The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
They may be the third longest-priced hopeful in the field but Sangster has got the support of hoop Danny Nikolic who will ride the reigning Victoria Derby winner in Friday night’s Alister Clark Stakes 2012 at Moonee Valley.
Sangster should relish the extra distance provided by the $200,000 Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) having finishing dead last over 1400-metres first up in the Group 1 Waikato Draught Sprint (1400m) back home in New Zealand.
The Trent Busuttin-trained Savabeel gelding was also disappointing last-start when beating home just one other runner to cross 15th, beaten 16 lengths by Mosheen in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3.
Nikolic, who rides Sangster under race conditions for the first time in the 2012 Alister Clark Stakes on Friday night, believes the horse will improve considerably dropping back in class and going up in distance and has warned punters not to write them off.
“He’s getting up a distance that probably suits him now,” Nikolic said on Wednesday.
“I worked him this morning out at Flemington and he gave me a good feel, his action was good, so he’s got no problems there.
“I think, in general, his best performance is good enough to win this race if he turns up on the night.”
For her historical Australian Guineas win Mosheen was ridden by Nikolic while Mark Zahra had the ride aboard Sangster.
Mosheen goes up against the boys again this weekend in Sydney’s $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Nikolic will travel from Melbourne to Sydney after his Alister Clark ride on Sangster on Friday night to make it on Saturday.
A good ride on Sangster in the Alister Clark and Nikolic may well have found himself another strong contender throughout the autumn in Sydney.
“I spoke to Trent this morning and he said, ‘If he runs well on Friday night, the ride’s there in Sydney for you’, but he wants to see a positive run this Friday night to warrant going up to Sydney,” Nikolic said.
“The horse has always been a consistent horse and he just thought the horse should have done more last start.
“He’s obviously one of the better horses in the race if he can find his form.”
If successful in scoring an upset Alister Clark Stakes win, Sangster will become just the second horse in history to take out the Victoria Derby – Alister Clark Stakes double along with Blevic (1994-95).
Sangster currently pays a juicy $21 in the Alister Clark Stakes odds at Luxbet, markets led by the Mick Price-trained Proliferate at $4.
Last spring Sangster had two starts over the 2000-metres when finishing third to Doctor Doom in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick and then a long neck second to Sabrage in the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield.
Other notable rivals for Sangster in the Alister Clark Stakes field for Friday include Mike Moroney’s Charge Forward colt Sabrage ($4.40 bookmaker.com.au), the Peter Moody-trained son of Fastnet Rock Highly Recommended ($5.50 bookmaker.com.au) and shock Australian Guineas third placegetter Mister Milton ($8 bookmaker.com.au).
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