By Ray Hickson
A false start to lightly raced mare Pecans’ campaign could prove a blessing in disguise at Hawkesbury on Saturday.
Trainer Joe Pride was all set to kick the four-year-old’s preparation off in the Sapphire Stakes two weeks ago but had to hold her back due to a gut issue.
Pride said while that race would have served as a start point for Pecans he heads into the Group 3 $175,000 Godolphin Crown (1300m) with a bit more confidence after being able to give her an extra barrier trial.
“We were all set to go around in the Sapphire and we had a little disruption and I couldn’t run her in good faith that she would go well,’’ he said.
“This is an easier race, I don’t think she was a winning chance in the Sapphire but I think she is a winning chance in this.’’
Pecans, ironically a former Godolphin horse, has only had five starts for Pride for three wins and two seconds capped off by a Belle Of The Turf win at Gosford in December.
Pecans winning the Belle Of The Turf at Gosford in December
Pride has one eye on the Scone carnival in a fortnight, and the Group 3 Dark Jewel (1400m), and one on the Brisbane carnival so how Pecans performs first-up could push him in either direction.
“I really need some guidance, there’s nothing like a race day to tell you exactly where you’re at with a horse,’’ he said.
“It’s always difficult on the back of a peak preparation to come up again. She went from Class 1 to Group 3 and it leaves you next time around resuming in a grade that’s foreign.
“But she’s a pretty talented mare who is only lightly raced and I would think she still has some upside to her.''
Pecans is on the fourth line of betting with TAB for the Godolphin Crown at $9.50.
Pride said the track condition at Hawkesbury will have a bearing on how all four of his runners perform – if there’s a bit of rain around he’d be a little more bullish about the chances of Passage Of Time fresh in the Listed $125,000 Hawkesbury Gold Rush (1100m).
Passage Of Time ($5 with TAB) is unbeaten first-up and comes off two trials, showing enough in the second to please Pride going into this race.
“His first trial was pretty plain, he didn’t do much at all, but I think he was having a bit of a lend,’’ he said.
“We shook him up the other day and made him do something and I thought he trialled well.
“Over the 1100m if there was to be some give in the track it would slow those real speedsters down and give him his chance to run them down.’’
Half-brothers Destiny’s Kiss (Hawkesbury Gold Cup) and Bon Equus (Provincial Stayers’ Final) complete the Pride quartet and the trainer said not a lot is expected from the former first-up, unless there’s a downpour, while the latter is an honest type who’d relish a softer surface too.