Todd’s team on target

 

By Jonny Turner

Regan Todd has all bases covered in Thursday’s Southland Oaks heat at Winton with Play Philly and Fernleigh Blackbird.

A small but classy group of seven fillies will attempt to seal their spots in the Southland Oaks Final when doing battle over a mile in race 6.

Play Philly could not have been more impressive in her last start win at Motukarara. The three-year-old powered home to score, producing a 56.7sec final 800m.

Barrier 7 under Thursday’s preferential barrier draw conditions won’t be easy for the filly and driver Robbie Close, but she is sure to make a big impact.

“The draw is going to make it tough because it is quite a tidy field,” Todd said.

“But she will give a great sight, I’m sure.”

“She has come up really well this season.”

“The big aim is obviously the Southland Oaks Final, so we will get through today and see where she’s at.”

Fernleigh Blackbird has a significant advantage over her stablemate, starting from barrier 2.

The three-year-old comes into Thursday’s race after running a big third behind the promising Franco Macho after sitting parked throughout.

“I was quite happy with her, she sat parked the trip and she kept going.”

“She is probably better following speed, so if she can get a run in behind them and they are going hard, you would like to think she would finish off pretty good like she did in her first start.”

Fernleigh Blackbird showed plenty of gate speed two starts ago when fourth in an Oaks heat at Roxburgh and looks a good chance of being able to slot into a handy spot for driver Samantha Ottley.

“She got out really good at Roxburgh, it would be nice if she was able to get to the pegs.”

“But we will leave all of that up to Sam.”

Todd’s smart mare Cheezel continues to be hamstrung by tough barrier draws, starting from gate 8 in Thursday’s Southern Belle Speed Series Heat.

That alley effectively means the mare will give a head start to horses like Yankee Party and Terror Maria, who beat her home in a similar race at Ascot Park last week.

Just how far Cheezel settles off the speed from her tough draw should have a huge impact on her chances.

“The preferentials are killing her,” Todd said.

“She is going good, though last week I thought she could have finished it off a little bit better.”

“Hopefully they go hard for her, she gets back so she will need luck from the draw.”

Robbie Close takes the reins behind Cheezel at Winton.

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