Benji is trainer’s best bet for carnival of cups final

LAST weekend’s return of racing to Armidale Paceway, which will wind up with this Sunday’s eight-race TAB card, has received the thumbs up from many trainers, including Tamworth’s Ian Mabbott.

He’s an ex-Armidale boy, who can boast “many a winner on that track over the years”.

“The Authority (NSW Harness Racing) has done well to show faith in the smaller clubs. It’s the only way to get people back into the game,” he said.

At last weekend’s racing return after a 13-year lull, Mabbott displayed his fondness for of the circuit by grabbing a winning treble and two placings from the five horses he floated up.

Reward for that will see him gear up respective heat winners Benji M Brogden and Itsa History Maker in Sunday’s $8000 St Kilda Hotel Armidale Carnival of Cups Final (1609MS) while Kemira Cause and Mitrhys Magic will start in the $10,000 Hygain Golden Horse Shoe (1980MS) after their quinella in that prelude last Sunday.

Mabbott rates his Carnival of Cups finalists Benji M Brogden and Itsa History Maker pretty even.

“Probably Benji. I only got him a couple of weeks ago with this race in mind. He won his heat well (by three metres over the Tony Missen-trained My Red Ruby).

“And there’s a lot more improvement in him.”

From a dozen starts in Mabbott’s care, former New Zealander Itsa History Maker has won five and registered numerous placings.

“It’s hard to pick between them, but Benji’s got the better draw (2) and the faster gate speed.

“Anthony (driver Anthony Varga) will drive Benji but I’m still contemplating who will drive the other bloke.”

And in the Golden Horse Shoe, Mabbott is leaning slightly towards Mitrhys Magic, despite the three-year-old colt finishing three metres second to stablemate Kemira Cause in last week’s prelude.

Mitrhys Magic will be driven by Anthony Varga for his parents John and Noelene Varga while Dean Chapple will drive Kemira Cause.

“Mitrhys’ draw is bad (7), but he can do the work to put himself into the race, whereas the other bloke can do the work, but he’s got to be put there.

“I think Mitrhys will be the hardest to beat in the race. He’s probably got the better form.

“Draws can win or lose a race, but he’s a horse that can overcome a bad draw.

“But we’ve only got to do one thing wrong to get ourselves beaten.”

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