Top jockey Corey Brown will get every chance on Saturday take out the Run To The Rose in Sydney with John O’Shea’s quality colt Foxwedge despite facing off against a crack field that includes the highly-spruiked Smart Missile.
Brown and Foxwedge have a number of advantages going into the $125,000 Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) on Saturday at Rosehill Gardens, the race being the major lead-up to the 2011 Golden Rose next month.
“It’s a hot race,” Brown said.
“We’ve got a super crop of three-year-old sprinting sort of horses and he (Foxwedge) is sort of up there in the top half a dozen of them.”
The first thing working in Brown’s favour is that Fastnet Rock colt Foxwedge came up trumps with the inside running from barrier one of eight in the Run To The Rose final field, eight three-year-olds accepted for the feature on Wednesday.
There is also the fact Foxwedge will contest the Run To The Rose second-up after winning the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on August 13 in their new season debut.
But the biggest advantage, according to Brown, is the fact he has before partnered with Foxwedge’s biggest danger on Saturday – the Anthony Cummings-trained Smart Missile.
The explosive Smart Missile, another son of emerging Australian sire Fastnet Rock, is unbeaten in their two career starts to date with Brown having ridden them for their debut win at Randwick in the Listed NSW Breeders Plate (1000m) at Randwick last October.
Bought back in the autumn, Smart Missile was then ridden by rival hoop Glen Boss for their upset win over subsequent Golden Slipper winner Sepoy on the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m).
While Brown has an insider knowledge on Smart Missile, likely to start the race favourite through Luxbet on Saturday, he is also all too aware of just how promising a galloper they are and the tough challenge he faces getting Foxwedge to the line first.
“He (Foxwedge) meets a smart one on Saturday in Smart Missile, he has been super-impressive,” Brown admitted.
“(Smart Missile) has had his fair share of problems but if he’s anywhere near right he’s going to take some beating.
“I’ve won on him too so I know what he can do.”
The “problems” Brown referred to was the controversial scratching of Smart Missile from the Golden Slipper last season, Missile withdrawn at the barriers missing the chance to take on Sepoy again.
Saturday will be the first time Brown has been aboard Foxwedge since their debut win at Rosehill back in November last year.
At their next four starts, Foxwedge was ridden by Nash Rawiller including for their first-up win in the San Domenico, but Brown has been called upon to take over duties with Rawiller serving a suspension and is happy to reunite with the horse.
“Obviously I’m happy to get back on him, he was impressive first-up in the San Domenico when Nash rode him,” Brown said.
“Every preparation he’s had he shows that tradesman like attitude.
“I just hope he didn’t have too much wind taken out of his sails first-up but I’m really happy to be on him.
“I think he’s a really nice racehorse and stranger things have happened (than Foxwedge beating Smart Missile).”
Smart Missile drew the far outside barrier eight for Saturday while the other pick of the field, the Peter Snowden-trained Helmet, will start from barrier three as the 59kg top-weight with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
Smart Missile, Helmet and Foxwedge are all heading towards the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 10, and are three of the top fancies in the Golden Rose 2011 odds at Luxbet.
Heading the markets is Smart Missile ($4), while Helmet is the $6 second elect and Foxwedge occupies the sixth line of Golden Rose betting at $11.
If Foxwedge does cause an upset on Saturday and beat the favourites in The Run To The Rose, his price to take out the $1 million main event will be slashed.
So if you fancy Foxwedge to win the Golden Rose, now is the time to back them at Luxbet at the best possible price.
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