The roughie of the classic Golden Rose field this year is Scott Aspery’s able three-year-old Flight Of Pegasus, and despite connections being confident the horse deserves their chance on Saturday, 2011 Golden Rose odds continue to drift on the Fusaichi Pegasus gelding.
One of six final acceptors for the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) this year, Flight Of Pegasus opened as the $41 outsider in the Group 1 betting markets at Luxbet.
Their generous price came as no surprise to Aspery, Flight Of Pegasus preparing to take on the season’s best including Anthony Cummings’ undefeated glamour colt Smart Missile and Peter Snowden’s multiple Group 1 winner Helmet.
“He isn’t given much of a chance but I think he will be competitive,” Aspery said.
“He’s doing everything right that he has to do.”
After winning on debut at Wyong in February, Flight Of Pegasus showed promise when coming within a quarter length to finish third behind Uate and Hot Snitzel in the Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm in March.
“Had circumstances been different with a better draw he probably wins that race,” Aspery said of the Skyline Stakes.
“He’s only gone down by a neck (sic) behind two classy sprinters in Hot Snitzel and Uate so he’s definitely a horse that deserves his chance at the top level.”
Next start they were again far from disgraced crossing two lengths away fourth behind the Bart Cummings-trained Do You Think in the Group 3 The Schweppervesence (1400m) at Rosehill on Golden Slipper Day.
Sent for a spell after their Slipper Day effort, Flight Of Pegasus resumed with a first-up fifth behind Smart Missile in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
Aspery knows they have to come on in leaps and bounds and improve around five lengths to get near Smart Missile on Saturday, but he also believes that Flight Of Pegasus is over the odds.
“He was half a run short going into his first-up effort, but there are no excuses now,” he said.
“He’s on a path to the Melbourne Spring Carnival so this (the Golden Rose) has always been planned as a stepping stone for him.
“He’s always shown he’s a decent kind of horse.”
Since Golden Rose betting on the final field opened, Flight Of Pegasus has blown right out and is now paying an ultra generous $81 at Luxbet.
In their advantage is the fact they have had a run over the Golden Rose distance of 1400 metres, something Smart Missile has not.
“He is fit and healthy and will appreciate the step up to 1400 metres,” Aspery said.
Flight Of Pegasus is also well drawn in gate two, and is due to be ridden by Chris Munce who rode them in the Run To The Rose.
Having been in the racing game since starting out as a stablehand with Sydney’s leading lady of the turf Gai Waterhouse, Aspery is pleased just to have a runner in a million race and would be happy with the $10,000 for running sixth.
If Flight Of Pegasus races competitively in the Golden Rose, Aspery will look towards the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8 and possibly even the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Caulfield Guineas 2011 odds at Luxbet are lead by Golden Rose favourites Smart Missile and Helmet while Flight Of Pegasus is a $151 roughie.
The 2011 Cox Plate odds are even longer – $201.
The other option will be to go to the $125,000 Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 15 and onto the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 29.
Golden Rose odds have also drifted out slightly on the favourite, Smart Missile still odds-on at $1.95.
Another market drifter ahead of Saturday’s elite level is Aeronautical, The Rosebud winner out from $8.50 to $10 to live up to the hype jockey Nathan Berry has been building about their return.
The only Golden Rose betting market firmer is Helmet, Darley’s AJC Sires Produce Stakes – Champagne Stakes double winning son of Exceed And Excel getting plenty of support from the punters.
After opening at $4.40 to take out their third Group 1 feature and turn the tables on Smart Missile after their last-start third in the Run To The Rose, Helmet has shortened into $3.80 through Luxbet.
Set to improve with the addition of blinkers and getting back to 1400 metres, Helmet is likely to keep firming in the Golden Rose odds leading up to Rosehill Race 5 on Saturday.
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