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Australian Racing: Happy As Larry seeking Belmont joy

There are five meetings set to take place on Wednesday including three metro fixtures.

Race 5 Randwick Kensington

Avonview @ 5.50

Race 6 Sandown Hillside

Speak Now @ 7.50

Race 1 Belmont 

Happy As Larry @ 3.60

Avonview to break maiden 

The $100,000 James Squire Maiden Handicap over 1550m is the most valuable race on the Randwick Kensington card.

The race has attracted a field of 15, headed by top-weight Kapakiri who represents the Chris Waller stable.

The four-year-old has shown up well over this distance in the past when placing third in a set weights maiden contest held on a good 4 track at Canterbury in June.

The gelding was given a break following that effort and returned with a head second in a maiden handicap over 1400m on a soft 6 surface at Newcastle last month.

James McDonald, who has partnered the son of Kermadec in a couple of trials at Rosehill in the past, takes the ride however, barrier nine isn’t ideal and it can pay to look elsewhere for the winner. 

The Anthony Cummings-trained AVONVIEW has shown good form on sound surfaces in three starts to date.

The most recent of those saw the gelding come home by less than a length behind the winner when keeping on nicely for second in a maiden over 1600m at Gosford on 21st August.

While that form is yet to be tested, the gelding placed second with winners in behind when contesting a 1300m maiden at Hawkesbury on his penultimate start.

Jason Collett’s mount has a good alley four off the rail here and looks likely to be able to race prominently on his first start in a handicap.

The soft 5 surface is a slight unknown but he should handle it and is selected to break his maiden at the fourth attempt. 

Speak to complete double 

The sixth race on the Sandown Hillside card is an interesting 1300m Benchmark 70 handicap expected to take place on a good 4 track.

Boldinho has shown improvement with racing this spell and the four-year-old suffered a narrow defeat when runner-up on the Lakeside course here last month.

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained gelding caught the eye in finishing well on that occasion but barrier 12 isn’t ideal in this contest.

The winner on that occasion was SPEAK NOW, who was making his first race appearance since February.

The four-year-old raced close to the speed early on here last time out, prior to settling a few lengths off the pace in third.

Winona Costin’s mount led late on that day, while the quicker going forecast should pose no problems, given she finished close up when sixth at Wyong on a good 4 track in February.  

Trainers Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott boast an impressive 37% strike-rate (7/19) at this venue in the last 12 months and their representative is selected to help improve on that. 

Larry for Belmont glory 

HAPPY AS LARRY takes the eye in the opening race on the Belmont Park card.

The race in question is a 1400m handicap event for horses with no metro wins in the last year.

The son of I’m All The Talk took nine starts to break his maiden but did so in impressive fashion when making all the running to score by three lengths over this course and distance last month.

The three-year-old followed that effort up with a good second when beaten just over one-and-a-half-lengths in a 1400m set weights event here on 26th August.

Trained by Paul Jordan the gelding tackles an easier looking contest here and, returning to a wet track, he looks capable of delivering a victory under Lisa Staples.  

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