Early advantage with Robyns Playboy
By Jonny Turner
Robyns Playboy looks the best placed of the Winton Cup runners facing mission almost impossible on Saturday.
The Ross and Chris Wilson trained pacer and several of his key rivals will take on the massive task of turning the tables on Southern star Pembrook Playboy following his scintillating win in last weekend’s Northern Southland Cup.
Robyns Playboy rallied hard for third for driver Sheree Tomlinson in the Group 3 event after their chances of getting closer were effectively extinguished when they were held up on the home turn.
“Getting held up didn’t help, but Sheree said she was more worried about holding third than chasing the second horse,” Chris Wilson said.
“He did blow out a wee bit because they went that hard.”
“But he has come through it fine and I think he will back up alright.”
Robyns Playboy made a flying beginning in last week’s feature, leading soon after the start from his 10m handicap.
Though he goes back another 10m this week there are two key factors in his favour when he reunites with regular driver Craig Ferguson.
The five-year-old gets an extra 10m advantage over Pembrook Playboy who starts from the 40m back mark and the race shortens from 2700m to 2400m.
All those factors could add up to Robyns Playboy being the hardest for Pembrook Playboy to beat or the best quinella option for punters to take with him.
“He will turn his 20m handicap into 10m, he started so good last week it was phenomenal, really,” Wilson said.
“It would be good if he was able to get to the front.”
“Though if Pembrook Playboy came knocking we wouldn’t be scared to hand up to him.”
“We don’t give Craig too many driving instructions, so it will be up to him.”
Northern Southland Cup runner-up Vintage Cheddar was strong behind Pembrook Playboy last weekend and again looks one of his biggest threats.
The Alister Black trained pacer gets a 10m advantage over the favourite from his 30m handicap after starting on level marks with him in their last clash.
U May Cullect will be in the same situation when he starts from the 30m mark.
The popular pacer was caught back in the field on fast closing sectionals last week and faded when launching a wide run.
The Wilson stable also start Hans Ideal in race 5 and Robyns Shadow in race 10 on Saturday.
Robyns Shadow was buried on the pegs and held up on the home turn at Ascot Park last weekend before running on nicely behind Duke Of Dundee.
Starting from barrier 8 looks a negative for the pacer, but the Wilson camp does not think that ends his winning chances.
“He got home really good last weekend, we were really happy with him,” Wilson said.
“Because we are driving him with a sit I don’t mind that draw.”
“His work was really good this week.”
Hans Ideal looks decent eachway hope in race 5.
The mare drops back in grade after running a solid seventh in a hotly contested graduation final won by Lifes A Beach at Ascot Park last week.
Well-travelled mare Plutonium Lady looks the horse to beat in Saturday’s Southern Belle Speed Series Final.
The Mark Jones trained mare will trek almost the length of the country to compete in the mile feature after winning back-to-back group races in her last two starts at Alexandra Park.
Though she has not been asked to show gate speed on many occasions recently, Jones thinks she has all the necessary assets to take advantage of barrier 5 for driver Sam Ottley.
“If you look at her last start she almost crossed them from out wide.”
“She is pretty quick off the gate if you want her to be and she is pretty adaptable.”
“So, Sam will have plenty of options.”
Yankee Party, who starts from barrier 7 looks the biggest threat to Plutonium Lady.