Start key for Robyns Playboy
By Jonny Turner
Robyns Playboy will be out to redeem himself with a flying beginning in Saturday’s Riverton Cup.
The pacer dubbed ‘The Beast From The East’ gave his followers a shock in his last visit to Ascot Park when galloping away in the Invercargill Cup for driver Craig Ferguson.
Trainers Ross and Chris Wilson have found what they think is the cause of the rare mistake and hope their five-year-old can make one of his customary fast beginnings when he returns on Saturday.
“He normally has a real tight girth and we are putting it down to being a bit too tight last time,” Chris Wilson said.
“Craig said he tried to buck and it might have been annoying him.”
“Hopefully he will be back to normal on Saturday, so I think he will step away.”
Though well out of his ground, Robyns Playboy still reeled off some smart sectionals behind Invercargill Cup winner Pembrook Playboy.
“His sectional times were phenomenal, we timed his last half (800m) in 53.8sec and he still ran last,” Wilson said.
“It was a bloody good last.”
With a better beginning in Saturday’s feature, Robyns Playboy might be able to pinch a key advantage over his fellow 40m backmarkers U May Cullect and Vintage Cheddar.
“The front markers are probably not going to be out and running, all of his main rivals are on 40m,” Wilson said.
“If he can step and run like he can, he could be hard to catch,” Wilson said.
U May Cullect heads into the Riverton Cup after looking more like his old self following his disappointing spring campaign.
Co-trainer and driver Kirstin Barclay goes into the race pleased with the popular pacer following his smart recent workout win at Wyndham.
“He only went 3.03 (for 2400m) at the workouts but he reeled off a 26sec quarter (400m) with the earplugs still in,” Barclay said.
“He just feels like himself again, but with no real pressure.”
“Race day pressure is always different.”
Franco Santino has a 10m headstart on Robyns Playboy, Vintage Cheddar and U May Cullect from his 30m handicap in the Riverton Cup.
The pacer has pleased trainer Nathan Williamson after switching back to his stable following his short stint with Graeme Anderson and Mike Love.
“He has arrived home in good fettle,” Williamson said.
“Fourth in the Invercargill Cup should be pretty good form for a race like this.”
“He has got a few runs under his belt, so he could take a forward position mid-race if need be.”
Ross and Chris Wilson line up three more horses on Riverton Cup Day in Hans Ideal, Von Art and Robyns Shadow.
Hans Ideal will be out to cap consistent form and score a deserved maiden win in her 89th start in race 1.
“She has been running really good races,” Chris Wilson said.
“We will try to win one before her 100th start, but we will see how we go.”
“She has definitely got a win in her.”
Von Art returns to racing after a break of more than a month and the Wilsons think she is forward enough to run a strong race from her ace barrier draw in race 3.
“It is a great draw, I don’t think she is forward enough to lead all of the way,” Wilson said.
“But she is working well, I think she is fit enough, but I think don’t think she can be dominating form the front.”
“We will look to give her a bit of cover.”
Robyns Shadow faded into seventh when leading in a 2.56.6 time for 2400m time in his last start at Winton.
Though he set up a fast pace, the Wilson camp was still hoping for more from the pacer.
“Craig said he got going again once they got past him.”
“He is just green, I think.”
“We will go back to driving him with a sit, he has been running home really nice doing that.”
Craig Ferguson takes the reins behind all of the Wilson runners at Ascot Park on Saturday.