Drop in grade boosts hopes for well-weighted stayer

It is easy to see why there is a ring of confidence from rising Armidale trainer Stirling Osland around his progressive stayer Rage Against in the opening race at Scone.

There are several tight ones on an eight-race card at Scone today.Credit:Bradleyphotos.com.au

Already the winner of seven races, the six-year-old comes back from a tougher staying grade at Newcastle, and gets in rock-solid at the weights on a good trailing ‘‘map’’ position in race one.

Admittedly stablemate and six-time winner Exilia Miss also has a real case for winning at the weights but at this stage of the prep, Rage Against rates just under a length better and the Cessnock Cup form is comfortably stronger than the Diggers’ Cup grade out of Inverell.

One mare lining up for her 11th start, which looks superbly placed in race four, is Mudgee four-year-old Meraki Miss. Trainer Cameron Crockett is desperate to get his stable star back into the winner’s stall after a dominant showing at Orange three runs back. Such was connections’ opinion, they whisked her to Warwick Farm in a much stronger BM70 but she just didn’t handle the tighter track.

Back at Dubbo last start, Meraki Miss missed by a whisker, again hitting the line hard from midfield under a big weight, but sticking at the same trip here and with senior rider Chad Lever on, she looms as one of the better bets on the card.

For those who like to plan future strikes, keep a big watch on race three – a maiden over 1200 metres. Leading Newcastle trainer Kris Lees has two three-year-old debutants – Derby Star and Mr Piquet – on show from forward trial efforts, but it’s a big-striding gelding from Tamworth that commands serious watch. The Sparkle Legend has had three spaced trials, but he looked a treat in the most recent at Quirindi. Watch for him charging home late.

Supplied by Racing NSW

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