Dual Group One winner Sincero is an easing favourite for Saturday’s Epsom Handicap after drawing barrier one, a gate trainer Stephen Farley admits is not ideal.
“Um, it’s better than 16,” was Farley’s initial reaction.
“Look, ideally if I’d picked it myself I would have picked three, four, five or six but we’ll run with it, we can’t change it.
“It’s up to (jockey) Chris (O’Brien) to try to get off the fence and find a bit of room.”
The only other time Sincero has drawn the rails in his 15 starts was in the QTC Cup at Eagle Farm where he started favourite and ran one of the worst races of his career to finish 11th.
However, Farley said the barrier wasn’t the only factor that day and the float trip from his base at Wyong on the NSW central coast to Brisbane two days before the race was also telling.
“I’ve only found out lately from people who travel horses a bit that the horses are usually fine the next day but it’s two days later that it (trip) hits them a bit more,” Farley said.
“I think he might have been a bit flat within himself.
“The horse has probably learned more since then too. That was six months ago and that day was his first go at the top grade.”
TAB Sportsbet eased Sincero from $3.40 to $4.40 after the draw although he has retained favouritism.
Pinker Pinker, one of two runners for Victorian trainer Greg Eurell, firmed from $8 to $7.50 after coming up with gate five.
“If we were going to draw a marble we would have been hoping for between four and eight so to come out with that is fine,” Eurell said.
Craig Williams will have his first ride on Pinker Pinker in the Epsom, while rejuvenated jockey Christian Reith will partner stablemate Red Colossus from barrier 14.
Eurell was upbeat about his wide draw and said he would appreciate galloping room.
“He is drawn a bit wider but he is a big-striding horse so it may just give him the opportunity to get into a bit of rhythm from there,” Eurell said, adding his pair would arrive in Sydney on Thursday.
Gai Waterhouse is not feeling any pressure chasing a record-equalling seventh Epsom and has no concerns about the barriers for her three chances – King Lionheart (9), More Strawberries (13) and Light Brigade (12).
“Barrier draws don’t worry me,” Waterhouse said.
“You can’t change it so I don’t worry about it. When it gets closer to the race it might affect tactics but they’ve got a mile (1600m) to work it out.”
Doncaster winner Sacred Choice drew one from the outside in 17 and is one of seven horses aiming to become the first mare since 1976 to win the Epsom.
“No dramas,” Sacred Choice’s trainer Joe Pride said.
“I’d love some more rain, she’ll need a few favours because she’s got to create a bit of history with the mares’ record in the race. But she’s going really well.”