuable race on the Newcastle card is the Polytrack Provincial Midway Championship, a Class 5 contest over 1400m. A soft 5 surface is expected for the race with Loch Eagle expected to have his supporters for the Kris Lees stable. 

The four-year-old showed ability last spell and while his sole win came in a 1250m Benchmark 78 contest at Canberra he was set some stiff tasks later including in the Silver Eagle at Randwick. 

The son of Lonhro kept on in sixth when making his return in a 1200m Class 5 event on a soft 5 track at Gosford earlier this month. Jockey Dylan Gibbons has to overcome barrier 11 here however with that Gosford formline looking key to solving this race.

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Two of the horses ahead of Loch Eagle that day are in this field including the fourth home The Poacher who is preferred on this occasion. Trained by Brad Widdup the gelding had returned with a seventh of eight finish in an 1100m Benchmark 78 contest on a good 4 track at Rosehill last month.

The pick has shown that he handles soft tracks in the past when placing on a soft 5 surface on debut at Randwick Kensington in September 2021. 

The son of No Nay Never steps into the unknown stamina wise here but has a good alley four off the rail and is selected to deliver a third up victory.

Cristalino to score at Ipswich

The second race on the Ipswich card is an interesting 2180m Class 1 contest. A good 4 track is expected for the eight runner event with Cristalino selected to register a triumph for the Kris Lees team.

The pick delivered an impressive victory when racing close to the pace prior to drawing nearly three lengths clear of her rivals in an 1840m maiden at Eagle Farm last month.

That effort came on a good 4 track but the pick failed to shine when unable to get competitive prior to finishing eighth over 1800m in a Class 1 at Sunshine Coast later that month.

The switch back to a good 4 surface appeared to suit when the daughter of Tarzino went close to doubling her career tally when runner-up over 1800m at Sunshine Coast 12th March.

The step up in distance should prove no issue having delivered a good third place finish over 2200m in a Class 1 event at Scone in July last year. Jockey Michael Cahill takes the ride for the first time and his mount looks capable of doubling her career tally.

Westozi to continue winning run

The second at Geraldton, a 2125m Benchmark 68+ contest sees Edmond attempt to deliver a fourth win in 12 starts at the track.

The gelding came home third behind one of his rivals here Black Money when beaten just over one-and-a-half-lengths in a 1900m contest earlier this month.

Troy Turner’s mount should appreciate the extra distance and while Black Money returned to form that day he is not certain to confirm that form. Westozi has been winning at a lower level in recent times and he completed a hat-trick when victorious by a narrow margin in a Benchmark 55+ event over track and trip last month.

Freshened up since that effort he has regular pilot Chris Nicoll in the saddle once more. The three-year-old remains open to improvement and has shown a liking for this venue in the past winning four of his seven starts here.

Trained by Albert Bowtell the gelding has a good alley here and should be able to hold a handy position prior to delivering a fourth consecutive victory.

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