Trainer Michael Kent is confident in-form six-year-old Epingle offers a great chance of success in this weekend’s major Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), despite drawing the somewhat awkward barrier 12 for day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.
Having removed Epingle from the final field of the 2014 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) as a result of the inclement weather and resulting heavy 9 race track, Kent told TVN a weekend off is more likely to play into the hands of the talented mare.
“I was going to run her in the Chairman’s, but when it got to heavy I thought she just didn’t need the run” Kent said.
“She is only as little, light mare. She runs really well of a freshen.
“I thought there was a risk of things going pear shape on a heavy track.”
Having intently viewed the Chairman’s Handicap, Kent said the race actually played out vastly different to how he had assumed, however the Sydney Cup poses a far-better option and prospect for the team.
“When I watched the race it was a softer race. I thought it may have been a tough race with good speed; usually The Offer presses a bit and Sertorius is up there” Kent added.
“They only went slow, I began to think it may have worked out alright, but I’m much happier to do what I’ve done.
“It’s a Group 1 million dollar race; I think she deserves a crack at it.”
Amassing an impressive record of five wins and 12 places from only 26 competitive race starts to date, Epingle has arguably hit career best form over her three most-recent appearances; claiming back-to-back victories in the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) and Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) before sprinting well to finish third amongst classy competition in the Group 3 Percy Sykes Tribute Stakes (1900m) last time out on March 29th.
While charged with overcoming barrier 12, leading jockey Craig Williams has been confirmed to retain the ride on the Pins mare this weekend, in what will be their seventh competitive start together.
Included in a particularly talented field of 17 confirmed runners, Epingle is currently offered on the tied sixth line of betting for success in the 2014 Sydney Cup with Hippopus (barrier 4) and Tremec (barrier 17) at particularly generous $15 odds.
Producing a strong turn of foot to claim last weekend’s Chairman’s Handicap, The Offer is currently sole occupant of the top line of betting at $3.10 odds, ahead of Who Shot Thebarman ($6) and Sertorius ($9).
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