Stubbs gearing up for bumper Albury Carnival

Ron Stubbs. Image: Bradley Photos.

Ron Stubbs is gearing up for the 2024 Albury carnival, and he’s pleased to be on his home deck preparing for feature races on both days.

Among seven starters across Thursday and Friday, Stubbs will kick off today with Baledon (Jason Lyon) in the $50,000 Albury Mile (1600m) and Tap ‘N’ Run (Jason Lyon) and Bianco Vilano (Tyler Schiller) in the $75,000 City Handicap (1175m).

On Friday, Sparring (Tyler Schiller) and Boss Lady Rocks (Jason Lyon) will lead the stable’s chances in the $75,000 Flat Knacker (900m).

Baledon, a $4.60 chance in the Albury Mile, was also entered in the $150,000 Country Championships wildcard qualifier at Goulburn on Sunday, but Stubbs chose to target the race closer to home. 

“At the end of the day, it was connections choice, and they were keen to run at Albury,” Stubbs said. 

“We thought about the Country Championships, but the horse fits the race.”

The Flat Knacker is always a famous race on the second day of the carnival, with the speedsters doing battle. 

Sparring has been racing well, winning recent races at Wagga and Albury, taking his record to 17 starts for six wins.

In contrast, five-time winner Boss Lady Ricks will first up from a 36-week spell. 

The Street Boss mare is a proven city winner, triumphing in this race in 2022 before notching victories at Moonee Valley.

“Their benchmarks are high now, and they struggle a bit in Saturday class metro, so it’s difficult to find a 1000m race for them, particularly a 900m race,” Stubbs said. 

“The fact that it’s here is a bonus, and it’s just across the road, and it is good prizemoney. 

“Going into the race, I’d say I’m happy with both, more than confident, but it is a tough race. 

“Boss Lady Rocks probably has better overall form than Sparring, but she’s first-up without a trial, so that is still a question mark.

“With Sparring, I think his last start fourth at Moonee Valley was good, and if he reproduces that sort of effort, he will give this a shake.”

Today, Stubbs will see Bianco Vilano in action ahead of next month’s $1 million Country Championships final at Royal Randwick. 

A good winner in the $150,000 Southern Districts qualifier at Albury last month, Stubbs said this race was a well-placed stepping-stone on the way to Royal Randwick.  

“Every race is hard to win, and this won’t be an easy race,” Stubbs said. 

“I’m very happy with the way Bianco Vilano has come on after the Country Championships heat. 

“We had to wait six weeks for the final, so he got a little break, and we’re looking forward to seeing how he runs at Albury. 

“He is fit and well and ready to run a strong 1200m, and hopefully, he has improvement on that run into his next start, which will be the final.”

Stubbs is pleased with his five-year-old, who finished fourth in last year’s Country Championships final when beaten by Sizzle Minizzle. 

“In last year’s final, at the top of the straight, he was running near last, and he turned that around to run fourth, which I thought was a super effort,” Stubbs said.

“He’s a more mature horse this year. He can be a playful big horse, and he still has those antics, but he’s a bit more reserved, which is good.” 

While the Country Championships are just around the corner on April 6, for the moment, Stubbs’ focus is the Albury carnival, with two big days in store for the Albury Race Club.