Mission possible for Apollo

HORSE RACING

Only a few months after thinking Alma's Fury had run his last race for the stable, Paul Murray remains bullish about the horse's chances of defending his Apollo Stakes (1400m) title on Saturday.

Emerging from the Warwick Farm fog a Group 2 winner in the same race 12 months ago, Murray thought the horse would be transferred to a Queensland stable after his run in the Bernborough Handicap.

But he's since resumed for the Kembla Grange horseman in the Maroubra Mile and faces a stern test in his defence of the weight-for-age race at Randwick on Saturday.

"He's had a real grounding and I thought he went really well the other day," Murray said. "[Jockeys] Blake [Shinn] and Christian [Reith] swear he'll run a strong 2000-metres, but I think this is the right race for him at the moment.

"He's ready to defend his title and we've got plenty of options afterwards. There are races like the Canberra Cup and even the Albury Cup which is only over a mile-and-a-quarter which could possibly suit.

"There are a couple of smart horses in the race, but if he runs up to potential there's no reason why he can't be in the finish."

Expressway Stakes heroine Appearance, a triple Group 1 winner, is expected to vie with Chris Waller's star Boban for favouritism in the Randwick feature.

Waller has Boban, Sizzling and Moriarty entered for the Apollo Stakes at Randwick but he could split his team to chase Group 1 success in the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield.

The Rosehill trainer also has Sizzling nominated for the Futurity and the former Queensland-trained four-year-old is firming as a starter in the $500,000 race.

Sizzling was responsible for an eye-catching debut for Waller when he returned the best result of the trainer's three Expressway Stakes runners at Randwick on February 1. AAP

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