UC News

Raceday focus: Sugar Dance eyes sweet success

Trainer Brett Thompson wishes he could swap the barriers of Sugar Dance and Attalea in the $30,000 Mudgee Mug but he remains confident the former’s superior formlines can hold up. MATT JONES’S TIPS

Rosehill Gardens last Saturday - Racing Review

Raceday focus: Sugar Dance eyes sweet success

Rosehill Gardens last Saturday - Racing Review

Gulgong trainer Brett Thompson has mixed feelings when the field came out for Sunday’s feature at Mudgee.

The barrier draws for his two horses have positives and negatives but the horses he’s up against in the Mudgee Mug (1400m) gives him a sense of confident with Sugar Dance and Attalea.

“It’s a pretty even field, which surprises me,” Thompson said. “I thought there may have been a couple of horses from Sydney in it.”

His main chance Sugar Dance has drawn wide in 14 and Attalea gets the cushy gate three.

Trainer Brett Thompson will saddle-up two runners in the Mudgee Mug. Picture: Jono SearleSource:News Corp Australia

“Attalea is getting used to getting forward but he’s got back lately then worked home well so I guess I wished they drew the other way around,” Thompson said.

“Attalea will get a nice cosy run so hopefully he can find the line and Sugar Dance has been running nice races when leading.”

Sugar Dance is the top-rated horse in the field and brings very strong formlines into Sunday’s race. He will be ridden by Kate Cowan and despite having an 1800m win on the board, his trainer thinks he may be vulnerable late if he doesn’t get away quickly and into a good spot in the run.

“He’s a go-forward horse so he’ll do that and hopefully lead all the way,” Thompson said.

“We’ve got an apprentice on to take some weight off and that will make him very competitive. I just worry a bit about the 1400m because he’s probably a better 1200m horse but he’s won over the trip not long ago.

MATT JONES’S TOP PICKS

MUDGEE

BULLET STORM (Race 4, No.4)

Brad Widdup has found a great race for this colt, who was super impressive when breaking his maiden at start two. The mile looks perfect and he’ll get the dream run in transit.

BIGGER THAN THORN (Race 2, No.4)

This three-year-old ran a good third behind a horse that went on to do very well in town on Wednesday so the form is there to win a Maiden in the bush.

STAR OF O’REILLY (Race 3, No.2)

He comes out of a fairly good race to take on a field without a stanndout and he might be able to get the better of a couple of last-start winners who did it in lesser grade.

Race 4: 1,4, Race 5: 2,6,8, Race 6: 1,4,8,10, Race 7: 3,8.

CAMERON CROCKETT didn’t get a lot of luck at the barrier draws but it’s his home track and a horse like Are You Dreaming is capable of winning from an awkward draw.

CHRISTIAN REITH has some top rides including Bullet Storm, Bigger Than Thorn and Cloak.

SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS

Christian Reith looks set for a big day with a solid book of rides at Mudgee. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

SHAYNE O’CASS’S TOP PICKS

GUNDAGAI

SUPALUX (Race 1, No.2)

Wagga gelding has been close up in nearly all of the five runs to date and finally gets into a race where he might well be the best-equipped horse in the line-up. Drawn to win with any luck.

BART (Race 4, No.1)

Son of So You Think is clearly superior to his opposition, which is reflected in his 65.5kg minus 4kg for the apprentice. Should jump out and lead and roll along after that and he has a huge ticker.

JAYTEE’S THE FOX (Race 5, No.1)

Had an off-day at Wagga first-up when backed like a good thing. His best would be surely good enough to take this one out. Expect better here.

BRODIE LOY, one-time boom apprentice has plenty of opportunity to give the TAB Jockeys Challenge a red-hot go.

Race 4: 1, Race 5: 1, Race 6: 1,8,9,10, Race 7: 1,2,3,8,9.

*****

“He’s got natural gate speed and he’ll get across pretty easily. He’s just got to relax when he gets there. That will be the main thing.”

Thompson is banking on Suger Dance’s superior formlines to count for something after he ran fifth in town last start and almost held on when second in a strong race at Muswellbrook a start earlier.

“I think he (Rock) won his next start too and the horse that beat us at Muswellbrook (Handfast) came out and won again and we carried 6.5kg more than him that day,” he said.

Attalea ran sixth last start but was less than two lengths off the winner at Wellington in an Open race and he carries just 54kg on Sunday with Jean Van Overmeire on board.

“He’s backing up in a week which we haven’t done with him and you’re never sure if it will work or not. Some horses love it some hate it,” Thompson said. “We’ll find something out about him.”

Morotai is Thompson’s other on the day and he lines up in a Class 2 Handicap (1200m) after winning his maiden at Dubbo last start. It was the way he did it that will give his connections extra confidence about him handling the rise in grade on Sunday. He won by a narrow margin but was powering past his rivals in the closing stages.

“He’s going the best he’s ever gone but this is a stronger race,” Thompson said. “Grant Buckley was happy with him and he needs to keep stepping up so we’ll find out how good he’s going.”

Jockey Jean Van Overmeire will ride Attalea in the Mudgee Mug. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Meantime, Fussdinado showed off her will to win last start and trainer Luke Morgan thinks she can go close to winning again at Mudgee.

She races in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m) and when she drew barrier three, with Kate Cowan on board, Morgan was relieved. With a couple of last-start city-trained runners in the race, Morgan knew his five-year-old mare needed to get a better run in transit this time.

“She was quite tough last start after taking off midrace when not having a lot of luck after being caught deep,” he said. “She’s drawn well so I think she’ll b thereabouts in an even race. Bjorn Baker’s have both won their last starts so you’ve got to respect them.

“We’ve drawn a gate for the first time this preparation though and she won’t have to do as much work this time. I think she’s my best chance because she’s in the same grade and doesn’t go up in weight.”

Morgan’s Stampede Warrior is shooting for three-straight wins in a Class3 Handicap (1400m) after coming home over the top of a Class 1 field at Muswellbrook last start over 1280m.

“It’s his toughest task but he’s won well in his last two,” he said. “I think he’s looking for the 1400m and I’m happy with how he’s going so we’ll see if he can take the next step up.”

Aaron Bullock rides the four-year-old again and will probably sit off the speed from barrier eight.

“Aaron was happy to stick with him after he won on him last start which gives me confidence,” Morgan said.

“I’ll leave things up to Aaron but both times in his two wins he’s been very strong through the line which gives me confidence that he’ll run 1400m and even further so if he’s midfield or worse that won’t worry me and Aaron can ride him as he wants.”

MATT JONES’S INSIDE MAIL

MUDGEE

Giovanina didn’t match it with them in town but she’s been transferred to Gayna Williams who will find a race for her to win this preparation and this might be it from a good draw. Antarctic Ocean ran a great race last start and should be able to lead from barrier one and he looks ready for a peak run. Trojan should enjoy the step up to 1400m and he gets a gate that won’t force him to race wide like last time when he still ran third. Haramain and Snobby Shores come from good Sydney stables but will need to improve to win this race.

: ANTARCTIC OCEAN to win.

Bigger Than Thorn was 1½ lengths off fellow debutant Texas Forever at Hawkesbury last start and his victor wasn’t far off winning in town this week so the formline is there and he was strong through the line in his first race. Sandstorm was unlucky not to win last start and is nice and fit now and will get the ideal run in transit. First starter Santa Margherita was beaten by a horse that looks to be handy but it’s hard for debutants to overcome bad gates. Duchess Of Windsor has also drawn wide but she’s shown she is capable of being ridden quiet and finishing it off.

: BIGGER THAN THORN to win.

Rubino Veloce won well last start but did get a soft run and didn’t go around a horse from the back of the field so things went his way last time but he’s only got a couple of threats in this race. Stampede Warrior is one of them and he too got a good run in transit to finish it off and win last time. Both of these are shooting for three-straight. Star Of O’Reilly comes out of a fairly strong form race which put him in the frame now while Christo is promising but has a wide draw to contend with.

: STAR OF O’REILLY to win.

Bullet Storm came over the top of Antarctic Ocean last start and it races earlier in the day so that result might change the punting confidence either way, but this horse did it well last start and the mile looks ideal. Ardanza is better at this trip and she drops well back in grade so she should run into the money. The Scotsman drops back to 1600m and that’s a much better distance for him after he struggled over 2008m last time. Some Nights hit the line fairly well in the Narooma Cup last time and he’d be an outside chance here.

: BULLET STORM to win.

Bjorn Baker has got two leading hopes here in Unimpeded and debutant winner Twilight Sun, who definitely needs 1200m now, while the stablemate’s formlines are obviously stronger and she should find a good spot from the gate. Miss Hugo A Gogo will be in the finish if she finds her best form after a sound effort in the same grade last start when third after not giving up.

: TWILIGHT SUN to win.

This looks very open. Bravissimo has the class to win this and he gets in on the limit. Dropping 7kg off his last win and getting a good enough gate means he’s going to be supported. Artistic Beauty has only won five from 40 but is going along pretty good this preparation and is the value hope. Sugar Dance was no match for a very promising horse in town last time and will look to lead from a wide gate so it won’t be easy. Cowboys Karma won first-up and his record says he’s a bit better for a run and he’s won four times at this trip. Watch out for Cloak, an ex-Godolphin runner.

: BRAVISSIMO to win.

The former Team Hawkes horse Eleazar drops back from a Highway race where he was competitive and this isn’t a strong Class 2. Morotai really charged to the line to win fresh and that breakthrough victory might lift his confidence so he can go on with it.

: ELEAZAR to win.

GUNDAGAI

Trainer Scott Spackman will be fishing for maiden win for another of his thematically named gallopers, Takissacod, in the Tom Wells Memorial Plate (1400m) at Gundagai.

The lightly-raced gelding is owned by his breeder, Noel Penfold, who runs a Cod Hattery in the Riverina. Some of Penfold’s other aquatically-inspired horses with Spackman past and present include Tobatteracod, Tocatchacod, The Codster and $93,000 winner, Takookacod.

Spackman could not have found a better race for Takissacod to reel in her first win given a soft draw and seemingly the ideal distance.

Takissacod has been strong to the line in both runs so far, one on debut at Gundagai when fourth over 1180m, the most recent a fifth at Wagga in a 1200m maiden.

“She is a half sister to my good little mare, Takookacod, but has been a work in progress and is a little bit of a late maturer compared to her being by Chat Up Line,’’ Spackman said.

“Her two runs this time in have been absolutely spot on. She is still learning her caper but she comes out of barrier one (Sunday) and should just get a beautiful run in to it. She should take a power of beating I do believe, but they’ve got to do it on the day. I can’t fault her, her work has been ‘A-one’.’’

Arguably, Spackman’s most significant runner at Gundagai from a mid- to long-term point of view is Jaytee’s The Fox, who is second-up in the Darby Woods Memorial Class 2 Handicap (1400m). The talented son of Foxwedge was well below his best when he resumed with a lacklustre 11th of 16 at Wagga on August 29 when heavily backed, $5 into $3.60.

“There were a few underlying little problems at Wagga I thought,’’ Spackman said. “If you go back and look at the replay, he sort of got poleaxed at about the 800m and he didn’t recover. Than ran really quick time and it was very hard to make up ground when they went they quick. In saying that, I was little bit disappointed in the way he didn’t let go.

“It’s a hard one, maybe he just had an off day, it happens. He’s better than that and he’s pulled up really well. I can’t fault him to be honest and we’ll keep heading forward to a crack at the Country Championships.’’

Spackman can count himself unlucky even before his well-bred mare Gotta Want It tackles the last race on the card given that she drew barrier 14.

“Shattering,’’ he said. “She is a new addition to our stable and you’ve got to kick them off. She’s another one that we are looking at the Country Championships with as well.

“She has obviously got a lot of upside to her so hopefully she just goes there and has a good run and finishes it off.’’

Originally published asRaceday focus: Sugar Dance eyes sweet success

Topic: #australia
READ SOURCE
Open UCNews to Read More Articles