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Australian Racing: Optimistic outlook for Fernie at Bunbury

There are no fewer than nine meetings scheduled to take place on Sunday, including at Bunbury where an eight-race card is set to take place.

They also race at Alice Springs, Ballarat, Ballina, Broome, Casterton, Devonport, Dubbo and Rockhampton.

Race 6 Bunbury

Be Optimistic @ 3.00

Race 6 Devonport

Cornelian Bay @ 5.00

Race 5 Ballina

The Lions' Gate @ 2.80

Optimistic of Cup success

The feature race of the day at Bunbury, the Listed Wittens Irrigation & Design South West Cup over 2200m is expected to be held on a soft 6 surface.

Let’s Galahvant is expected to jump as favourite for the Daniel & Ben Pearce team, having demonstrated improved form in his two most recent starts.

The five-year-old lost out by a head when runner-up in the 1600m Group 3 Hyperion Stakes when racing on a soft 5 track at Belmont at the start of this month.

The gelding jumped at $51 that day and proved that that effort was no fluke when saluting in the Group 3 Strickland Stakes just over two weeks ago.

Chris Parnham’s mount won over 2000m in the Strickland and he tackles this distance for the first time.

Luke Fernie’s representative BE OPTIMISTIC is taken to reverse that Strickland Stakes form, however.

The filly demonstrated good form in her last prep, winning a Listed handicap at Ascot when contesting the A.J. Scahill Cup held over 2100m on a good 4 track in November.

The mare failed to shine when jumping at big odds in the Group 1 Northerly subsequently, but returned to form with a close second in the Group 2 Perth Cup over 2400m.

The 3.00 selection was spelled following that Perth Cup effort at Ascot and headed to South Australia for her first start this prep.

The daughter of Blackfriars recorded a solid two-and-a-half-length fifth in the 1600m Hahn The Cummings Stakes over 1600m that day.

The pick’s Strickland fifth followed that effort and she is expected to take a step forward to deliver a victory on her third start this prep.

Bay poised for Devonport glory

They race on the synthetic track at Devonport with the sixth race of the day an 1150m Benchmark 68 handicap.

Apprentice Chloe Wells takes the ride on Bold Instinct with the gelding having won on turf earlier this prep.

That turf success saw him finish two-and-a-half-lengths clear of his rivals when contesting a 1200m handicap at Launceston in February.

The four-year-old has placed second on two of his three subsequent starts, including when runner-up over 1009m in a Benchmark 72 handicap here at the start of this month.

The son of Impending had been freshened prior to that effort, however, he looks opposable from a wide alley given he usually races close to the speed.

Leanne Gaffney’s gelding CORNELIAN BAY is preferred here, having shown good form in his first two starts this prep with both of those efforts coming over this track and trip.

The gelding lost out by half-a-length when runner-up in a Benchmark 60 handicap prior to saluting by a narrow margin in a Benchmark 68 handicap event.

The 5.00 four-year-old disappointed when sixth over 1350m here last time out and connections have reached for the blinkers and tongue tie for this event.

Bulent Muhcu’s mount drops back in distance here and, from an inside barrier, looks capable of recording his second win this prep.

Gate to salute at Ballina

The fifth race at Ballina is an interesting 1310m Class 1 handicap, with THE LIONS' GATE selected to deliver a victory on a heavy 8 track.

The pick demonstrated good form when placed twice in Brisbane earlier this season, including when runner-up in a Class 1 handicap over 1200m at Doomben.

The 2.80 four-year-old was spelled following a sixth over 1110m when contesting a Benchmark 62 handicap at that track in January.

Matthew Dunn’s representative returned with a good third when contesting a 1200m Benchmark 58 handicap on a heavy 8 track at Murwillumbah earlier this month.

The selection raced from the front that day, but has gone well when ridden with more restraint in the past and barrier ten is unlikely to pose an issue here.

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