Winter Blues may be pick of the bunch
THE Pinnacle Stakes race at Scottsville today looks something like a Louis Goosen benefit as he saddles six of the nine runners.
But the Ashburton-based trainer is not all that confident.
“I may have six in the race but there are a couple of others in with big chances. I may run second and third.”
“There were 16 nominations for the race but owners want their horses to race and there were no other races for these horses.”
Goosen is not easily drawn on what his chances are, preferring to wait until the day of the races after his five-point check before committing himself so it is up to the ante-post speculators to make their assessments.
Bookmakers are of the same opinion as Goosen and although Winter Blues is marginal 3-1 favourite with Track & Ball, La Ferrari, Captain’s Girl and Hastag Strat are all in the mix.
All of Goosen’s runners show tremendous pace, as one would expect in a five-furlong dash but best of them could be Winter Blues.
The diminutive son of What A Winter is a model of consistency and only once finished out of the money.
He gets a 2.5kg claimer on board in the form of useful apprentice Luke Ferraris and his claim could prove the difference between winning or losing.
Hashtag Strat and Captain’s Girl are both quick and have form over course and distance while Effortless Reward is no slouch and she too gets relief from the saddles in the form of four-claimer Jason Gates.
Like stable mate Lloyd’s Legacy, she does have breathing issues but if right on the day is not out of it.
However, the trio on opposition are no slouches either and as Goosen has intimated the race is no pushover.
Bottom weight La Ferrari has been knocking hard at the door for his third success and finish ahead of all Goosen’s runners in the Umkomasi Stake on Gold Cup day.
He must be a big runner on that form.
Vision To Kill ran well below form last time out but is a smart mare on her day while Statute still has something to offer.
It is an intriguing race but forced into a corner Winter Blues is taken to get home ahead of Hashtag Strat. The socalled ‘off-season’ is not for the feint-hearted punter.
The fields generally consist of the battlers, sick, lame and lazies and those that are not guaranteed to hold form.
That said, there are opportunities for the astute follower of form and one runner that has been under the radar for much of his career is Cat’s Legacy.
As a young horse, Alyson Wright’s charge promised more than what he has shown recently and the handicappers have finally conceded that he was not quite as good as first rated and dropped him seven pounds in the handicap from his last effort behind Silver Rose.
He takes on much lower rated opposition on the sixth off what may now be a competitive handicap mark and looks value at around 7-1.
Escape Club (22-10) in the fifth has not been that fortunate and earned a further three-pound penalty for her runner-up berth behind My Zinzara on the Greyville poly last time out.
However, Dennis Drier’s four-year-old filly has only had four outings and has yet to finish out of the money.
Given that she is still relatively lightly raced she may still have further improvement to come as expected by the handicappers and could prove the ‘right’ one in the where Rae’s Dyna Jet, Arizona Sunset and Marsala look the most obvious threats.
Many have taken the view that barrier trials are misleading but if one takes the time to analyse each trial in the right context then they can prove beneficial.
Antigonus (2-1) showed up well in his trial and Belinda Impey’s charge was only run out of it late behind the strongly fancied Celebration Rock in his race course debut proper.
That was an excellent showing and he should come on lengths from that effort when he lines up in the card opener today.
Recent triallist Wendylle showed good pace and was geared down over the last 100m. It was a useful time and he looks to have a chance while Alfonsa Spagoni showed up well on debut after a good barrier trial and can feature over this shorter trip.
Add to that Solid Gold who was not asked to do much in his trial but still finished closeup.
He should prefer it a bit further judged on pedigree and could find this on the sharp side but he looks to have a touch of class about him.
Apprentice Luke Ferraris rides WINTER BLUESfor trainer Louis Goosen in the Pinnacle Stakes (seventh race) at Scottsville today.