By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham hopes there isn’t a youngster of the calibre of She Will Reign in Saturday’s $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Royal Randwick.
A year ago Newnham debuted Diamond Tathagata in the restricted event and beat all bar the subsequent Slipper winner but has three bullets to shoot this time around.
Newnham wouldn’t be surprised if any one of his two-year-old trio featured in the finish but seems to have a soft spot for the colt with a very Simpsons name in Canyonero.
(For those not familiar with Simpsons trivia, the Canyonero was a car promoted by Krusty The Clown and both Homer and Marge drove one at various points).
“I think he is a really nice horse, he did everything right in his trial and he looks pretty foolproof,’’ Newnham said.
“I'd love to have had time to have a lead up run or second trial. He went shinsore early in the season so we had to give him a break and come back with this race in mind.’’
Canyonero's close second in his Randwick trial - November 28
Canyonero was a $130,000 Inglis purchase and as Newnham alluded to he’s only had the one public trial for a close second to Ljungberg on November 28. The winner has since won another trial.
The Pierro colt is a $13 chance with TAB Fixed Odds but you get the sense from Newnham he’s a better chance than that.
“What he lacks in experience he might make up for in ability,’’ he said.
“You don't get a chance to run for that sort of money very often, we could go around in a trial for nothing or we can chance our arm.’’
Like Canyonero, Newnham would have liked a second official trial with Choisir filly Pleated Miss ($26) but said she has had a jump out since her fourth at the end of November.
“She trialled well after missing the start badly,’’ he said.
“We've had her back to the barriers since then and she's in a similar boat, she has talent but she's going in off one trial.’’
The third Newnham charge is The Enzo ($18) and he’s had race experience from a midfield finish in the Victory Vein Stakes back on Everest Day in October.
A gear change has been made since his subsequent barrier trial on December 5.
“He finished on okay up the inside (on debut) and we gave him a couple of weeks out with this race in mind,’’ Newnham said.
“He trialled well the other day but lacked a bit of concentration so since that trial I put blinkers on.’’
Diamond Tathagata is back in work for the autumn and Newnham said he has no choice but to forget his spring prep and start again.
Meanwhile, Newnham is expecting honest mare Anatola to have her best chance of breaking through this prep in the Catanach’s Handicap (1200m).
The ex-Victorian had had two runs for her new trainer, for a second and a fourth, and hasn’t had the best of luck from tricky gates but Newnham said hopefully she won’t have to work as hard this time around.
Punters Intel data from her first-up run showed she covered the most ground in the 1100m race behind Slow Burn and still ran 33.96 last 600m.
“She had a tough run first-up so she might have just felt that and she pulled up with mild heat stress the other day,’’ he said.
“She has trained on really well, she's in the right race and the drop in weight might help her. Third-up fully fit, I'd expect it to be her best run.’’