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Pride buoyed by Craftiness’ strong trial

About an hour after a stayer writes their name into history by winning the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup, a group of sprinters will do battle in the richest race ever staged outside of Flemington on the day.

Randwick is one of 14 meetings in NSW on Tuesday, with upwards of 40 scheduled around Australia.

More than 20,000 punters are expected to join the party at Sydney’s biggest track where the $150,000 Choisir Handicap (1100m) is the highlight of the meeting.

Trainer Joe Pride has Craftiness in the race, while stablemates Kuro and Mr Manhattan are expected to be scratched in favour of benchmark handicaps at Canterbury on Saturday.

Craftiness returned after six months off the scene and finished third in the Group Three Concorde Stakes at Randwick on September 3.

After a setback following that race, Pride sent him around in an 805m barrier trial on his home track at Warwick Farm on October 18 which he won by two lengths.

“The trial the other day was spot on so I think he’s very much on track,” Pride told AAP.

Hawkes Racing-trained Kaepernick is the $4.60 favourite while Craftiness is a $7 chance.

Kaepernick ran second to Spieth, who is on the way to the Group One Darley Classic at Flemington on Saturday, in the Listed Lightning on October 15.

The Choisir Handicap is one of a range of races which were added to Racing NSW’s program when prize money was boosted in September.

Pride said Kuro and Mr Manhattan would be better placed in easier races at Canterbury where he is hoping the pair can return to winning form.

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