Separate paths for Murrays' pair

HORSE RACING

Villiers Stakes hard-luck stories Alma's Fury and Darci Be Good have seen the last of each other for now, with Paul Murray confirming the former as a definite starter for the Bernborough Handicap (1600 metres) at Doomben on Saturday.

The pair have matched wares in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup, Festival Stakes and Villiers Stakes over the past two months, with a dearth of quality middle-distance races available.

But Alma's Fury will head north today, despite holding an entry for the Tattersalls Club Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on Tuesday.

Darci Be Good, listed under Paul's father Bede's name, will be stretched out to a mile and a quarter as the family's sole representative on New Year's Day in Sydney.

"I had that race [Bernborough Handicap] in Queensland - a Listed race worth $200,000 over a mile - in the back of my mind [with Alma's Fury]," Paul Murray said.

"It was either that or the Tattersalls, but there's no use racing against the other horse. We'll split them up a little from now.

"There's not much after this week for both of them really. Alma's will have a couple of weeks off when he comes home next week and there's a race at the end of February [Group 2 Apollo Stakes]. He might have an easy couple of weeks."

Hampered by another poor barrier, Alma's Fury wound up strongly down the outside before being nosed out by All Legal in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes at Warwick Farm last Saturday.

The consistent galloper has now placed six times in 18 attempts in black type company without winning.

But a return to Queensland, where he campaigned in Group races as a three-year-old - along with a fortune-reversing barrier-two draw - has fuelled Murray's confidence of breaking the run of outs.

"We probably have to go interstate to get a barrier - he couldn't get one in his last four starts," he joked.

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