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With Damian Lane Dubai bound for the World Cup meeting, Mark Zahra takes over on The Inferno

Mark Zahra will be the new rider on former Singapore star The Inferno when he makes his return to The Valley on Friday night.

The Inferno is set to contest the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on Friday night, the track he was successful at in his second start following his arrival from Singapore.

Lane has been aboard The Inferno in his four starts in Melbourne with Regan Bayliss in the saddle for The Everest at Randwick last October.

With Lane heading to the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan where he has picked up rides on a number of Japanese-trained horses, Zahra has been given the nod for Friday night.

Zahra partnered The Inferno in a jump-out at Balnarring last Wednesday, his second in as many weeks after heading to Woolamai the previous week.

Trainer Cliff Brown said last week’s jump-out confirmed The Inferno had recovered from the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 19.

The Inferno stumbled and almost fell after striking interference at Flemington, before finishing eighth.

“It was a bit wet, but he worked through the line,” Brown said.

“It’s been five weeks since he ran in the Lightning. I didn’t want to push him, but he’s come back OK. He was a bit sore through the back, but he seems alright.”

While The Inferno was successful at Group 2 level in the McEwen Stakes (1000m) at The Valley last year, Brown is still not sure where the gelding, a winner of nine of his 14 starts, sits in Australian racing.

And the unbeaten Marabi frightens him, especially if The Valley on Friday night is a leaders track.

“She’s outstanding and those good horses rarely have an off day,” Brown said.

“I know it sounds silly, but I can’t really get a guide on him yet. He was good at The Valley both times but then he didn’t like the wet track in Sydney.

“He doesn’t like wet tracks, that’s one thing I do know.”

 
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