I wish Mandalay Bay hadn’t drawn wide in Race 8, the Hygain BM70 Handicap (1100m) at Ballarat on Tuesday, but he can win anyway.
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Trainer Matt Laurie has this son of Casino Prince absolutely flying ahead of his upcoming campaign, and a BM70 looks a realistic starting point.
He bumped into a couple of smart ones on debut when finishing behind the likes of Highland Beat and Inference, but following a 139-day break, he returned to break his maiden over 1216m at Moe.
Although most horses find it hard to win a BM64 at the start after their maiden win, Mandalay Bay scored a most impressive 3.75-length win over Samertha Heights in a 1500m race at Mornington.
Laurie knew he had a talented type and really raised the bar at his next start where he finished a credible 4.8 lengths behind Hey Doc in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
He was held up on the turn too and would have finished closer with a bit more luck.
So, Mandalay Bay obviously has class, but will he be ready to fire over 1100m first-up?
A recent barrier trial at Cranbourne has me convinced he is.
He settled a long last in the 800m trial and was widest on the turn, but without being asked for an effort, he simply lengthened stride down the outside and stormed to victory.
He looked green down the straight and will need to be on his best behaviour on Tuesday, but this horse has a serious finishing burst and I expect him to be mowing them down late.
Our Sevira should improve second-up and looks hard to beat, but if Mandalay Bay is within striking distance as they turn, it will be all over.
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