Ants will gun for the front on Make Way at Penrith - but says it’s not vital to get there
Top horseman Anthony Butt believes Kiwi colt Make Way can win a couple of races pretty quickly - but just can’t say whether it will be as soon as Thursday night at Penrith.
And that’s because Make Way, while back to full health, will be having his first start for a month when he lines up in the sixth race at 10.33pm NZ time.
Make Way, placed in his first two starts in Australia, was coughing after failing in a heat of the New South Wales Derby at Menangle on February 23 and Butt says the bug knocked him for a couple of days.
“But he came right on antibiotics in four to five days and seems back to his best again.
“He seems really bright in himself and is bouncing around. He had an easy time for a while, and it’s possible he’ll need the run, but he’s not far away and from the front he’d be hard to beat.’’
Make Way has drawn three in the mobile 1720 metre race and Butt is hoping he will have the speed to cross the two inside him.
But consistent pole runner Kelli Frost does have good gate speed and has led or trailed in each of her last five starts, and led here on February 28 at her last start.
“It’s not the end of the world if we can’t lead. They seem to be able to win from off the pace at Penrith if they can run good sectionals.’’
But being a tight anticlockwise 800 metres track, Penrith does favour leaders with its turning nature and short 130 metre straight.
“This is a good race for him to start off again and back from derby level into this grade he will find it a lot easier. And they won’t go 1:51 like they can at Menangle.
“Hopefully he can win a couple of races and get his confidence up. He’s a pretty classy horse and it should be onwards and upwards from here.
“There are plenty of nice races coming up for him. But we’ll probably look to line him up on Tuesday week at Menangle.
The likely favourite in Make Way’s race on Thursday is the former All Stars’ runner Slingshot having his first start in Australia for Darren Hancock. He won a trial at Menangle on February 12 and was a 6 metre third in a 1:52.2 mile trial there on March 5.
Stablemate Vasari, who runs in the fourth race an hour earlier, is one Butt fully expects will lead from his ace draw.
“He’s been going good races from bad draws and if he can lead he’ll be awfully hard to beat.’’
Claiming junior Brittany Graham will pilot Vasari.
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Friday night at Auckland
Race 4: Copy That
“He’s certainly got some speed. The race was all over by the time he got going last week and James never pulled the plugs. Clearly he’s the best horse in the field on ability. But there are no guarantees he’ll behave.’’
Race 4: Tommy Lincoln
“He’s trialling well but I won’t be expecting too much from gate six. He was a big, gangly, weak thing but he’s strengthened up a lot this time in.”
Race 4: Billy Lincoln
“It’s his first race, and first time away from Pukekohe and he’s drawn the inside of the second row so logic tells you he has a few things against him. Until six weeks ago he was extremely average but he’s progressively got better and better.”
Race 8: Governor’s Bay
“He had a tough trip last time so it wasn’t surprising he weakened. He’s training well and this field looks a lot easier.”
Friday at Albion Park
Race 1: Lincoln’s Girl
2.42pm NZ time
“It’s not a bad field but she’s as good as anything else in there and looks a top two chance with a little luck from the second row. She went super last time - I didn’t know how brave she’d be when I saw her caught in the chair but Hayden was very happy with how she went.”
Race 9: Vasari
7.22pm NZ time
“He should get out a lot better this week with Hayden back driving and we’ll be trying to cross the pole marker. The horse is really well and he’ll win one soon. It’s a good line-up but he should run top three.’’
Saturday night at Menangle
Race 7: Lets Strike The Gold
10.22pm NZ time
“This is a difficlut race for him to win and I’ll be driving him quietly from that barrier. It’s been nearly nine months since he raced and he’s going to need a couple of runs to get his race fitness.”