Australian Bloodstock Director Jamie Lovett is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming month of the Spring Racing Carnival, starting this Saturday at Randwick.
The Syndication has four acceptors for the Group l Metropolitan (2400m), with three in the final field and an emergency. Their leading contender on current form is Mugatoo, who is favourite, but Lovett has reservations.
“I think he’s really not well weighted on Saturday,” The leading owner told Justhorseracing.
“We think he’s a really good horse, and he’ll need to be to win with that weight, so I’m confident, but wary of the task ahead.
“Personally, I think his current price ($3.70) is unders.”
A win for Mugatoo could earn the gelding a trip to Melbourne to tackle some big races and potentially run down a similar path to a former champion.
“It will all depend on what he does on Saturday.”
The Syndicate will also have other runners in the Metropolitan, and while they are near the top of the weights, Lovett believes that they are down the pecking order by some distance behind Mugatoo.
“This is D-Day for Mustajeer in terms of being a Cups horse.
“Raheen House was going super prior to Wyong where he pulled up with a sore back. He didn’t handle the tight track and Nash said he didn’t feel 100% when he asked for an effort on the tight turns.
“He’d love some cut in the ground so if the track is firm, we’ll likely wait until the St Leger on Everest Day.
“I would have loved Attention Run to get start. That soft draw is perfect for her and she could easily run top five with the lightweight.”
A very interesting runner for Lovett is Danceteria, who resumes in the Hill Stakes (2000m), with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
“He had a few niggling issues in the Autumn, The owner said.
“But he’s come back super, we’ve given him a good break and has nice pieces of work on the course proper at Newcastle to get ready.
“He’ll improve off the run, but just want to see him produce something positive.”
Speaking of Everest Day, Australian Bloodstock will have two representatives in the $1.3 Million Kosciuszko (1200m) in the shape of Ligulate and Anethole, both of which are pleasing connections.
“Ligulate worked between races at Tamworth yesterday and went super,” Lovett said.
“He’s right on track for Everest Day.
“Anethole was wound up for a first up win and saluted and got a slot, but we think he’s a good fresh horse, so he’s had the tick over trial and might have one more soft trial before the race.”
Of the 29 horses in quarantine overseas, Australian Bloodstock has four runners, the key one being Ashrun, trained by Andreas Wohler, who trained Protectionist to win the 2014 Melbourne Cup for the Syndicate and are hoping history can repeat.
“I’m thrilled with Ashrun and Andreas is too,” Lovett told Justhorseracing.
“His run in the Kergorlay was super and the form of the horses in that race was quite strong.
“I’d say he’s unlikely to get a run in the Caulfield Cup so he’ll go to the Geelong, along with Almania.”
The back story in acquiring Ashrun as a Melbourne Cup horse goes back over 12 months and beating another prominent Cups owner to the punch.
“We’ve been trying for about a year to get him,” Lovett said.
“The owner was a small time owner who doesn’t own many horses, and at the start, it was hard to sell the idea that he could be a Melbourne Cup horse given his form at the time was just fair.
“But with time he’s got better and better, likewise with his form, and we got wind that Lloyd Williams was keen to buy him, so we went hard and eventually got a 75% share in the horse.
“It’s a good story because most of the guys in the horse are the same owners that were in Protectionist.”
German horse, progressive, trained by Andreas Wohler…is that where the comparison with Protectionist stops?
“I wouldn’t say he’s got the ability of Protectionist,” Lovett said.
“Protectionist had more runs on the board and did win the Kergorlay whereas Ashrun ran second.
“But, Ashrun has a similar profile to Protectionist in terms of progression and I think he’ll be a big shout in the Melbourne Cup.”
The Syndicate, along with Ashrun and Almania, have Collide and Tinandali in quarantine.
“Collide just found the testing track in the Kergorlay not to his liking.
“He’ll need to win a decent race to get into the Melbourne Cup so he’ll head to the Lexus to qualify.
“Tinandali will be trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. We have the Crystal Mile on Cox Plate Day in mind for his first run.
“He reminds me of Sixties Groove so I think we’ll have some fun with him.
Lovett is one of the best in the business when it comes to the international form and believes the 2020 batch are potentially very strong.
“Anthony Van Dyck looks the Caulfield Cup horse.
“I wouldn’t be concerned with the weight because we’ve seen in recent years that it doesn’t stop good horses, but I do think 3200m is a query with him.
“Tiger Moth looks progressive, but he beat nothing last start and got the 2.5kg penalty to ensure his spot in the Melbourne Cup.
“The form around him says he hasn’t done a great deal overall, but he’s that Northern Hemisphere 3YO type and could really be a freak. Just don’t know where his limit is.”