09/24/2003 11:00PM

Rail Hunter must be caught

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EDMONTON, Alberta - Rail Hunter aims for his second straight Northlands Marathon score here Saturday afternoon.

Rail Hunter is coming off a wire-to-wire victory by 3 3/4 lengths in the 1 3/8-mile leg of the Marathon starter handicap series Sept. 7, his fourth win of the year.

A 4-year-old Alberta-bred, Rail Hunter is a versatile sort who won his maiden by nine lengths in a six-furlong sprint April 13. Desmond Bryan is expected to send Rail Hunter to the front end again in this 1 5/8-mile race.

Rail Hunter, co-owned by Goat Racing Corporation and trainer Deanna Walper, is the 117-pound co-highweight along with Egotistical, who has a win and three seconds this year, all at route distances.

Egotistical ran second to Rail Hunter in his last outing and will be ridden here by Quincy Welch.

Loner Special finished third in two earlier legs of the Northlands Marathon, and defeated $7,500 claimers in mid-July. Trainer Floyd Arthur has given Peter Wong the return mount.

Joe T Bailey is winless this year, with his best effort a second-place finish just before he was reclaimed by trainer Rod Heggie in July.

Big Bad Bue is making his first appearance in this series, and is coming off a win and a second in sprints for $7,500.

Completing the field are Clever Little Dude, a close second in Winnipeg in his last start, and Western Marshall.

The Northlands Marathon series is for horses who have started for a claiming price of $7,500 or less but have not won for a price of $13,000 or more since.