After the pick of the stable mates for Saturday’s 2014 HG Bolton Sprint the likelihood of a rain affected Belmont track in WA has seen in-form hoop Patrick Carbery switch from Pininci to Settle Strada this weekend.
There were 16 nominations taken for this year’s $100,000 Listed H.G. Bolton Sprint (1200m) that continues the action of the Belmont Winter Racing Carnival on Saturday.
Two of those are from the Lark Hill stables of trainer David Harrison who will accept with Pininci and Settle Strada.
The regular rider for both gallopers this season has been Carbery who has ridden Pininci to victory in two of their past three starts.
Despite the excellent lead-up form of the Pins five-year-old, Pininci coming off a win over hot favourite Smoko in the Listed Beaufine Stakes (1000m) at the track from July 12, Carbery jumps off them this weekend.
Instead he will look to improve Harrison’s Strada gelding Settle Strada who hasn’t won a race since their three length effort, with Carbery aboard, in the Listed Farnely Stakes (1400m) at Belmont Park in September last year.
The rising six-year-old has had three unplaced runs this time in including a dead last to Magnifisio in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) on May 17.
Their last start was a sixth behind Elite Belle in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) a fortnight later, an effort they’ll be looking to improve notably on here.
Carbery believes they have the ability to do that however with a number of things working in Settle Strada’s favour.
One is the drop back in distance to 1200m which the horse has won five of their 11 starts on, and the other more deciding factor is the possibility of a soft track.
“It’s hard to get off a horse that has just won a Listed race,” Carbery told The West Australian.
“Settle Strada’s been a pretty good horse for me.
“Although his form has tapered off, he certainly comes to the fore this time of the year.
“Pininci’s wet form isn’t all that good and rain is forecast the rest of the week.
“If the forecast was dry I probably would have ridden Pininci.”
To replace Carbery on Pincini then, Harrison has booked Glenn Smith for the ride.
Carbery is also confident of a return to form from Settle Strada after trackwork today.
“His trackwork indicates to me he’s back to near where he was last year,” he said.
“I worked him and Pininci separately this morning and they worked on par with each other.”
HG Bolton Sprint top weight this year meanwhile is Jim Taylor’s Roma Cup winner Magnifisio with 60.5kg, two kilos more than what they carried to fourth behind Pininci in the Beaufine last time out.
The Ross & Clint Price-trained Smoko was another notable nominee, the Snitzel four-year-old having suffered their first ever loss when going down a length in that same race.
Smoko however won’t accept into the final field instead racing in a 72-plus rated 1000m sprint at the same meeting.
Their Beaufine jockey, for who they raced wide throughout the race, William Pike will on Saturday be replaced by apprentice hoop Chris Parnham.
Smoko was allocated 54kg minimum weight again for the Bolton while Beaufine Stakes winner Pininci must go up from that to 56kg, one kilo less than Settle Strada (57kg).
The only other galloper above the minimum is then the Ted Martinovich-trained Cavallo Pazzo who was last seen running seventh in the Roma Cup when beaten seven lengths.
The H.G. Bolton Sprint 2014 field is set for release shortly so stay tuned.
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