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Australian Racing: Romance to blossom at Canterbury

There are eight meetings set to take place on Friday, including at Canterbury where they stage a metro fixture.

Race 5 Canterbury

Deep Romance @ 7.00

Race 7 Ballina

Without Revenge @ 6.50

Race 5 Cranbourne

Huesca @ 2.80

Romance goes for Canterbury glory

The fifth race on the Canterbury card is an interesting Benchmark 72 handicap set to take place over 1100m.

Top weight Xpresso is expected to have his supporters, having shown a liking for a heavy track in the past.

The five-year-old has been racing on a sound surface since finishing fifth on a soft 5 track in a similar race to this at Randwick in February last year.

The son of Xtravagant returned from a break with a last of nine finish over 1000m in a Benchmark 78 handicap back at Randwick last month.

However, he took a step forward when losing out narrowly in finishing runner-up dropped to a Benchmark 72 handicap at the same venue recently.

While Nathan Doyle’s gelding is expected to go well, preference is for stablemate DEEP ROMANCE, who is the winner of half of her four starts on the forecast heavy going.

The 7.00 mare failed to shine when last of ten when racing over this course and distance in a similar race to this on a soft 5 track in June, however she prepped well for her return at Beaumont.

The Deep Field mare recorded a narrow win in a nine runner Benchmark 64 handicap held on a soft 7 track at Beaumont, with the front two finishing over two lengths clear of the third.

Apprentice rider Benjamin Osmond on board on that occasion is again in the saddle, with his mount having a good barrier five from the rail.

Revenge aims for Cup success

It’s Cup Day at Ballina, with the big race of the day set to take place as the penultimate showdown on an eight-race card.

A heavy 10 surface is expected for the 1590m contest, with Eaglemont set to jump as favourite for jockey Brodie Loy.

The top weight has placed on his only previous start on a heavy track and demonstrated good form in 2023, winning three times, including on a soft 5 track over 1615m at Doomben last month.

The seven-year-old’s other wins last year came in metro events at Rosehill and Eagle Farm, while he also delivered a respectable sixth in the Little Dance at Randwick in November.

While the gelding rates a leading contender in this field, WITHOUT REVENGE, set to jump from barrier five, is the pick having shown good form at Listed level of late.

The 6.50 pick finished fourth in the previously mentioned 1600m Little Dance at Randwick and, having jumped at odds of $201 that day, proved that was no fluke with two Listed seconds subsequently.

Both of those efforts came up in Queensland with the first of those coming in the Roku Gin Tails Stakes, held over 1600m on a soft 6 track at Doomben on 2nd December.

Trained by Corey & Kyle Geran, the gelding lost out by over two-and-a-half-lengths when runner-up in the Bernborough Plate over the same trip at Eagle Farm three weeks later.

Andrew Mallyon rides for the first time and looks up to steering the ex-European galloper to victory.

Huesca for first up triumph

Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott send out HUESCA in the fifth race on the Cranbourne card and he is expected to prove hard to beat under Campbell Rawiller.

The gelding has shown a liking for soft going in the past, including when winning over 1300m on a soft 5 track at Warwick Farm in June 2022.

The five-year-old delivered a good fourth when beaten less than one-and-a-half-lengths in a 1300m Benchmark 78 handicap on a heavy 9 track at Rosehill in April last year on his penultimate start.

While the 2.80 selection disappointed in a similar event at Rosehill when last in action the following month, he won a Flemington jump out when prepping for this race and can resume with a win.

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