Yankee Party ready for blockbuster clash
By Jonny Turner
Yankee Party will face her toughest test when some of the south’s most progressive pacers come together for an exciting clash in the Northern Southland Summer Cup at Ascot Park on Wednesday.
The blockbuster 2200m event sees the Katrina and John Price trained mare go head to head with Watch Me Now, Love On The Rocks, Deus Ex and Franco Santino.
The race is set to provide Yankee Party with her toughest career test in just her ninth start.
But with an outstanding race record so far and a smart last start 1-53.7 mile win to her name she looks ready for the challenge.
“We certainly hope so and we can’t see any reason why she wouldn’t be up to it,” Katrina Price said.
In barrier 5 Yankee Party has one of the best draws among the main contenders.
Mighty Flying Art (4) starts to her inside with Watch Me Now (6) and Franco Santino (7) on her outer.
Yankee Party has not been asked to use her gate speed recently when sweeping home from off the pace.
But if driver Nathan Williamson wants to go forward he should have plenty of speed to work with.
“I just leave it up to Nathan, but she did lead in her first start,” Price said.
“She has got gate speed but through circumstances – she has had a few preferential barrier draws where she has had bad draws – so that is why she has gone back.”
“It is not that she has to race that way.”
“I think she can do it any way, she has only had eight starts so you can’t do everything in that time.”
The race favourite Watch Me Now looks a big chance of landing on the speed if her brilliant win in the South Of The Waitaki Final is anything to go by.
The four-year-old charged forward to lead before blowing her opposition away.
Watch Me Now has had just one start since, when chasing home Ragazzo Mach in the Wairio Cup.
Trainers Kirstin Barclay and Tank Ellis had the mare ready for the abandoned Central Otago Cup, so she should strip a much fitter horse on Wednesday.
The Barclay Ellis stable also start Love On The Rocks, who was possibly even more impressive than his stablemate in his third behind Ragazzo Mach.
After botching the start of the race the four-year-old charged home in an eye-catching performance.
Switching back to mobile race looks a big help for Love On The Rocks, who starts from barrier two on the second row.
Memphis Tennessee will be on his outer with Deus Ex to his outside.
Deus Ex comes into Wednesday’s feature after producing a huge effort to run a narrow second to Enchantee in the Roxburgh Cup after sitting parked for much of the race.
Switching back to all-weather racing should bring an improved performance from Franco Santino.
The six-year-old produced a shock failure when running out of steam on a tough Gore track in his last start.
Just three starts ago the Graeme Anderson and Mike Love trained pacer broke the Ascot Park track record in an excellent performance.
The Price stable also start Pearl Harbour in Wednesday’s feature.
Drawing barrier 1 on the second row could see her get the run she likes – covered up and saved for one last shot.
“I guess it just depends how far she gets pushed back, whether she is three back or further,” Price said.
“She will do her thing, just sit and sweat on a run at the finish.”
Brent Barclay takes the reins behind Pearl Harbour in Wednesday’s exciting race.