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Kris Lees’ Almania installed as early TAB Canberra Cup favourite

Connections of hopefuls in the Group 3 John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes (1200m) & Listed TAB Canberra Cup (2000m) learned their barrier fate at a live draw beside Lake Burley Griffen in Canberra on Wednesday.

Despite drawing barrier 10 of 11, Kris Lee’s Almania (IRE) has been installed early favourite with TAB (currently $4.40) after a strong effort last start when second in the Listed Parramatta Cup a fortnight ago.

Kris Lees’ Racing Manager Danny Greer said, “I think he’s placed really well here after looking the winner the for whole straight last start where he just ran into one better.”

An eight-year-old son of Australia (GB), Almania (IRE) looks well in at the weights, having been designated 54kgs for Sunday’s contest while Greer is unbothered by the wide draw.

“I don’t think it’s an issue at all.” Greer said of the wide draw. “I think there will be a couple of key scratchings, he’ll be able to settle midfield and time his run.”

The 2023 edition of the TAB Canberra Cup produced subsequent Autumn Group 1 winners in Arapaho (Tancred) & Explosive Jack (Sydney Cup) and Greer is not ruling out a similar path for one of his stables quality stayers.

Almania is nominated for those key features later in the Autumn.” Greer said. “He’s next assisgnment will likely be the N E Manion Cup (2400m).

The Lees’ camp have entered two quality gallopers in the Listed Seears Workwear National Sprint (1400m) in Ucalledit (NZ) and Kinloch, with the latter the more likely of the two to run on the day. 

“Both of these gallopers are also entered at Newcastle on their home track on Friday in the Group 3 Newcastle Stakes but a big open track like Canberra is really going to suit a horse like Kinloch.” Greer said.

“He’s a get-back horse and two of his recent runs at Randwick and the Sunshine Coast were great where he was able to wind up and produce good sectionals.”

“1400m is his pet distance so we expect him to be very competitive with Gai’s (Waterhouse) horse to set a genuine tempo.”

The National Sprint has attracted 12 quality entrants including Canberra Community Chest winning local Super Helpful for Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones.