David Pfieffer has bowed to the wishes of connections by pitting Jemadar against the Winx when he races in Group company for the first time.
Although the Warwick Farm-based trainer did not recommend entering the gelding in the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday, Pfieffer acknowledged the method in the ownership group’s madness.
“The way they see it is he’s probably going get a soft lead in a real good race, and they can’t lose because the prize money for last is more than the acceptance fee,” he said.
“It’s not a strategy I’d really go for but I completely understand where the owners are at. Everyone wants to enjoy their hobby don’t they?”
A $32,000 purchase as a tried horse at the Magic Millions sale last June, the former Godolphin four-year-old has 20 part-owners.
“Their attitude is ‘we’re in this to have a bit of fun, we’ve won some money so let’s enjoy a good day’s racing against the best horse in the world’,” Pfieffer said.
Jemadar won his past two starts at Canterbury to lift his prize money to $137,000. He will earn at least $6000 from the Chipping Norton, $1500 more than the entrance fee.
Jemadar opened an $81 chance on Wednesday to shock the equine world by ending Winx’s 22-race winning streak, shorter odds than the resuming Who Shot Thebarman ($201) and Lasqueti Spirit ($101).
Pfieffer targeted that duo and Libran, another runner making his comeback when weighing up Jemadar’s chances.
“They’ll get hot when they get to 2400 so hopefully we can catch a couple of them off guard,” he said.
“It’ll be a win for the owners to run fifth. You can walk away and go ‘right we’ve got beat 10 lengths by the best horse in the world but we’ve been in a Group One race and we’ve had fun’.”
The 15 nominations for the first Group One of the Sydney autumn filtered down to eight runners willing to take on Winx in her return to racing as the $1.06 favourite.
Her closest challenger on the TAB market is the Kris Lees-trained Prized Icon at $13.