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Rocha on quest to unmask Crusader

Rocha on quest to unmask Crusader thumbnail

The hardest task on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens is how to beat the highly promising Team Hawkes three-year-old Masked Crusader in the Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m). Glen Boss has seen all the boom horses in past 30 years and he had a guess as to how many of them actually lived up to the hype.“I’d…

The hardest task on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens is how to beat the highly promising Team Hawkes three-year-old Masked Crusader in the Inglis 3YO Guineas (1400m).

Glen Boss has seen all the boom horses in past 30 years and he had a guess as to how many of them actually lived up to the hype.

“I’d say about 10 to 15 per cent of those horses go on with it,” he said. “I hope for their sake their horse does end up as good as people think he is. He looks super promising but he hasn’t run into anything yet. He might come out and go to another level so it will be interesting.”

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Boss will be trying to beat Masked Crusader with John O’Shea’s filly Rocha Clock, who is attempting to win her fifth race at start seven.

She was beaten first-up when sixth behind Rubisaki but showed just how good she was last start when coming from 12th on the turn at the Kensington track to win a BM78 by a length. “Visually, it was a super-impressive win and it was backed up in the clock,” Boss said.

“They’ve had a very big opinion of this filly for a long time and I’m rapt to be getting on her back because she could have a good future.

“She was probably ridden upside-down first-up due to the way the race panned out and when she was given a chance last start you could see how dynamic she was.”

If she is to win, she will likely have to make up ground on Masked Crusader but with just five other rivals in the race, she shouldn’t be too far off him as they make the turn.

“She can rip off a real quick sectional,” Boss said. “If they go slow it will just mean I’ll have less ground to make up.”

The three-time Melbourne Cup winner feels Sweet Scandal ($8.50) is his best winning chance in the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) as long as the heavens don’t open up pre-race.

“It’s imperative that she gets a pretty dry track,” Boss said. “I wouldn’t mind a Good 4 which was key for her last start. She’s got a good draw and as long as the track stays dry she can get another victory.”

Sweet Scandal, like Rocha Clock, exploded from off the speed last start to snatch the Hawkesbury Crown late from multiple Group 1 winner In Her Time.

“She’d been running very well from bad barriers on heavy tracks and as soon as she got back on to a dry track she was dynamic,” Boss said. “She’s got a serious turn of speed on top of the ground and she just looked unbelievable last start. In the enclosure she looked like the winner. If she can repeat what she did the other day she’ll be right in the finish.”

Boss also has a couple of rides for the Ciaron Maher/David Eustace stable and it’s always good to get on their younger horses. They have got the unbeaten Macroura ($3.50 fav) against Cross The Rubicon ($51) in the Listed Woodlands Stakes (1100m).

“Cross The Rubicon is a very interesting one,” Boss said. “I had the choice of his topweight (Macroura) or her and I choose her because I’ve ridden her in a lot of her work and I think she’s a very promising filly.”

Cross The Rubicon ran a close fourth on debut in the Miss Finland at Muswellbrook behind Marboosha and Mrs Maisel and both but are in this race on Saturday.

“The form out of her first start has been very good. Marboosha won its next start and the second horse (Mrs Maisel) has come out and smashed them,” Boss said.

“Whether it comes this prep or not, because she’s a bit on the light side and immature, this will be a filly that people will recognise as very good I reckon.”

The other Maher/Eustace runner Boss gets on is Bella Rose in the Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m). Boss gave her a trial and has some advice for the stable.

“I asked Ciaron to put the blinkers on because she trialled a little too chilled out for my liking. She was a little casual and we’ve since worked her in the blinkers and it’s really sharpened her up,” Boss said.

The stable has always thought a lot of the Snitzel three-year-old who is already a Group 3 winner in Melbourne. But Boss said she can go to another level and she’s rated a $34 hope behind the $2.50 favourite Fituese.

“She’s a really nice filly who was half a length off Loving Gaby in the early days,” Boss said.

“She was a $500,000 filly and they’ve been trying to protect her because she was a little on the smaller side so they’ve raced her sparingly.”

Barrier of no concern for Irithea

Despite a horror barrier draw, trainer Bjorn Baker has no concerns with Irithea heading into the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens.

Baker talks of the tactics with extreme calmness.

“We’ve got the whole back straight so she’ll be pushed forward and go from there,” he said.

The six-year-old Snitzel mare has had a great career with seven wins and 12 placings from 33 starts and has been a regular Stakes performer since she stepped out in the Mona Lisa in August, 2018. She won her first black-type event last year in the Hawkesbury Crown before going down a length in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup at Doomben next start.

Irithea hasn’t won since that day at Hawkesbury but recently placed in the Group 3 Aspiration Stakes and was less than a length off Sweet Scandal when “defending’’ her Hawkesbury Crown last start.

“She was very good last time and she deserves another good-race win,” Baker said. “She’s got (James) McDonald on now because Josh Parr is injured and she’ll roll forward. She’s a leader so it’s (gate) not going to make any difference.”

Baker is also excited about imported galloper Harpo Marx earlier in the day in a 2400m race.

Harpo Marx has produced eye-catching runs at each of his three Australian starts and is peaking fourth-up with Tim Clark sticking with him. They combined to run sixth last start over 2400m at Warwick Farm.

“He’ll be better for his last run,” Baker said. “It’s a good 2400m race but he’s trained on well for it and he looks good. I’m very happy with him. I think he’ll run a very good race.”

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