Trainer David Pfieffer is confident he’s found the right race for Excelladus to make a lie of a curious career statistic at Rosehill on Saturday.
The four-year-old has won four of his 14 starts, with two more placings, but he’s never won on a good track – with just one placing from eight attempts and that was a good 3 in November – so the Ranvet Handicap (1300m) is an opportunity to correct that anomaly.
Excelladus was beaten in a blanket finish, on a good 4, when fourth behind Devil’s Throat two weeks ago. Pfieffer said on the back of the 0.2 length defeat Saturday’s race is perfect and that run showed he appreciates a winter good track.
“I think the 1200m was probably just a little bit sharp for him last start,’’ he said.
“He sprinted with the winner but over 1300m and 1400m I think he’s better placed.
“It looks like a great race for him. Good gate, good jock, ticks a few boxes in my eyes.”
The gelding has had three starts for Pfieffer, he beat subsequent winners So Good So Cool and Lavish Empire first-up, and with the 1.5kg claim for Dylan Gibbons he drops 1kg on last start.
There are no grand plans for Excelladus at the moment though a class rise is inevitable if he’s in the finish as the trainer expects.
“At the moment we’re happy to go through our grades and try to win races,’’ he said.
“The Sydney prizemoney is so lucrative at the moment you don’t need to jump grades unnecessarily.”
Stablemate Soami shouldn’t be discounted, Pfieffer said, despite Excelladus, $4.80 with TAB on Thursday, being more fancied by the market.
On the back-up after an eye-catching fifth in last week’s Midway, beaten one length, Soami has drawn alongside his stablemate and Pfieffer said the six-year-old will get his chance.
“The poor horse has had a couple of bad gates and had no luck his last two starts,’’ he said.
“They are both in good order and hopefully they can fight out the finish.
“He’s always been a very honest galloper, although he hasn’t won for a while. If you go through his last preparation all his runs were good, he just wasn’t in the winner’s circle.”
Pfieffer describes three-year-old Vegas Raider as a work in progress but is hoping for a positive return in the Bisley Workwear Handicap (1100m) after electing not to run with a big weight midweek.
Vegas Raider has won once in 10 starts but impressed Pfieffer with his recent trial win and he just hopes he strikes a truly run race.
“He’s just got to learn his trade a little bit better, he can over race at times,’’ he said.
“The gate looks like it will work in favour and the faster they go the more it will bring him into the race.
“I had him in at the Kenso and it was probably a good race for him but I was a bit concerned going into the race with 61.5kg so I decided to wait for Saturday.”
– Racing NSW