Orange trainer Alison Smith is taking no chances in a bid for a Hawkesbury breakthrough tomorrow with a mare who is an “absolute ripper”.
Smith has had seven starters at the track for only one minor placing and is hoping her four-year-old mare Absolute Ripper can change that in the Goodfellow Sports Class 2 Handicap (1000m).
She is already off to a good start having drawn the rails.
A winner of two of her six starts to date, Absolute Ripper was narrowly beaten by Isla Tristana in a TAB Highway Class 2 Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on 3 December.
However, a planned return visit to Sydney a fortnight later for another TAB Highway on Villiers Stakes day at Royal Randwick didn’t eventuate when Absolute Ripper was injured on the float.
“She was okay the first time going to Sydney because I think she thought she was going for a spell,” Smith said.
“It was a different story the second time and we had to abort the trip.”
Smith is bringing a travelling companion with the mare on a three-horse float (rather than a two-horse) and is confident there will be no problems.
“I’ve already given her a trial run with the mate in the float and she was fine,” she said.
“She worked well at Orange this morning and I’m expecting her to run well.”
Smith’s husband Nathan named the mare after listening to a radio a call of a rugby league match by legendary broadcaster Ray Warren.
“Ray mentioned the words “absolute ripper” in his description and Nathan thought it would be a good name for a horse,” she explained.
The Smiths bred Absolute Ripper by mating a mare they owned, Matilby’s Magic, with the former Western Australian stallion Mosayter who has produced 12-times WA winner (including a Group 1 Railway Stakes) Mr Moet.
“We have had to be patient with Absolute Ripper because she was so big and strong as a two-year-old that she kept going sore,” Smith said.
“The ability has always been there, and hopefully her best is still ahead of her.”
It is worth noting that Absolute Ripper ran second on debut to Sydney mare Your Way in a 1007m Maiden Plate on her home track last April.
Your Way has been beaten only once in six starts and recently won at Canterbury.
Tony Cavallo, who rode the mare in her first-up five lengths’ romp in a Benchmark 55 Handicap (1000m) at Orange on 18 November and also in her narrow Rosehill defeat early last month is again in the saddle.
“Tony has been very loyal to our stable and we are sticking with him,” Smith said.
America surely has to be the omen tip at Hawkesbury but the question is can the high-priced colt trump his rivals in the Eather Group Metropolitan & Provincial Maiden Plate (1500m)?
A $1.8m purchase at the 2015 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sales, the Snitzel three-year-old out of Alinghi has raced only once.
Trainer Gerald Ryan rested him after his fifth to Cry For Peace in a Hawkesbury Maiden Plate (1300m) on soft ground last July.
He has had two recent trials and it is significant that his trainer is kicking him off at 1500m.
Josh Parr, who rode stablemate Chauffeur when narrowly beaten in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast on January 14, has the mount on America.
“I ride a lot for Gerald but this will be the first time I have been on this horse’s back,” Parr said.
Coolmore shares in the international ownership of America and also another blueblood Storm Force (Tommy Berry) who resumes in the Lucy Heyes Memorial Maiden Plate (1100m).
Storm Force has been placed at both starts to date and hasn’t raced since finishing third to the talented Glenall over 1100m at Canterbury in late August.
Team Hawkes has advised Racing NSW stewards that the Fastnet Rock colt has since undergone a respiratory operation and has trialled successfully twice in preparation for his return.
Storm Force easily won a 900m Rosehill trial on 17 January.
The rail is in the true position for tomorrow’s meeting and the track this morning was rated a Good 4 with a penetrometer reading of 4.92.
Hawkesbury has received 8mm of rain in the last seven days and 40mm of irrigation has been put on the track in the same period including 5mm in the last 24 hours.
Paul Joice’s selections are: RACE 1: RECIFE BEACH, Arigold, No Pushover. RACE 2: STORM FORCE, Gloriette, Undaoaf. RACE 3: ABSOLUTE RIPPER, Admit, Tickling. RACE 4: LATTIMER, Jaxim, Four More Millers. RACE 5: SHE’S DEMANDING, America, Lily’s Little Girl. RACE 6: ALL IN RHYTHM, Oxford Magic, Shazee Lee. RACE 7: CONCESSIONS, Crimson Halo, Humility. SPECIALS: CONCESSIONS, STORM FORCE, SHE’S DEMANDING.