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Night Two - Queensland Winter Trotting Carnival

Night Two - Queensland Winter Trotting Carnival preview
by Darren Clayton, Racing Queensland handicapper, @dashman01

Night Two of the #qldwinterracing carnival from Albion Park has bought together a cavalcade of stars. Across three different races fans will have the opportunity to witness Australia's best horse Im Themightyquinn, best mare Forever Gold and best 3YO Bling It On.

The @AlbionparkHRC have two great initiatives related to Quinny and Yank (Bling It On) where the opportunity for two people to win a percentage ownership with full owners privileges for the final night of the Albion Park component of the carnival exists. With the two horses being aimed at the Group 1 Blacks A Fake and Group 1 Queensland Derby respectively, this is an outstanding prize. Head to the Albion Park website for details.

This Saturday’s action sees four Group races on the program. At Group 3 level will see the running of the Gold Coast Derby, the Fleur De Lil Ladyship Stakes and perhaps the best race of the night, the Four & Five Year Old Championship. It will also see the first Group 1 race of the carnival with the Queensland Oaks.

4 & 5YO CHAMPIONSHIP

The barrier draw makes this a very intriguing affair. Majestic Mach draws the best for a few starts, however it would be fair to say he has been a touch disappointing to what we have come to expect from the Grant Dixon trained superstar. He looks the leader in this race and may well be able to take them all the way.

Mach Beauty who set the tempo in last weekend’s track record breaking run in the Sunshine Sprint has drawn 13. Lauren Panella will most likely have to drive him tough again and will circle the field at some point, probably sooner than later to serve it up to the leader. The chances of many in this race will depend on how much pressure is exerted or whether she will be able to wrestle the lead away. American Legend could end up smoking the briar in the fence trail and has to be given a big chance to sprint lane to the prize and at each way value can be a big knockout.

Chilli Palmer was a scratching from the Sunshine Sprint but comes up with gate 11 here. Provided the reason for his scratching was not too big an issue he is more than capable to score a minor upset in this, as in his brief 20 start career he has already claimed such notable scalps as Smoken Up and Guaranteed and finished close up behind Lennytheshark in the Vicotrian 4 & 5YO Champiionship at Group 2 level. He can trail the hot pace and a victory would not be a surprise.

GROUP 1 QUEENSLAND OAKS

Freedom Is will be looking to break her feature race hoodoo following several placings in the big ones and from the one gate holds all the aces. She was a good winner from the front end in good time last week and may look to take them all the way here.

The royally bred Nike Franco took out the Gold Coast Oaks in fine style before beating the open age horses last week. With an imposing record that has seen her record 10 wins from 12 starts in Australia this filly can stamp her class in this event. Last week she was the only horse who made ground wide on the track in the race. If she hasn't been flattened by that run she may be the litmus for the other fillies, however the current quote of $1.25 appears too short and there may be more value around her.

Charming Allie draws wide in the second row but with a fast win last time out she will probably be saved for one shot which may suit her. Milly Perez must be respected especially considering the Puppet, 5000+ win driver Chris Alford is flying up from Victoria to take this drive, which perhaps is a fair gauge on her chances. Having put together five on end before making her Qld debut in the Gold Coast Oaks, she was a luckless 5th in that event, after being too far back in the field and making her run when the speed went on. She may well turn out to be the knockout runner who represents solid each way value at double figure odds.

GOLD COAST DERBY

Bling It On has an absolute stranglehold on this race and will be continuing on his Queensland swathe of destruction which has seen him win his last five starts in Brisbane.

Interest will be in the other podium finishers. Yayas Hot Spot will lead them up early and may well be the best of the others from the front end or behind Bling It On if he presses forward.

Alleluia is a talented type who will definitely win his share of races in time and has been impressive in his three Queensland starts. Currently $2.05 a place looks real value on the back of his last start second behind Bling It On in the G3 Futurity last week.

FLEUR DE LIL LADYSHIP STAKES

This race has had many incarnations with varying names, distances and calendar placements. This year it sees it sit as a genuine part of the Winter Carnival and has been raised in distance to 2138m. The change appears to have paid dividends with the best across the board field assembled for many years.

Forever Gold is arguably Australia's best mare and she comes into this race fresh. That should be no problem as she has been tuned up for this with a third in Im Themightyquinn's impressive trial here 10 days ago and then followed that up with an arrogant trial victory on Monday. She can go back to back in this without too much trouble, after taking this event out last year.

Missing Letters continues to deliver and having drawn the ace can step up again, however she may find herself three back the marker line. Either way, if she ends up behind Forever Gold or three back the pool noodles**, this mare looks to be an improving type and has the scope to finish ahead of the others.

If Forever Gold is not pressured and allowed to roll to the top easily, it could turn out to be a peg dominated affair which would see Ideal Tact be a trifecta chance as she is a big chance of being first down to the inside, with the likelihood that she will then trail Forever Gold.

Valiant Sue likes to rattle home at the end of her races but has shown previously if allowed to find the front she is hard to beat. While there would be no lead here in this event, it may eventuate that no one will want the position outside of Forever Gold. So if there is no pressure to the leader, she may be set alight early to get up close to the action and that scenario could prove a better chance of running a place.

Shez All Magic is one of the many visitors to the carnival and showed plenty in her first Queensland start last week that she is more than capable of filling a podium position in this event.

If night two is anything like the first of the carnival, Queensland trotting fans are in for a treat. The overall depth and quality of this race card surely whets the appetite for the main event next weekend.

** Pool noodles = the rubbery pegs which form the inside 'rail'

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