By Ray Hickson
It’s normal practice from the Gai Waterhouse stable to be optimistic about their horses but co-trainer Adrian Bott says in-form mare Alassio has overachieved this preparation.
Alassio will be having her seventh start this preparation in Saturday's Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens but Bott said the mare deserves the chance at the feature handicap.
“The Coolmore was not the grand final if you asked us three month ago,’’ he said.
“That's an indication of the improvement he has shown. At first we queried whether she was just a 1200m horse or wither she would get further and I think she answered that pretty well last start.
“We thought she was a nice stakes mare but she's probably gone a notch above.’’
Alassio backed up her win in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) with a tough performance to claim the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago.
Alassio wins the Guy Walter Stakes at Randwick on March 2
Waterhouse has won four Coolmore Classics, the first in 1997 with Assertive Lass and the latest in 2007 with Tuesday Joy.
And the last four winners of the race have started $15 or longer.
TAB had Alassio marked a $13 chance on Thursday.
While Bott said a seriously wet track would dim his confidence a little but her effort to run third in the Breeders’ Classic on a soft 7 suggests she can be competitive.
“She's the right profile horse to win these handicap races. Hopefully she can carry it through to Saturday,’’ he said.
“If she gets the right run she'll be fighting out the finish.’’
Last start winner Sondelon is another horse Bott would like a firmer surface for but he’s prepared to forgive the gelding’s failure second-up at his only attempt on soft ground.
The four-year-old rebounded to lead all the way to win over 1500m at Rosehill three weeks ago and steps up in distance in the ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1900m) where he’s an $8 chance.
“He may have been a bit flat and it may have partly been the track as well,’’ Bott said.
“He bounced back well and with the grounding there now he will see out a bit of a trip.
“I won't be dismissive of him on a wet track because of those factors but I'd be more confident on top of the ground.’’