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Promising colt Uate will be out to build on a second-place effort in the Maurice McCarten Stakes when he lines up in Sunday’s $250,000 2012 Gosford Guineas (1200m).
The Kris Lees-trained three-year-old showed glimpses of the form that saw him burst on to the scene with three straight victories last autumn before an underwhelming spring campaign that saw him finish a best of sixth from two starts.
The Maurice McCarten effort came as a welcome relief to trainer Lees who admitted he didn’t know where to head with Uate following the disappointing spring.
“He did have some excuses each run however form suggests he just went poor,” Lees said.
With the Gosford track currently in the heavy range, Lees is hoping it will improve by Sunday, with the jury still out on whether the son of Ad Valorem can run in the wet.
“It is inconclusive whether he handles heavy ground. He performed poorly in the Champagne Stakes last year on Heavy but he was backing up and he may have had enough.”
The Gosford Guineas lineup is currently strong but with many of the horses set to feature in tomorrow’s Randwick meeting, Uate’s chances will improve when the field is finalised.
The likes of in form gelding Nobby Snip and Clarry Connors filly Satin Shoes are two probable scratchings, with both likely to line up in tomorrow’s Group 1 Galaxy, something that gives Lees confidence.
“It looks a pretty tough race on paper pending scratchings. Scratchings pending and with luck in running I think he is a genuine top three chance.”
Sunday’s race is the start of a potentially lucrative provincial campaign for Uate, who will then go on to contest the $150,000 Hawksebury Guineas and the $500,000 Scone Guineas.
He has drawn barrier 18 for this weekend’s event but that is likely to come in when all the scratchings are known on Sunday and he will be ridden by experienced Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman.
One confirmed starter for Sunday is Hallowell Belle who has been in excellent form, backing up a win in the Darby Munro Stakes with a third-place effort at Group 1 level in the TJ Smith Stakes.
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