SOME respected judges are rating tomorrow’s Albury Gold Cup as the best ever.
While that may be a little premature until we see the form out of the race, it certainly is a quality field and a credit to the Albury Racing Club and its committee.
The early markets have Jacquinot Bay as the $5 favourite, which gives the impression the cup is one of the most open in years.
But if you study the form there is at least half a dozen horses you can put the pen through straight away who haven’t won a race in their past six or seven starts.
I’ve whittled the field down to only a handful of chances — one to be honest.
If Jacquinot Bay can repeat his arrogant performance in the Canberra Cup then I think we are all running for second.
In fact — it looks his race to lose.
If I was down to my last $10 I wouldn’t hesitate putting it on Jacquinot Bay if he can produce something again like his Canberra run.
When assessing the form for any race — from the Albury Gold Cup to a Towong maiden — it is about how many boxes they tick.
Jacquinot Bay ticks them all.
The Guy Walter-trained gelding is an up-and-coming stayer who has the scope for the most improvement.
He trounced the opposition in the Canberra Cup and looks to be on an upward spiral.
From there, Guy set his sights on the Albury Gold Cup and will have Jacquinot Bay primed to the minute.
The prospect of a rain-affected track won’t diminish his chances either.
Jacquinot Bay has had the perfect preparation and although drawn a tad wide in barrier 12, Blake Shinn should be able to navigate an economical trip.
Tanby, Sneak A Peek and Shenzhou Steeds alongside Massiyn, Niblick and Canny Ballad if it’s wet are the only other winning chances.
Anything that comes from the stables of Lloyd Williams you have to treat with the utmost respect and I don’t think Team Williams is coming to Albury just to check on their investments.
Tanby needs a dry track to perform to his best while stablemate Massiyn loves it wet.
Speaking of the wet — I hope it pours down for my two horses in Niblick and Price Of Glory.
After Niblick won last year and Price Of Glory ran fourth it was a long range plan to set them for the race again this year.
I would like to think Price Of Glory would be the best roughie in the race if it rains.
Price Of Glory is a swamp donkey and if he gets the conditions to suit will run a super race.
Expect Massiyn and Niblick with the luxury of being on the bottom weight to also shorten in the betting if the track is a bog.
Niblick is in really good order but drawing barrier 18 is ugly and a tactical nightmare.
If we push forward we could get posted so I’m just praying for a wet track and a heap of scratchings.
It’s nearly impossible to assess how the race will be run and there is nearly always a 40-1 or 50-1 shot that wants to go forward in an Albury Gold Cup and set a ridiculous speed.
I might be wrong, but there are a few fancied ones I reckon simply can’t win.
Mourinho and Extra Zero. No and No.
Mourinho has a tricky draw to overcome while Extra Zero hasn’t saluted since winning this race two years ago.
Is Projectile up to this class? I don’t think so.
I can’t wait for tomorrow and although Jacquinot Bay is clearly the horse to beat, I will be bitterly disappointed if Niblick wasn’t in the finish again.
I will throw in Tanby for third if it’s dry.