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Albion Park - March 14 preview

By Duane Ranger

The second event at Albion Park tomorrow will be race in itself between stablemates Oasis Dream (2) and Riverleigh Rocket (10).

“It will be some kind of bet we make with each other - it usually happens in the parade ring,” explained Reece Maguire who drives Riverleigh Rocket, while his girlfriend Madi Dux will steer Oasis Dream.

“I actually think Riverleigh Rocket, and Maretti in the following race, are my best winning chances on Saturday.”

Both geldings hail from the Mark Dux stable at Woongwoolba.

In fact three of Maguire’s five drives tomorrow night are for his possible-father-in-law-to-be.

“To get five drives out of eight races is just great and I owe it all to Mark, Madi, and all the other owners and trainers," Maguire said. 

"I want to do my best by Mark’s team, while he is out of action. I must admit it has been hard trying to get drives over the years.

“But I’ve got two other outside drives on Saturday as well, and I’m grateful to Phil (Mitchell) and Karen (Schulz) for the opportunities. Actually Karen has been a long-time supporter of mine.

“I just want to rack up more winners for them all and continue to do well and hope people keep giving me the opportunities.”

Maguire said Dux underwent open heart surgery in December and was on a slow road to recovery.

“He’s fit and recovering well, but I think it will be a wee while before we see him back in the bike,” the 3-point concession driver said.

Maguire moved from Peter and Chantal McMullen’s Patrick Estate stable to Dux in late December.

The 27-year-old and his partner work a team of 20 and share the driving.

“I’m not driving any favourites on Saturday, but I reckon they’ve all got winning chances if they could get the runs they need," Maguire said.

“Maretti is on the way back. This will be his third run after a spell. The draw is okay and it’s an even field. He can win, but so can a couple of others."

Maguire was born in Leeton (NSW) and educated at St Francis de Sales Regional College in that town.

He trained his first winner (Tiges Apprentice) at Redcliffe in January and drove his first winner behind the Philip Maguire trained Hereux Homme at Wagga on May 30, 2014.

Here’s what Maguire had to say about his five drives (with trainer, runner, draw, form, and opening odds):

Race 1: The Mark Dux trained NEWPORT DREAMZ (4) 42143 - $12. “Six-year-old gelding who hasn’t finished further back than fourth in all of our last five starts. We drew five here on Tuesday, and he’s worked the best he ever has these last two weeks. His work has been unreal. He just needs a nice sprint and then time to wind up. I don’t think he will be in front, because it is a big ask to lead and win over the 2,138m here. The same applies for the death seat. If he had drawn three I reckon he would have been at $3 or $4 in this. With cover he can get some of it.”


Race 2: The Mark Dux trained RIVERLEIGH ROCKET (10) 048425 - $14. “Courage Under Fire gelding who has drawn in behind Sea Hawke and Grant Dixon ($3.80) which is not a bad thing over the 2,138m. His odds are way overs, because he has been absolutely flying from poor draws. If he is near or close to the pace he can figure. I think my best option is to sit back and hope there is speed on. Last week’s run was super. He got snagged back to last and then had nowhere to go, running up the back of winner.”


Race 3: The Phil Mitchell trained MARETTI (4) 87-83 - $8 fifth favourite in an even line-up. “Sportswriter gelding, who loves the mile and the front. He can really run the gate so I’ll be looking to lead, even though there might be speed underneath me. I’m sure the others will be wanting to sit behind Maretti. He was held up last week and hit the line real strong. This is just his just his third run back since August and he’s still very much on the improve. Hopefully I can give them something to chase because he’s fitter now and cherry ripe to rock n roll.”


Race 5: The Mark Dux trained SWEET AS (9) 92462 - $9 third equal favourite. “This mare has also drawn awkwardly on the second row, but she was a nice second from gate two here last Saturday. She does come up against some nice ones though, so I’ll be hoping there’s a lot of speed on early. In my opinion she’s a better fence horse and can win if she can get the gaps at the right time. She’s not the sort of pacer who can make a run three-wide from the 600m. She’s got a real nice sprint over 200 or 300 metres, and I have to save her for that. I pulled out a fraction too early last time, which cost her the win. If I waited I think we would have won. She has a lethal turn of foot, so the plan is to sit back, smoke a pipe and wait.”


Race 6: The Karen Schulz trained BEAU CISHLOM (10) 67225 - $34. “Black Elsu gelding, who is a good honest horse, who very rarely runs a bad race. He got held up at a crucial stage last start while jogging. We went to the finish line with the plugs still in. This is a bad drawn though, but stick with him. He has been paying $30 to $60 for the past few months now, and he will pop up at a nice price in the near future. He just feels good.”