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Cup hopefuls swarm to Acton Track Grand Final Day

A strong synthetic racing season in Canberra culminates in Acton Track Grand Final Day on Friday, 1 September. 

A strong seven race card is highlighted by the Polytrack Stayers Cup (1900m) and the Pipeline Supplies Australia Sprinters Cup (1206m) with the latter attracting a full field of quality short course gallopers.

Matthew Kelley is hopeful his talented mare Invertational will use the Sprinters Cup as an audition for the $2m Kosciuszko.

“She’s placed really well here first up and physically, is going as good as she ever has.” Kelley said.

“Hopefully she does enough on Friday to put herself in the Kosciuszko conversation but if not, we’ll step her up in grade to capture people’s attention.”

 The speedy daughter of Invader is a winner of four of her eight races to date with her last preparation concluding with respectable finishes in the Country Championships SERA Qualifier & South Wild Card Qualifier where she was 6th and 8th respectively.

Kelley was bullish about his mare’s chances in what is a very strong Benchmark 70 contest.

“She’s drawn perfectly in Barrier 6.” Kelley said. “She’ll let the speed go before running past a lot of them late.”

“We’ve put Holly Durnan on as a three-kilogram claimer because she’s a little horse and it wouldn’t be ideal to her to ask her to carry the big weight first up.”

The Pipeline Supplies Australia Sprinters Cup has attracted 13 acceptances and will be Race Seven on Friday’s program.

A race earlier, the Polytrack Stayers Cup has attracted nine acceptances with many bringing recent winning form.

Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones’ She’s All In has found her rhythm this preparation and will face the 1900m of the Stayers Cup for the first time in her career this Friday.

A strong winner on the Acton Track back on the 4th of August, She’s All In once again displayed her toughness when third in the Narromine Cup (1600m).

Trainer Paul Jones said, “We’re really happy with how she’s going and I think how she finished off the mile last start showed us that she’s going to thrive over the 1900m here.”

“it’s her first time over that trip but she’s physically really well so we’re confident she’s going to handle it.”

A tough on-the-speed galloper, She’s All In has drawn the inside alley.

“We will look to use the gate to our advantage but if Paul Niceforo’s horse (Departing Bullet) wants to lead at all costs, we’re also happy to sit in behind it.”

The Stayers Cup will feature other recent winners in Shafty, Bringbackthebears, Dashing Elgee and Whiskey Jack.

Whilst Acton Track Grand Final Day will be characterised by the heightened competition of two Cup races and a boosted TAB Federal Maiden (1080m), the Canberra Racing Club will also debut a lower Benchmark race designed to give more horses the opportunity to enjoy racing at Thoroughbred Park.

“The Canberra supports Equimillion Handicap, a Benchmark 45 for four-year-olds and up, provides a competitive opportunity for older horses that have dropped down in rating, to find success again.” Canberra Racing Club Racing & Equine Welfare Chris Polglase said. 

“It’s the first time that the Club has programmed a race of this class and we were very pleased to see 18 nominations for the event with 11 acceptances including Danish Hussar who has already chalked up a win on the Acton Track and Hamish the Swift who has gone close in stronger grade this season with his bold front running displays.”

“The race and others like it, will provide competition for lesser rated horses.”

After the Canberra supports Equimillion Handicap on Friday, the Canberra Racing Club will announce three successful applicants for sponsorship for the $1m Equimillion, an equestrian event exclusively for retired thoroughbreds. 

Applicants must have demonstrated a clear association with their retired Thoroughbred and Canberra racing to be deemed eligible for the sponsorship.