By Ray Hickson
In an ideal world, trainer Jason Coyle would love to see Kawaikini land a bit closer at Randwick on Saturday than punters are used to seeing her.
The mare tends to settle back in her races, at times due to tardy starts, and that can be the difference between winning and finishing an eye-catching second or third.
Coyle’s not saying he wants Jess Taylor to park Kawaikini in the box seat in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m) but he’d prefer not to be conceding as much start as she did in her last start third behind Sugar Bella on December 30.
“I’d like to hold a spot a touch closer without getting out of her comfort zone,’’ Coyle said.
“If she can, instead of having to go back to last, and if we can get that even tempo maybe we can sit that pair closer and get out at the right time.’’
Punters Intel data from Kawaikini’s third behind Sugar Bella showed her last 600m (33.39) was second only to the winner.
Kawaikini runs on late into third behind Sugar Bella at Randwick - December 30
The mare hasn’t won at Randwick in five starts, though she’s rarely far away, and Coyle is confident with the right conditions she can break through for a Saturday win.
“In all her runs all the form has stood up quite well. If she can get some clean air when they balance up she will be attacking the line,’’ he said.
“I think her sectionals will be strong enough to knock off a Saturday race.
“She’s only had to do one piece of work so hopefully that’s freshened her up enough to sprint well from the nice gate.’’
The Warwick Farm trainer is anticipating a very good performance from Speed Hero in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1800m) who was only beaten 1.7 lengths by stablemate Takewing at Randwick on New Year’s Day.
He’s been placed in both starts at the 1800m and Coyle believes he’s a lot better chance than the $23 with TAB on Thursday.
“I think he is working his way towards a win,’’ he said.
“His most disappointing run was in the slow tempo at Canterbury (two starts ago) where he wasn’t able to run the sectionals home.
“I thought last start he was very good. There looks to be a bit of speed and he should get a nice run and if he can relax over 1800m he should be strong late.’’
Nowra Cup winner Vain Elaine has her third run back in the ATC Owners Benefit Card Handicap (1400m) and Coyle said she may be one run away from a win.
Vain Elaine drops in trip from her second-up fifth at Canterbury where she finished 2-1/4 lengths from Jaunty over 1550m.
“We’ve opted for three weeks between runs and blinkers back on,’’ he said.
“She’s a grade above where I want her at the moment but I think she will run well and it’ll hold her in good stead to go back up in trip.’’