By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham can see nothing but positives for front-running filly Every Rose ahead of Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 TAB Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
The same can’t be said for smart sprinter Splintex after the rain delay and a redraw of the Group 1 $700,000 Bisley Workwear Galaxy (1100m) handed him the outside gate.
Newnham has been buoyant about Every Rose all preparation and after her gallant fifth in the Surround Stakes continues his upbeat vibe into her third run this autumn.
“I rode her on Wednesday morning and I’m really happy with her, she’s going fantastic,’’ he said.
“She’s been in good form the whole prep. She trialled well, she raced well and it looks a suitable race for her.
“She likes wet ground, back to 1200m off a 1400m run where she ran very solid sectionals the whole race.”
Newnham concedes the stretch to 1400m found out Every Rose in the Surround.
That won’t be a problem in the Birthday Card, back to the same trip that saw her take out the Light Fingers Stakes on a soft 7 first-up, where she’ll carry just 54.5kg and has one of Sydney’s best front running riders Tim Clark to steer.
“She had to have a shot at the Surround being a three-year-old fillies Group 1, it was the last opportunity to run at that level against her own age and sex,’’ Newnham said.
“She comes back a peg here to Group 3 against mares, she’s well weighted, she’ll get up on pace and run well.”
Splintex was balloted out of the Galaxy last year before winning the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint during The Star Championships and Newnham has had his eye on the Group 1 handicap sprint ever since.
So he was excited, after the four-year-old’s solid first-up fourth behind Eduardo and Nature Strip in the Challenge Stakes, when Splintex drew five in last week’s 13 horse field but despondent when it turned into 14 out of 14 when the race was refreshed.
He was $26 with TAB on Thursday.
“The 1100m at Rosehill is dynamite for inside draws, I’ve waited a year to run him in this race,’’ Newnham said.
“I went into last week quietly confident and this week let’s say nowhere near as confident.
“His whole preparation has been aimed at this race and a good draw was imperative to his chances because he’s a double figure odds chance.
“Now the outside draw pretty much tells you it’s nearly mission impossible.”
Interestingly, a look at the recent history of the Galaxy shows two winners from barrier 11 (Bel Sprinter 2013 and Sweet Idea 2015), one from gate 10 (In Her Time 2018) and Russian Revolution had barrier 14 when he won in 2017.
Every Rose runs fifth in the Surround Stakes at Randwick on February 27
Meanwhile, Newnham said the lightly raced Lord Olympus has been underestimated as a $14 chance in the Listed $140,000 Irresistible Pools & Spas Darby Munro Stakes (1200m).
The three-year-old has won four of his seven starts and resumed with an eye-catching third in the Inglis Dash (1100m) at Flemington four weeks ago.
“He was unlucky not to win and he has come on well,’’ he said.
“It is a good test for him but he’s never performed badly any time he has gone to the races.”