Popular Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse may have uncovered a genuine Golden Rose 2011 contender in Just The Tonic and is considering paying the hefty late entry fee to get the gelding into the million dollar Sydney Spring Racing Carnival showdown after their victory at Rosehill on the weekend.
Redoute’s Choice three-year-old Just The Tonic took their improving career record to two wins from as many starts on Saturday, jockey Chris Munce riding them to a narrow victory over the Paul Messara-trained Rekindled Alliance in the $70,000 Sealy Posturepedic Handicap (1400m).
Just The Tonic is currently not nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), connections having until 10am this coming Monday, September 5, to pay the $50,000 late Golden Rose entry fee.
While optimistic over the talent Just The Tonic is harbouring and where that might take them this prep, Waterhouse did not rule out giving the horse a shot at Golden Rose glory.
“I’m not saying he will run in the Golden Rose and I’m not saying he won’t,” Waterhouse said cryptically.
“He has taken a while to come to hand.
“I want him for a long time, not a short time.”
Saturday’s gritty success over the Golden Rose track and distance certainly was a positive sign, but Just The Tonic was yet to race against the quality of rivals the 2011 Golden Rose field would throw their way, Waterhouse to spend time this week assessing their claims.
“He hasn’t had the grounding the other horses have had but he’s a good horse in the making and this was a hard race today,” Waterhouse said on Saturday.
Munce was also excited about Just The Tonic’s ability, a horse he tipped as a miler in the making.
“He’s a nice horse but is still a big baby,” the hoop said.
“He’s not fully wound up yet and he’s going to get up to a mile (1600m).”
Just The Tonic is raced by the same connections that own the likes of Waterhouse’s reigning Caulfield Cup winner Descarado and last-start Brisbane Cup hero Tullamore, both horses ridden by Munce for their career majors.
“It’s been good, I’ve had three goes (in those colours) for three wins,” Munce said.
Meanwhile Scone-based trainer Paul Messara said Rekindled Alliance, a full-brother to Group 2 winner Rekindled Interest, would likely miss the Golden Rose after being regulated to second on Saturday.
“We will have a think about the Golden Rose, but he’s starting to look more like a Spring Champion Stakes horse,” Messara said.
The $400,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) runs at Randwick on October 1 – Epsom Handicap Day.
Bookmakers around the country reacted instantly on Just The Tonic’s win, Australia’s leading online bookie Luxbet slashing the price on Just The Tonic in their Golden Rose odds.
Just The Tonic is now paying $15 to take out the Golden Rose and defeat the likes of raging $2.20 favourite Smart Missile, who also won at Rosehill on Saturday defeating fellow Rose rivals Foxwedge and Helmet in the $125,000 Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
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