By Ray Hickson
With a ‘best ever’ piece of trackwork fresh in the mind, jockey Josh Parr is warming to the thought the same Castelvecchio that romped away with a Group 1 in the autumn will turn up at Rosehill on Saturday.
It’s not just his rousing final gallop on Tuesday that has Parr brimming with confidence but the crucial win he received when the barriers were announced for the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m).
“It’s great, I’m so pleased he’s drawn well,’’ Parr said.
“I can do similar to what I did in the Champagne Stakes, the first 100m I gave him a little push to see what position he could take up and he was able to take up a midfield position.
“It gives me the opportunity to try that. If you draw wide it restricts you trying that.’’
Parr wasn’t on board Castelvecchio when he resumed in the Dulcify Stakes (1500m), he was already booked for Shadow Hero when trainer Richard Litt made a late decision to switch first-up targets.
As it turned out Parr was afforded a pretty good view of how Castelvecchio performed as Shadow Hero burst through to claim third from him two weeks ago.
“I thought he was great, he was back in the field like always and with his positioning in the run Jay (Ford) was forced around the field on a track that was difficult to make up ground down the middle and outside,’’ Parr said.
“So for him to make up a decent amount of ground and just get tired the last 100m I thought was really good.
“He’s come through the run really well and his work on Tuesday morning was terrific.’’
What was it about Castelvecchio’s work on Tuesday that was different?
“It’s his mental approach to the job,’’ Parr said.
“Through the autumn he was a mentally immature horse and what we were seeing was sheer ability from him.
“This time he still has a bit of character but he’s very switched on when you step onto the track and his work was faultless. He wouldn’t have been able to work like that out on his own, he’s just grown up a lot and his ability is there as we know.’’
Castelvecchio is an $11 chance with TAB but Parr said he does have an important factor in his favour in the Golden Rose – he’s proven at 1400m and beyond.
Prior to his win in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) he finished a close third in the Group 1 Inglis Sires’ (1400m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
In the Dulcify the colt ran the race’s fastest last 200m of 11.10 (Punter’s Intelligence) and his last 600m of 33.65 was bettered only by Shadow Hero so if he can be that little bit closer from an inside gate Parr knows he’ll be powering home.
“Castelvecchio has performed at the mile and run a very strong mile, some of these horses have to stretch out to seven furlongs and it is unknown territory,’’ he said.
“Some horses that are brilliant over five and a half or six furlongs just find the seven a bit hard. I’m not saying these horses are like that but you never know.’’
Shadow Hero runs third and Castelvecchio fourth at Rosehill on September 14
Parr stays with Shadow Hero in the Group 2 $200,000 Antler Gloaming Stakes (1800m) and is quietly confident he can go close to turning the tables on favourite Just Thinkin from their Dulcify clash.
Again he points to a favourable draw that will likely see the Mark Newnham trained three-year-old not giving away such a big start.
“The barrier is crucial here, once again if we drew wide it was going to be a case of being a long way out of our ground and hoping for a bit of luck,’’ he said.
“He might be able to take up a closer position, I’m not saying I’m riding him forward but he might be that bit closer.
“He’s a talented horse who is really looking to stretch out to 2000m and beyond. I’m confident of a really good run but he is going to get better as the distances get longer.’’