Phineas for holiday feature
PHINEAS could easily use his back class to land today's 1300-metre Ash Wednesday Trophy should he reproduce his exercise workouts. However, punters should approach this race with caution as the dark bay gelding is now nine years old and might need a race or two to get his bones going.
Though recent form is not in PHINEAS' favour, having finished down the track in his last three starts, the latest being December, the dark bay gelding's back class is undeniable.
Reprogrammed by trainer Andrew McDonald off a near two-month lay-up, PHINEAS has been moving like a youngster at exercise, clocking 1:01.0 for a five-furlong spin on the round course last Thursday morning. The previous Saturday, he galloped three furlongs in 35.1.
Working as good as any and with Aaron Chatrie retained to ride, a fit PHINEAS can certainly put away this bunch if he reports anywhere close to the form he showed in last August's Seek Exercise Book Trophy, a Grade Two race, in which he finished third, beaten by CHACE THE GREAT and CHOO CHOO BLUE.
After that run, PHINEAS failed to fire in three races, exhibiting signs of unsoundness. However, his two speed gallops for the Ash Wednesday Trophy were both bullet works, indicating he is sound and ready to take on his younger rivals.
A strong middle-distance closer, PHINEAS placed second to BUZZ NIGHTMARE, as a seven-year-old, in the 2016 Gold Cup, 11 days after he was caught at the wire, carrying 57.0 kilos, by then four-year-old HOUDINI'S MAGIC, going 1500 metres.
Should PHINEAS fail to fire, one of the line races for today's event has got to be last November's Caribbean Sprint in which RAS EMANUEL, PROLIFIC PRINCESS and ANOTHER BULLET finished within two and a half lengths of each other behind CHACE THE GREAT.
On a line through the 1200-metre Caribbean Sprint, all three returned to run big races. After being unplaced in the Diamond Mile, ANOTHER BULLET returned December 16 with 55.5 kilos and placed third at 1200 metres, in open allowance, behind MONEY MAGNET, finishing heads-on with second-place ORPHEUS, who carried an equal 55.5.
ORPHEUS came out of that race and ventured down in class, carrying topweight 57.0 kilos, and outclassed although PROLIFIC PRINCESS held her own to finish a respectable second, beaten by two lengths.
The other line horse, RAS EMANUEL, finished fifth in the Caribbean Sprint, three and a half lengths behind CHACE THE GREAT, breaking from postposition one. He returned a week and a half ago with 57.0 kilos in overnight allowance and was beaten in a three-way photo by UNCLE TAF after running down to the inner rail at 1000 metres straight.
Considering she is getting loads of weight from her fellow line horses, PROLIFIC PRINCESS gets the nod over them but could be fodder for a fit PHINEAS, who is only five pounds lighter than her with a strong stretch jockey aboard.