Duke Of Cornwall hard to catch

By Jonny Turner

Duke Of Cornwall’s blazing gate speed is set to put him where he needs to be at Saturday’s Wairio Mile Day.

The Lauren Pearson trained two-year-old comes into his Winton assignment after beginning his career with a creditable fourth placing in last month’s Kindergarten Stakes.

After flying the gate and then trailing the winner Akuta, the colt rallied strongly along the passing lane for driver Brent Barclay.

“Brent was really happy, he was kicking himself a little bit that he didn’t stay in front and make them run along a little bit,” Pearson said.

“But, we were really happy with his run.”

Pearson admitted before this week she had no intentions of racing her promising two-year-old against older horses in race 11 on Saturday.

But her hand has been forced.

“The two-year-old race never went ahead last week, so it is going to be a little bit hard racing the maidens.”

“The good thing is that it is only a mile.”

“But it still can be hard, they are seasoned horses he is racing, most of them.”

Saturday’s race is key for Duke Of Cornwall’s preparation for the Group Three two-year-old event coming up at next month’s Diamonds Day Meeting.

That race will be a major pointer as to whether Pearson, Barclay and owner Lester Smith aim their pacer at bigger targets, like the Sires Stakes Series.

“He is paid up for everything, so I just think Lester is just going to assess it as he goes,” Pearson said.

“A big assessment will be after Saturday and then our aim, which is Diamonds Day.”

Duke Of Cornwall’s gate speed is set to give him a major early advantage over his main rival on Saturday, Love Lou Longtime.

The two-year-old starts from barrier 4, while his Nathan Williamson trained and driven rival starts from barrier 4 on the second row.

Pearson also lines up Insist The Win, who she also owns, in race 3.

The four-year-old has also drawn handily in barrier 3.

The trotter’s chances of leading early in his mile assignment do not look as strong as his stablemate’s.

“The only thing is that the two with the gate speed are drawn inside us,” Pearson said. 

“He was a bit average last time but he is a trotter that will get better with age.”

Insist The Win was fifth behind Zoned Scarlett in his last outing at Ascot Park and gets no better chance to improve on that run than in Saturday’s even line up.”

“I would be disappointed if he couldn’t run in the first four.”

Barclay also takes the reins behind Insist The Win.

The leading Southland reinsman has eight drives on Saturday’s 11 race card.

Wattlebank Star (race 6), Pearl Harbour (race 7) and Leer (race 8) looking among his best eachway chances.

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