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Australian Racing: Toronto Rain can spoil the party

There are three meetings set to take place on Monday with the $40,000 Cessnock Cup at Newcastle the most valuable race of the day.

Race 6 Newcastle

Silvakia @ 3.00 

Race 7 Benalla

Toronto Rain @ 9.00 

Race 7 Wellington

Wilbury @ 2.50 

Silvakia for Cup success

The previously mentioned Cessnock Cup is set to take place over 2100m with a field of 10 declared for the open handicap contest. 

Top weight Roller Coaster is expected to have his supporters dropping down from metro level, having finished seventh in an 1800m Benchmark 72 handicap at Randwick Kensington earlier this month.

The five-year-old is a Cup winner already this spell, having taken out the Ken Howard Cup over 2000m on a good 4 track at Coffs Harbour in August.

While the gelding has failed to score in four subsequent starts, three of those have been metro events, while the soft 7 track here is no issue having placed on soft and heavy going this spell.

However, the concession of weight to his rivals may prove more of an issue here and SILVAKIA is preferred on this occasion.

The four-year-old filly has shown up well in Benchmark 64 and 68 events this time around and, while you have to go back to April to find her most recent win, that did come on a wet track.

Brad Widdup’s filly was thought good enough to contest a Group 3 event at Randwick back in April and she acquitted herself well when beaten just over two lengths at Hawkesbury last time.

The daughter of Reliable Man was forced to race wide and without cover at Hawkesbury but an inside barrier means that should not be the case here.

The pick steps up in distance here and the least experienced runner in the field is taken to deliver her third career success. 

Rain to resume with victory

The penultimate race on Benalla’s eight-race card is an interesting 1106m Benchmark 58 handicap set to take place on a soft 5 track.

Real Gun is expected to prove popular having shown good form in recent starts, with a run of three consecutive placed efforts, starting with a second over 1206m on a soft 6 track here last month.

Those three placed efforts all came on soft surfaces, with a win over 1100m in a Benchmark 58 handicap at Kilmore following on 17th October.

The switch to front-running tactics, despite being slowly away, appeared to suit at Kilmore and similar tactics are expected from an inside barrier here. 

However, the filly TORONTO RAIN is the selection here, having won twice in her first spell racing last season.

The pick registered a good five-and-a-half-length second, having raced from off the pace on her debut back in December and finished out of the placings just once in five subsequent starts.

Those five starts included wins at Corowa and Tumut and, while they came on good and firm going respectively, the pick also showed she handles soft going when placed at Albury.

Craig Weeding’s filly failed to shine in a Benchmark 66 handicap over 1175m at Albury in February in her most recent race start but looks capable of making amends dropping in grade here. 

Wilbury to complete double

The finale at Wellington is an interesting 1100m Class 1 handicap event, with WILBURY expected to prove hard to beat despite a wide barrier.

The switch to a good 4 track, combined with a return to front-running tactics, appeared to suit when the gelding saluted by nearly three lengths in a 1010m maiden at Orange earlier this month.

Trained by Brett Robb, the pick had previously suffered a narrow defeat when runner-up on a soft 5 surface, when contesting an 1100m maiden event at Coonamble a week earlier.

Clayton Gallagher, on board for both of those efforts, is again in the saddle and he is taken to steer the four-year-old to his first victory against previous winners. 

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