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  1. Horse Racing

Australian Racing: Highest Award after Ascot prize

There are six meetings set to take place on Wednesday with the $500,000 Group 3 Bendigo Cup the feature race of the day.

Race 7 Bendigo

Suizuro @ 6.50 

Race 3 Kensington

Zelta @ 4.20 

Race 6 Ascot

Highest Award @ 4.60 

Suizuro for Cup success

The Bendigo feature is set to take place over 2400m and is due off as the seventh race on a nine-race card.

A good 4 surface is expected for the event, with Interpretation expected to jump as favourite for the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace team. 

The gelding, who performed well in Group 1 company when trained in Europe, came home sixth in this race 12 months ago and placed on his first two starts this spell.

Those two starts both came in lower-grade contests than he tackles here, including in a handicap over the Cox Plate track and trip at Moonee Valley in August.

The six-year-old returned to Group company when finishing in mid-division, having raced from off the pace in the Group 3 Bart Cummings and he looks opposable in this field.

SUIZURO has a wide barrier here and, while the gelding has raced close to or on the speed in recent starts, he did place third when ridden from off the pace in the Group 1 Australian Derby in April.

With that in mind, having to be ridden with restraint shouldn’t pose too many issues, for a gelding who has shown improvement with racing this spell.

That improvement culminated in an impressive three-length victory in the 2050m Moe Cup which was held on a good 4 track on 20th October.

The extra distance here is no issue for the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained gelding, who is taken to deliver a victory stepping up in grade with Craig Newitt retraining the ride. 

Zelta to salute

The third race on the Randwick Kensington card takes the eye with a field of eight declared for the 1550m Benchmark 72 handicap restricted to fillies & mares.

The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott team look to hold strong claims with Petersham expected to jump a short-priced favourite for the race.

The four-year-old broke her maiden at Newcastle in February and was making just her third start since when fifth over this course and distance in a similar race on 18th October.

The daughter of Lonhro caught the eye when coming from off the pace to be beaten less than a length, having been held up in the straight on that occasion.

However, she may find year younger stablemate ZELTA too strong in this event.

The filly recorded her first victory when racing from the front, prior to delivering a half-length success in a maiden held over 1400m on a good 4 surface at Kembla Grange in September.

Similar underfoot conditions are expected here and Rachel King’s mind acquitted herself adequately when eighth in a Listed contest over the same trip at Randwick on her only subsequent start.

A good 4 track is expected here and dropping in grade the three-year-old is taken to upset her better-fancied stablemate.  

Award for Ascot glory

Trainer Meryl Hayley was in the winner’s enclosure at Ascot last week and her HIGHEST AWARD looks capable of delivering a victory in the sixth race on the card.

The race in question is a 1400m Class 3 handicap for fillies & mares and, with a good 4 track expected, the pick has underfoot conditions in her favour.

The selection has registered placed efforts on both starts since saluting in an 1100m maiden at Northam in September, with the most recent of those outings coming here a week ago.

The four-year-old was beaten a length into third having raced from behind the speed in a similar race to this held over track and trip on that occasion.

Jockey Brandon Louis was on board that day and takes one-and-a-half-kilograms off the filly’s back, so the pair look capable of recording a victory here. 

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