Emerald Tips March 2

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He is burdened with topweight today but the Jared Wehlow-trained DURIF still looks the goods here. Last start, the Commands gelding was first-up after almost 16 months off the scene when he lined up in Open company over 1050m at Mackay. After being vetted pre-race, he took his place in the small field of six and although never a match with the in-form Trinity Bannon-trained Brad, he still ran home strongly to grab second prize n the contest. He ran his first 600m, almost 11 lengths slower than benchmark but covered his last 600m, 1.8 lengths quicker than benchmark which rates second-best only to Art Attack who resumes here. The six-year-old has been a consistent galloper since he first began, missing a top-three finish just four times from his 18 career starts and second-up, his has two wins and a runner finish to boast about. In from $3.80 overnight, Ash Butler has the reins today and from gate two he gets the gun-run and will take a power of beating here.

 

In consistent form this preparation, the locally-trained LORD GREYSTOKE is (ironically) having his first start on his (new) home track and looks well placed to be a winner on debut. The Oratorio gelding has had several trainers in the past 12 months but was originally a West Australian galloper, spending time with Neville Parnham. After a short stint in South Australia, he found himself in North QLD with the Clinton Taylor stables as Rockhampton before finding himself at Emerald under the care of Glenda Bell, his current trainer. Last start, Bell made the five-hour trek to Mackay where she saddled him up in a Class 3 over 1100m. With Nathan Day aboard, he ran home well to finish third behind Sirfina and Overseas, two of the north’s up-and-coming prospects. He did run his last 600m, .01 of a length quicker than benchmark that day, which may not be a big deal, but is still the best in this field. Day sticks with him today and maps to settle mid-field with cover. He does look a genuine winning chance in this field.

 

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