It’s not the ideal set up for unbeaten three-year-old Snitzonfire at Rosehill on Saturday but co-trainer Adrian Bott says it’ll be a sign of his potential if he can overcome adversity and make it four from four.
Snitzonfire progressed from winning on debut at Nowra in September to successive Graduation wins at Rosehill and Kensington in October, the latest downing subsequent Flemington carnival winner Bend The Knee.
Bott said it was decided to ease up on the gelding and give him the chance to earn a Magic Millions berth but to do it he’ll need to overcome top weight, a wide barrier and drop in distance in the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Sprint (1200m).
“He’s been fantastic,’’ he said.
“We gave him that freshen up to potentially give him the opportunity to make it up to the Magic Millions. We didn’t want to deny him anything because of the level of improvement he kept showing each time he stepped out last time.
“The form around him has been great and he deserves a chance like this. With the improvement he is showing who is to say he can’t improve again.”
The gelding, $3.90 favourite with TAB on Friday, trialled at Randwick on November 23 and Bott said nothing was learned from it given he was crammed in between horses all the way to the line.
“It’s hard to get a guide on his trial, it was a soft trial and he went to the line a bit untested,’’ he said.
“He appears in good order and I guess the only sticky thing is dropping to 1200m. Other than that you can’t knock what he’s done to date.”
North is also the potential destination for promising filly Shihonka if she can also take the step out of Graduation company into the Cabra-Vale Diggers Handicap (1350m).
She was a dominant first-up winner at Wyong before failing in a high pressure Group 3 at Caulfield but bounced back off a freshen up to score over 1200m at Rosehill on November 17.
Bott said there’s no reason to think Shihonka, $2.30 with TAB, won’t excel getting out beyond that distance and given an outside draw there’ll be nowhere to hide.
“It’ll be good to see her do it but she doesn’t need to be ridden in a manner to conserve to see it out,’’ he said.
“I was a little surprised to see she was beaten for speed there last start. It was good to see her settle.
“It gave us the confidence that she could see the extra trip out if we wanted to step her up to 1400m in time, rather than being an out and out speed filly.
“Maybe naturally up in trip she might be able to be a bit more prominent and from that draw that might force her to take things up and we wouldn’t be afraid to do so.”
Meanwhile, Flight Stakes winner Never Been Kissed is back from her spring break and will be aimed at being Gai Waterhouse’s fourth Australian Oaks winner next autumn.
The filly was a $41 chance when she won the spring Group 1 for the girls but backed it up with a gallant second behind the exciting Profondo in the Spring Champion Stakes.
“She’s in good shape and she will be on the traditional three-year-old path towards the Vinery and the Oaks,’’ Bott said.
“It was good to see her do it against the boys and show the Flight Stakes wasn’t any fluke. She ran just as well if not better in the Spring Champion when a few were questioning the fillies.”