By Ray Hickson
The form through last week’s Magic Millions has given trainer Ciaron Maher confidence that Igniting can press his claims for the $2m Inglis Millennium when he has his second start at Rosehill on Saturday.
Igniting endured a wide run on debut at Randwick but ran past Hightail to finish second before that youngster posted a Kensington win and a third placing in the Magic Millions.
Maher’s Breeders’ Plate winner Dubious finished runner-up to Exhilarates in the Millions, and is bound for the Golden Slipper, which gives him a nice measuring stick for Igniting.
“His form is standing up pretty well. He’s a big raw horse, you can see he had a bit to learn at his first start,’’ Maher said.
“I’ve never worked him with Dubious, they were on different paths when they were kicking off, but form wise they seem similar.
“We gave him an easy time for a week and he’s had a couple of nice gallops. You’d expect him to improve physically and also with the experience.’’
Igniting runs a game second on debut at Randwick on December 29
Punters Intelligence data from Igniting’s debut shows the colt covered more ground than any other runner and still ran the fastest 400m-200m of 11.08 and a last 600m of 33.88 (0.02 slower than the winner Movie Role).
Maher said along with natural improvement the race experience will stand Igniting in good stead and he should have his chance from a more favourable barrier.
“He had to do everything the hard way the other day, he was wide and covered ground, he had to quicken up by himself out there,’’ he said.
“I thought he did a very good job considering to finish off as well as he did.
“He had a slide up on Tuesday and seems sharp. Drawn (six) he should get a lovely run, bounce on the speed somewhere and hopefully he will be hard to beat.’’
The inaugural $2m Inglis Millennium (1200m) is run at Warwick Farm on February 9 and Saturday’s Countdown To Golden Slipper Sprint (1100m) will serve as something of a preview as Inglis Nursery winner Accession heads the weights and was the $3.00 TAB favourite ahead of Igniting ($3.20) on Thursday.
Maher, who is in the process of establishing a stable at Warwick Farm with training partner David Eustace, is expecting the consistent All Too Royal to be a force in the Eric ‘Mo’ Conlon Handicap (1200m) on the back of an easy Canterbury win two weeks ago.
The four-year-old carried 60.5kg to an all the way win under James McDonald last start and will drop 3.5kg after the claim for apprentice Jean Van Overmeire and the trainer said that will be a key factor.
“I thought we’d claim, he has a bit of weight and he is pretty straightforward to ride,’’ he said.
“He can bowl along up there on the pace. It’s a good opportunity to get some weight off his back and hopefully that can make him a good thing.’’