By Ray Hickson
Her nearly white coat makes it hard to miss White Moss on race day but Jason Coyle's classy mare somehow fits into the quiet achiever category.
Coyle hasn’t given up on the hope of the six-year-old winning at the highest level but his immediate aim is a fourth Group win and defending the Group 2 $200,000 TAB Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“You'd like to hope so, (a Group 1) is just the next step she has to take,’’ he said.
“If she brings her A-game to the right race she's a hard horse to beat whatever she's in. So do we go to 1500m and try her at that again (she finished midfield in the Coolmore Classic last year) or go to WFA in the Canterbury Stakes and give her an opportunity there.
“She's not in a massively commercial stable so she probably doesn't get the accolades she deserves. She's from an outstanding family and is a multiple stakes winner so she is a very, very good mare.
“The autumn can throw up a soft track, and it will this weekend, and those things seem to suit her so the more we have in our favour the better.’’
White Moss led all the way to defeat I Am Excited and Savatiano in the Millie Fox, the latter she’ll be out to topple again, second-up from a spell 12 months ago off what you’d say was an inferior first-up run to 2020.
The mare finished a two length third to Standout and Alizee in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago and there’s already been plenty of form to emerge from that race.
“The Expressway is always a solid race to start the carnival and it is no different already with a couple coming out of it, one winning at WFA (Alizee) and the other dropping in grade and being dominant in a benchmark race (Vegadaze),'' Coyle said.
“She's done really well since. After the long break she was just coming to the end of her run with 50m to go, you'd think with that run under her belt she'd take improvement race fitness wise.’’
Coyle said tactics in the small field will be quite simple for White Moss, the $3.60 second favourite behind Savatiano.
“She normally jumps clean and rolls forward and then it is just a matter of what speed is on in the race,’’ he said.
“If she takes it up she takes it up, if something wants to go a little quicker she will sit off the back and chase it. She's not a one trick pony, she's tough and fights right to the line.
“When she's at her best she is a very hard horse to beat.’’
White Moss runs third in the Expressway at Randwick on February 1
Meanwhile, Coyle is hoping for better luck with River Bird in the Blue Datto Foundation Handicap (1100m) than last week when a travel mishap forced her scratching from a Randwick engagement.
The trainer is adamant back onto a wet track on Saturday the four-year-old is capable of turning around a disappointing second-up performance where she was beaten five lengths by Roheryn.
“She played around in the float, I think I had her feeling too well,’’ he said.
“She took no ill effects from it, she worked well on Tuesday morning and gets a few conditions to suit.
“She was plain second-up but she bounced back quite well last preparation and I expect the same on Saturday.’’
River Bird, a $9.50 chance with TAB, clocked the fastest last 600m of the day when she resumed at Rosehill on January 18, clocking 34.48 (Punter’s Intrelligence) as she ran into third behind Embracer over 1100m.