Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths will wait until the eleventh hour to make the call on whether or not to scratch his widely-drawn galloper Grane from the 2015 City Of Greater Dandenong Stakes at Sandown Hillside this Saturday.
Griffiths accepted for two stablemates in this weekend’s $120,000 Listed City Of Greater Dandenong Stakes (1000m) in Melbourne, the handicap sprint also known as the Doveton Stakes.
Grane and Down The Hatch drew barriers 15 and nine respectively, and Griffiths plans to make the call on Saturday morning whether to run or scratch the gallopers.
Suffering an early blow, his Purrealist six-year-old Grane came up with the outside alley in the field that is down to 14 runners after the withdrawal of Joe Pride’s Diamond Oasis.
The gelding has had two unplaced runs at the track previously but has a solid record over the short distance with three wins, two seconds and a third from eight 1000m runs to date.
His latest start produced a win over the distance at Moonee Valley only last Sunday, November 28, when Grane carried 53kg to victory.
He goes up notably in weight with 58.5kg and Matthew Allen booked for the ride on the current $13 chance in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Originally Griffiths’ instinct was to scratch the horse but he will instead look carefully at the speed map to see whether it is worth giving Grane a chance in black-type company at his 28th start this weekend.
“Rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater, I thought I’d think about it until Saturday morning and have a look at the speed map,” Griffiths told AAP.
“He does have a pretty relaxed racing style and tends to get midfield, or back anyway, and comes down the centre, so it might not be so bad anyway with just one corner.
“At the end of the day he went around the field last start.”
The horse pulled up well from his last start win and while the barrier is an obvious issue, Griffiths believes he can handle the short turnaround without issue.
“At first glance you look at it and think that it all looks too hard going up in weight and the bad barrier, but the good thing is he’s in form,” he said.
If he does opt to remove him from the line-up the other option for Grane is a Benchmark 90 over the same distance at Flemington on December 19, where the negative would be the hefty 61.5kg weight.
The stable’s other hope is Down The Hatch who apprentice Jye McNeil is set to ride second-up, the four-year-old Flying Spur mare coming off a fourth behind Pettie’s Reward at Moonee Valley.
It was a blanket finish over the 1000m in the fillies-and-mares’ Benchmark 70 on November 20, Down The Hatch defeated only a quarter length.
She remains the $51 outsider in betting for Saturday however, the City Of Greater Dandenong Stakes a notable class rise for the three time winner who hasn’t won since success over the 1000m at Cranbourne in late April.
“She’s up in grade and not well in at the weights, but being a female and well-bred, the owner wants black type, so you’ve got to go and have a crack,” Griffiths said.
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