Trainer Anthony Cummings is pleased with the progress of his Silver Slipper Stakes 2016 contender in Sydney this Saturday Pittsburgh who impressed with a Hawkesbury trial win on Monday.
The Fastnet Rock colt is starting to show the right stuff tactically on the track after putting nearly two lengths on his closest rival in a 760m hit-out at the start of the week leading up to his return in the $250,000 Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on the weekend.
Pittsburgh has had three runs to date, all at Rosehill, but is yet to break his maiden status on race day.
That’s something Cummings is hoping can change first-up in the Silver Slipper with his progressive two-year-old boasting form around 2016 ATC Iglis’ Sires fancy Yankee Rose from last campaign.
On debut back in late October Pittsburgh ran fourth to Yankee Rose in a race that also featured Teleperion (3rd) who franked the form with a first-up win last Saturday at Randwick in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m).
That was followed by a second over 1100m at Rosehill in mid-November on a Heavy (9) track when defeated a nose by Faraway Town.
After that close call the youngster had his latest run on November 21 in the lucrative $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m) back at Rosehill and was fifth to Yankee Rose beaten nearly six lengths.
After Monday’s convincing trial win Cummings has more confidence in his colt, whose unplaced Golden Gift run was due to wayward racing.
“He was far more tactical in his trial today,” Cummings told AAP on Monday.
“He is a big, strong colt and ran time without effort. He does have to improve against the horses he will face but he is going the right way.
“Given a normal week he will back up on Saturday with Jason Collett to ride.”
Collett replaces Joshua Par in the saddle who has been aboard Pittsburgh for his three earlier runs.
The Silver Slipper Stakes attracted 13 early entries on Monday led by the John O’Shea-trained Medaglia D’Oro colt Astern and the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Defcon who ran second in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) on debut last month.
The race is an official lead-up into the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) back at the track on March 19, with Astern ($11) the shortest-priced of the Silver Slipper entries in pre-field Golden Slipper betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Pittsburgh meanwhile is only rated a $101 roughie in the futures Golden Slipper Stakes odds, a price that is sure to be slashed if the colt can score the Silver Slipper Stakes upset this weekend.
In the past four years two of the Silver Slipper Stakes winners went on to win the Golden Slipper with Pierro (2012) and Mossfun (2014).
Former star colt Pierro is one of Gai Waterhouse’s current six Golden Slipper winners, her latest being Vancouver (2015) last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Waterhouse has one Silver Slipper nominee this year with undefeated Manhattan Rain filly Scarlet Rain shooting for her third win from as many starts.
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