By Ray Hickson
There’s more than just a hat-trick at stake for progressive mare Pecans at Warwick Farm on Saturday with trainer Joe Pride eyeing a post-Christmas stakes race.
Pride said another impressive win will encourage him to back Pecans up in the Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Gosford on December 28.
“If she can win on Saturday we’ll be absolutely stoked and if we can take her to the Belle Of The Turf it’d be a real victory,’’ Pride said.
“I won it a couple of years ago with Ammirata (2016) and I think this mare is easily the equal of her if not better.
“First things first, she looks like she’s well graded to my eye.
“She won a midweeker like a horse going through to a Saturday race has to do and she’s improved at home again.’’
An easy win for Pecans at Warwick Farm – December 6
Pecans, ex-Godolphin, was purchased for $50,000 by newcomers Tricolours Syndicate with one win from seven starts under her belt.
She was almost an instant success when she debuted for Pride with a luckless second at Canterbury on November 1 but has since posted easy wins at Gosford at Warwick Farm.
After opening around $6 with TAB for the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1400m), Pecans quickly firmed to $4 and Pride said she’s a mare still on the up.
“When you buy horses with one win they are either limited or have plenty of upside,’’ he said.
“She was a nice looking mare with a pretty good pedigree so she wasn’t too hard to find.
“I’m just really happy with the way she’s taken off since she’s been in the stable. She’s gone up 12 benchmark points in three runs and it’s an indication she’s on the improve.’’
Corey Brown again rides Pecans on Saturday and he’ll also be on board another Tricolours runner in Ticked, who was also picked up from Godolphin for $26,000.
Pride is throwing the four-year-old, a last start Hawkesbury winner, in the deep end in the ATC Owners Benefit Card Handicap (2110m) but is adamant she’ll stay.
“(Hawkesbury) was the first race she’d had that was run to suit and we got to see she has some stamina and it encouraged me to take her to this race,’’ he said.
Also facing a decent class rise is the lightly raced Choice Harvest but Pride is confident he’s a horse that will prove himself up to the grade in 2018 – if not on Saturday.
Choice Harvest broke his maiden status with an all the way win at Wyong on December 13 and with only four rivals in the Tab.com.au Handicap (1600m), where he’s rated an $8 chance with TAB, he said it’s worth a shot.
“He’s a nice horse, a good improving horse and a horse that will be much better in six months time,’’ he said.
“It’ll be a nice introduction to Saturday racing being a small field for a horse that will appreciate a race without a great deal of pressure.’’