BENDIGO trainer Kym Hann will be hoping the talented Gloves Are Off can handle the step up to city grade at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The four-year-old mare will be one of three Bendigo-trained gallopers in action at The Valley, with Brent Stanley saddling up El Salto in a heat of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge (955m) and Jarrod Robinson targeting the 2500m benchmark 70 with Wellsford.
Gloves Are Off has been working nicely towards a breakout performance and will get her chance in a $60,000 class one event.
A first foray into city racing for Gloves Are Off comes after a pair of impressive placings over 1000m at Mornington and Ballarat last month.
The mare was held up for a run at Mornington and was just as unlucky at Ballarat where she raced three-wide without cover but battled on strongly to be within 1.6-lengths of the winner.
After breaking her maiden at Warracknabeal in April this year, Gloves Are Off has finished top three in three of her next five starts and should give another good account of herself at her early market price of $21.
On Saturday, Hann will saddle up his Bendigo Cup day winner Royal Tyke on a big Ballarat Cup day program.
The six-year-old gelding produced an exciting benchmark 78 win over 1100m on his home track on cup day, but failed to fire in his follow-up at Flemington a fortnight ago.
Stanley, who kick-started the week with a win to Saw That Coming at Wangaratta, will attempt to repeat the dose at The Valley with El Salto.
The four-year-old gelding is backing up from a creditable eighth in the $150,000 Grand Handicap (1100m) at Flemington on Mackinnon Stakes day when beaten by just three lengths.
A winner of three of 15 starts, El Salto is racing in good form, highlighted by his back-to-back wins at Echuca in early October.
Meanwhile, Robinson will be attempting consecutive wins with Wellsford after his stayer produced a win at Swan Hill last month.
The five-year-old gelding has obvious talent, as evidenced by a pair of wins and a third among his eight career starts, and will be third-up after a long break with injury.
It will be Wellsford's first trip to The Valley since December last year when he finished eighth over 3000m.
He was later diagnosed with a fractured pedal bone and did not race again until early October.
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