One of the last remaining chances for the 2yo colts and gelding to find their way into the $3.5M Golden Slipper to be run in a fortnight’s time, is by winning the Pago Pago Stakes. The last horse to take out the Pago Pago/Golden Slipper double was Stratum in 2005. This year, punters believe are quite sure who is going to get the chance to emulate Stratum, with eight of the twelve runners in the race, quoted between $4.60 and $11.00. The favourite is Gai waterhouse’s Mr Cha Cha, just in advance of Kumaon who will be representing the Darley operation, winners of this race last year with Sidestep.
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1. MR CHA CHA – T Berry (8)
The Snitzel colt won a Wyong Maiden on debut leading all the way before running second in both the Listed Canonbury Stakes (3 lengths) behind Fighting Sun and more recently, the Black Opal Stakes behind Lucky Raquie (3/4 length). Can’t knock his form at all and will likely shoot across from the wider gate to take up a prominent spot.
2. MODOC – B Shinn (5)
The well travelled Paul Perry trained galloper has had five starts on five different track in two starts since making his debut in January. The Haradasun gelding has been finishing well in each of races with the most recent being a third (1 length) behind Valentia in the Skyline Stakes (1200m). Should get a solid pace here and from five, Shinn might be able to keep closer tabs on the leader than what the horse as been able to in the past.
3. KUMAON – K McEvoy (3)
The Darley runner made his debut by defeating Cylone on protest in a 2yo Open race at Rosehill in the week before Christmas. Third in the race was Francesco. Before a fortnight later, running third (1 ¼ lengths) behind Fighting Sun and Boomwaa. Darley juveniles are always ready to produce and given this son of Lonhro’s first two starts, barrier draw and recent barrier trial effort, would expect to him be the one to beat.
4. KLAMMER – J Parr (7)
Ran third of four on debut behind Law before getting the run of the race and holding on to narrowly win a 2yo Plate at Canberra at his following start. Gerald Ryan’s Snitzel colt then lined up in the Black Opal Stakes as a 10/1 shot and again, settled in the box seat and did well to hold on for third (1.1 lengths) behind Lucky Raquie and Mr Cha Cha. Seems to be an honest competitor but will still be required to show some further improvement to be winning here.
5. TIME FOR WAR – D Thornton (10)
Another Snitzel colt trained by Gerald Ryan, this bloke has only had the one start back in November last year. It resulted in a head win over Double Happy in a 2yo Open Plate (1100m) at Rosehill, where he showed good speed to lead throughout. He has been given plenty of time since that victory and two trials this month in readiness for this return, the latest of which was a second to Oakleigh Girl. Despite the wide draw, his chances would be high.
6. MR BOGART – Z Purton (2)
Raced greenly on debut when fifth of nine (4 ¼ lengths) behind Valentia but obviously took good benefit from that experience judging by his second (1/2 length) to the same horse in the G2 Skyline Stakes at his next and most recent start. The Northern Meteor colt drew the inside gate and was held up for a run behind the leaders in the straight before crossing off their heels and finishing well. Good run last start, drawn well here with Purton up and further improvement expected.
7. KHRYSLER – M Rodd (6)
Mark De Montfort’s filly who has ran third in each of her four starts thus far. The son of Sebring produced a good finish first up in a 2yo Open race behind Valentia (1.6 lengths) but more was expected of his at her next and most recent start, in a Kembla Grange maiden, where as a 9/2 chance, he finished 3 ¾ lengths behind the winner, Veloce Forte.1 Placed behind Unencumbered on debut and her first up run two starts back was promising but has picked a tough race to break his maiden status in.
8. KURO – J McDonald (9)
A good looking Denman colt who was taken to Hawkesbury two weeks ago by his trainer John O’Shea to make his debut. He sat on the speed and proved to good in the Maiden (1000m) race, winning by 1 ½ lengths. Had two trials back towards the end of last year and two more before his debut, so has been in work for some time and would’ve given O’Shea a good gauge on his ability. He couldn’t have asked for more on debut and despite the rise in class and awkward gate, not inclined to dismiss lightly.
9. WILDERNESS – N Rawiller (1)
The $2.4M yearling purchase made his debut as the 11/8 favourite in the 2yo Gold Rush at Bendigo’s Saturday meeting a fortnight back. He settled on the speed but was wayward on the turn and green in the run home, finishing fourth and over seven lengths from the winner Eloping. That experience and the drawing the inside gate should help him here as will having Rawiller onboard still, not sure if those three factors are enough to help him find the improvement that’s required of him to be winning here.
10. REMBRANDT – C Williams (11)
Made his debut at Hawkesbury late last month in a Maiden race and it was a promising effort by the son of Manhattan Rain, who made up good ground in the run home to finish third in the field of fourteen. He was then thrown into the deep of the pool by trainer Clarry Connors and contested the G2 Skyline Stakes but could only manage to hold his ground in the straight and finish fifth of seven, 3 ¾ lengths behind Valentia. Will not find this race any easier and jumps from the widest gate.
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12. YANCHA BOY – K O’Hara (4)
Started a 66/1 chance when making his debut in a Hawkesbury Maiden late last month and ran accordingly, finishing second to last and over thirteen lengths from the winner. Can’t see why he is entered here.
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Mr Cha Cha, A Time For War and Kuro will each come across from there respective wide gates and with several drawn closer to the fence out to ensure their spot early, we should see a solid tempo here. This should provide Kumaon from gate three, with a lovely run behind the leaders. Put aside after two good performances over the Christmas/New Year period and prepared with this race specifically in mind, he should be hard to beat. Thought the run of Mr Bogart, only his second start, was good and he can improve again and wouldn’t have to by much to be figuring in the finish here. His inside draw is a bit of concern as he’ll need to find clear room at the top of the straight to make his run but with Zac Purton to steer, he should get his chance.
- MR BOGART
- MR CHA CHA
- TIME FOR WAR