By Ray Hickson
A couple of weeks ago, prior to the Winter Cup, trainer Joe Pride was adamant Destiny’s Kiss had another win in him.
The popular 10-year-old then duly won his 11th Listed race and as he steps out for start number 98 in the Stayer’s Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on Saturday the question now is - does he have more?
It’s a question Pride had already considered and delved into the form guide to remind himself the old fellow has put successive wins together in the past, found that he has (three times) so sees no reason why career win number 20 can’t be achieved.
“It’s not like it’s something he can’t do,’’ Pride said.
“You always worry with older horses what the toll of a win is but I’ve got to say he’s pulled up well.
“He’s an easy one for me to judge because I’ve seen him recover from so many races. When you have a new horse or a young horse in the yard you’re not sure what the parameters are.
“When you’ve had a horse as long as I’ve had him - I’d compare him to one of my kids. I’d only have to look in their eyes to know if they are feeling good, I can see it in him.’’
It had been six years between Winter Cup wins and has been five years since Destiny’s Kiss last won the Stayer’s Cup, back in 2014 it was held at Randwick, while his two other attempts at two miles came in last year’s edition and the 2016 Sydney Cup.
Pride remembers the 2014 running vividly – in that race Astro Avalanche opened up a lead of some 30 lengths and it was left to Destiny’s Kiss to run him down, which he did with half a length to spare.
“It was a great win that day, it was a really exciting race,’’ he said.
“Most horses find it hard to catch those tearaways because they are off in another postcode.’’
In a testament to the gelding's consistency and longevity, that Stayer's Cup win took his rating over 100 for the first time and aside from a nine month period leading into his 2016 Australia Day Cup win it's been triple figures ever since.
Last year’s renewal of the Stayer’s Cup was also run at Randwick and Destiny’s Kiss had 61kg on his back – he’ll carry 59.5kg on Saturday after the claim for Chris Williams.
He’ll strike another heavy track in 2019 but this time Pride said he’s ready for it with two 2400m starts under his belt due to the change of programming.
“I’ve given him a different prep to what I gave him to get to the two miles last time,’’ he said.
“I wasn’t banking on a real heavy track that day and I got it and I reckon it was too tough on him that day. He wasn’t fit enough, it’s not often you say that about Destiny’s Kiss.
“When I weighed it all up I don’t mind how he is weighted after the claim.’’
Destiny’s Kiss has been a $21 chance in his past two wins but is one of the favourites this time around with TAB at $6.50.
Pride is very confident the horse will run well in a race where half the field are rated 25 points or more inferior so it’ll be up to Williams to negotiate the right path.
Destiny's Kiss wins the Winter Cup at Rosehill on June 15
“His profile is to win in small fields and they (low rated horses) are actually a problem for Destiny’s Kiss. They are traffic,’’ he said.
“It was a gem of a ride from Sam Clipperton (in the Winter Cup), he got him to settle ahead of three or four horses he would normally have to get past.
“If he runs up to his best he will win the race, I can’t see the others beating him but traffic could beat him.''
Joe Pride on his other Rosehill runners:
New Tipperary (Race 7, $26): “He’s had a long spell but it was a spell he needed to have. He is in terrific order. He’s not a first-up performer, he needs the first-up run always then he bounces into his second up run. It’s probably a point or two too wet for him, he’s probably better on a 6 or 7 but he’s going to have an 8 or 9. He’ll run in the Winter Stakes second-up.’’
Brook Magic (Race 8, $9.50): “When I nominated her and saw what weight she would get I thought she was going to be a weighted certainty compared to Heart Conquered and Bon Amis. She’s beaten Heart Conquered quite easily at her last two starts and he’s half the price she is, I think she should be right in the market. You beat the market every now and again but the punters are pretty smart and they normally work it out. But I wouldn’t have thought she was a $10 chance.’’