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Chances aplenty in the City of Marion

It’s going to be a super competitive affair on Saturday in the Listed City of Marion Stakes as we see the return of many horses who had a crack across the border over the Spring Carnival.

Casino Wizard and Illustrious Lad were the leaders for much of the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Sandown last start and Peter Gelagotis’ Illustrious Lad stuck on the better of two to finish fifth in that race. He’s a Group 2 Linlithogow Stakes winner over the 1200m but surprisingly, his last win came in that race back in October 2016. While it’s been a long time in-between drinks for him, he’s contested six Group 1 races in the last two years and is one of the real class horses of the field. He also has a good record at Morphettville with two wins and a second from five starts including a win in the Listed Wylie Handicap back in 2016. Tasmanian hoop Anthony Darmanin rides the horse nicely and if he can handle the 60.5kg on Saturday he’s going to be a big show.

The ultra-consistent Casino Wizard absolutely loves the 1200m and the City of Marion Stakes is one of the South Australian Listed sprints that still eludes him, running fourth in 2016 and second in last year’s edition. Emily Finnegan jumps back on board after last riding him to victory in the Listed Durbridge Stakes in October. You can just never write the eight-year-old off, especially at Morphettville where he’s won four Listed races over 1200m in his career.

Race favourite, Platinum Angel flew home in the Ballarat Cup Magic Millions, just to miss over 1100m. He gets back out to 1200m, a distance which he’s only missed a place in once in six starts.  His third placing in the Group 3 How Now Stakes over 1200m behind Winter Bride looks to be great form for this race. He also has the Darren Weir polish and will be one to watch late.

Lope De Capio and Mazurek both return home after last start runs across the border. Lope De Capio was gallant running 1.75 lengths seventh in the Group 3 Chatham Stakes on the final day of the Flemington Carnival. While he’s been stretched out over further this preparation, his best results have come over shorter distances and the 1200m might be a bit too far for his best. Mazurek couldn’t quite match it in Group 3 company across the border but is likely to lead and make her own luck from barrier six with Georgina Cartwright in the saddle.

Karlovasi caused a boil over last start defeating quality sprinters in Benz and Oberland. He doesn’t win out of turn too often but has a Listed win to his name and four wins over the distance. With only 54kg on his back he’s another with an each-way chance on Saturday.

Arkham Knight has had a freshen up and drops back from the 1500m of the Gawler Cup to the 1200m on Saturday. He will have admirers with his strong 1200m record with three wins and five placings from ten starts. Another with only 54kgs to carry he’ll be one to watch late in the piece.

The horse down the bottom of page, Nariko, is another very interesting runner. The mare won her last start at Ballarat in BM78 company but defeated some talented runners in Miss Wahoo and Freehearted. While it’s a big step up in grade, write off a Mick Price runner in Adelaide at your own peril.

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