Draw to aide Spirit Of St Louis
By Jonny Turner
Exciting 3-year-old Spirit Of St Louis faces a stern test early in his career at Forbury Park on Sunday.
The Graeme Anderson trained pacer impressed when beating a field of up and comers when debuting at Gore last weekend.
His front running effort got a big tick of approval from his driver, Matthew Williamson.
“It was very impressive,” the reinsman said.
“His run was super and he rattled off a really nice [last 800m] and he showed good gate speed, too.”
Spirit Of St Louis looked slightly vulnerable at early in the run home, before he found another gear and dashed away from his opposition to score.
Williamson said it was a case of the horse bringing a very laid back attitude to the track.
“He is just quite laid back is what I would say.”
“That is why his trials have just looked ok and then he sharpened up on race day when he was asked for it.”
“I would say with a few more starts he will sharpen up even more.”
Spirit Of St Louis faces an almighty leap in race conditions in his second career start on Sunday.
The inexperienced pacer will square off with rugged veterans Aveross Rustler and Four Starzz Shiraz, as well as new season performer Arden Roanake.
Though he concedes a lot of experience to his rivals, Spirit Of St Louis will have a draw advantage over his main rivals when he starts from barrier 3.
Williamson hopes that good draw and the 3-year-old’s class can help him beat out his more seasoned rivals.
“Because he has got a bit of class he can probably still win it,” the reinsman said.
“With the draw of course - which is the only thing in his favour – if he gets his own way or a couple of cheap sectionals they won’t make any ground from behind him if he rattles off a 56sec [final 800m] again.”
Aveross Rustler looks the best placed of Spirit Of St Louis’ main rivals to land near the speed from barrier 7.
Four Starzz Shirazz starts from the outside of the front line in barrier 8 and Arden Roanoake will start from the inside of the second row in barrier 9.
The Cran Dalgety and Nathan Purdon trained Arden Roanoake will give Spirit Of St Louis plenty of competition, and driver Matt Anderson can work the 4-year-old in to clear running.
The pacer is shooting for a hat-trick of wins following his brilliant last to first victory at Oamaru, last weekend.
Williamson also drives With The Stars in race 3 for the Anderson stable.
The reinsman rated Hannity in race 7 alongside Spirit Of St Louis in race 9 as one of his best drives at Forbury Park on Sunday.
The Colin Harrison trained pacer gets in to the race well as a rating 55 horse competing against horses rated between 40 and 55.
“The start will be the only thing with him, he has been a good beginner, but he missed away last start.,” Williamson said.
“If he got away on terms, to be honest I would be disappointed if he got beaten in that field.”
“He has dropped back a long way in grade.”
Williamson also drives Huckabee, who he described as a place chance in race 4 for the Harrison stable.
The Oamaru driver also combines with Cuddly Trouble in race 1, Maldito in race 2 and Solsbury Hill in race 8.
Williamson rated Cuddly Trouble, who starts from a 30m handicap, the best of chance among that trio.
“If she could step away and make up that 30m I definitely think she is an each-way chance,” he said.