Progressive import Corncrake heads to Canterbury tonight for his second up run following a promising Australian debut at the track two weeks ago. Set to line up in a BM70 over 1900m (Race 3 – 7:15pm AEDT) with Jay Ford (59kg) to again ride, the son of Mastercraftsman has drawn the inside barrier in the field of seven.
First up, Ford settled Corncrake at the tail over the unsuitable 1550m trip before reeling off impressive closing 600m sectionals to finish third behind Knowitall Jack. Heavy rain has hit Sydney over the past 24 hours and although the wet is a bit of an unknown, we remain confident his quality will take him a fair way in this field en route to staying contests over 2400m.
Saturday will see us take a four-pronged attack to Caulfield as Group 1 racing is seen for the first time in 2020. Unlike New South Wales, perfect conditions are forecast and a good track expected, where the final three races on the card will see OTI represented.
Night’s Watch takes his place in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes over 1400m (Race 8 – 4:50pm AEDT) in what will be his first run of the campaign. Drawn barrier eleven, Damien Oliver (59kg) will look to let the six-year-old find his feet early and allow him to settle into a rhythm. Night’s Watch has worked exceptionally leading in, with trackwork and two trial performances pleasing his trainer, Chris Waller. We are all very excited to see him back on the track for his Autumn Carnival preparation.
Immediately prior to the feature, another runner will kick off their own campaign, in Inverloch. He tackles the mile of the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (Race 7 – 4:10pm AEDT) where Linda Meech (57kg) will continue her association. From barrier eight, she will look to make the most of his solid grounding. Co-trainers Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young have been encouraged by his work and recent Cranbourne jump-outs, and, although he will derive benefit from the run on Saturday, he is capable of a strong showing fresh.
In the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes over 1200m (Race 9 – 5:30pm), we will see the day out with two runners both at opposite ends of their preparations, and indeed careers!
Emerging middle distance mare, Benitoite will be seen for the first time since August when she managed to win five races from just eight starts in a remarkable initial racing preparation. Damien Oliver (56kg) is unbeaten in all four of his rides on Benitoite and whilst connections are aware her best is still in front of her, they have every right to be excited about seeing her tackle a very even black-type race on Saturday.
At the other end of the scale, Angelic Spirit will be having the final start of her racing career. The five-time winner is currently in foal to Starspangledbanner and will be partnered by Linda Meech for one last time. From barrier nine, provided she steps away cleanly, she will put herself on speed and give many of those resuming something to catch.
We wish all connections good luck on what promises to be a great weekend of racing.