The punters are coming for the Joe Pride-trained...
Racing NSW announced the weights for the $100,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m) on Tuesday, Group 1 performer Squamosa given 55.5kg for the black-type showdown.
“They (the handicappers) haven’t missed him in the ratings but at least Nash will now be able to take the ride,” Bruce Slade, racing manager at Tulloch Lodge, said.
The weight is a 2.5kg increase from their last-start victory and allows Rawiller to take over riding duties from Jim Cassidy aboard the promising three-year-old.
“I should be able to make the weight to ride Squamosa – if he received 55kg it would have been a lot harder,” Rawiller confirmed.
“At this time of year it’s difficult for me to ride that light. But for Squamosa, he’s worth it.”
Rawiller will be reuniting with Squamosa for the first time since the autumn of last year.
The lightly-raced son of Not A Single Doubt was one of last year’s most talked about gallopers, the well-bred colt exploding onto the racing scene winning their opening three race starts including the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1300m) in Sydney.
Waterhouse then saddled Squamosa up in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m), the horse finishing a devastatingly close second beaten in the final stride by Toorak Toff.
Squamosa, however, suffered a health setback after their Group 1 placing and spent over nine months out of the spotlight.
Connections bought them back just a fortnight ago, Squamosa back to their best with a brilliant first-up win in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) beating Ladys Angel by an impressive five lengths at Randwick on June 11.
They will now attempt back-to-back victories lining up in the Takeover Target Stakes on Friday at Gosford, Squamosa one of 17 early entries.
Top-weight of the nominees with 58.5kg is Sue Grill’s Tamworth galloper and Doomben 10,000 fourth placegetter Border Rebel, who is back to defend their title after winning last year’s Takeover Target Stakes with the same weight.
The Johannesburg five-year-old is looking to bounce back after their failure to beat home any rivals in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), won by gun three-year-old Sincero, at Eagle Farm last start on June 11.
Other notable gallopers entered for the Takeover Target Stakes this year include the Kris Lees-trained warhorse Motspur who won the Scone Quality two starts back, Allan Denham’s in-form four-year-old Lioncub and the Peter Snowden-trained duo of Lonhro five-year-old Skytrain and Commands mare Mascareri.
“I wasn’t sure if some horses would be scared off (by Squamosa) but there’s definitely going to be strong opposition there,” Slade said.
Waterhouse, who is overseas on holiday at the moment, would wait to assess Squamosa’s Takeover Target performance before confirming future plans.
“Gai could consider backing him up in the Civic Stakes before giving him a short break and getting him ready for the Manikato Stakes in the spring,” Slade suggested.
The $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) runs at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, July 2.
Running at the esteemed Moonee Valley Friday Night meeting on September 30, the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) is one of the early elite level features of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and was won by the great galloper Hay List last year.
Waterhouse is also considering an international campaign with Squamosa targeting next year’s five-day Royal Ascot carnival.
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