By Ray Hickson
Japanese stayer Prestwick is on target to be a force in Saturday’s $2m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) according to jockey Yusuke Ichikawa after putting him through his paces at Canterbury on Tuesday.
Prestwick, who will appear in form guides as Pre Stwick, galloped a lap of Canterbury with Irish visitor Success Days (ridden by Nicolas Barzalona) and they got serious from about the 800m.
There wasn’t a lot between the two internationals and Ichikawa said his mount appreciated the company.
“He worked really well, I rode him last Tuesday and he was much sharper this morning,’’ he said.
“By himself he gets too relaxed but with company he worked much better. When he hits the front he kind of waits for other horses.
“He’s very fit. He’s a very happy horse, he’s a genuine stayer and will stay all day.’’
Prestwick drew barrier 11 in the capacity field for the Sydney Cup, a barrier his trainer Yoshinori Muto, who arrived in Sydney on Monday evening, was pleased with.
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) April 9, 2018
The six-year-old, whose last start was a fifth behind Fame Game in a 3400m Group 3 on firm ground at Tokyo in February, is on the fourth line of betting with TAB at $11 behind 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin ($4).
“The horse seemed to move well and I’m very happy with how things went,’’ Muto said.
“We’d like him racing around midfield with cover and the horse relaxed and in a nice rhythm.’’
When Prestwick arrived in Sydney some three weeks ago Muto was greeted with consistent rain and he was looking forward to The Championships being run on soft or heavy ground.
But with unseasonable warmth in the past week and leading into Saturday that’s an unlikely scenario though Muto is unfazed.
“I’m not too concerned, the ideal is to have a bit of rain to have a bit of give in the ground,’’ he said.
“The tracks in Japan are quite firm so it’s nothing to worry about.’’
Success Days, who has the task of taking on Winx in the $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), narrowly won the gallop and his trainer Ken Condon said his grey would benefit from it.
The entire, $35 with TAB, drew barrier eight in the Queen Elizabeth with Condon hopeful he can take up the front-running role he’s accustomed to.
“I was pleased with the work, we felt the horse would benefit from it. He quickened up the last three furlongs and galloped out well past us,’’ Condon said.
“He had a good blow and on the Tuesday before the race he needed that.’’
Like Muto, Condon was hoping for a soft track which he said usually brings out the best in his horse.
Hong Kong champion jockey Joao Moreira is booked ride both Success Days and Prestwick on Saturday.