Ascot, WA, March 7, 2009 FIRST LEG 3.25 WA time
SECOND LEG 4.05 (WA)
THIRD LEG 4.35 (WA)
FOURTH LEG 5.20 (WA)
Pink Passion Hcp (0-86), 2200m
Pink Spirit Hcp
Ascot 1000 Guineas, 3YO fillies, 1800m
Jockey Celebration Day Hcp (0-79, E&G) 1100m
A moderate field opens the quaddie, but we’re going for the lowest rated runner as our top tip. (10) Timberlands, a 3YO son of the South African Derby (Gr 1) winner Timber Trader, improved greatly on his previous form when he beat the smart Scenic Link over 1800m here on Feb 18. Asked to explain the improvement (off a Pinjarra mdn 7th), trainer Neville Parnham told stewards that he attributed the improved performance to the gelding racing over an increased distance. He advised that he would continue to race the gelding over similar and increased distance in future. So here we go, out to 2200m, ideally drawn to get a good run, and up against a field even their owners would find hard to love. The favourite will be (2) Dash Incredible, who took 15 starts to win his maiden, and was okay when third to Marine Drive (whom he beat at his previous start) over 2200m on Feb 21. Has Pike and that means we’ll have to include. Other chances are (3) Phormium, a winner over 1600m here on Feb 14 (last won this trip in July 2006), and (4) Observation, yet to win beyond 1800m.
Another moderate lot, with no standout this time. We’re including (3) Kaleido, (4) Royal Cobra, (5) Dante’s Banquet, (7) Caller One and (8) Found And Kept. Of those, we’re prepared to risk Caller One, whose laststart win was his first in 27 starts, back to November 2007. In that period he was placed in 11. We’re willing to risk him, although he cost us the quaddie last time. We’re also iffy on Found And Kept, a consistent placegetter recently, but two of his three wins have been at Albany. He is an improver, but … Royal Cobra was a strong winner over 1600m on Feb 11, and last start was outside the leader, took the lead inside the distance and was only a long head from the winner when fourth. Will be in the ideal position throughout from the inside gate. Dante’s Banquet is getting closer, and will be near the lead throughout from gate 4. Kaleido has been a little onepaced since resuming, but also will be in a gun position from barrier two, He has to be included. Looking back on the assessments, we reckon the safe route is to include five, with Royal Cobra our favoured choice.
The recent run of 3YO classics here have seen a mix of favoured runners (Danebeela twice) and longshots ((5) Flight Path, and last week’s 40/1 winner Dominicano). In each case, we thought there were 8-10 chances pre-race, and we think the same again. Any of the following can win: (1) Locus Standi, (2) Exquisite Timing, (3) Valentine Miss, (4) Cassandara Shadow, (5) Flight Path, (6) Admiring, (7) All Class and (8) Jeverre. The winner will be the one with the luck in running. Flight Path has been outstanding in her past two and, although poorly drawn, will run well again; has class factor. Locus Standi will do better than her last-start failure, from the good draw; All Class has won only once, but would have beaten Danebeela in a few more strides in the Champion Fillies a fortnight back; and Jeverre is on the edge of a win, although she’s won only one from eight. Exquisite Timing has not been good since resuming, but was a ripper in the spring, winning the Aquanita over this trip. Valentine Miss is another whose spring form hasn’t yet been repeated in the autumn.
Just as we did in the first leg, we’re going for potential rather than age in another open race. Our top choices will be the lightly-raced 4YO (9) Follow The Road (6 starts 2 wins, 4 seconds) and the similarly inexperienced (7) Ebony Raider (3 wins, 2 seconds from 7 starts). Other chances are (2) Henry The Pharaoh, (3) Underline (off back-to-back wins at big odds), (6) Coronate and (8) Kilkenny Jac. We can’t see anything else challenging. Follow The Road had the money until the last bit when overwhelmed by the smart Snip Esprit (1200m, Feb 21). He won his first two at Northam in the winter and has followed with four straight seconds. This is easier than last time, and he will be well placed again from the good gate. Ebony Raider was another who had the money until late, when grabbed by Underline (1000m Feb 28). Include Underline, who won’t be double-figure odds again. Well placed throughout, he finished with gusto to beat Ebony Raider, and is an obvious improver. Kilkenny Jac is hampered by his wide draw.
10 – 2 – 3,4 – 7,8
5,7 – 8,1,2,3 – 6,4
9 – 7 – 3 – 8,6,2
FOCUS ON FIRST AND FOURTH LEGS
THE PLAYS (50c unit)
Believe in potential in the first and last legs and go strongly with (10) Timberlands in the opening leg and (9) Follow The Road in the finale, with at least one of our quaddies having these two one out, and the middle legs as wide as we can. That’s likely to mean the field in legs two and three. Given our conservative nature, we might double up with (2) Dash Incredible in the first leg, and (7) Ebony Raider in the last. Choose what you can afford, or go flexi.
OUR FAVOURED BET