By Brad Gray
Ever since Salsonic won the Queensland Guineas, the $250,000 Group Two Inglis Villiers Stakes has been a target and should the four-year-old earn ballot exemption from the Doncaster Mile, trainer Jason Coyle says he certainly won’t be simply making up the numbers.
“After he won in Queensland the Villiers has always been the plan given that you earn automatic entry into the Doncaster. He is the style of horse that you wouldn’t be surprised to see him run a big race. He has got that raw ability that if we can sneak a spot we might think we’re a bit of a hope,” said the Warwick Farm-based trainer.
“The improvement he has shown from first up through to the Festival (Stakes) says that we’re on the mark fourth up now.”
Salsonic ran an eye-catching fifth in the Festival Stakes, won by Testashadow, where his wheels spun in the wet at the top of the straight before surging to the line under the urgings of Peter Wells.
Salsonic closing quickly in the Festival Stakes - December 2
“Peter said if the weather hadn’t turned he would have been in the finish. He just dipped a few times in the run and at the furlong he had to pick him up and help him through it,” Coyle recalled.
“With a better track on Saturday his Festival lead up was perfect for the mile at Randwick.”
Salsonic has had five different jockeys in his past five outings so Coyle is welcoming the continuity with Wells staying aboard for the Villiers Stakes. The flat spot he has hit in his last couple of runs, Coyle believes, can be attributed to the Rosehill circuit more than anything.
“He is a funny sort of horse and I’d say it’s definitely an advantage to have had a ride on him. Rosehill can be a funny track where the backmarkers can lose touch with the on pace horses.”
“He has only won the two races but his pattern plays against him. He has always been quite immature in the head and even in his last few runs he can be on and off the bridle hence we went with the blinkers recently. Hopefully it can all come together on Saturday.”
Coyle also made a strong case for Siren’s Fury in the TAB.COM.AU Handicap (1400m) with the switch to Randwick, where she has run third in Listed company, in her favour.
“If you don’t look at comments or do replays you’d probably discount her but she has had genuine excuses each run this preparation and getting to Randwick is massive plus for her,” Coyle said.
“Rosehill does not seem to suit her. She just gets left a little flatfooted when they sprint and then she can run into a bit of trouble. You can’t get to the outside and win at Rosehill so you have to roll the dice and come through them.
“She gets the soft draw and if she can have a few behind her without having done any work, once they balance up she is the sort of horse that can rattle off strong closing sectionals.”
Coyle will also be represented by consistent mare Kawaikini and Valentino Rossa who comes off a "career peak performance" when a luckless third in the Goulburn Cup.
Salsonic is currently $17 with TAB Fixed Odds while Siren's Fury is $11.