Marty Hay will watch on today as his sprinter Proud Mia returns to racing in the $75,000 Flat Knacker at Albury.
The Open Handicap sprint over 900m has attracted some handy sprinters from all over NSW, Canberra and Victoria and the four-year-will enter the race following a 12-week spell.
The Pride of Dubai mare is certainly a handy commodity, having won six times from 18 starts, earning connections almost $130,000 in prizemoney.
Proud Mia also boasts a good first-up record, having resumed three times for a win and a second, and her trainer Nick Olive expected a good run on the border.
“She is normally pretty good first-up and her first and second runs are normally pretty solid and she likes to run fresh,” Olive said.
The Canberra galloper has drawn gate six, and Olive hopes she jumps well and can run them along in the feature sprint.
“I haven’t really had a look at the speed map but she hasn’t drawn bad,” Olive said.
“I would have liked her to draw (barrier) one or two because she can be a little indifferent.
“If she gets out well and runs them along, she goes well, but sometimes, if they run along and she gets mixed up with them, she doesn’t like that too much.”
Proud Mia has won over the 900m at Albury before and Olive is hoping a repeat result is on the cards.
“I reckon one of her best wins was over the 900m at Albury earlier in her career and I’m looking forward to getting her back there over that distance,” Olive said.
Billy Owen takes the ride, meaning there will be plenty of Gundagai interest in the race.
“Billy is a good bloke and I really like him,” Olive said.
“He has had a good association with us for a long time. He knows the horse and rides her in her in trackwork and that always makes a big difference.”
The Flat Knacker is one of many feature races on the eight-race Albury meeting, with the $200,000 Listed Albury Gold Cup headlining the card and Olive said he enjoyed getting his team to these showcase country cup meetings.
“It’s always good to race at these country carnivals,” Olive said.
“I love going to them and love going there to Albury.”
It is a big day for local horses and jockeys at Albury, with Billy Owen jumping aboard the locally owned and Todd Smart-trained Kelvedon Road in the Albury Guineas.
The three-year-old has drawn gate seven in the field of nine and the pair will hope to bounce back in the $80,000 race after finishing eighth in the Canberra Guineas last time out.