South African-born horseman Lionel Cohen knows just how good the 2011 Golden Rose field is this Saturday calling all of the hopefuls “Group One horses”, but he still rates his untapped gelding Aeronautical as a genuine shot at upsetting the favourites.
Encosta De Lago three-year-old Aeronuatical is one of six exciting youngsters engaged for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, the classic kicking off the season’s elite level racing action.
After earlier this week getting a huge wrap from his very confident jockey Nathan Berry, Aeronautical’s trainer Cohen has now come out and expressed his own assurance that the horse can challenge the likes of undefeated favourite Smart Missile and two-time Group 1 winning Darley galloper Helmet.
Coming into the Golden Rose fresh, Aeronautical was last seen at Randwick claiming a devastating three and a half length victory in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) on August 6.
Although they have had a month out of the action, Cohen believes this will help, not hamper, their chances on Saturday.
“I’m very happy with the way the horse is at the moment, he’s in great shape right now,” Cohen said.
“I have no problems now having had the (extra) run.”
Aeronautical came up with the far outside gate in the Golden Rose 2011 barriers, but in such a small field the draw hardly matters.
The 2011 Golden Rose field size is perhaps the only real worry for Cohen heading into Saturday’s showdown.
“I think I’d prefer the bigger field, stretch it a bit,” Cohen said.
“With the small field I just hope there is a fair pace and it’s a Group One race so you would expect there to be pace.”
From their four career starts to date, which have produced two wins, the smallest field Aeronautical has been a part of was the nine-horse The Rosebud field.
A galloper that is noted for setting just worse than midfield and working their way up through the field late, Aeronautical will be tested on Saturday and must race hard to stay in touch with the leaders.
“Obviously we’re all going to race a lot closer to one another and I suppose the trick is who’s going to make the pace,” Cohen said.
“They are all Group One horses and we are probably, from that barrier, not going to go forward and ideally just sit off them.”
Cohen named Aeronautical’s blistering turn of foot as his best trait and believes that this could see them through on Saturday.
“He has a great finish but I will leave it up to Nathan,” Cohen said.
“You have to ride him where he is comfortable and just leave him to finish his race off.”
Golden Rose odds at Luxbet are lead by odds-on favourite Smart Missile, Anthony Cummings’ last-start Run To The Rose winner at a quote of $1.80 to secure their fourth career win from as many starts.
The Peter Snowden-trained Helmet, already a Group 1 winner over the Golden Rose distance of 1400 metres, occupies the next line of betting at $4.20 followed by eleventh-hour entry Manawanui ($7).
Aeronautical is next at $8.50, a nice price according to Cohen.
“I believe he can win, he is well enough and he is good enough and we are pretty confident,” Cohen said.
“His work has been faultless in my opinion and we couldn’t ask for any more at the moment.”
See below for the latest Golden Rose Fixed Win odds, courtesy of Luxbet.
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Golden Rose 2011 Odds
Rosehill Race 5 10/09/2011
|#||Horse (Barrier)||Fixed Win*||Fixed Place*|
|2||SMART MISSILE (5)||1.80||1.23|
|6||FLIGHT OF PEGASUS (2)||41.00||12.43|
*Odds correct at time of publication