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Australian Racing: Gundaroo looks good at Benalla

There are four meetings set to take place on Tuesday, including at Benalla where a nine-race card is scheduled.

The other action takes place at Goulburn, Townsville and Wellington.

Race 6 Benalla

Gundaroo @ 2.90

Race 5 Goulburn

Fairness Is Best @ 15.00

Race 7 Townsville

I Eff Oh @ 2.70

Gundaroo to triumph at Benalla

The sixth race on the Benalla card is a competitive looking 1206m Benchmark 58 handicap event.

A field of 14 has been declared for the race which is expected to take place on a good 4 track.

While most of these have plenty of experience Mont Saint Michel, who has made just four previous starts is expected to have his supporters here.

The three-year-old broke his maiden when debuting over this course and distance at the end of October and has acquitted himself well in three subsequent starts.

Those starts include a fifth when jumping at $21 for an eight-runner 1400m Benchmark 70 handicap at Flemington at the start of January.

The drop in distance is no issue while the switch to country racing is a further positive in this event.

However, GUNDAROO is preferred on this occasion having performed well earlier this season.

The five-year-old was narrowly beaten when finishing runner-up in a 1200m maiden at Ballarat when racing first up last prep.

The son of Hallowed Crown went on to break his maiden over the same distance when racing down the straight at Flemington in December on his next outing.

The 2.90 selection raced just twice subsequently however ending that prep with a good fourth in an 1100m Benchmark 64 handicap at Bendigo in February.

Trainer Perth Smith’s representative hasn’t been helped by the barrier allocation, but he looks up to overcoming a wide alley to deliver a victory under Rhys McLeod.

Fairness goes for Goulburn glory

A heavy 9 track is forecast for Goulburn with the fifth race of the day a Benchmark 66 handicap set to take place over 1300m.

Chop The Ice is expected to jump as favourite for trainer Gratz Vella. The gelding won twice last prep, including by two lengths in a 1200m handicap on a soft 5 surface at Canberra in September.

The three-year-old resumed this time around with a close second in an 1175m Class 2 handicap at Albury last month.

Jockey Damon Budler, on board that day, is again in the saddle here, however FAIRNESS IS BEST is taken to register a win for the Pat Murphy team.

The son of Press Statement broke his maiden by a narrow margin when racing over this course and distance on a good 4 track in September.

The 15.00 selection went on to register a victory in a 1425m Benchmark 58 handicap when encountering similar underfoot conditions at Moruya two starts later.

The pick dropped back in distance here, having failed to finish well when only fifth over 1600m in a Class 2 handicap when last in action in early November.

The booking of Jeff Penza, on board at Moruya, takes the eye here and with his mount having gone well when fresh in the past the pair are selected to record their second together.

I Eff Oh set for Townsville double

The Steve Royes-trained I EFF OH takes the eye in the finale at Townsville. The race in question is a 1200m Benchmark 55 handicap set to take place on a soft 5 surface.

The three-year-old demonstrated good form in maiden company in 2023, including when narrowly beaten over 1214m on a soft 5 track at Moe in August.

The 2.70 pick was spelled following a below-par sixth of eight when beaten nearly seven lengths over 1200m at the same venue subsequently.

The son of Santos resumed with a two-length victory over 1000m at this venue last month, with the third home that day boosting the form in winning subsequently.

Gabrielle Semmens, on board that day, is again set to ride and the pair look capable of completing a double.

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