By Ray Hickson
Thinkin’ Big’s future as a Derby prospect in the new season certainly doesn’t hinge on his performance at Randwick on Saturday but it could serve as an indication of his quality.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott said the youngster will be vulnerable in the #theraces Handicap (1200m) but is banking on the touch of class he showed in his debut win to offset only a small increase in distance.
“He was able to get away with it first-up, his class got him through,’’ Bott said.
“This will be a harder task, probably because that little bit of sharpness would’ve been taken out of him.
“But we remain on a heavy track which is probably to his advantage and stepping out onto a bigger track is more to his liking.’’
The two-year-old, a full brother to dual stakes winning middle distance galloper Stampede, was able to win first-up at 1100m at Canterbury on June 20.
Immediately after the win Bott described the colt as potentially a Derby horse for the stable.
Thinkin' Big debuts with a solid win at Canterbury on June 20
“That’s something we will assess after Saturday,’’ he said.
“The reason he’s taking his place is we want to get him that race experience, get the runs on the board before we contemplate those types of races.
“I feel he’s improved since that win, while we still aren’t seeing him under the best circumstances going forward there are positives for him and hopefully class can take him a long way.’’
He’s a $5 chance with TAB for Saturday’s race and in the short term Bott said it’s unlikely a Golden Rose will be on the agenda.
Despite going under as favourite at Wyong last start, three-year-old Wide Spread Panic is the early elect at $3 in the Half Yearly Membership Mile (1600m) on Saturday and Bott is expecting her to bounce back.
The filly drops 8.5kg on her half a length defeat in a 1350m race that Bott said was needed to keep her ticking over for the step up in distance this weekend.
“She probably didn’t get things runs to suit her and she had the big weight to contend with,’’ he said.
“It was a really good effort, it wasn’t the ideal race. A win would’ve been great but we have been looking to stretch her out to this sort of trip.
“She gets good weight relief and it probably hasn’t come up the strongest of fields so it’s a good chance for her to pick up a race of this quality.’’
Punters Intel data showed Wide Spread Panic ran the fastest split between the 400m and 200m (11.57) but couldn’t quite sustain it in the sprint home as she was dropping in distance.
“The lighter weight, and more importantly the tempo of a mile, will be more to her liking,’’ he said.
Adrian Bott on the stable’s other runners:
Diamond Star Halo (race 5, $16): “She’s yet to win but she has some form around some of the favoured runners in the race.
“I thought there was a lot of merit to her run last week and while she is going in a maiden I don’t think she is outclassed by any means. We know she can stay and she gets through the conditions.’’
Dark Eyes (race 7, $11): “I thought it was a great effort last start, I think the horse is back to some of his best form. He gets through the going and I think he is improving through his preparation.’’
Update on Frankel filly Woman: “She’s having a quick let up but she came back looking fantastic. I’m looking forward to getting her back to the track.
“She’s not the type of filly we want to rush, we’ll give her a nice steady campaign and let her take each step as it comes. No doubt we will be rewarded on the long run, she’s certainly quality.’’
Update on Everest runner English: “She did well in the turnaround from Queensland. We haven’t fully decided on exactly what each step to The Everest will look like.
“We have a good idea of how we want to get to the race but will finalise that over the next couple of weeks.’’