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Jockey Blake Shinn believes there is little separating Peter Moody’s two 2014 Golden Rose runners this weekend but the addition of blinkers might just give his ride Better Land the edge over the better fancied stable mate Bring Me The Maid.
Moody was the big winner yesterday ahead of Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) with his Shamardal colt Better Land gaining a start after a below capacity field was accepted for the three-year-olds’ classic.
Then his talented Golden Rose third placed filly Bring Me The Maid firmed into clear favouritism through Ladbrokes.com.au after drawing ideally with barrier six.
Better Land meanwhile will jump from barrier 10, likely coming into nine if Team Hawkes scratch their San Domenico Stakes winner Nostradamus (barrier three) in favour of a run on firmer ground in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne at Flemington Racecourse.
While known mudlark Bring Me The Maid is at $4.20 and firming in Golden Rose betting following the draw and her last start victory at Randwick on August 23 on a Heavy (9) track in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m), Better Land pays $7 as the third pick.
That’s a nice price according to Shinn who believes the two on par with each other, a claim he can make after riding the filly when the duo galloped alongside each other at Randwick last Saturday morning.
“Both produced work that was good enough to be more than just competitive in the Golden Rose, it was very good work and I don’t think there is much, if anything between them,” he told the Racing Network.
That aside, Shinn said he wouldn’t swap rides with Luke Nolen on Bring Me The Maid with Better Land to be nice and sharp with the blinkers on.
“They are both in really good shape but I’m happy to be riding the colt, he has the addition of blinkers up his sleeve, they looked to switch him on in his work,” he said.
The colt won on debut on a Heavy (8) course at Sale back in April before a first-up second to the Paul Messara-trained Scissor Kick, an $11 chance to win the Golden Rose and make it four straight wins, in the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) on August 9.
Better Land was also beaten by the in-form Scissor Kick last time out when fourth, albeit beaten only three-quarters of a length, in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) from three weeks ago.
He was sitting 20th on the Golden Rose order of entry on Monday, the field capacity being 18 runners, but connections breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when a number of horses higher up the ballot did not accept.
“I’m just relieved, not only for myself, but for everyone involved in the horse that he has been able to gain a start,” Shinn said.
“It would have been a real shame if he missed out.
“He has had bad luck in both his runs this campaign, he was caught wide first-up and then was run off the track at Randwick.
“Hopefully things go our way on Saturday and everyone gets to see his true ability.”
Shinn has had three past Golden Rose rides but has never finished in the money while Saturday will be Nolen’s first start in the race.
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