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Australian Racing: Slane can take down Cranbourne rivals

There are seven meetings set to take place on Friday with Cranbourne to stage the most valuable meeting of the day.

Race 7 Cranbourne

Slane @ 4.40

Race 4 Wagga

Hardly Sweet @ 16.00

Race 5 Yarra Valley

Inordinate @ 3.60

Slane for Cranbourne success

The penultimate race on Cranbourne’s eight-race card is a competitive looking 1400m Benchmark 64 handicap contest.

A good 4 track is expected for the 12-runner contest, with El Soleado likely to jump as favourite for the Robbie Laing stable.

The four-year-old won twice earlier this year, including by a narrow margin over 1300m in a Benchmark 64 handicap on the Hillside course at Sandown.

The gelding raced on a soft 5 surface that day and he has registered placed efforts in two of his three subsequent starts, including both outings this season.

The son of Toronado is a versatile type tactics wise and ran well when third over this trip in a Benchmark 70 handicap, on a soft 6 track at Sandown Lakeside on 29th November.

However, the lightly-raced SLANE is preferred on this occasion, with the selection having made just the fourth previous starts.

Those efforts include a debut win on a heavy 9 track over 1429m when contesting a Sale maiden event back in June.

Placed efforts have followed in two of his three subsequent starts including when two-and-a-half-lengths second over the Cox Plate track and trip in a handicap at Moonee Valley in July.

Enver Jusufovic’s representative should be fit for his return to action following three outings in jump outs at this venue.

Regular pilot Carleen Hefel is again in the saddle and her mount looks capable of resuming with a victory dropping in trip.  

Sweet to score at Wagga

The fourth race at Wagga is an interesting 2000m Benchmark 66 handicap, with Australian Harbour expected to have his supporters following a string of placed efforts.

The gelding showed plenty of ability in the UK and placed second in maiden contests here in his first two outings.

The five-year-old has shown improvement with racing this spell, placing at Canberra in races over 2000m in each of his last two starts.

The second of those saw Tim Donnelly’s gelding beaten just over a length in a set weights Class 1 event and, while he rates highly here, he is expected to find at least one too good.

Three-time winner HARDLY SWEET has been out of form in the main in 2023 with her best effort coming when fifth in a 2200m Benchmark 64 handicap at Pakenham Synthetic in July.

Trainer Ben Brisbourne has his string in good form at present and his representative returned with a fair seventh, beaten less than five lengths over an inadequate 1600m at Bendigo on 5th December.

The pick is expected to have improved for that Bendigo run and she looks capable of helping her handler improve on his 33% strike-rate (4/12) in middle-distance races here in the last 12 months. 

Inordinate for Yarra Valley success

The fifth race at Yarra Valley takes the eye with INORDINATE looks capable of registering his third victory of 2023.

The six-year-old recorded his most recent success in an 1800m Restricted 58 handicap on a good 3 track at Coleraine back in September.

Trained by Gavin Bedggood, the gelding put a couple of unplaced efforts behind him when five-and-a-half-lengths second over 1856m at Kyneton on 14th December.

Jack Hill, on board on that occasion, is again in the saddle here while the step up in distance is no issue, with the selection having performed well over further in the past.

The forecast good 4 surface is in the pick’s favour and, with an inside alley, he is expected to prove hard to beat. 

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