By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
Just how much improvement is to come from Highway Sixtysix? That’s the scary part.
Danny Williams has never been shy in voicing his opinion of the three-year-old filly suggesting, before the race, that she matches stakes-placed stablemate She Knows for ability.
The daughter of Snippetson stepped into the Royal Randwick parade above herself and by Williams own admission, she was nowhere near right in the coat.
The TAB Highway Handicap (1200m) was run six lengths slower than the two-year-old race won by Helaku but again, it’s the improvement in the horse that punters will have to factor in when assessing her next time.
“As we expected, her ability carried her through,” said Williams.
“I’ve always thought she was in the top three or four horses in my stable but I’ve learnt that good horses can get beat if they aren’t fit. I learnt that early with Normal Practice. He ran third in a Newmarket (Handicap), and I ran him in a Class 6 at Canberra and he got beat.”
Highway Sixtysix didn’t have an official barrier trial with timings not working out but Williams revealed she had been impressing in her gallops at home having had the measure of Pierino, who won at Goulburn on Friday for the stable.
“She worked with Pierino the other day and beat him comfortably and they ran a bit faster time than She Knows in the gallop. We’ve always held her in very high regard and there is a lot of improvement in her. She just has to learn some races sense,” said Williams.
It was the tenacity of Highway Sixtysix, who will next tackle another Highway Handicap or even a Saturday class race for three-year-olds, that most impressed jockey Blake Shinn.
Highway Sixtysix refused to lose
“Her win at a lot of merit. She got herself worked up pre-race and did the job start to finish. It wasn’t an easy task out there especially with the wind and the track being the way it is today. It showed she is a really promising horse going forward,” said Shinn.
“She wanted to go a little bit keenly in the early stages and I just tried to harness that throughout the run, trying to hold her together for as long as I could. There wasn’t much there when I felt for her but she’s got a bit of ticker this horse and that got her over the line today.”