When Scarlet Prince kept winning during his last campaign trainer Mitchell Beer wasn’t worried that it meant the four-year-old would have to go first-up into the Newhaven Park Country Championships.
One of Scarlet Prince’s greatest strengths is his ability to find form immediately and win first-up. He has twice been victorious at his first start after spells of at least four months.
And he’ll be trying to do the same again – or at least finish in the top two – when he contests the $150,000 Newhaven Park SDRA Country Championships over 1400 metres at Albury on Saturday.
The first two placegetters will qualify for the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final at Randwick on April 1.
Scarlet Prince won at three of his four starts during his most recent campaign, which ran from August to October last year, and that took him to five wins from 11 starts.
Another win would have made the gelding ineligible for the Country Championships and he has been fitted for Saturday’s race with a barrier trial win over 1200m at Wagga on February 1.
“This has been a pretty long-range target for the horse and he’s been ready to go for a while,” Beer said.
“I didn’t want to take the risk of going even to a city midweek or anywhere else with him in case he won and went over the five-win limit.
“But we kept going with him when he was winning in his last campaign because we knew how good he was fresh.
“His fresh record is terrific and I thought his trial win was absolutely super. He’s drawn well, too, so I think he’ll finish right in the thick of it.
“I wouldn’t change anything with the way he’s gone into the race. He certainly heads my runners.”
Scarlet Prince’s wins have been over 1200 metres, 1175m, 1200 again and his last two both over 1600. The 1400 looks to be right in his sweet spot at this stage of his campaign.
“Yeah, I think fresh – definitely – and that’s the other reason I didn’t want to give him a run before the qualifier,” Beer said.
“He got out to a mile for the first time last campaign and won twice, including at country cup level and in the TAB Federal, and I think leaving some spring in his legs for the 1400 is a good idea.
“They’ll run along well and from his good gate he’ll get a nice run just in behind the speed and hopefully be finishing over the top of them.”
Scarlet Prince is at $16 with TAB Fixed Odds for the qualifier. Beer has three other runners in the race – Flying Sultan ($26), Well In Sight ($61) and November Falls ($41).
But November Falls, as the third emergency, is unlikely to get a start and Beer said he would probably run her at the Canberra meeting on Friday.
Flying Sultan will start from the outside barrier – 16 – making his task extremely difficult.
“Would’ve loved to have drawn a little bit better with him, but his last-start third at Sapphire Coast was really good,” Beer said.
“The 1400 is a question mark for him – it’s a question mark for all of them until they run over it and win – but it’s a race we’ve targeted with him. Unfortunately the distance becomes a bigger test when you draw that wide, so he’ll need some luck from there.
“Well In Sight has won four from five at Albury and she’s drawn to get a soft run. She’d need everything to go her way, but she’s got a good winning record and deserves her spot in the field.”
– Racing NSW