En­jin faces acid test

Townsville Bulletin - - The Form -

THE Mat Ellerton and Si­mon Zahra sta­ble has ques­tioned whether En­jin Num­ber Nine is men­tally ma­ture enough to cope with the pres­sure of a race such as the Group One Aus­tralian Guineas.

The geld­ing, by 2004 Ja­pan Cup win­ner Zenno Rob Roy, has won three of his five starts and jumped sharply in grade from a first-up Gee­long Class One Hcp ( 1212m) win to score eas­ily in the Listed Man­fred Stakes ( 1300m) at Sandown from Guineas ri­val Bull­bars.

How­ever he dis­ap­pointed jockey Glen Boss slightly when fin­ish­ing fourth as favourite to Bull­bars in the G r o u p T h r e e C S Ha y e s Stakes ( 1400m) at Flem­ing­ton on Fe­bru­ary 19.

As a r e s u l t , Bo s s h a s cho­sen to ride the Danny O ’ B r i e n - t r a i n e d f i l l y Sham­rocker with Damien Oliver pick­ing up the ride on En­jin Num­ber Nine.

‘‘ It was a re­ally good run in the Hayes. Glen was forced to the fence and had to go with the fran­tic pace, but the main thing is he has come t hr o ugh t he r a c e r e a l l y well,’’ Zahra said.

‘‘ My only worry with him is if he’s men­tally there yet and sea­soned enough to win a race like this.’’

En­jin Num­ber Nine will race in a nose roll to­day and Zahra ex­plained why.

‘‘ He climbs in his ac­tion. He does that in his work and he’s done it most of his life,’’ Zahra said.

‘‘ We’re try­ing to get his head down so he can ex­tend in his ac­tion and it will give him some­thing else to con­cen­trate on as well. It seems to have worked in his track­work.

‘‘ You just can’t hus­tle and bus­tle him. You have to let him get into his rou­tine and find his ac­tion and if he’s trav­el­ling into the straight he can let down with good turn of foot.’’

Since the Guineas was first run in 1986, no horse has won the race from out­side bar­rier nine and En­jin Num­ber Nine has drawn gate seven and will jump from six in the ca­pac­ity field of 16 if the four emer­gen­cies are scratched.

O’Brien was happy enough with Sham­rocker’s run when she re­sumed with a fourth to t h e u n b e a t e n S o u t h e r n Speed in the Group Three T h e V a n i t y ( 1 4 0 0 m ) a t Flem­ing­ton on Fe­bru­ary 19.

‘‘ A mile sec­ond-up is ideal,’’ O’Brien said.

‘‘ Ob­vi­ously it is a wideopen sort of Guineas and she is on her way to the Oaks in Syd­ney but she is cer­tainly well enough to be run­ning a good race.’’

Star West Aus­tralian colt Play­ing God has firmed from $ 7 to $ 5 favourite with TAB Sports­bet since draw beau­ti­fully in bar­rier three.

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STEAM­ING HOME: En­jin Num­ber Nine wins at Sandown

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