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Alford better for the experience

By Michael Guerin

The most successful reinsman in Australian history thinks he might be better for the experience of driving at Menangle last Saturday night.

 Which might sound a little strange considering Chris Alford has already won most of the great races at the NSW track, including the Miracle Mile.

 Alford returns to Menangle this Saturday night for a fistful of top chances in group one races, all trained by his racing muse, Emma Stewart.

 The pair combined for three wins last Saturday night and have Poster Boy (Miracle Mile), Centenario (NSW Derby), Tell Me Tales (Ladyship Mile) and Kualoa in the NSW Oaks.

 And it is in the Derby that Alford says he should be better off for his outing last Saturday.

 “I hadn’t driven in a 2400m race there for a while and I kinda forgot how much advantage the horses drawn wide of the track get.

 “When you wind into the back straight you are only just straightening up when they let them go and that was one reason he got crossed at the start last week.

 “But later in the night I drove a filly in an Oaks heat and was more awake to it and able to get her out better from the ace and that will be the case again this Saturday.”

Centenario looked very at home around Menangle last Saturday, with his huge stride suited to the big track and if Alford is able to hold the lead early that gives him options, one of which could be then trailing Victoria Derby winner Muscle Factory.

With that rival’s love of hard running and the fact it could have gaps appearing, Centenario sitting in the trail could be outstanding value even at the $2.60 with TAB.

 Alford is not so sure what to make of the ace draw for Poster Boy in the Miracle Mile as so much will depend on the pressure from the outside.

 “I would be happy enough to lead or trail the right horse, but I obviously won’t want to be trailing one of the roughies. And I don’t want to be going a 25-second first quarter.

 “He can win but the early part will be interesting.”

Alford won’t have to worry about inside draws with Kualoa in the Oaks and Tell Me Tales in the Ladyship, with their wide draws costing them favouritism but maybe not the race.

 “They can both still win but their chances might depend on how the Purdon horses (Dream About Me in the Ladyship and Our Princess Tiffany in the Oaks) end up.

 “But the draws don’t end our chances. They just make it harder.”