Kingsguard has helped lift Sydney’s premiership-leading jockey from an autumn carnival slump and now Brenton Avdulla is planning on more success with the gelding.
The five-year-old secured a double for Avdulla at last month’s stand-alone meeting by complementing stablemate Glenall’s win in the Listed Hawkesbury Gold Rush with victory in the Group Three Hawkesbury Cup.
The Hawkes Racing-trained Kingsguard now takes on 1600m again in Friday’s Listed Scone Cup and Avdulla is confident of a strong showing providing he can negotiate an awkward gate.
Kingsguard, who was on the third line of betting with the TAB on Thursday at $7.50, jumps from barrier 12 in the capacity field of 16.
“That makes it a little bit tricker but he can put himself on speed,” Avdulla said.
“If we can get nice and comfortable and he takes confidence from the other the day I’m sure he’ll run well.”
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained mare Sedanzer led the market at $4.40 from Godolphin’s Duca Valentinois, last year’s Scone Cup winner who was at $5.50.
Avdulla hopes Glenall can also go back-to-back in Saturday’s Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) although Joe Pride’s decision to run Terravista in this race rather than the Group One Doomben 10,000 complicates matters for the $3.60 favourite.
“If you take Terravista out it’s basically the same horses that he beat the other day,” Avdulla said.
“Terravista’s obviously a class horse and he’s probably the one to beat.”
Avdulla had a 12-win advantage over Tye Angland and Blake Shinn in the Sydney Premiership race after Warwick Farm on Wednesday after enduring a lean spell following the Golden Slipper triumph on Estijaab but was taking nothing for granted.
“It’s something I haven’t tried to sit down and concentrate on,” he said.
“It’s more about staying consistent and looking after my health.”
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings is confident topweight Duca Valentinois can defend the Cup to finish a five-race preparation on a high.
“He’s had a really really solid grounding to peak for his grand final and if he can handle the weight penalty he can be very competitive,” he said.