Co-trainer Leon Macdonald knows it is no use trying to avoid one horse or a challenge which is why the Adelaide horseman is happy to run Nearest To Pin in Saturday’s 2014 Bletchingly Stakes.
The Caulfield weight-for-age feature is the headline race of the weekend down under, eight gallopers engaged in this year’s $150,000 Group 3 Slickpix Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).
Of those the red hot favourite is the Robbie Laing-trained Lord Of The Sky, the Danerich colt coming off a win in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at the track from July 5.
Having won that race by an easy four and a half lengths the exciting three-year-old is at a short $1.60 in Bletchingly Stakes betting.
While they are obviously the horse to beat jumping from barrier five with Dwayne Dunn retaining the ride, Macdonald isn’t backing down.
The Hall Of Fame trainer saddles up Nearest To Pin from barrier two with Nicholas Hall to ride the visiting South Australian galloper.
A rising five-year-old Golden Lake gelding who Macdonald prepares in partnership with his son-in-law Andrew Gluyas at Morphettville, Nearest To Pin pays $8.50 in the latest Bletchingly Stakes odds.
They, like the favourite, are a last start black-type winner in Melbourne.
On July 12 at Flemington they lined up as an outside chance in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) where all the money was on John Sadler’s flying mare Vain Queen.
She flopped in the final however and Nearest To Pin was there to strike with a narrow long neck win over Le Bonsir who also runs on Saturday as a $7 Bletchingly Stakes chance from barrier one for local trainer Mick Price.
Macdonald then is hoping that there is another upset on the cards and Nearest To Pin can get the better of another odds-on favourite in an off-season feature that is lacking the better sprinters resting for the spring.
“We’re well aware Lord of the Sky is in the race, and he looks hard to beat, but Vain Queen was in the same boat a fortnight ago, wasn’t she?” he told Racing Victoria this week.
“I’ve always been of the opinion, right throughout, that you can’t dodge one horse.”
Nearest To Pin has been kept in light work since winning the All Victorian Sprint and thriving on that will have one last hit out on Thursday night.
“He’s done well,” he said. “He’s one of those horses, he’s an old horse – well, he’s not that old, but he’s been around a while – and he adapts to life as a racehorse very well.
“He hasn’t done very much (since), but he’ll go back again on Thursday night.
“It’s pretty obvious, except maybe for the favourite, that the best sprinters are not around this time of the year, they’re still a month away, so if we can get away with one or two of these races it’s pretty handy.”
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