Ig­natius is on fire for Char­i­ots

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Racing - MICHAEL GUERIN

IF you are think­ing about tak­ing the short odds for Ig­natius to win Satur­day’s $200,000 Char­i­ots Of Fire trainer James Rat­tray has two pieces of good news for you.

The part-time Tas­ma­nian pacer was a crush­ing win­ner over Chase Auckland in the Cor­dina Pale­face Adios at Me­nan­gle on Satur­day night, surg­ing to $2.50 favouritism in the TAB’s pre­draw mar­ket be­fore bar­ri­ers are fi­nalised to­day.

That Ig­natius could sit parked and pace a 1:50.2 mile should sur­prise no­body as he in­di­cated last sea­son that he has the po­ten­tial to be the next big thing in Aus­tralasian pac­ing.

But with Chase Auckland be­ing NZ’s best three-year-old last sea­son to sit parked and out tough him con­firms Ig­natius has al­ready gone to an­other level.

Yet trainer-driver Rat­tray says the mus­cu­lar geld­ing can only get bet­ter for the Char­i­ots.

“He only had two tri­als in Tas­ma­nia be­fore com­ing back to me and then one here and last week’s race,” says Rat­tray.

“So he will be able to go faster next week, he has to be im­proved by that. He will need to be be­cause it is go­ing to be a bet­ter field but he is start­ing to re­mind me of Beau more and more.”

Beau is Beau­tide, Rat­tray’s for­mer two-time In­ter Do­min­ion win­ner and Mir­a­cle Mile hero, who was a near un­stop­pable tank around Me­nan­gle, with the big track also seem­ing to bring out the best in Ig­natius.

And that is where the sec­ond con­fi­dence-boost­ing as­sess­ment from Rat­tray comes in for pun­ters ahead of to­day’s draw.

While some ri­vals would be shat­tered to draw poorly or wouldn’t have the gate speed to use an in­side mar­ble, Rat­tray says Ig­natius is ver­sa­tile enough that he can win from al­most any­where on Satur­day.

“We saw him sit parked and beat Chase Auckland but he doesn’t have to tough it out, or he gets a good draw he has the gate speed to use it. “So we have op­tions.” As strong as Ig­natius was and clearly de­serv­ing of favouritism the Char­i­ots looks one of the deep­est in its his­tory.

Chase Auckland will im­prove with Satur­day’s run while Ash­ley Lo­caz has al­ready been a freefor-all win­ner at Me­nan­gle and Poster Boy was bril­liant win­ning at Mel­ton on Satur­day night.

Pi­card can prob­a­bly be for­given for his de­feat af­ter lead­ing in the New­cas­tle Mile as the rain-soaked track tuned the race on its head.

His sta­ble­mate Ma­jor­dan gal­loped out and lost all chance, with Yaya’s Hot Spot shock­ing pun­ters to earn the first spot in the $1mil­lion Mir­a­cle Mile on March 2.

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