She’s an Ex­cel­lent chance

The Sportsman Midweek - - Canterbury Preview -

NOTE: RACES are as­sessed for a Soft 7. (N/R) de­notes no rat­ing.

RACE 1

YOU don’t al­ways get what you pay for in horse rac­ing but $900,000 year­ling 4. ENG­LAND (N/R) has looked a mil­lion dol­lars in ev­ery­thing he has done thus far. The Chris Waller­trained colt is by Fast­net Rock out of In­glo­ri­ous who was the 2011 Cham­pion 3YO Filly in Canada. Both the next two dams won stakes-races. Eng­land tri­alled su­per be­fore his ‘very ac­cept­able’ 2-len third here on de­but on Jul 25 to Golden Ty­coon and Cloak. Eng­land tri­alled Sep 3 com­ing in 4.8-len be­hind 6. GOD OF THUN­DER (N/R) who was as im­pres­sive as any horse could be. God Of Thun­der is him­self a blue­blood be­ing by More Than Ready out of Ro­man Con­sul win­ner Jolie Bay who fin­ished sec­ond in the Cool­more Stud Stakes un­like her brother, Mer­chant Navy, who won the race. If the God Of Thun­der that we see in tri­als turns up, Eng­land may run out of ground to catch him. I’ll stick with though. 2. NICCO LAD (N/R) hasn’t done much wrong, he was third in a deep race here on Aug 20 to Wagner (runs in the fi­nal race) and Ven­dome.

RACE 2

5. MAG­GIE MISS (N/R) re­ally turned some heads at the tri­als the other day! She ab­so­lutely blitzed her ri­vals, scor­ing a13-len win in fast time. This Water­house/Bott filly was good with­out be­ing great in her Aug 13 trial win at Rand­wick but the win there 15 days later was pretty awe­some. We can’t vouch for the stan­dard of the op­po­si­tion but she ran a 33.90s last 600m. Good­ness knows what some of the other 200m splits were af­ter that. Can­ter­bury (tick), gate 5 (tick), Water­house/Bott first starter (tick), 1250m? I am say­ing ‘cross’. But three out of four ain’t bad. I was all over 6. SO TAKEN (N/R) when she made her Aus­tralian de­but here on Aug 29. It was a rock solid ef­fort to fin­ish 0.5-len third. She drew 7 of 9 that day but is in­fin­itely bet­ter off this time with the rails draw. If it’s not Mag­gie Miss, it will be So Taken and her Waller sta­ble­mate 1. PRESS BOX (N/R) who will be there to take ad­van­tage. Bear in mind, Press Box has been here twice and ran sec­ond each time by 0.1-len 0.2-len re­spec­tively.

RACE 3

YOU don’t see too many more im­pres­sive or em­phatic de­but wins than 4. HAPPY BUB­BLES (62). The Ger­ald Ryan-trained son of Snitzel (now there’s a combo!) was $2.80 into $2 in the New­cas­tle 900m maiden on Aug 16 and won like a $1.20 shot. The two things about the win that make him stand out are he took a ‘gap’ then once through, he ex­ploded away from the others and looked to have heaps left in the locker. Snitzel can throw a good horse, this one has loads of tal­ent and po­ten­tial. 5. GEN­TLE PER­SUA­SION (64) is on the 7-day back-up af­ter a rip­per run at Kens­ing­ton when a clos­ing 0.2-len sec­ond to She’s Furline over 1150m. Another 50m and she wins. This race is less but give her a solid tempo noth­ing will fin­ish off faster. She has a barn­storm­ing fin­ish. 7. MA­JOR WAGER (62) is an in­ter­est­ing run­ner. The Water­house/Bott filly was quite good in her Rand­wick trial win on Aug 28 which saw her beat For­mal­ity and Home Of The Brave, that form reads well af­ter last Satur­day. Has pace to off­set the wide draw some­what.

RACE 4

10. PLAGIARIST (63) was sup­posed to race at Kem­bla last Satur­day but the races were washed out. There is a sil­ver lin­ing to ev­ery cloud and for the con­nec­tions of Plagiarist, it could be a win here. This horse is by Dalakhani out a Galileo mare and any­one who likes their breed­ing will know just how great those two stal­lions are. Plagiarist has tri­alled well be­fore his first-up win at Kem­bla in a 1400m maiden. He was never go­ing to be a maiden long this cam­paign. The step to 1580m is ideal. 3. SCREAM PARK (70) re-acted pos­i­tively when rid­den closer to fin­ish 0.3-len sec­ond here over 1550m last start. He is fourth-up now and off his best run for a long while. Bar­rier two – surely he goes for­ward again and may be harder to hold out. 2. MOONDANCER (70) beat 6. THE CAR­TOON­IST (66) fair and square at New­cas­tle last start over 1400m. I see no rea­son why he (Moondancer) will not fin­ish in front of him (The Car­toon­ist) again on Wed­nes­day. 5. FOL­LOW ON (66) puz­zles me. He is a Pierro half to Cri­te­rion, Comin’ Through, Va­reena Miss and Silently first-up (Ex Water­house/Bott now Matthew Vella) but with a good trial win.

RACE 5

3. FAN­TAS­TIC MAN (69) has a neat set of num­bers to be highly com­pet­i­tive. The John Thomp­son-trained son of Red­oute’s Choice is 6s 1-2-1 at the track and 4s 0-1-1 at the t/d. This horse is known to race handy which why Can­ter­bury suits his pat­tern. Fan­tas­tic Man has placed over this same t/d at two most re­cent out­ings beaten 0.2len in that Aug 15 ap­pear­ance. He is only two from 18, as in wins, but has placed 10 times so you would think he medals – just what colour? Waller has three of the 11, I most of us would nom­i­nate 8. SCRATCHES (68) as best of them trio. This Gerry Har­vey-owned/bred mare by Winx’s sire, Street Cry, bolted in at New­cas­tle be­fore her 1.3len sec­ond here to ‘the hur­dler’ High Bridge who swept past her last. That might not be a ‘shame’ given the win­ner might go all right! Syd­ney’s un­luck­i­est horse, 6 VALENTINO ROSSA (67) de­serves a win and he very well might this time given the jockey – Ja­son Col­lett! That’s a pow­er­ful book­ing es­pe­cially way this horse needs to be rid­den.

RACE 6

JOHN Thomp­son can hope­fully go back-to-back here with given the pres­ence of a mare that I have fol­lowed since be­fore her de­but back when she was with James Cum­mings in his pre-Godol­phin days. Cum­mings rated 5. EX­CEL­LENT DE­SIGN (67) very highly and for good rea­son. It’s not hard to spot qual­ity when it’s so ob­vi­ous – she’s got the looks, the ac­tion and the pedi­gree – just about ev­ery­thing you like to see. Ex­cel­lent De­sign tri­alled su­per be­fore her sched­uled re­turn the other week but was scratched at gates. Went back to tri­als and was just as good, maybe bet­ter, given the depth of that par­tic­u­lar heat. Talk­ing tri­als, the only word to de­scribes 2. EL­LIE’S EN­CORE (68) and her two wins are ‘wow!’. The Paul Perry-trained mare is by his own cham­pion Choisir and has won half of her eight starts. She ran eighth 11 in the Light Fin­gers be­fore a spell but she was only 5.4-len be­hind Al­izee who it wasn’t like she got beaten a fur­long. 7. MISSYBEEL (66) has caught the eye – big time – in her two tri­als, the last one was be­hind Ef Troop who was all guns blaz­ing. This could be run at light­ning speed, Missybeel could have last say.

RACE 7

JOHN Camil­leri bred Winx but I can tell you, this mare 7. WARRANTY (74) hails from one of his best brood­mare fam­i­lies. She’s by All Too Hard out Fac­tor Of Safety, her­self an En­costa De Lago out of the brood­mare gem, Cele­bria. Warranty is a Snow­den Rac­ing-trained mare who has been tuned-up with two lovely tri­als. Warranty has won fresh and is stakes-placed. Would ob­vi­ously have more im­por­tant en­gage­ments this spring but un­less the mar­ket says ‘no’, I am with her. I con­cede that 2. ZA ZI BA (79) is ob­vi­ous. She has a class edge on most of th­ese, I am per­son­ally not in­clud­ing Warranty in that bunch, but in Za Zi Ba’s favour is that she is race fit and a last start Rose­hill win­ner. Za Zi Ba has bar­rier three and Sam Weather­ley brings his 2kg claim to the ta­ble again. I just have a sense that Za Zi Ba is go­ing be very, very well found – it’s not hard – and there­fore may make the mar­ket for one to am­bush her that mare, I hope, is Warranty. 1. PIRACY (77) is a qual­ity geld­ing in the Royal Blue. He is third-up now with a de­sir­able al­ley. Only run at Can­ter­bury was a win and when he was third-up like to­mor­row.

RACE 8

MY best bet 15. DESERT LORD (66) is go­ing to need a mir­a­cle to even make the field given that he third emer­gency but we see plenty of scratch­ings in Syd­ney, far too many in fact, that’s another story. I am writ­ing this two-days out from the race and with no mar­ket lead but I am supremely con­fi­dent about his chances if he makes the cut. He has huge prom­ise and has come back in sen­sa­tional nick. If he misses out on the run to­mor­row, keep an eye out for him. I note that he’s nom­i­nated for Doomben on Satur­day! 8. TINKERMOSA (73) sat­is­fies the first-up out of an Oaks sys­tem, the Queens­land in her case. Throw in ab­so­lutely rip­ping good trial, Ja­son Col­lett, slow track – which she loves – I can see a Black Booker com­ing on. Love 12. WAGNER (68) as a horse but he will need so much luck from out there. Oh, did I for­get to men­tion the rail is out 8m! What does that mean for all my back­mark­ers on card?! Time will tell.

Ex­cel­lent De­sign. Pic: Grany Guy

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