Yet to receive much more than a sprinkling of wagers for success in this afternoon’s featured Darwin Cup (2000m), jockey Blake Shinn is confident a wide barrier draw will not affect the chances of notable stayer Cantonese.
Returning to racing in less-than convincing form via sixth in the QBE Cup (1200m) first-up on June 14th and ninth in the Roant Gold Cup (1300m) on June 28th, Cantonese has seemingly reversed his run of form leading into the 2014 Darwin Cup with second in the well-contested Chief Minister’s Cup (1600m) and third amongst classy competition in the Sky Racing Metric Mile (1600m) in his two most recent appearances.
Confident in success in what will be his first ever appearance on a Northern Territory racecourse, Shinn said there are several positives to be taken from the Redoute’s Choice gelding’s draw of barrier 13 for the Darwin Cup.
“I’ve looked at his recent runs and I can find positives from the barrier,” Shinn told AAP.
“He drew one last time and was crossed early. From barrier thirteen hopefully he can use his speed and get across and get a good run.
“It’s my first visit to the Top End and I have two rides for Neil. I have ridden for him before and it would be nice to win a good race for him.
“I got the ride on Cantonese through his owners who asked Bjorn if I would consider riding the horse.
“It should be a great experience but it will also be a bit sombre on the anniversary of Simone Montgomerie’s fall.”
Securing a competitive total of seven wins and eight minor places from just 35 competitive starts so far, Cantonese began his racing career under the guidance of now-Darley trainer John O’Shea in the autumn of 2011, and has since passed through the stables of Bjorn Baker prior to landing in the care of current saddler Neil Dyer at the conclusion of his 2013 spring preparation.
Opening as sole occupant of the second line of betting for success in the 2014 Darwin Cup, Cantonese is yet to receive much of punters’ attention, but remains outright $5.50 second-favourite for the Fannie Bay feature, behind Smarty Mac ($4.20) with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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