Aladdin favoured to get back into winning form
By Michael Guerin
You may not get paid more for winning races by a bigger margin but co-trainer Peter Blanchard still hopes Aladdin thrashes his opposition at Alexandra Park tonight.
Because the better the talented three-year-old races is in coming weeks the more likely he will stay in his new trainer’s care.
Blanchard and his son Vaughan only took over the training of Aladdin after he won the Sales Series Pace at Alexandra Park on New Years Eve, one of the last feature-race wins for the All Stars.
Blanchard had negotiated the sale of Aladdin to South Australian-based owners and while they now appear to have gotten a bargain they agreed to leave him in this country to contest the Woodlands Derby on March 5.
But Blanchard would, understandably, like to see him stay longer and any winning form would help.
“He is primarily still here for the Derby and then his South Australian owners would like him to go there for their Derby,” explains Blanchard.
“But that isn’t worth a lot of money so if he is racing well here I’d love to see him stay longer, maybe even through until the Jewels (Cambridge in June).
“With the way the Australian season has changed now and plenty of their big three-year-old races not being till later in the year I think he could stay here till the Jewels and still get plenty of good racing there.” If Aladdin is going to be any chance in a race like the Derby he would need to be winning tonight, especially with the aid of the ace draw.
He showed good gate speed to trail and fight hard for fourth in a far stronger field last Friday and Blanchard says expects a far better showing tonight.
“He needed the run last week and his work since has been good,” he says.
“He has the gate speed to lead and then Peter (Ferguson) can make decisions but he is versatile.
“He led to win three starts ago but trailed to win the Sales Series.”
Aladdin also has a major advantage in the draws over key rivals Luke John, who is also Derby-bound, and the much-improved Jack Ryan.
While Aladdin can win from on the speed tonight the main trot tonight should fall to 45m marker Bolt For Brilliance even though he was beaten in a similar field last start.
Bolt For Brilliance cost punters plenty when he was run off his hooves over 2200m last start but the extra 500m tonight will help, not just because he will have longer to catch up but the tempo will be more sedate.
“He got a bit lost last start because they were so far behind the field and he didn’t really know how to chase them early but he still went great,” says trainer-driver Tony Herlihy.
With only two rivals off the front line, both of them unruly, the 45m handicap shouldn’t be enough to stop Bolt For Brilliance tonight.
The other highlights tonight are two more heats of the Young Gun series, one each for the boys and girls, which have had great numerical support this season.