Lismore, Hawkesbury preview: Princes jostle for Cup glory
Warren Gavenlock is plotting a big turnaround with Ambitious Prince as he takes on Tavion Prince again in the Lismore Cup (2110m) on Thursday.
Tavion Prince beat Ambitious Prince home in the Tuncurry Cup last start by more than eight lengths. He ran second in the Lismore Cup last year and is ready to peak in different conditions as he gets back on top of the ground.
"Hopefully we can stick the neck out and go one better this year," Gavenlock said.
"It's been his target all along and he's done everything right to date. His last three of four runs have been really good.
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"We probably ran into unsuitably run race last start and the winner was too good on the day."
Ambitious Prince will jump from barrier nine with new jockey Stephen Trarcey on board and his ride will be key on the speed horse.
"He's riding in great form and he's a good judge of pace so he should be able to get us across somewhere on be near the speed," Gavenlock said.
"I think he's going as well as he was last year. He's working and eating well and his behaviour has been reasonable so we're raring to go. It looks like we'll get a good track and he likes being on top of the ground. He'll just need a cart across from the gate."
Serene Beauty could start in the opening race on the card if she's not sent to Rosehill for a race on Saturday. "I think it's a winnable race if she goes around, especially now that the 2kg is coming off and Emily (Atkinson) rides well," Gavenlock said.
Writeoff and Just Cosmos will both run as emergencies thanks to a few scratchings and both won last start.
"It was a great win last start and Writeoff's got a terrific barrier," Gavenlock said.
"If she can just get out of the gates and take up a position and get some luck in the straight she'll be hard to toss.
"I would've ran her in the Highway race on Saturday but she's ineligible because she's only had two starts for me after coming out of a city stable."
Just Cosmos lines up in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1310m) and Atkinson's claim gets the Dissident four-year-old into the race with just 53kg on her back. She's won at the track and distance last start and should be able to give a sight from on the speed.
"She's had two goes on the track for a second and a win and she's down in the weights," Gavenlock said. "I think she can hang on and lead and be right at the pointy end again."
Money Travels is Gavenlock's other runner going around today, in a Maiden Plate (1210m), after running eighth last start at Kempsey.
He's yet to win from 21 starts and has placed on seven occasions including five seconds.
The pacifiers have been applied for the first time.
"He's been a mystery. We call him the bandit. He should have won a maiden by now," Gavenlock said. "We've changed a bit of gear on him so we hope he can run well."
He doesn't win often but Military Academy will understandably have supporters at Hawkesbury for local trainer Garry White.
The Snitzel six-year-old shoots for win three at start 25 and all his good runs have come at his home track ahead of an Open Handicap (1300m). He has run second in two of his past three runs with a fourth placing in town in between so he's going along well.
"He hasn't gone backwards and I think this looks like his race," White said.
"He overdid it a bit when there was a lack of pace on in that 1400m race last time and the other thing is the horse that beat him (Get The Idea) might be pretty good.
"It's easily up to Saturday class. There only looks like two other chances (Zell and Asudem) and he's nice and fit and looks great."
Brown Thomas is horse White's always thought was above average and he's second-up in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1800m) after a top fresh run over 1400m.
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"He's got upside to him," White said. "I thought his first-up run, which was probably in a stronger race than this, was terrific. He's won a couple on the track."
In the same race Timely Shadow is an unlikely starter with White keen to take her to Bathurst this weekend for a kill. War Cabinet is White's other runner racing today, in the sixth event, and he's a five-year-old by Camelot who is fresh and might need the run.
"He's a nice horse and I know he's the best horse in the race," White said. "The negatives are that he's a five-year-old, is still a bull, he hasn't raced for 10 months and he has a bad barrier.
"He's done enough to be competitive. He's had a couple of jump outs as well as that trial and I want to get him going. I think he'll run a bit of a trip soon."
Originally published as Lismore, Hawkesbury preview: Princes jostle for Cup glory