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The Peter Snowden-trained Launay will be out to maintain his unbeaten record at Flemington and land his first black-type win in Saturday’s Listed TAB 50th Birthday Stakes.

The Lonhro four-year-old won successive races four days apart over 1400m and 1600m in Melbourne Cup week at Flemington last spring before being spelled and has returned in fine fettle.

The gelding resumed with a 1-1/4-length second to Zedi Knight who led all the way on a track favouring leaders in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington on February 16.

Launay showed he was spot-on for Saturday’s 1400m assignment when he turned in an excellent track gallop at Flemington on Tuesday morning, finishing a length ahead of stablemate Bullbars who is engaged in Saturday’s Group One Australian Guineas (1600m).

The pair went over 1000m running the trip in 1:07.48 with the final 400m in 22.83s.

“He’s a good horse in his own right,” assistant trainer Paul Snowden said of Launay who has won five of his 12 starts and was runner-up to Rothesay in the Group Two Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm last June.

“He was good in the Hareeba. We had him fairly forward and that’s why he was ridden out of his comfort zone to have him ridden according to the pattern on the day,” Snowden said.

“He was nowhere near happy where he was. If he was ridden a length further back than what he was he would have hit the line a whole lot better.

“But if he was ridden too far back he would have been out of play on the day so we tried to ride him to win the race if he could get there.

“And he still had the hide to finish off the last furlong (200m) strongly which was pleasing to see.

“He’s a lot better suited over the 1400 metres where he can get into a rhythm up on the speed or sit off the leader so I’m looking forward to it.

“(The) 1400 metres is the key to him, 1400 metres to 1600 metres is his go.”

Launay, who is also unbeaten in two second-up runs, is $2.70 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Belgietto at $4.80, topweight Danzylum ($5) and Eraset at $6.50 with Orbit Express next best at $9.50.


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