By Tony Megahey
Clint Lundholm, in the zone with a winning double at Wellington on Tuesday, has Royal Randwick TAB Highway winner Larlabrook primed after issues, for a return to headquarters.
The confidence of champion regional rider Greg Ryan in Larlabrook’s talent was vindicated last September with a brilliant front-running ride on the big stage, and they combine again at value odds in a TAB $60,000 Class 3 (1000m) flyer on Saturday.
An impressive barrier trial at Dubbo last week convinced Clint and Ryan that Larlabrook has recovered from breathing issues and is up to a particularly strong episode.
Danny Williams's She Knows, beaten in a photo in the Listed Denise’s Joy at Scone two weeks ago, has the huge impost of 62.5kg, and Brett Cavanough’s impressive dual winner Falerina head early betting markets.
But any time Ryan, with over 3600 winners on his resume is prepared to forego a full book of regional rides for a rare trip to town and likely one ride, is a strong push.
“We had some laser done when this gelding had wind issues last prep,” Clint explained.
“That’s always a worry how they come back, but Greg was convinced he was right back to his best. That’s good enough for me and he trialled unextended. There’s no better judge of how a horse is going and where they can win than Greg, and he’s happy to make the trip.
“But it wasn’t just a one-off decision off that trial. We always planned to come back to town for another eligible Highway because he’d raced so well at Randwick fresh last prep.
“He’s a short course specialist - we’ll let him slide from the good draw. But we’ve run into a really hot race.
“She Knows accepting with that 62.5 kilos does surprise me. But Danny Williams is a top horseman; he’s trained a lot more winners than me. A mare with Listed form is by far the class runner in the race.”
Significantly though, when Larlabrook led to win that September Highway at headquarters, he carried 57kg and beat She Knows with 53kg in a photo, when Ryan thought he’d been beaten.
But She Knows has since proved one of the most spectacular improvers in training. She was a touch unlucky in the Listed event after running a super race again in a Listed event at Flemington won by Godolphin’s classy Demerara.
She Knows then spaced a Hawkesbury Highway field, underdone with 59kg, and took the form to Scone where she was narrowly beaten by the exciting In Good Time.
Cavanough’s Falerina with 55kg started odds-on to win impressively in fast time at Muswellbrook and Scone in February and like Larlabrook, is certain to be primed first-up.