King eyes G1 crown

Ris­ing hoop to part­ner with Lan­ci­ato in fea­ture

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - MATT JONES

LAN­CI­ATO and Rachel King know each other so well and to­mor­row they’ll be fight­ing off 19 ri­vals to win the $1m Group 1 Ep­som Hand­i­cap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.

King has rid­den the Mark Newn­ham-trained six-year-old five times in­clud­ing a cred­itable sev­enth plac­ing in this year’s Group 1 Don­caster Mile in the au­tumn.

The duo are try­ing to win Randwick’s other big mile and will jump from bar­rier six, a draw which pleased King.

“I’m happy with the draw. I said to my part­ner (Blake Spriggs) that I’d be happy draw­ing any­where be­tween one and six and we got six so that’s a re­ally good start,” King said.

Lan­ci­ato, who loves 1600m, has drawn bar­rier 10 at both runs this prepa­ra­tion which in­cluded a slash­ing fourth to Pier­ata in the Mis­sile Stakes (1200m).

“He’ll be in the se­cond half of the field, for sure. Draw­ing bar­rier six though might mean we can be in front of a cou­ple,” she said. “We’ve been draw­ing out wide the last cou­ple of races so hope­fully this gives us a chance to be fur­ther for­ward.”

If they com­bine to win it will be the first ‘ma­jor’ of King’s ca­reer, just months after win­ning the cham­pion ap­pren­tice ti­tle in Syd­ney.

“I’m more ex­cited than ner­vous be­cause we get along re­ally well. He was my first Group win­ner (New­cas­tle New­mar­ket) and hope­fully he can be first Group 1 win­ner,” she said.

To­mor­row, Newn­ham will also line up Na­keeta Jane in the Group 1 Flight Stakes where she is a $17 chance be­hind favourite Miss Fab­u­lass after draw­ing gate nine with Josh Parr tak­ing the ride.

Mean­while, Greg Hick­man feels star Pierro four-year-old Pier­ata will be peak­ing for the Ep­som Hand­i­cap.

After fin­ish­ing se­cond to Ke­men­tari in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) au­tumn, the en­tire is a much more ma­ture in­di­vid­ual this prepa­ra­tion.

With Corey Brown back in the sad­dle, Pier­ata has drawn ide­ally in gate four in the Ep­som.

“He hasn’t turned a hair from his last run and his work on Tues­day morn­ing was A-plus,” Hick­man said.

“He goes about his job with no fuss. He walks on the track happy and off it happy – he’s bombproof.

“He keeps get­ting stronger and this is the best chance we’ve had of win­ning at a mile so far,” he added.

Jockey Rachel King be­lieves Lan­ci­ato will be right in the fin­ish of to­mor­row’s Ep­som Hand­i­cap at Royal Randwick. Pic: Grant Guy

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