By Ray Hickson
Trainer Edward O’Rourke will leave Randwick a very disappointed man if classy filly Frolic doesn’t return to form in the Group 3 $200,000 The Man Shake PJ Bell Stakes (1200m).
Last year’s Golden Slipper runner-up has had two starts for O’Rourke for an eye-catching fourth in the Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) then a failure in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) where she beat one home.
O’Rourke said he’s gone back to the drawing board with Frolic, $12 with TAB in the PJ Bell, and with a favourable barrier his expectations are on the high side.
“If she puts in anything like her first-up run I think she will go very close. I think you’ll see a big run from her,’’ he said.
“We’ll make plenty of use of the barrier, you don’t want to get too far back. I’d be disappointed if she doesn’t do something this time.’’
Frolic ran the fastest last 600m, according to Punters Intel, of 35 seconds in the Light Fingers as she made a long run from the back but she wasn’t the same horse in the Surround.
Watch Frolic run through the line late in her trial at Randwick on March 26
O’Rourke had concerns she might be a bit flat second-up and while she was also on the worst ground that day he’s concluded she’s not a genuine 1400m horse.
“She pulled up a bit tired and flat and we decided to freshen her and aim for here,’’ he said.
“She’s had two cracks at 1400m so we’ll just go back and aim her at a sprinting campaign. If she goes well we might back up into the Arrowfield.’’
Since her Surround flop, Frolic has trialled and while she finished last behind Ghisoni in the 730m gallop on March 26 she was spotted charging through the line.
“That’s all we wanted to do, finish off strong to give her confidence and get her back on track,’’ O’Rourke said.
“Her work was very good on Monday morning, she is well in herself and has filled out.’’
The rookie trainer is more hopeful than confident that lightly raced colt Ringerdingding can take out the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m) but he’s not ruling out a minor surprise.
Ringerdingding backs up after having a torrid run when sixth, beaten 2.3 lengths, in the Schweppervescence (1400m) at Rosehill last Saturday, where Punters Intel showed he covered an extra 12.7m, and O’Rourke is hoping for a bit more luck in running.
“We were drawn 14 and 15 his two previous starts so hopefully Ben Melham can get some cover a bit closer to the speed,’’ he said.
“We did it tough the other day, five and six wide and he had to circle the field but he seems to have pulled up well.
“I think we’ll be up against it with the top three or four but I don’t think we’ll be too far away after them. I’d be delighted if we can run a place.’’
Ringerdingding is a $26 chance with TAB in the Sires’ and one thing O’Rourke is certain of is the colt has plenty of upside.
“He’s a horse with plenty of ability and a nice future and I think he will be a better three-year-old,’’ he said.