Stay with fit CARTEL
SUPER-fit CARTEL could complete a hat-trick of wins in this afternoon's War Zone Sprint, an 1100-metre Grade Three event, after completing back-to-back victories on Diamond Mile Day, clocking a decent 1:19.2 at 1300 metres.
CARTEL won convincingly, making rapid headway off the turn to pounce on splits being set by LIGHTNING LILY and A.P.I., 23.0, 45.4 and 1:11.3, similar to the 23.0, 46.0 and 1:11.1, which FORT KNOX set and out-of-class LOOSE CANNON stalked and won two races later.
Formerly trained by Philip Feanny, CARTEL appears every bit a late bloomer, whose turnaround in form coincided with being administered lasix for his fifth start in early August.
After two brilliant six-furlong workouts, late October and early November, 1:13.2 and 1:14.0, respectively, CARTEL won at seven and six-and-a-half furlongs, the Diamond Mile Day victory for his new trainer, Paul Charlton, being a massive 26-1 upset on his non-winners-of-three debut.
Though he has picked up 16lb from his Diamond Day win, CARTEL's connections have decided to keep faith with Jerome Innis, who lost his bug two race days ago and won't be able to claim, now classified as a non-claiming apprentice.
Being one of three runners in the event to have beaten non-winners-of-three, CARTEL shares topweight 57.0 kilos with run-on sprinter MALACHI, giving weight to the likes of AKASH, BALAZO, plus speedy fillies, DON'T BLUSH BABE, TOOT THE BLUES and A.P.I.
Despite topweight, the race could still set up nicely for CARTEL, considering his mid-race pace. CARTEL relished racing just off the lead last time out and showed great acceleration when asked to pick it up, dismissing A.P.I., and LIGHNING LILY.
CARTEL's mid-race speed could leave BALAZO and MALACHI flat-footed, too much ground to make up before the post intervenes.
Expect A.P.I. on the lead and stablemate BALAZO holding. However, A.P.I. could have the likes of ARTHUR'S DREAM, DON'T BLUSH BABE, TOOT THE BLUES and up-in-class K D FLYER for company, which could give CARTEL should get first run on the leaders ahead of BALAZO.
BALAZO barely dipped below his best time at 1300 metres, 1:19.3, behind LOOSE CANNON. CARTEL clocked a solid and controlled 1:19.2, suggesting he is improving and can allow BALAZO three pounds at 1100 metres.