By Ray Hickson
An improving Warwick Farm track would boost the confidence of trainer Mark Newnham in the chances of unraced filly Invictus Salute on Wednesday.
The two-year-old has trialled twice on heavy ground, and impressed Newnham, but he says he’d be a lot more content if the Sledmere Stud Plate (1100m) is run on a track closer to good.
Warwick Farm was rated a Soft 6 on Monday and with fine weather forecast he’s likely to get his wish.
“The 1100m first-up is probably enough for her at this stage on soft ground,’’ Newnham said.
“For her first start in a race I’d prefer good ground.
“I think she will handle soft, I just think fitness wise it’s nicer to have good ground for your first-up run when she’s coming up against fillies that are into their preparation and have had experience.’’
Invictus Salute is an Exceed And Excel half-sister to stakes placed filly Acqume and Newnham said he’s taken time getting her to the track because she simply wasn’t ready earlier in the season.
Invictus Salute wins her trial at Randwick on March 15
He’s also pleased to see her perform strongly in her two trials because it’s in contrast to her trackwork.
“She’s had a couple of preps and was a bit immature to start off any earlier than this,’’ he said.
“She’s always shown above average ability, her trials have been good and It’s time to go to the races now.
“She’s probably trialled above what she shows on the track which is generally a good indication.
“Once you put them in competition they lift. She is quick, has shown natural pace without being asked to do it so I’d say she’ll settle in the first three and take it from there.’’
While Newnham concedes his powers don’t extend to controlling the weather he’d love to see a dry track for Day 1 of The Championships after watching Lanciato trial at Randwick on Monday.
The in-form gelding, last start winner of the Newcastle Newmarket, ran second to Redzel in a 1000m trial on the Kensington track.
“I was very happy with that. It’s always been part of his preparation to have that trial leading in with four weeks between runs,’’ he said.
“I only asked Rachel (King) to put him to sleep early and let him work home his last 400m and he did that and did it well.
“I can only prepare him the best I can and at the moment he’s as well as I can have him and the weather I can’t do much about.’’
Lanciato has 50kg in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) and is a $26 chance with TAB.
Meanwhile, Newnham will start Burning Passion in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday while the filly Greysful Glamour is likely to miss The Schweppervescence in favour of the Fernhill next week.