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Alma's Rossa has barrier two in Saturday's Margot McCluskey Handicap

A better barrier draw than Alma’s Rossa had at Sandown for her last start has boosted trainer Matthew Williams’ hopes the three-year-old filly can snare a first city win at Caulfield.

Alma’s Rossa won back-to-back races on her home track at Warrnambool earlier this campaign in lesser grade before heading to town on December 24 for a benchmark-70 race against her own age and sex.

After settling at the tail of the eight-horse field from the outside barrier, Alma’s Rossa made ground on the outside in the straight to run fourth, just over a length from the winner.

Alma’s Rossa has barrier two in Saturday’s Margot McCluskey Handicap (1400m), another benchmark 70 for fillies, and Williams believes the better draw can be significant.

“It’s very similar race to what she was in at Sandown,” Williams said.

“I thought if she drew a gate at Sandown she would have gone pretty close so I reckon drawing a gate on Saturday puts her right in the race. She’s got to go there with a good winning hope, I reckon.”

Alma’s Rossa is by Testa Rossa out of the unraced mare Alma’s Angel, a half-sister to stakes winners Sistine Demon and Sistine Angel.

“If she can win a metropolitan race then she’s probably got a bit of residual value as a broodmare down the track and we’d probably try to chase a little bit of black type with her somewhere if we could get a win in town,” Williams said.

Stablemate Our Bottino resumes in Saturday’s David McGee Handicap (1400m) for his first start since stringing three-straight wins together, all on the synthetic track at Pakenham, last winter.

Williams scratched Our Bottino from a race at Caulfield recently because of an awkward draw and expected good pace in the race.

“He likes to roll forward, which he’ll do on Saturday,” Williams said.

“He’s had three trials so he’s pretty forward but I’m just thinking a mile probably suits him better, and it might be a tad short for his liking, but with the claim for Beau Mertens he gets in all right at the weights.”

He believes the gelding will run well first-up but will also improve with a VOBIS Gold Star (1500m) at Moonee Valley two weeks later slated as his next start.

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