Blinkers dictate Long Leaf’s Rose chances
David Hayes hopes the addition of blinkers and a dry track will bring out the best in Long Leaf in the Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Long Leaf will be Lindsay Park’s sole representative in the Group 1 feature for three-yearolds.
After running on strongly over 1100m at Caulfield on August 18, Long Leaf was switched to Sydney to contest the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) on September 8.
A heavy track thwarted the colt’s chances and he finished eighth of the 11 runners behind Lean Mean Machine.
Long Leaf performed well in Sydney in the autumn, finishing sixth to Estijaab in the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill and fourth to El Dorado Dreaming in the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
His only flop was when he failed to run out the 1600m when ninth in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes before a spell.
Hayes is confident Long Leaf can turn around his poor showing in the Run To The Rose.
“He’s not good on the wet,” Hayes said. “He’ll improve out of sight with the blinkers back on and getting to the 1400m.
“He’s worked well in the blinkers and they’ve worked wonders plenty of times before on race day. I’m confident of a very good run so long as it’s dry, but if it’s wet then I probably wouldn’t even run him.”
The Kris Lees-trained Graff holds favouritism at $4 for the Golden Rose ahead of The Autumn Sun ($6) and Lean Mean Machine ($7), both from the Chris Waller stable.
Waller expects the pair to be joined by Zousain, who developed a temperature last Monday.
The colt finished fourth in the Run To The Rose and is at $9 for the Golden Rose, which his sire Zoustar won in 2013.
Great Again, ridden by Mitchell Pateman, scores his fifth straight win at Belmont on Saturday.