Win­ter Blues may be pick of the bunch

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW HAR­RI­SON

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.

Win­ter Blues

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.

Hash­tag Strat

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.

Pic­ture: Candiese Marnewick

Ap­pren­tice Luke Fer­raris rides WIN­TER BLUESfor trainer Louis Goosen in the Pin­na­cle Stakes (sev­enth race) at Scottsville to­day.

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