Apprentice hoop Lester Grace is confident his mount Slots is a genuine chance in black-type company for the 2015 Just Now Handicap win this weekend at Doomben Racecourse.
Twenty-year-old Grace is based at Rosehill in Sydney with Gerald Ryan but will chase his maiden stakes winning ride for Newcastle’s Grant Marshall when travelling to Queensland for a ride on Brisbane Handicap Day.
Grace partners Marshall’s in-form Casino Prince six-year-old mare Slots who, like her hoop, is also after her maiden black-type win in the $100,000 Listed Bus Supply Partners Just Now Quality Handicap (1350m).
“She’s definitely the best ride I’ve had going into a stakes race,” Grace told Racenet.
“Winning a black-type race is what every rider dreams of.”
Due to jump as Doomben Race 7 at 3:33pm (QLD time) on the bumper nine race program, this year’s Just Now Quality Handicap for fillies and mares has attracted a final field of 14.
Betting on the race through Ladbrokes.com.au is led by market mover Typhoon Jolie ($4.80) from the Sydney stables of Peter & Paul Snowden followed closely by Slots ($5).
A winner of five of her 29 career starts to date her last visit to the winners’ stall was just two starts back at Canterbury on November 7 over 1250m in a Benchmark 89 in the wet.
Her final lead-up into Saturday’s feature race was a Rosehill only seven days before the Just Now when runner-up to I Am Zelady in a fillies-and-mares’ Benchmark 85 over 1200m where Typhoon Jolie ran a well beaten 11th in.
She carried 58kg that day with Grace having her third straight ride on the mare she sticks with on Saturday getting in on the 54kg minimum in the non-claiming event.
The last time Slots was in black-type company was at Randwick on October 17 in the Group 3 Nivision Stakes (1200m) where Christian Reith rode her to eight behind Nayeli when beaten under two lengths.
That was her last unplaced run however from five runs this time in and Grace believes the step up to 1350m on the weekend will suit with the mare boasting winning form up to 1300m from August last year.
“I think she’ll enjoy the step up in trip and has no weight on her back from a good draw,” Grace said.
“That should allow us to get a good spot and with the pace on, she’ll be hitting the line.
“She tries her heart out, always gives you her best so I wouldn’t swap her for anything in the race.”
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