By Ray Hickson
Jockey Brenton Avdulla has warned against emphasising unbeaten colt Doubtland’s lead-up barrier trial as a guide to his chances in Saturday’s crackerjack Group 3 $160,000 TAB San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
There were no winkers on Doubtland in the 900m trial where he looked under some pressure and was ridden along by Jay Ford before closing off into third behind Peltzer, who he’ll face again this weekend.
Avdulla's review of the trial was far from negative but he said the three-year-old’s race day form speaks for itself and is confident the Hawkes stable will have Doubtland where they want heading into his biggest test.
“He’s a genuine racehorse, his trials are okay but he performs better on race day,’’ Avdulla said.
“I thought his trial was nice enough the other day in the Peltzer trial and I’m sure 1100m on his home track will suit.
“Team Hawkes hold him in high regard and I’m sure he will run well.”
The Hawkes partnership has produced three of the last six winners of the San Domenico via Exceedance (2019), Star Turn (2016) and Nostradamus (2014).
Doubtland created a huge impression when he won on debut at Kensington back in March then went a month between runs before his dominant display in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes.
Both of those wins came on rain affected ground against moderate opposition but the style of the wins established the son of Not A Single Doubt as a real find and a horse Avdulla was keen to see develop in the spring.
In winning the Kindergarten, Doubtland clocked the fastest last 600m of Day 1 of The Championships running 34.67 (Punter’s Intelligence).
“He won his maiden in great style and he took the next step, he’s a well bred colt with a lot of promise and he has to take another step on Saturday on to a good surface,’’ he said.
“He handles (wet) ground well so it will be interesting to see what he can back on top of the ground.
“There’s a bit of talent there, a horse that’s run well in Group 1s in Mamaragan, Anders is up and going, Peltzer is first-up but is unbeaten.
“It’s a real talented bunch and they are coming from different form lines and they all match up here. It’ll be interesting.”
The TAB market sees the San Domenico as a four horse race with Rosebud winner Anders $3.10 favourite (as at Thursday) ahead of Peltzer ($3.90) then Doubtland ($4) and Mamaragan ($4.20) while the latter trio share the $11 line in Golden Rose betting.
Doubtland runs second in a trial at Rosehill on August 18
Avdulla is expecting a good track to bring out a much improved performance from Kumasi in the Group 3 $160,000 De Bortoli Wines Ming Dynasty (1400m) but says the colt will need to be on his best behaviour.
Kumasi ran fourth, beaten eight lengths, first-up behind Anders in the Rosebud three weeks ago.
“He missed the kick and did a bit of work to hold the back of them,’’ Avdulla said.
“I still thought he could win the race on the turn but when I let his head go he struggled in the ground. I gave him the benefit of the doubt out of that.
“I do think 1400m will suit him even though 1100m to 1400m is not the ideal set up.
“He’s found a race he can roll forward in if he steps cleanly, if he can do things right I’m sure he can bounce back.”