By Ray Hickson
Apprentice Robbie Dolan, just eight wins away from outriding his claim, is wary that promising stayer Mugatoo faces a danger race at Randwick on Wednesday but is adamant the import has the talent to keep him unbeaten local record intact.
An impressive first-up winner for Kris Lees over the Randwick mile with 50.5kg on his back, the Irish bred Mugatoo faces a different scenario in the TAB Handicap (1800m) as he rises 9.5kg and jumps from the inside alley.
Against that Dolan, also Irish bred, says he knows he’s on the best horse in the race.
“He’s a lovely big striding horse and he’s way above what he’s racing (class wise),’’ Dolan said.
“But 60kg with barrier one is going to be tricky. He will probably get back and hopefully sometime in the race we can get off the fence and into the clear.
“There should be genuine tempo, you have Knowitall Jack there, and if there is it will break the field up and he will have his chance.’’
Punter’s Intelligence sectional data shows the merit in Mugatoo’s first-up win against Benchmark 88 company – he drops to Benchmark 78 on Wednesday – he ran 33.64 for his last 200m, two lengths faster than anything else in the race, and his last 200m (11.37) was the second best of the day.
Mugatoo wins at Randwick on January 25
That says to Dolan that Mugatoo, $2.50 favourite with TAB, isn’t the one-paced European stayer his form, with UK wins over 2334m and 2922m, suggests.
“A lot of people have asked me if he’s a proper stayer but he does have a good turn of foot,’’ he said.
“This horse will get two laps and he’s a nice horse to look forward but he loomed into the race the other day on the bridle and as soon I asked him to pick up he dashed and let down real strong.
“I’m sure 1800m will be fine for him. The 1800m around the Kenso feels like you’re riding in a long distance race.’’
Mugatoo holds a couple of nominations for The Star Championships, namely the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m).
Dolan partnered the Gerald-Ryan trained Compatriot to an impressive Gosford win two weeks ago and is warming to her chances in the Sky Racing Active Handicap (1400m).
Compatriot, $8 with TAB, left a lukewarm first impression on the 24-year-old hoop a month earlier at Kembla Grange but was a different horse as she rounded them up from last.
“She surprised me the other day, I rode her at Kembla and she ran okay without blowing me away,’’ he said.
“She was struggling to keep with them at the 600m and then as we were turning in she got on the back of one and really let down.
“So she’s definitely able to do it. If she can let down like that again she will be competitive.’’