Grif­fiths tar­gets dou­ble

The Sportsman Special Issue - - 80 - By ROBERT WINDNILL

CRANBOURNE­trainer Rob­bie Grif­fiths is set to land Mel­bourne’ssum­mer­fea­ture race dou­ble af­ter tak­ing out the first leg with six-year-old Cocinero in Wed­nes­day’s Listed Christ­mas Stakes at Caulfield.

Grif­fiths is­nowl­ook­ing for­ward to Coun­tToZero con­test­ing Tues­day’sGroup Three Stan­dishHcp(1200m) at Flem­ing­ton.

Last year Cocinero missed the start and was des­per­ately un­luck­y­whenhe fin­ished third in the Stan­dish­whenit was run at Caulfield but Craig Ne­witt had­him­close to the lead all the wayin Wed­nes­day’s 1200m fea­ture.

He­set up a win­ning break halfway­down­the straight whenNe­witt dashed­him­clear to score by 21/ lengths from dead-heaters Stick­pin and Colonel Parker.

It it is nice to see­himwin a good race like this,’’ Grif­fiths said.

He­wona stakes race as a three-year-old but has had so many­plac­ings since, run­ning sec­ond and third to some re­ally goodGroupOne­horses.’’

Cocinero has been placed at eight of his 19 starts at stakes level in his 28-start ca­reer and won­just over $470,000.

Helooked an out­stand­ing prospect as a young horse, win­ning four of his first five starts be­fore be­ing el­e­vated against some of the Aus­tralia’s best sprint­ers.

Grif­fiths im­me­di­ately ruled out back­ing up Cocinero against Coun­tToZero in the Stan­dish.

Both horses are owned in sim­i­lar in­ter­ests, and Flem­ing­ton has been a hoodoo track for Cocinero.

I don’t like back­inghimup too quickly,’’ Grif­fiths said.

Wemight just wait for the Car­lyon Stakes again at the end of Jan­uary or I might stretch himto 1400 me­tres and run­him in the (Listed) John Dil­lon Stakes here on Jan­uary 12.

He­has been a bit flat in the mid­dle stages of some of his races so might ap­pre­ci­ate go­ing to 1400 me­tres,’’

Coun­tToZero hasn’t raced since fin­ish­ing fifth in the GroupThree­SandownS­takes (1400m) on Novem­ber 17 but looks a strong Stan­dish chance on his pre­vi­ous start win in the GroupThree Eller­ston Stakes (1400m) at Flem­ing­ton.

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