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Open Handicap conditions attracts quality TAB Federal field

One of the strongest Country races you’ll see outside of a feature meeting, Friday’s TAB Federal (1080m) brings together a number of interesting form lines with some gallopers on a path towards the Sprinters Cup (1206m) on Acton Track Grand Final Day a fortnight later.

Similarly, the Benchmark 65 contest over 1750m this Friday shapes as a preview for the Polytrack Stayers Cup (1750m) on Friday, 1 September.

John Nisbet’s Smuggler’s Bay enters the TAB Federal, an Open Handicap, off three metropolitan runs this preparation and will be hoping to overcome the wide barrier having drawn nine of nine. 

Nisbet acknowledged the challenging assignment ahead of his galloper on Friday but is confident he is going well enough to figure in the finish. 

“He hasn’t seen the rail all preparation.” Nisbet said. “So it’ll be up to Kayla (Nisbet) to get him across from the wide draw as quietly as possible.”

“Kayla knows the horse well and we are hopeful with the addition of visors to sharpen him up, he should be able to find the front.” 

Smuggler’s Bay is a winner of seven races from 18 starts with his last win coming under Open Handicap conditions in a TAB Federal at Thoroughbred Park, the same conditions he’ll face this Friday.

“We really think he’s going well and I think this is the right race for him.” Nisbet said.

Norm Gardner’s talented mare Miss Ostend brings metropolitan form with a second-placing behind the speedy Passeggiata on a Saturday back in June, as does Becky Byrne’s latest stable acquisition Deep Snow.

Earlier in the day, Garry Kirkup’s Blazing Sunrise will line up in the Capital Veneering Jockeys Celebration Day Handicap (1750m) and Kirkup hopes a strong run will hold him in good stead ahead of the Polytrack Stayers Cup in a fortnight.

“If he pulls up well after this run, that’s where he’ll go.” Kirkup said. “He just needs to settle a little closer this time, he was too far back last start and was really strong through the line.”

“After his first run on the Acton Track a couple weeks ago, Jordy (Mallyon) said that he felt beautiful on the surface underneath him.”

“He’s a horse that often jars up on firm surfaces so it’s really a great advertisement for the track.”

Kirkup purchased Blazing Sunrise back in late 2021 and says it was his run in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes that really put him on his radar.

“I thought it was an excellent run and his form after that was only ok.” Kirkup said. “He’s been really consistent since he joined us, a few more wins with him would be great.”

“Hopefully we can run well here and be competitive in the Stayers Cup in a couple of weeks.”