Spring carnival really heats up with Randwick trials
The star horses are stepping out on Tuesday – and Think It Over is now one of them.
And the market are now respecting him more ahead of his first-up run next month in the Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
It’s the start of what trainer Kerry Parker hopes is a bumper spring ending in a Cox Plate.
Think It Over is rated an $11 chance for the Group 1 Winx behind hot $2.80 favourite Verry Elleegant while $4.50 chance Zaaki is a doubtful starter.
Think It Over has always been an underrated horse but graduated to a Group 1 winning in the autumn when taking out the George Ryder Stakes as a $26 chance.
Parker’s horse all of a sudden isn’t an outsider in the big time.
“I’d think he’ll still be 20/1 in the Winx Stakes against those high quality horses,” Parker said.
“He wouldn’t be those odds if he was trained by Chris Waller. His last preparation was fantastic.”
Think It Over trials at Randwick on Tuesday morning in the opening heat at 8.30am and lines up alongside Icebath, Kolding, Golden Slipper winner Stay Inside and arguably Australia’s best horse Verry Elleegant.
“If something happens and he doesn’t go to Randwick he’ll have an 800m jump out here at Kembla but I’d rather him go and have a day out at Randwick,” Parker said.
“It would end up a proper trial where he would have to do a bit. When you’re in that company you get a good guide as to where you’re at.”
“He’s strengthened and spelled very well so I’m rapt with him.”
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There was a time when Think It Over could get in light in races like the Doncaster and Epsom Handicap but those days are gone thanks to his autumn campaign.
If he’s going to succeed at the top level in the future he needs to do it at weight for age level.
He proved he was up to it when finishing 1-½ lengths off Addeyyb in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) but he’s still only rated at $51 for Cox Plate (2040m).
“We’re pretty much weighted out of handicaps now so he’s got to step up and go down that weight-for-age path now,” Parker said.
“I suppose he’s on a Cox Plate preparation and his first few runs in Sydney will tell us if that’s still a target.
“It’s hard to find a Cox Plate horse. He’s won a Group 1 so I guess he’s the best I’ve trained.
“Verry Elleegant is the benchmark and he raced very well against her in the autumn.”
The Tamworth Jockey Club is back on the right track after a clean out resulting in a new board and local leading trainer Cody Morgan said it would enable horses trained on the track to reach their potential.
“It’s going great now,” Morgan said.
“There’s a good group of young people like Michael Buckley (general manager) and Mitch Robinson (track manager) and they’re doing a fabulous job.”
Racing NSW released a statement in January saying its minimum standards and conditions of registration for NSW thoroughbred race clubs “include stringent requirements in respect of tendering and procurement process for any significant expenditure by race clubs” and that was the current focus of the inquiry.
Initially, trainers were asking for assistance with the state of the tracks at the club but when investigations delved deeper there were other concerning finds.
That’s all in the past now and more than $2 million was invested recently in the club for stabling and a new sand track is only a couple of months off from being completed.
Morgan said punters can expect his horses and other trained out of Tamworth to perform better very soon.
“All the trainers have a lot of optimism about how much money Racing NSW has put into Tamworth. It gives you confidence for the future,” he said.
“We’ve seen how much we really need this sand track during the winter months. There’s been plenty of times in the past two or three weeks that it would’ve come in handy.
“I’ve sat back in the past couple of weeks and seen Tamworth horses going to the races and I know they’ve had nowhere to work and you see them start favourite.
“I’m thinking I know mine aren’t quite up to the mark so these ones probably can’t be either so that’s the reality of it.”
And country trainers these days have to be better than ever.
They just don’t compete against each other.
The prizemoney boosts are great but they’ve also enticed some of the country’s best stables to the bush.
“City trainers now come out here and we need to have our horses fit to compete against them,” Morgan said,
“The club is working around the clock to get an all-weather track. I’ve got confidence I can stay here for the next 10 years now and build my confidence around the club.
“At a Tamworth meeting recently, not one Tamworth horse won a race because we couldn’t work them. It’s not the club’s fault but we don’t have the track but we will soon for the first time in 10 years.”
Originally published asParker thinks it over for his stable star
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