Caulfield’s Mick Price is hoping his progressive young filly Irada can get a cozy run from a gun gate in the Flemington opener on Saturday as she steps up to black-type company in the 2015 Taj Rossi Series Final.
A nice size field of 13 two-year-olds kicks off the racing at Flemington on Finals Day this weekend when the $120,000 Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) runs at 11:50am (AEST).
Drawn a treat in barrier three with Craig Newitt retaining the ride is Price’s up-and-coming daughter of Iffraaj Irada having just her third career run.
From barrier two on May 31 at Moe she won over 1200m on debut with apprentice Regan Bayliss in the saddle before Newitt jumped on at Flemington on June 27 for her close third in the Murray Cox 2YO Handicap (1400m).
An official heat of the Taj Rossi Series Final, the Murray Cox Handicap was won by John Sadler’s Crown Oaks hope Bengal Cat with the Peter Moody-trained El Greco in second.
Irada though was only a quarter-length off the winner and she gets the chance to turn the tables when she takes on both the horses that beat her home that day again in the Taj Rossi Final.
Last start Irada did it tough from barrier 12 of 14 and gate three this weekend is a big boost to her chances according to Price.
Price hopes to have her settled closer to the front this time round after being surprised with how far back she got before her eye-catching finish last start.
“I was surprised she got so far back in that race, even though she missed the kick,” Price told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“Certainly over a mile and from barrier three, I’ll probably have a chat to stewards and say we’ll be aiming for first five.
“I think her formline is the right formline.”
Taj Rossi Series Final betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is now led by Irada who has firmed in from $3.80 to $3.30 to improve and post her second win.
El Greco, in barrier five with Damien Oliver aboard, is the next best fancied at $3.70 followed by Royal Rumble ($5.50) after a third straight win and the Murray Cox winning filly Bengal Cat ($5.50) with Saturday’s outside alley to overcome.
Price has also accepted for Gungastruck in the race, a $21 chance stuck out in gate 12 with in-form apprentice Michael Dee riding in the non-claiming race.
Improving on two mediocre runs, nicely-bred Encosta De Lago filly Gungastruck broke her maiden status on June 26 at Pakenham with Dee guiding her to a two length win over 1380m.
While happy with her performance in that run a fortnight ago, Price knows the challenge is there for her this weekend as she steps right up in class for the Taj Rossi Final.
“Gungastruck is a nice filly, she’s a bit immature,” he said.
“Her maiden win was good but she’s going to need some luck from barrier 12.
“I think Irada is better suited – she’s going to get a cozy run in the race.”
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