Planets align for Perfect Stride who looks a good thing at Bendigo on Saturday night
No odds will be too short for Perfect Stride when he contests his Breeders’ Crown event at Bendigo on Saturday night, drawn to lead in by far the weaker of the two semi-finals.
Uncannily, Lincoln Farms’ speedy two-year-old not only dodges the five most fancied runners who are all in the second semi an hour later, but from gate three looks a certain leader.
And that, along with natural improvement from his opening run in the Shepparton heat last week, should see driver Anthony Butt bringing him back to the winner’s circle.
“I’ve watched his tapes and from that draw he’ll be hard to beat for sure,” says Butt. “He has good gate speed and you’d think the two drawn inside him, who are lesser horses, will be looking to trail him.”
Butt was pleased with Perfect’s Stride Aussie opener on August 7 when he finished on for second to the Emma Stewart-trained pacemaker Pacifico Dream after enjoying a perfect one-one sit.
“It was a lovely run, a perfect pipe-opener. They didn’t go quick early but the last half was fast (55.6). I had to get out and going on the bend and when you’re out three wide and they’re running 27 on the fence, it’s hard to make ground.
“But he battled on well up the straight and all the boys think he’ll be much improved with the run.
“The trip over always takes a bit out of them and you have to let them get over the flight. We’ve found their second runs are always better than their first.”
Perfect Stride, who is being stabled at Craig Demmler’s Bacchus Marsh stables, was under the care of Lincoln Farms No. 1 driver Zachary Butcher, who is campaigning his own horse Zeuss Bromac in the Breeders Crown. But next week head trainer Ray Green will fly to Australia to oversee his lead-up to the Melton final.
Perfect Stride’s $9 final quote is sure to trim up after Saturday night’s run at Bendigo, a 1000 metre track Butt rates as one of the best in Victoria.
“The straight is a bit short (at 185 metres) but they’ve put the length into the bends which are beautiful.”
Zeuss Bromac has a much harder test ahead of him in the second semi at 9.32pm NZ time but shouldn’t have much trouble qualifying for the final by finishing in the first six.
While he has drawn the inside of the second line, he follows out Mirragon, second favourite for the final, and should get a cosy trip throughout.
Zeuss Bromac finished a solid second in his heat to Emma Stewart’s final favourite Be Happy Mach, who was super impressive racing three wide to park at the bell and win by six metres.
While his overall time was two seconds slower than Perfect Stride’s heat, he sprinted home in 26.9.
Numbers and quality down
Butt doesn’t believe Stewart’s powerful crop of two-year-olds is the sole reason for the quality of Breeders’ Crown competitors being down this year.
Many of the categories had only two heats this year, a result of the new conditions which have eliminated qualifying out of state, seeing fewer horses making long trips with no guarantees of even reaching the semi-finals.
“It hasn’t really worked and I wouldn’t be surprised to see changes made.
“In my mind it’s at the wrong time of the year too. It comes after the Vicbred and New South Wales bred series and the Jewels - there are so many more big money options now.
“It’s also been bitterly cold all week. Shepparton was brutal, Ballarat was zero.
“I hate seeing good horses having to race in those conditions. And there have been no crowds, all three nights have been miserable for everyone.
“Melton is usually a bit warmer but it’s still at night in mid-winter. They should make a real event of it in summer.”
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Friday night at Cambridge
Race 3: Lincoln Lou
“He’s a beautiful little horse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run. It’s hard to know how good he is, or how far he’ll go, but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. He’s the one to beat from the draw. If he doesn’t win, he won’t be far away.”
Race 5: Commander Lincoln
“I won’t be holding my breath. He tries hard enough but he lacks a bit of high speed.”
Race 8: Onyx Shard
“It’s two and a half months since she last raced, and she didn’t grow as much as I thought she would, but I’m expecting her to go a good race. Her last two trials have been good and she’s pulled up well.”
Race 8: Obadiah Dragon
“He’ll need a good trip from five but he’s not out of it. He went a good race last time at Cambridge and would be as equal a chance as Onxy Shard.”
Race 8: Beaudiene Rocknroll
“It’s heart-in-the-mouth stuff with him until they let them go but he should step away this time. Zac (Butcher) said the gate went particularly slowly before that race and that’s why he got impatient. I thought he did well to recover for third. If he made the front, where he goes best, he’d be hard to beat.”
Race 9: Frisco Bay
“He’s a tidy horse and I’m expecting a big run. We’ve sorted the problem he had with his breathing last season and he’s right in the zone now after a second and a win at the workouts.”
Mark Dux’s comments
Saturday night at Albion Park
Race 5: Argyle
11.02pm NZ time
“It wouldn’t have mattered where he drew this week, he’s in the money, barring bad luck. He’s going terrific and he gets in so well at the ratings.”