Per­former to hit a Stone at Rose­hill

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - NEIL EVANS @NeilE­vans­mail

HE’S built for power, be­longs in the big­gest stable in the land, was a Group 3 winner as a two-year-old en route to se­ri­ous back­ing in the Golden Slip­per, and comes out of seem­ingly the strong­est three-year-old trial form in the new sea­son – but I still can’t en­ter­tain favourite Per­former first-up in tomorrow’s fea­ture Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rose­hill.

Yes, the son of Ex­ceed And Ex­cel is un­beaten fresh and hit line hard in that Aug. 7 Rose­hill trial front of last Satur­day’s Group 2 Sil­ver Shadow winner Fi­esta and high class Leg­end Of Con­dor, but he was rid­den out, the sec­tional break­down tomorrow against where he “parks” in the field says won’t be able to gun them down.

In­stead I’ll be in­vest­ing in the Godolphon fancy Plague Stone ($4.60) from a mid­dle gate, with a big “saver” on the re­turn­ing New­cas­tle colt Jonker ($8.50) who looks a mile over the odds.

Just a month after charg­ing home to win the Bud Pre­lude (1000m) fresh at Rand­wick and an im­pres­sive clos­ing sec­ond be­hind Sand­bar in the Listed Rose­bud (1100m) a fort­night back, Plague Stone is at his peak right now and marginally suited un­der the Set Weights and Penal­ties con­di­tion.

What­ever beats the Lonhro star wins the race. And that might be still un­der­stated Jonker who hasn’t raced since beaten a long way in the twoyear-old Magic Millions be­hind Sun­light back Jan­uary.

Of course, that re­mains Jonker’s only ca­reer de­feat, hav­ing won on de­but late last year be­fore blitz­ing a smart field in the two-year-old Wy­ong MM four days be­fore Xmas.

Back on Aug. 6, Jonker sat in the “breeze” in an open three-year-old Gos­ford trial and found the line nicely.

Although noth­ing spec­tac­u­lar on face value and ad­mit­tedly pushed out a lit­tle late, the colt rode hot speed in the “breeze” all the way and still ran a slick 48.18 secs.

Only one other 800m trial winner that day on a some­what shift­ing track broke 49 secs, with most – in­clud­ing smart types Show Me The Honey and Bondi eas­ily more than a sec­ond slower.

And on tomorrow’s “map,” Jonker gets lovely smoother and an eas­ier time through the mid­dle, parked right be­hind speed.

If Plague Stone is the mea­sur­ing stick, Jonker’s the knock­out value, and Per­former may have to wait an­other day to take them both down.


1. PLAGUE STONE; 2. Jonker; 3. Per­former

* IN the other three-yearold Group 3 fea­ture – Ming Dy­nasty (1400m) the pre-race “gods” have again con­spired some­what against the tal­ented Out­ra­geous ($6.00) sec­ondup for the Hawkes stable.

A very nice clos­ing ef­fort from back first-up in the Rose­bud, the nat­u­ral step to seven fur­longs for a horse that will peak at mile, looked beau­ti­ful, that was un­til he drew the out­side gate and in a non-claim­ing Qual­ity race copped 59kgs.

Okay, I ad­mit he’s the dom­i­nant gal­loper hav­ing been some­what luck­less hit­ting the line in both the Group 1 Sires’ Pro­duce (1400m) and 1 Cham­pagne (1600m) from the Au­tumn, but does he de­serve 4kgs more than the next run­ner and 6kgs from vir­tu­ally the en­tire field who all jump on limit?

After all, he’s still only won one from seven starts.

The out­stand­ing value for me is the Gary Portelli-trained Ex­celtic ($13.00 early), a way­ward young­ster who re­sumed in the Rose­bud, and de­spite run­ning about cov­er­ing ground at the back, found the line strong in a ter­rific re­turn.

He gets a nice in­side draw here in what should be a truly run race, and I pray Rachel King uses the gate and doesn’t panic be­fore turn try­ing to push out into open.

The Godol­phin colt Ara­mayo ($6.50) is also nicely placed, while ex­pect Out­ra­geous to be charg­ing late. Early favourite Danawi ($3.90), with three sec­onds from as many starts so far, is a mile un­der the odds.


1. EX­CELTIC; 2. Ara­mayo;

3. Out­ra­geous

On an even and typ­i­cally wide open late Win­ter card at Moonee Val­ley, pun­ters can launch early with the Syd­ney five-year-old Euse­bio ($6.50) who re­turns to track where he won two starts back in mid June be­fore charg­ing home to win a strong Bench­mark 90 at Rose­hill four weeks back.

Don’t worry about the gap be­tween runs, he races best that way, is a proven weight car­rier and his pat­tern is suited launch­ing off the cam­ber around the Val­ley turn! Good Luck

Plague Stone (blue) and Ex­celtic (far right) do their best work late in Sand­bar’s Rose­bud vic­tory.

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