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Australian Racing: Kiptanui go can the distance

There are five meetings set to take place on Thursday with provincial meetings from Hawkesbury, Northam and Kilcoy supplemented by country meets at Bendigo and Ballina.

Race 7 Hawkesbury
Kiptanui @ 7.00

Race 3 Northam
Major Mario @ 2.60

Race 7 Kilcoy
Sterlington @ 4.00

Hawkesbury win on the cards for KIptanui

The penultimate race on Hawkesbury’s seven race card is an interesting 2100m Benchmark 64 handicap contest.

A soft 6 surface is expected with the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Okataina expected to have his supporters following some good efforts this time around.

The three-year-old broke his maiden over 1600m at Kembla Grange May 27th and has finished fourth in Benchmark 72 events on both subsequent starts.

The first of those came over 1800m at Rosehill and, while he looks worth a go at this 2100m trip, preference is for top weight KIPTANUI.

Trained by Matthew Dale the 7.00 gelding had been freshened prior to a three-length second in the 1600m Parkes Cup held on a soft 5 track at Parkes last month.

The six-year-old gets a drop in grade here following a couple of respectable efforts at Benchmark 72 level, including when fifth over 2140m at Warwick Farm June 12. 

Matthew Dale boasts an impressive 50% strike-rate (4/8) at this meeting this season, while apprentice Hannah Williams won on her only previous ride on the gelding here earlier this year.

Northam looks like suiting Mario

The third race at Northam is a 1300m maiden contest with the once-raced MAJOR MARIO taking the eye here.

The gelding gained plenty of experience in barrier trials, improving with each effort prior to registering a narrow victory in a 1000m contest at Belmont Park earlier this month.

That effort was followed by a good third-place finish in an 1100m maiden event at this venue when making his official debut.

The 2.60 son of Vert De Greece raced in sixth in the early stages of that nine-runner event, finishing well in the style of a horse who would appreciate a step up in distance.

The three-year-old gets just that in this contest and with improvement expected, he is taken to break his maiden at the second time of asking.

Sterlington to score at Kilcoy

Little Vista has shown good form in recent starts and is expected to prove popular ahead of the seventh race at Kilcoy.

The Benchmark 58 handicap is set to take place over 1200m with a soft 5 surface expected.

Dale Smith’s mount showed a liking for this venue when runner-up in a Class 1 handicap here June 4th, but he made no mistake when going one better at Warwick subsequently.

That Warwick effort came in an 1100m Benchmark 55 handicap and, while he holds strong claims, STERLINGTON is expected to prove too strong.

Trained by Steven O’Dea & Matthew Hoysted, the gelding is the least experienced runner in the field having made just the four previous appearances.

The five-year-old showed ability in two starts at Sunshine Coast in 2020, but failed to make an official race start between September of that year and May of this year when winning at Beaudesert.

The 4.00 selection came home nearly one-and-a-half-lengths clear of his seven rivals in that maiden contest.

A solid third place followed when contesting a Benchmark 58 handicap at Dalby a month later, encountering a soft 5 track for the first time since his return to action.

Promising apprentice Emily Lang takes the ride here and her mount looks capable of returning to the winner's enclosure with a victory here. 

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