That’s at least what trainer John Sargent is hoping when he takes stable acquisition Gauguin to the races for the first time. Malahat, now trained by James Cummings at Godolphin, was rated a $2.30 favourite in the Schweppes Benchmark 74 Handicap (1200m) after the three-year-old finished a close third first-up at this track three weeks ago.
He probably should have won that day but Sargent feels Gauguin ($5), formerly trained by Cummings before he joined Godolphin, can upset Malahat with the right run.
BRAD DAVIDSON’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: MALAHAT (Race 6, No.11)
Just had to give them too big a start first-up and, if he draws a gate, he clearly wins the race. Should sit closer from gate one and Hugh Bowman jumps aboard. He only had the one trial coming into his first-up run as well and should take natural improvement.
NEXT BEST: MISSILE CODA (Race 7, No.1)
Went .24s quicker than her main rival, Regimen in separate races at Canterbury earlier this month and she maps to get a beautiful run in transit, while Regimen is likely to face a bit of pressure for the lead. Happy to side with Missile Coda.
BEST VALUE: BRACES (Race 5, No.7) and NO PUSHOVER (No.5)
Keen to back two horses here — Braces at $18 and No Pushover at $6.50. The former had no luck last start and should appreciate a strong run mile, while No Pushover just got shuffled back the other day and her run was better than it looked.
QUADDIE: 1st leg: 1,2,6,9. 2nd leg: 1,2,5,7,10,11. 3rd leg: 4,11. 4th leg: 1,8.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
Blake Shinn put in the ride of the month on Pariah last Saturday and can keep it going with five strong rides here, including Missile Coda in the last.
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
All eyes will be on Team Snowden when they saddle up 2013 Golden Slipper winner Overreach’s full sister Marishka in Race 2.
SCROLL DOWN FOR SHAYNE O’CASS’S EXTENDED PREVIEW
“He is a promising horse and he had a good campaign last time in and his last run was very promising run in the Spring Stakes,” Sargent said of Gauguin. “He has had two trials now and he shouldn’t be far away fitness wise.”
Sargent admits Malahat will be hard to beat but he has faith in his horse.
“The horse of James Cummings has drawn one and will probably get the box seat but as long as we get a good run and don’t get caught three wide I think he will run a good race on his work,” Sargent said. “You know Canterbury and you need the luck there and you can go there with a certainty and get beat.”
Gauguin won a Warwick Farm maiden at his second start last preparation and ran fourth to Invincible Gem in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) before a break.
Sargent is eager to see where Gauguin fits in the big picture this spring.
“He is by Dalghar and I know the mare well too (Macavelli Miss),” Sargent said. “You would think he would get a nice mile as well. I would like to see what level we can get him to this prep and Glyn Schofield rides him all the time and he knows him well.”
Gauguin represents Sargent’s best chance of a winner but he will also saddle up Ladies’ Gem in Race 1 and The Fox Effect in Race 2. The Fox Effect is yet to finish in the top three in four starts at the provincials and country, while Ladies’ Gem finished last at Gosford on debut but Sargent is hoping for an improved showing.
“Ladies’ Gem disappointed in his first start where he missed the jump so I have put blinkers on him to hopefully turn that around,” Sargent said. “Those (two) runners will need to pick their act up a bit but they are there in small fields with good draws so there is no reason not to run there.”
Meanwhile, Godolphin filly Regimen will bid to keep her unbeaten record intact in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m). The three-year-old has won two from two, including a two-length win at this track on August 9.
Regimen will face stiff opposition from the Snowden-trained Missile Coda, who was a 4¼ length winner at Canterbury on the same day. Missile Coda clocked a quicker overall time than Regimen on the day by 24 seconds. Both fillies have drawn ideally with Regimen to jump from gate three and Missile Coda in barrier four.
INSIDE MAIL with SHAYNE O’CASS
R1 (1.25pm): ALL TOO HARD@VINERY HCP (1100m)
Flashy Choisir colt 1. Faeger has some deep form not least this campaign where he has placed behind Beacon, Songlike, Showtime, etc. The downside here is his outside draw, blinkers go on first time — where he is in the run will probably determine where he finishes. Good colt though. 3. Hong Qigong ran a massive race on debut at Randwick on Anzac Day behind a horse that went on. The trial win over 6. Bezzina was narrow but super impressive but $2.80 v $3.80 for Faeger?
BETTING STRATEGY: FAEGER to win; Quinella 1, 3.
R2 (2pm): TAB.COM.AU HCP (1100m)
3. Marishka is a sister to Golden Slipper winner Overreach. All of Marishka’s siblings can run and she’s no different. The Snowdens have given her four trials, two in summer, two in recent weeks and all of them have suggested that this filly will win better races. Gate three, Blake Shinn — $3.90 is a luxury. That said, some of these others have talent too, chief among them is 6. Wild About Her who was ‘the run of the race’ behind Gold Standard here on August 9. Wants further perhaps? 1. Fifth Affair can definitely figure.
BETTING STRATEGY: MARISHKA (best bet) to win.
R3 (2.35pm): McGRATH HCP (2700m)
German-bred stayer 1. Four Carat has the Chris Waller polish, two-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy to ride, barrier one and a whole lot of class on his rivals. How many of these others could run fourth in a Sandown Cup behind Qewy? None is the answer. Four Carat has had a wonderful build-up to run the 2700m and that run behind Auvray and Sayed was better than it looks. 3. Napoleon went up $3.80 favourite, most likely because he won over 2900m last start. He’ll be there until the end again. Last horse standing for the minor end.
BETTING STRATEGY: FOUR CARAT went up $5, great odds.
R4 (3.10pm): TAB HCP (1900m)
6. Dylan’s Romance was specked $31 into $16 at last start when nosed out (protested unsuccessfully) in a similar style race. That was a pleasing return to form for the Marc Conners-trained gelding who should be prominent throughout from the favourable alley. 1. Estikhraaj has some compelling numbers at the track/distance but he has been costly to follow at times. Still, he is usually not far away and $4.60 is not bad compared to the $2.40 about provincial winner 2. Taikomochi.
BETTING STRATEGY: Quinella 1, 6.
R5 (3.45pm): #THERACES HCP (1550m)
7. Braces should have finished closer here two runs back, he arguably should have won at Kembla last start. Had he been on the outside from the top of the straight, unimpeded, he most likely gets the prize. Point is, he is back near to his old form which saw him win a Grafton Guineas. The $18 is very enticing but he needs a good ride. 8. Fantasize has been racing slightly better opposition of late and beat Rustic Melody at Warwick Farm three runs back. Open race.
BETTING STRATEGY: BRACES each-way.
R6 (4.20pm): SCHWEPPES HCP (1200m)
Best longshot of the day is the John Thompson-trained 9. Cannon Run who was $26 on TAB Fixed Odds. The son of High Chaparral should be two wins from two starts first-up, he’s had two trials to bring him up to speed and they have been cracking good trials to boot. Josh Parr rode him in both and not surprisingly he ‘sticks’ for raceday. Make no mistake, it’s a good field with the likes of 5. Rockafella and the exciting 11. Malahat but Cannon Run could shock at great odds.
BETTING STRATEGY: CANNON RUN each-way; Box trifecta 4, 5, 9, 11.
R7 (4.55pm): TAB REWARDS HCP (1200m)
14. Devolving was eating into the margin when third to 8. Regimen last start, one is $23 and the other is $4 here which seems a little skewiff given the Ron Quinton-trained filly’s expected improvement second-up. Drawn right out though, Devolving will need a good speed and a lot of luck. A big watch on any market moves, in or out, for the Waller/Ingham filly 15. High Low Bet. She was tipped out after winning on Anzac Day and is a genuine spring fillies race hopeful. Is $19 — wow!
BETTING STRATEGY: DEVOLVING / HIGH LOW BET each-way; Quinella 14, 15; Box trifecta 1, 8, 14, 15.
Originally published as Preview: Gauguin gunning for glory...Read more