Scooner, Barzinho lead Albany Cup charge
Esperance Cup winner Scooner and Mt Barker Cup winner Barzinho will go head-to-head in a tasty $100,000 Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup (2070m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse on Sunday.
An even field of 12 runners will contest the historic feature race held annually on Easter Sunday, with trainers Stephen Miller and Chris Gangemi both chasing their first success in the race.
Miller prepares former Eastern States galloper Scooner, a dominant winner of the Esperance Cup on March 4, while Gangemi trains Barzinho, who blitzed his rivals in the Mt Barker Cup a fortnight ago.
That pair lead the visiting charge as they look to continue their dominance over the locals in the Albany Cup, with only one of the past nine cups staying local.
Trainer Adam Durrant has won five cups in the past decade but does not have a runner this year, while recent winners Ross Price (My Magic Miss) and Lindsey Smith (Zarantz) also do not have a starter.
After his dazzling Esperance Cup performance, Scooner finished ninth in a 2100m at Ascot but Miller is confident of another strong showing in the provincial area.
“After he went so good at Esperance we decided to come here,” Miller said.
“I’m pretty happy with him.
“He is drawn out but if he can get some luck I think he can run well.
“He was a bit disappointing the other day (at Ascot) and I don’t know exactly what it was but hopefully we are on top of things.
“There is four or five who have got good chances and the horse that won the Mt Barker Cup will be very hard to beat.”
Top jockey Chris Parnham will retain the mount on Scooner, who will rise 2kg from his Esperance triumph and jump from barrier 10.
Jarrad Noske will be aboard Barzinho, who is chasing the Great Southern cup double from gate six with 57.5kg on his back.
Consistent stayer Rhino Buster is again a strong hope for trainer Rod Brown and rider Daniel Staeck, while Not Again Ken is the top weight with 58kg after running last in Sunday’s Bunbury Cup.
Leading local jockey Mitchell Pateman is confident of his chances of a maiden Albany Cup when he partners with the Peter and Matt Giadresco-trained Prentice.
“He was good in the Bunbury Cup without any luck,” Pateman said.
“He has raced well all season in the Great Southern.”
Steve Wolfe, who was the last local trainer to win the cup with Jobeth in 2011, has Mr Pago entered, while another local, Gerry Hughes, is searching for his second success with Toru Waimarie.
The cup is set down for 4.55pm on Sunday, one of nine races.
CAMERON NEWBOLD’S ALBANY SELECTIONS
Race 1: Luke’s Logic
Race 2: Second Best
Race 3: Costa Oeste
Race 4: Tripeletto
Race 5: Secret Minx
Race 6: Mongolian Warlord
Race 7: Get Round It
Race 8: Rhino Buster
Race 9: Lord Kronos
Best Bet: Lord Kronos
Value: Get Round It
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