Trainer Daniel Bowen believes his well-credentialed mare Antilia will bounce back to her best in Monday’s feature Cane Growers Cup (1550m).
The daughter of Not A Single Doubt was in red-hot form before she finished well down the order last start in a Benchmark 66 over 1420m at Grafton, albeit only three lengths from the winner.
“It was a weirdly run race, though,’’ Bowen said. “They walked and mid-race the jockey had a chance to slide up outside the leader but he dragged her back in and then they crawled and she was sort of bailed up.
“The others came around her and they got her a bit flat-footed and she was going nowhere with the weight for about a furlong.
“When the race was all over she was only really getting going, so I could forgive her for that.
“I know she is going up a little bit in grade but she drops back in weight to the limit, she’s drawn barrier one and is up in distance.
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“She is going to get a nice and there should be a genuine tempo, which should help.
“I am hoping that if she can bounce back into her form and run top three, I would like to take her to Casino for the Beef Week Cup next start.”
Antilia already has one big scalp on her CV after knocking off subsequent Group 1 MRC One Thousand Guineas winner Amphitrite when they made their debuts together at Kyneton in March, 2018.
Bowen’s two other runners are the lightly raced filly Amirykal and stable recruit Taj, who up until now had been a member of the Chris Waller/Ingham Bloodstock string.
The son of So You Think and stakes winner Little Surfer Girl will have his first run for David Gremmo and Ben Stewart in the Tweed Awards Handicap (1100m).
“He is very tally, he is almost 18 hands, so he is a giant,’’ Bowen said.
“On form, you would suggest that he would want further and he’d need a run but he’s trialled good and he is fresh enough to run a nice race.
“He is going to be better in a few more runs time but class can prevail. I am not writing him off the way he is going.’’
Amirykal may have some issues to overcome with the wide draw but is on target to figure despite a last-start failure at Grafton, when there were excuses.
“She half got a squeeze at the start and we chased the speed,’’ Bowen said.
“They went ballistic and it was run like a half-mile race and they were all off the bit chasing.
“She was only just starting to hit top gear just before Bell Academy came out and poleaxed her.
“She is a good horse for the future. She may need the run but ability takes you a long way.’’
SHAYNE O’CASS, BEST BETS
Race 4 No. 2: The Premier
Close relation to Might And Power ready and able to go his grade snow after winning his maiden very easily at Port Mac last start. Follow up.
Race 5 No. 5: Power Bells
Kris Lees again – this filly is on a similar trajectory to her stablemate. Getting better all the time she is.
Race 2 No. 11: Reuben James
Paul Perry knows a thing or thing or two about Fastnet Rock. Here’s one of his sons perfectly placed for his first win.
LATEST BETTING: TAB FIXED ODDS
Race 4: 2
Race 5: 5
Race 6: 1,2
Race 7: 1,3,4,7
Jockey to follow
Grant Buckley made a welcome return from injury at Newcastle on Saturday and is in line for a potential day out.
Race 2 No. 1: Flying Euros
Was very brave indeed last start when a close second at Grafton. He’s run six times for four silvers and a bronze – it’s gold, gold, gold today.
Race 4 No. 8: Anacreon
Dwayne Schmidt mare who has only won once in 34 starts but a lot of that is pattern related. Getting close now.
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SHAYNE O’CASS’S TOP PICKS
The Premier is a Kris Lees trained gelding by Snitzel and is closely related to Might And Power. He is out of a Zabeel mare which is one of the reasons why he is equipped to run the 2000m. it’s not guaranteed of course but he was strong through the line at Port Macquarie. Savvy Crown as it happens is a grandson of Zabeel and won over 2012m on the same day as The Premier saluted. Good battle coming up. Expired Time has only won three from 30 but is a last start winner and has won up to 2200m.
Bet: The Premier win
Power Bells is building a handy little record. Already the Kris Lees trained filly has a win and two thirds from her four starts. The thing about her is that she seems to be getting better with each run which will serve her well given that she is up in class today. Mick’s Regret boasts the bonny mare Joanne as his 3rd Dam. Unlike her, he gets back and charges late, thus he is tempo and luck reliant but surely can figure. Sir Clooney was good first-up.
Bet: Power Bells win
Khitaamy is a winner of only two from 29 but he has placed 10 times including at his most recent appearance when third to the handy Cool World in a Class 2 over 1100m at Scone. You’d have to say he is way down in ‘class’ today compared to what he has been up against in 2020. Schemer is his danger. The grey son of Epaulette has a similar strike rate namely two wins and 10 placings (from 25 starts). Geotime and Kensington Kid are both in contention.
Bet: Khitaamy win, exacta 2 to beat 1, quinella 1,2, box trifecta 1,2,5,9
Divisadero is a very consistent filly from the Paul Perry stable. She has raced eight times for a win and four placings. She was right there on their heels last start at Muswellbrook when fourth in a 1280m race. Back to 1100m is a plus but her wide draw is a minus. Kate’s Pearl was $41 first-up and did nothing. If she somehow brought her A-game today, she could be the long priced winner on the card. All Hollywood can figure.
Bet: Divasdero win, Kate’s Pearl place
Anacreon has only won once in her 34 starts but she has placed nine times and like a lot of horses with her strike-rate, it’s often been pattern/barrier/wet/luck related. Even with all that, the Dwayne Schmidt trained mare is usually thereabouts. She ran a big race at Kempsey last start. Flying Pretty was a close runner-up to the handy Zellymay before a trip to Doomben where she was beaten ‘only’ 5-lengths. Beyond Desire is a Matthew Dunn trained local.
Bet: Anacreon each-way
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Inwithachance was $31 into $26 last start and gave a tremendous ‘sight’ for her canny supporters beaten a half-length by the handy Jule’s Spirit in a 1006m Class 3 at Port Macquarie. He has been blessed with a favourable barrier today so expect him to be prominent. Amirykal has a good record but a bad barrier. If she has any luck early, she’ll be there late. Gigantic horse Taj is on debut for Daniel Bowen and won a 1000m trial.
Bet: Inwithachance each-way
Very good field here for the Cup with a lot of depth. Antilia was pretty underwhelming at Grafton last start but everything she has done before that was excellent. She is a winner at her only run at this track/distance and barrier 1 is bang on for her. Evopex was just tipped out in a strong Open race at Port Macquarie on April 24. Has the talent. Melted Moments has won 15 races and is ‘1 for 1’ at this track/distance but has a massive weight to contend with.
Bet: Antilia win, exacta 9 to beat 3, box trifecta/First 4 – 1,2,3,7,9
Sugar Baby was building up to win and it came last start at Grafton. Barrier 10 of 10 and 57kgs wasn’t enough to stop her courtesy of another good ride by Qin Yong who really has the key to this mare. Why not again? Annie Ethyl defied a betting drift to lead throughout at Grafton beating the favourite Triple The Fun by about a length. ‘Annie’ has only missed a place three times in 13 starts, local Triple The Fun is 3 starts for a win and two seconds.
Bet: Sugar Baby each-way, box trifecta 1,5,13
Murnane looks like double trouble for training rivals
Trainer Carmen Murnane only has two horses in work but could very well land a winning double Monday afternoon.
The Gosford horsewoman will saddle up former Godolphin-gelding Kyanite in the second event, a Maiden Plate over 1100m, and Khitaamy in the Benchmark 58, also over 1100m.
Her partner Chris O’Brien will ride both of them.
“I’m pretty confident they will both run very well and be right in the finish,” Murnane said.
Kyanite is a son of Shooting To Win from a half-sister to Legally Bay, who is the dam of international Group 1 winner Merchant Navy.
Murnane purchased the three-year-old from the Magic Millions Spring Racehorse Sale last October and should have plenty of fun with the gelding judging by his first-up third at Gosford in March.
“I just put him in at Gosford rather than a barrier trial and he really surprised me with how well he went,” she said.
“I put him in at Gosford again two weeks ago but he raced a bit flat.
“I have changed a few things around with him and he has really perked right up.
“If he handles the track at Quirindi with its downhill run, I think he is a very good chance this afternoon.”
Khitaamy is another tried horse purchase for Murnane, who has done a terrific job for her with two wins and 10 placings from 26 starts since he joined the stable.
“He’s just a lovely horse to do anything with,” she said. “Quite often I take him to the races by myself and you just throw the lead off his neck and he walks on the float.”
The five-year-old has been to Quirindi three times before and has shown a liking for the track. He will run today off a solid second at Scone last start.
“He’s had three starts there for a first, a second and third. He must be the only horse in Australia who loves that track,” Murnane laughed.
“This time in, he has been a completely different horse. He’s really trying hard in all his races and his trackwork has improved so much as well.
“This looks a perfect race for him and he’s drawn ideally.”
– Adam Sherry