No stone unturned
By Michael Guerin
The connections of last season’s champion juvenile pacing filly Princess Tiffany are leaving no stone unturned to try and get to the bottom of her underwhelming start to the season.
Unbeaten last season when she won the Jewels and Breeders Crown, Princess Tiffany has finished third and fourth at Alexandra Park the last two Fridays, costing punters a fortune and confusing her trainers.
So she has been sent to Matamata’s Veterinary Services clinic for scintigraphy, a process in which dye is injected into a horse before scanning to pinpoint areas of possible soreness.
While it used to be relatively rarely used on racehorses it has become more commonplace and the All Stars, who train Princess Tiffany, will sometimes send their horses for the scanning process at the end of long campaigns.
But Princess Tiffany is just beginning her campaign and has a $150,000 Sires’ Stakes Championship, for which she could still be favourite, at Alexandra Park on December 31.
So her scintigraphy is to try and work out why she is racing below her best.
“Mark (Purdon, trainer) thinks something might be annoying her but we can’t work out what, which is where the scintigraphy is so good,” says stable traveling foreman Matt Bowden.
“We are not thinking it is anything serious but at least this way we will know and we are still confident of getting her to the Sires’ Stakes Final.”
Princess Tiffany’s expensive failure last Friday and the horrible mid-race smash in her event somewhat detracted from the emergence of unheralded filly Belle Of Montana.
She is now a group two winner after just four starts for trainer Barry Purdon and paced the 2200m mobile in a very slick 3:28.3, quicker than both her stablemates Dream About Me (Queen Of Hearts) and Ultimate Sniper (Alabar Classic) as they won the other major 2200m mobiles on the night.
While the fields for the December 31 meeting won’t be out until December 27, there has already been a big shortener in the markets for the group ones with Marcoola now into $1.75 to win the National Trot.
He moved into a $1.90 after destroying his opposition in the Lyell Creek last Friday and is even shorter now as second favourite Speeding Spur has been ruled out of the race.
“He has had a really busy time obviously with the Inter Dominion so we will freshen him up now and then all going well head back to Australia for the Great Southern Star,” says co-trainer Josh Dickie.
There must also be doubts after Luby Lou, who sits on the fourth line of betting, making it to the National Trot as she has yet to race this season and her only chance of a lead-up race would be $50,000 Flying Mile at Cambridge on Christmas Eve.