BRAVE Ali will have to lump 59kg if he is to win Monday’s $35,000 Tooheys Armidale Cup (1900m).
The Tamworth-trained galloper, raced by a large syndicate of Armidale racegoers, supporters and officials, carried 58kg to win the recent 1600m Quirindi Cup.
On Monday his biggest danger will be an old foe – Port Macquarie Cup winner Phrases.
Phrases won the Port Macquarie Cup last October with Brave Ali, 3.8lens away sixth.
The Bindi Cheers-trained four-year-old hasn’t won since but did finish second to subsequent Inverell Cup winner, Wolfgangs Boy, at Armidale with 60.5kg.
The Craig Martin-trained Brave Ali had a terrible trip to Port from Tamworth and raced the same way.
Since then he’s won the Guyra Cup (re-scheduled) at Armidale as well as the Quirindi Cup and finished second in the Black Nuggett at Mudgee as well. He was fourth to Falklands in last year’s Armidale Cup.
Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes believes he is a much better horse this year.
That’s not just because he’s one of the syndicate members of the seven-year-old who has won eight of his 31 starts.
“He does seem to be racing better this time,” Dedes said.
The AJC secretary was hoping he might knock off his home town cup last year after he had gone close a couple of years before that.
“I had He’s Full Of It myself,” he recalled.
“Ran second to Keith’s (Hiscox) old horse Derivative Receipt.”
While Brave Ali carried 58kg in the Quirindi Cup he has a kilo more on Monday while Phrases has 58kg.
The only other entrant, Slate on Edge, to receive more than the 54kg minimum was the Brett Thompson-trained Slate On Edge.
He has 54.5kg.
Originally there were 12 nominations but six late nominations swelled it to 18 on a day which attracted 132 nominations.
“Here are the two class horses with top weights,” Dedes said.
“But it’s still a good field with all of them bar Slate on Edge on the 54kg limit.
It’s going to be a hard race to win. Kwilas Law ran second in it a couple of years ago to Bindi’s horse and he won here well the other day (Cup Prelude).
“Mullett man runs well here too and won a strong race at Scone the other day.
“Good old Dusty’s Felt has found another leg over a bit of ground too for Paul (Grills).”
The main support races will be strong too with 20 juveniles nominated for a $17,000 McDonald’s Thunderbolt 2YO Handicap (1100m) headlined by Leon Davies’ Crooked Blaze.
The $20,000 Wild Oats Newmarket (1100m) has attracted a strong field of sprinters with Floral Insight (65kg) and Ollie Vollie (63kg) topweights.
“Floral Insight ran fourth to Territory in Sydney the other day, only beaten one and bit lengths,” Dedes said of the gelding who won a second Shorts Handicap at Inverell earlier this year.
“Ollie Vollie might be starting at the Gold Coast on Saturday though. But it’s still a good field. Mark Mason has Sly Lu and Hot Rhythm nominated. Usain Prince might be having his first run back and White Stocking loves it here.”