Plenty of questions to be answered in McMillan Equine Feeds Sires Stakes heat
By Garrick Knight
There are plenty of questions to be answered heading in to tonight’s $22,000 McMillan Equine Feeds Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge.
Local colt Eagle Watch is fresh-up since contesting the Jewels at Addington back in early June but faces the high-calibre Ray Green-trained pair of Copy That and Line Up, and the Robert Dunn’s impressive Mighty Looee.
But one, if not both, of Green’s duo have question marks hanging over them and it would be reasonable to think that Eagle Watch could be the benefactor from a preferable gate.
But co-trainer Matty White says his horse, too, is not at 100 percent ahead of this crucial race, so punter’s should exercise caution.
“The only time I’ve been really happy with any of his three workouts was the last one (last Saturday at Cambridge).
“He might just need a bit of racing to get to his peak and I wonder whether a couple of those he faces this week might have the fitness edge on him.
“I’m happy enough with him going in to it though and he came through that last workout well.”
White says he “would like to think” Eagle Watch can find the markers and trail one of the race’s three favourites, which would set him up nicely for a cosy trip.
“He hasn’t got blistering gate speed and he’s never really drawn well enough to be used early, so we will learn a lot more this week.”
Line Up, who has a big reputation within the Lincoln Farms camp, has been struggling with the effects of a foot abscess, which burst out of his foot last Wednesday and is believed to be the reason behind his defeat after pacing rough when last produced a fortnight ago.
“It could have been brewing for a month and would certainly explain way he galloped out of the gate the other night and put in those funny steps,” Green said on the stable’s website.
Green noted yesterday that Line Up had shown vast improvement in the past seven days, but the fact remained he had missed some work.
“It’s impossible to say how far down on his best he’ll be but obviously he could be going into the race better.”
Copy That, who has herculean when winning at Alexandra Park last time, subsequently won a workout impressively on his home track in Pukekohe last Saturday.
But he has shown repeatedly, in both workouts and races, that he has deficiencies in his gait, especially on bends at high speed, and will need a faultless display this time to beat some high-quality opponents.
The other leading chance is Mighty Looee, who turned heads with a last-to-first win on September 13, but that was a significantly weaker field than he faces tonight.
Bookies opened Copy That a $2.30 favourite, with Mighty Looee and Line Up on the second line at $3.20 while Eagle Watch was on the third line at $16 alongside Cloud Break.
White and training partner Mike Berger take three others to the races tonight and he felt the big boy, All Yours, was the stable’s best chance, in a 2700-metre junior drivers’ race.
“He’s just so honest and has been running good sectionals lately.
“We were a little disappointed last time but he came up with a bruised heel afterwards and that’s behind him now.
“He’s quite versatile and the longer trip will definitely suit.”
White also gave a lead towards maiden trotter Presidential Jewel in the first race, who he pilots for Roger Villiger.
“I quite like her and wouldn’t think she’ll stay a maiden for long.
“She’s lovely gaited and the 2700 will suit her as well.”