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Apprentice Anthony Allen was his own harshest critic after Mishani Warrior’s luckless defeat last start but trainer Les Ross wasn’t among his detractors.

Allen admitted it wasn’t one of his better rides when Mishani Warrior finished a close, and unlucky, third to Billy Aucash after being blocked for a run in the straight at Doomben last Saturday.

Ross, however, defended Allen and has kept faith by retaining him for the ride on Mishani Warrior in Saturday’s Thoroughbred Breeders Handicap (1300m) at Eagle Farm.

“A lot of people ask why put Anthony on but he’s had six rides on the horse for four wins and two thirds and if he gets the run last week at Doomben he’s a genius,” Ross said.

“He was unlucky and you’ve just got to cop it.”

Ross admits Mishani Warrior faces a significant class rise at Eagle Farm.

“This is the deep end for him but he’ll race well and I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run a nice race,” he said.

“He came through last week’s run in good shape. I wouldn’t be running him if he didn’t.”

Ross is two-handed in the Banchory Thoroughbreds Handicap (1000m) and is leaning to Mishani Gladiator ahead of stablemate Friendly Dragon.

“Friendly Dragon was held up a little bit last start and didn’t have a lot of luck but Mishani Gladiator has drawn inside him and looks the one to beat,” he said.

Mishani Gladiator was nominated for this year’s Golden Slipper after an impressive win at Doomben last December when he defeated Greytfilly, now trained by Gai Waterhouse, and Real Surreal who won the Magic Millions Classic two starts later.

“He got a bit of a bug after that and was never quite right so we put him out and he won first-up the Sunshine Coast last month,” Ross said.

“It was a pretty ordinary race but he did enough to swear by after leading which isn’t really his go.”

Ross says Mishani Gladiator is likely to race off the speed with cover on Saturday and expects him to finish the race off strongly.

He has scratched Shazzle Pazzle from the Eureka Stud Handicap (1000m) after the mare drew one from the outside in barrier 12.

 
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