By Ray Hickson
Trainer Ciaron Maher has seen enough of American mare Paulita to suggest she shouldn’t be underestimated in her Australian debut at Randwick on Saturday.
The Scat Daddy mare is a little tricky to line up given her form is on dirt or sand tracks on the east coast of America.
She’s based at Maher and co-trainer David Eustace’s Warwick Farm stable and has trialled twice on the grass, winning her latest over 1200m last week, to the trainer’s liking.
“She’s trialled up all right, I had her in a few races but I think she will need the 1500m and will improve off the run,’’ Maher said.
“She’s really come on, you work out their habits, and I expect her to perform really well. She is pretty right to go.’’
Paulita is a $12 chance with TAB in the Candana Bathroom Ware Handicap (1500m) and comes to Sydney with a consistent record of three wins and three placings from eight starts.
Her last win was in an 1811m restricted stakes race at a rain sodden Laurel Park in Maryland and she hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in a 1642m fillies and mares race at Parx, formerly Philadelphia Park, in Pennsylvania.
Paulita's barrier trial win at Warwick Farm on may 17
She’s one of a number of mares imported by Newgate this year and is by the same sire as recent Dark Jewel Stakes winner Con Te Partiro.
“They bought a few Scat Daddy’s over and this was one they sent to me,’’ Maher said.
“She’s most likely going to stud but hopefully she can perform well and we can find a stakes race for her.’’
Maher said he expects Paulita, to carry 56kg after in-form apprentice Billy Owen’s claim, to be ‘thereabouts on the speed’ if she jumps well from a favourable barrier given the speed she showed in leading her 1200m trial.
Lightly raced three-year-old Wealthy Wolf could continue north if he performs strongly in the Mizuno Handicap (2000m).
The gelding ran fifth at Flemington three weeks ago behind Ridgewood Drive and Maher is using the Randwick race, against current Queensland Derby favourite Nobu, as a guide.
“He’s going well, he’s could be en route to Queensland but he would have to perform well,’’ he said.
“He’s a progressive horse, he’s taken a bit of time but he’s starting to get there now. We’ll get a good yard stick in this race.’’
Maher said another imported galloper Dr Drill, dual accepted between Randwick and Flemington, is ready to peak third-up and will be competitive if he lines up in the Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation Handicap (2000m).