A racing campaign which went agonisingly close to delivering a Group One result three years ago seems almost certain to be copied with unbeaten two-year-old Pit Crew.
Pit Crew made it two wins from as many starts in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill on Monday and trainer Gai Waterhouse is hoping the youngster is still racing strongly when the Golden Rose comes around in September.
On face value, making a transition from winter racing on rain-affected tracks to competing against horses like Golden Slipper-winning stablemate Overreach in the $1 million race might seem an unorthodox preparation but Waterhouse has tried it before.
The richly talented Squamosa won two races on heavy tracks at his first two starts in July, 2010, only to be beaten by Toorak Toff – and a wide barrier – in the Golden Rose.
“I’ll talk to Gai but the initial thought is to keep him rolling forward to the Golden Rose,” Tulloch Lodge spokesman Mark Newnham said.
“Squamosa ran in winter races in his year and he just got beaten in the Golden Rose so it can be done.”
Pit Crew, the $2.45 favourite, continued a dream run for his first-season sire Sebring, drawing clear from the 150m after leading to beat Amovatio ($5) by 1-1/4 lengths with Lad About Town ($26) another 2-3/4 lengths away third.
With Rosehill passing an early morning track inspection, racing got underway without incident at the Winter Cup meeting postponed after Saturday’s washout.
Newnham echoed the thoughts of the Sydney racing industry when he said: “It’s great to actually be at the races and see the sun.”
Winning jockey Nash Rawiller said the surface was especially rain-affected in the back straight and he had early concerns about Pit Crew trying to get proper footing.
“He didn’t really stride out that well through it early but he gained confidence as he went along and I tried to keep him on the bridle as much as I could until the furlong,” Rawiller said.
Newnham attributed the veterinary surgeon’s knife to Pit Crew’s unblemished record.
“He’s always been a nice horse but he had a few temperament issues as a colt,” Newnham said. “As a gelding he hasn’t put a foot wrong.
“I like to see a horse when they are challenged to show their true qualities because he was there to be beaten.”
Overreach, this year’s Golden Slipper winner, is back in work at Tulloch Lodge and is set to return to racing in the Run To The Rose, a lead-up race to the Golden Rose.
Source : AAP