Randwick horseman Graeme Begg is not keeping quiet ahead of Saturday’s Doomben 10,000 clash, boldly declaring his veteran galloper All Silent is fit and ready for the challenge despite their long odds to defeat raging favourite Hay List.
A rising eight-year-old, Belong To Me gelding All Silent currently sits as a $61 roughie in the pre-field markets for the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) running as the feature race at Doomben Racecourse on Saturday.
The final field of acceptances will be released Wednesday morning, but regardless of the competition, the John McNair-trained dual Group 1 winner Hay List will start the favourite already odds-on at $1.50.
Despite Hay List’s dominance and the strength of other Doomben 10,000 hopefuls including multiple Group 1 placegetter Beaded and Doncaster Mile runner-up Love Conquers All, Begg believes All Silent is not without their chance.
Since arriving in Queensland, Begg reports All Silent has settled in well and believes he won’t just race well on Saturday but can in fact trounce Hay List.
“I’m very happy with his condition and he’s coming along very well,” Begg said.
“Hay List is a very good horse and is in great form but they’re all beatable.
“If my bloke brings his best form he’ll be hard to beat.”
Also a two-time elite level winner, All Silent was a competitive force in the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival two years ago when finishing a close third to the great Apache Cat in the 2009 Doomben 10,000.
It was the second time Begg prepared a Doomben 10,000 placegetter having also saddled up Monopolize who finished third to the John Hawkes-trained Accomplice back in 1997.
Hawkes, who now trains in partnership with his sons Michael and Wayne, will be represented this year in the Doomben Cup by third favourite Love Conquers All.
In November of that year All Silent added to his earlier success in the 2008 Emirates Stakes saluting in his second Group 1 to win the 2009 Patinack Farm Classic during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
An overseas campaign followed with All Silent running a convincing eighth to Sacred Kingdom in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint in 2009, beaten three and a half lengths.
Begg bought him back in the autumn of last year where he ran a disappointing 11th to Wanted in the Newmarket Handicap.
Still, Begg pressed on for a second international assignment, All Silent travelling to Dubai where he ran a credible fifth to Joy And Fun in the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint (1200m).
Returning to Australia, All Silent had three runs in last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival culminating with their game fourth behind superstar sprinter Black Caviar in the 2010 Patinack Farm Classic.
All Silent was then sent to the paddock for a lengthy spell, resuming when finishing a well-beaten eighth again behind Black Caviar in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 9.
“It took a long time for him to get over those trips overseas,” Begg said.
“Last year he spent more than three months in quarantine.
“He shed his coat in the 50 degree heat every day while he was in Dubai and when he got back home it took a long time for his coat to grow back.”
Saturday’s Doomben 10,000 will be their first run since facing the ‘Black Flash’ and although the bookies don’t rate them, Begg has faith.
“It’s about six weeks since he last started but he ran second in a barrier trial at Randwick before he left for Brisbane,” he said.
“He’s probably a couple of lengths off his best form from a few years ago but I’m very confident he’ll run well.”
On Saturday All Silent will be ridden by Brenton Avdulla who was aboard for their last run in the TJ Smith Stakes.
Earlier this month Avdulla was suspended for four meetings due to a careless riding charge for a Warwick Farm race on May 15.
Avdulla chose to serve his suspension immediately in order to honour his commitment to ride All Silent for the Doomben 10,000.
“I’d prefer to start the suspension now because I’ve got rides in Brisbane for Grahame Begg on Saturday week,” Avdulla told stewards at the time.