Scott Base will make ri­vals shiver

Favourite for $100k Avon­dale Guineas won’t mind it damp

The New Zealand Herald - - SUPER SPORT - Mike Dil­lon

Con­nec­tions of the Avon­dale Guineas/NZ Derby ri­vals were the only ones not cheer­ing when Scott Base turned on one of the runs of the sea­son to win the Karaka 3YO Clas­sic at Eller­slie last start.

It’s more than a de­cent bet they will cre­ate the same frowns when Scott Base goes around as favourite for to­mor­row’s $100,000 Avon­dale Guineas at Eller­slie.

Co-trainer Jonno Ben­ner is not even slightly wor­ried about the prospect of a rain-af­fected track. “It won’t mat­ter if the rain comes,” he said in the post-race in­ter­view af­ter the Clas­sic.

The main ef­fect of a wet, and in this case a some­what sticky sur­face, is that it can shorten up the long strid­ers and Scott Base and one of the main dan­gers, Danz­danz­dance, are two of those. The pair came from the tail of the field last start and if the track is to be an is­sue, stay­ing a lit­tle hand­ier with­out chang­ing ei­ther rac­ing pat­tern, would be sen­si­ble.

If ei­ther or both can man­age a grab of the sur­face they will taken plenty of beat­ing.

“The filly [ Danz­danz­dance] has done re­mark­ably well since the Karaka Clas­sic,” says trainer Chris Gibbs. “With­out be­ing cer­tain, I be­lieve she will han­dle Satur­day’s track.”

The Baker/Fors­man sta­ble are of the opin­ion Mis­sion Hill still has some ma­tur­ing to do, but with four wins from five ca­reer starts al­ready in the bank and with $100,000 avail­able to­mor­row and $1 mil­lion for the Derby the Te­ofilo 3-year-old has to be given his chance. Although well short of this class, two of those wins have been scored in slow and heavy con­di­tions, so plenty can be ex­pected.

The same sta­ble has said all along Vin de Dance would be at peak for the Derby and that he would prob­a­bly need his three lead-up ef­forts.

This is his third run and it should top him off for the big day, but there was still plenty to like about the way he fin­ished off into sixth, only 2.1 lengths be­hind Mis­sion Hill at Te Rapa last start. He will be sharper, the 2000m will suit bet­ter and rain is no is­sue. That com­bi­na­tion puts him in the frame for some of the money.

Mel­bourne’s Per­sian Em­pire is the in­ter­est­ing run­ner. Ev­ery­thing went wrong for him when he beat only one of the seven ri­vals at Moonee Val­ley last start at home and co-trainer Trent Busut­tin calls it a com­plete for­give run. Dif­fi­cult to line up the 3-year-old form in both coun­tries, but he is at long odds and might sur­prise a few. The sta­ble make few mis­takes.

Mon­go­lian­con­queror has been a slow learner, but there is noth­ing wrong with the way he finds the line late in his races. He should have won last start at Te Rapa and will be fin­ish­ing with sim­i­lar zest here.

Graeme Forbes is cur­rently in Sin­ga­pore as as­sis­tant trainer to Donna Lo­gan’s new op­er­a­tion, but he’ll be plugged into the in­ter­net watch­ing Comin’through con­test­ing to­mor­row’s $40,000 West­ing­house Nathan’s Memo­rial at Eller­slie.

Forbes has an own­er­ship share in Comin’through, but de­spite an am­ple share of abil­ity the rugged stayer never re­ally gets his part owner’s con­fi­dence. “He’s a right enigma, he could play for the War­riors, he’s got that sort of at­ti­tude.” Be­fore any­one gets up­set, Forbes re­mains one of the true War­riors be­liev­ers and the safest bet all year is that he will watch ev­ery War­riors game this up­com­ing sea­son on the in­ter­net from Sin­ga­pore.

Forbes has been in Sin­ga­pore for a month and was joined last week by Lo­gan, with the first planeload of horses from New Zealand al­ready in work. Comin’through has a few at­tributes to suit to­mor­row’s race. He has a num­ber of times man­aged a rain af­fected track well and comes in on a handy 54kg. When he fin­ished third last start in the City Of Auck­land Cup he ran a faster last 600m — 34.98 — than the win­ner Charles Road — 35.18 — and sev­enth placed favourite Von Tun­zel­man, who got home in 35.34.

More im­por­tantly, Comin’through goes up only 1kg from that run with Charles Road 5.5kg higher to 58.5kg and Von Tun­zel­man plus 3kg to 60kg.

“One of the worst as­pects is the No 1 bar­rier,” says Gibbs. “The race is late in the day and with the track likely to be cut up the in­side is prob­a­bly not go­ing to be the place to be. Also, Alysha Col­lett hasn’t rid­den him be­fore and he’s a horse you have to get to know. Alysha is a good horse­woman though.”

Charles Road, de­spite the weight in­crease, is the horse to beat. He has con­sis­tently raced well on rainaf­fected foot­ing and Jake Bayliss has de­vel­oped a fine work­ing re­la­tion­ship with a horse that has not al­ways been easy to ride. You had to like the way Charles Road fin­ished off un­der Bayliss to win the City Of Auck­land Cup.

It would be un­wise to drop Von Tun­zel­man for his City Of Auck­land Cup un­placed run. He dropped to the tail from an awk­ward mid-field draw and in an on-pace bi­ased race he made use­ful ground late with­out threat­en­ing. He is a big strong type and the 60kg will not alone be enough to beat him if he gets the right run.

Taranaki’s Ladies First has a re­mark­able record of seven starts on heavy tracks for six wins and a plac­ing. That alone puts her in the reck­on­ing, even if trainer Al­lan Shar­rock was slightly less than de­lighted with the way she gal­loped this re­verse right-handed way dur­ing the week.

Pic­ture / Pe­ter Meecham

Scott Base (left) was too good in the Karaka Mil­lion Clas­sic at Eller­slie last start.

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