Toowoomba mare Tinto and trainer Rex Lipp after their victory in this year's Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm.
Toowoomba mare Tinto and trainer Rex Lipp after their victory in this year's Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm. Kevin Farmer

Lipp cautious on Tinto's Bernborough Handicap task

TRAINER Rex Lipp is counting on the pluses and minuses adding up in favour of Toowoomba Group One mare Tinto when she chases feature success at Clifford Park tonight.

The Queensland Oaks winner continues on her path towards next month's Magic Millions carnival in this evening's City Of Toowoomba TRC Bernborough Handicap (1625m).

The Listed $175,000 race heads a feature-packed program including the $75,000 Magic Millions QTIS Two-Year-Old Plate (1050m) and $75,000 Neil Mansell Transport Fillies and Mares Quality Handicap over 1200 metres.

Lipp earmarked the Bernborough as Tinto's springboard into the Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 10 and she stands out as the class runner in tonight's field.

But heavy December rain and uncertainty on the track condition come 8.35 tonight have left Lipp guessing about her prospects.

"Everything is on track with her," Lipp said about her two fast-finishing Doomben placings ahead of tonight's assignment.

"The timing of the race works out well as a lead-up to Magic Millions and this would be a nice race to pick up along the way.

"She's got enough weight (58kg), which you have to expect for a Group One winner and a horse rating 101.

"But our worry is the track.

"Clifford Park doesn't suit her ideally on any sort of going, but who knows what the track will be like after the rain we've had."

Oaks winning jockey Tim Bell resumes his association with Tinto tonight after being unavailable at her latest starts due to Sydney riding commitments.

Lipp and Bell will try to plot a winning course from the four-year-old's barrier one draw after watching the early pattern of racing on the seven-event card.

"With the rail moving back to the true, we'll be keen to see if there is a 'fast lane' or any 'boggy' sections," Lipp said.

"We'll just weigh up the situation and give it our best.

"It's a pretty open field with about half a dozen chances and I'm certainly not jumping up and down saying she'll win, but we're in the race and we're hopeful."

RACING TONIGHT

Clifford Park

Bernborough Handicap

F & M Quality Handicap

MM Two-Year-Old Plate

First race 5.33pm



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