By Ray Hickson
Mark Newnham has no hesitation is declaring Lanciato the top seed among the three O’s he’ll be taking to Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Lanciato, Canyonero and Francesco – the three O’s in question – are all in suitable races but Newnham said the former simply ticks every box he’d want ticked going into a race.
An eye-catching first-up third at Rosehill a month ago, Lanciato drops 8kg after Rachel King's claim in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1400m) where he’ll be out to bring the winning streak of short priced favourite Noire to an end.
“Lanciato would be the pick only because I've planned this race from the start of his prep,’’ Newnham said.
“He's very good second-up, very good when he drops in weight and he's very good when he has three to four weeks between runs. He has all those ingredients.’’
It’s the same pattern Newnham followed with the five-year-old around this time last year – a first-up third with 61kg over 1200m at Randwick then a second-up win at 1400m.
Lanciato runs a close third first-up at Rosehill - December 9
Newnham said he was more than happy with the gelding’s fresh effort behind Drachenfels where Punters Intel data revealed his last 600m of 33.26 was second only to the winner.
“He just had to change direction half way up the straight and with 61kg it probably halted his momentum a bit,’’ he said.
Two-year-old Canyonero has the chance to earn himself a Golden Slipper preparation if he can win the TAB Handicap (1200m) at his second start.
The youngster, $5 with TAB, made a promising debut running third in the Inglis Nursery (1000m) last month and Newnham said he’s taken plenty of improvement from the run.
“One 740m trial generally doesn't get you winning at your first start but with the half million dollar race it was worth having a go,’’ he said.
“He picked up $49,500 for going around so I'm not disappointed at all and he's come on since the race.
“The way he hit the line you'd say 1200m would suit him.’’
Francesco, the final Newnham ‘O’, is becoming a bit frustrating but the trainer said one thing you know with this gelding is he is consistent.
An overdue win looked within Francesco’s reach when he resumed at Wyong on December 13 but he just couldn’t stick his head in front of Poet’s Advocate having chased him all the way.
He’s a $12 chance with TAB in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m).
“He needs everything to go right to win. He's drawn well enough, he goes well at 1400m and at Randwick,’’ Newnham said.
“So if he gets the luck he can win, if he doesn't he won't be far away. That's him.’’