While their young jockey Anthony Allen isn’t 100% confident Palmera Lad can win Saturday’s 2014 Sunshine Coast Guineas one thing he’s sure of is the horse will appreciate the extra distance in the race.
Apprentice hoop Allen has partnered Roslyn Pratt’s Tale Of The Cat three-year-old for their past six starts including their entire Queensland Winter Racing Carnival campaign.
He retains the association then for their fourth Group assignment this weekend in the $125,000 Group 3 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m), running as Race 5 at 2:30pm at Corbould Park on Saturday.
The duo are drawn just worse than midfield in barrier 11 of the capacity 18 starter field and are one of four single figure chances in the current Sunshine Coast Guineas betting odds.
The gelding’s latest prep kicked off with an eye-catching third behind Dothraki when defeated just over a length in the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) where they appreciated the Heavy (8) track.
From there they were 12th to Havana in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) when pushed back to last during the first half of the race and then couldn’t match them round the bend.
On the straight they were right out wide and had too much work to do to finish better than five and a half lengths off the winner.
A Group 2 assignment followed up over 1400m in the Queensland Guineas where their seventh to Sir Moments was better than it sounded, Palmera Lad only one and a half lengths away making up lots of late ground in a promising effort.
After a virus setback they were dropped back to 1200m then at Eagle Farm last Saturday as a Plan B run.
It was distance they found a little sharp when sixth behind fellow Sunshine Guineas rival this weekend Architect who is the $4.80 market mover.
Allen isn’t quite sure what to make of their run last weekend but Palmera Lad is set to appreciate the step back up in distance here.
“Everything is still up in the air with him at the moment because we still don’t really know how he’s come through this virus,” Allen told The Courier Mail.
“I thought it was a good run last week to be honest.
“He was a bit flat early, but he was tacking on nicely at the end.”
They’ve been up over the 1600m once before at Eagle Farm in early February when they scored an easy three and a half length win over Secret Harmony.
That’s an effort Allen is hoping they can then repeat here against better company.
Their other main dangers aside from the David Lawlor-trained Architect in Saturday’s showdown are then the $4.40 Chris Waller-trained favourite Mamwaazel and the Robert Heathcote-trained Hopfgarten ($6.50) coming off a fourth in the Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes (1600m) from June 7.
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