By Ray Hickson
Andrew Adkins has no idea how Royal Celebration and Fierce Impact, his two most fancied rides at Randwick on Saturday, will fare on a wet surface.
But what he does know about the pair is they are highly talented and coming off outstanding first-up performances so he’s prepared to believe they will run to form until they prove otherwise.
Royal Celebration has trialled on a soft 5 but only raced on good tracks and Adkins said he’s a horse with plenty of promise who has to be given the benefit of the doubt going into the Young Members Handicap (1400m).
“He’s not a massive horse so I can’t see why he won’t, he has a good style about him and it’s not like he scrambles along,’’ Adkins said.
“There’s nothing standing out to me saying that he won’t handle it.’’
The three-year-old was narrowly beaten by Gem Song at his first run back from a spell at Rosehill two weeks ago after racing wide throughout, with Punters Intel showing he covered an extra 5.7m compared to the winner.
Adkins said the colt may have been a shade slow out on that occasion but, mindful of how trainer Ron Quinton likes him ridden, he was left a victim of circumstances.
“He’s a colt and Ron is always saying to me don’t let him have the chance to let him get running so I’m always careful not to come out driving him,’’ he said.
“He was three deep with no cover and still able to go head and head with Gem Song to the line. I think he is a serious horse, I really like him.
“I don’t know exactly where he stands but he is obviously a Saturday horse but how far he goes I’m not too sure.’’
Gem Song has since been beaten in a close finish in the Listed Dulcify Quality last weekend.
Royal Celebration was a $3.10 chance with TAB on Thursday while the Matthew Smith-trained import Fierce Impact holds favouritism at $4.80 in the Ercovis Clark Jacobs Mile (1600m).
Royal Celebration's gallant second at Rosehill on September 22
Adkins said the five-year-old’s first-up second behind Tip Top at Rosehill was a “huge run’’ and he’s hoping to not concede as much start out in distance.
But on the wet track, he says there’s no way of knowing until he’s tried on it.
“I don’t ride him in trackwork, he has his own rider, but he doesn’t show any indictation that he won’t though I’m not 100 per cent sure that he will,’’ he said.
“From a wide barrier I had to ride him quietly the other day. I don’t know if I’ll be that far back over a mile, try to have him a bit closer and settle him somewhere.’’
Among his other rides Adkins reunites with Aylmerton in the Group 2 $300,000 Polytrack Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) having won the Todman Stakes on the colt in the autumn.
Now trained by David Hayes and co-trainers Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Aylmerton ran sixth in the McNeil Stakes at Caulfield behind Native Soldier at his only run this campaign.