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Stone Debut No Free Throw For Brenton

By Ray Hickson

Brenton Avdulla can understand why all eyes are on his mount Plague Stone at Rosehill on Saturday but he’s not taking the youngster’s debut for granted.

It took less than 10 minutes for punters to back the James Cummings-trained Plague Stone into odds-on when the market opened on Wednesday for the $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m).

On the strength of a 5-1/4 length barrier trial win the Lonhro colt has been crunched from $2.10 into $1.80 with TAB Fixed Odds

“I think it is quite a deep two-year-old race and my bloke has to take natural improvement to be running well,’’ Avdulla said.

“He's only had the one trial whereas he taking on a horse like Secret Lady who has raced and performed well.

“On what he's shown at home and done in the trial he obviously has a good bit of ability and hopefully he can bring it to race day.’’


Plague Stone's impressive Canterbury trial win - November 3

Secret Lady, trained by Gary Portelli, is the $4 second favourite having debuted two weeks ago with a game second behind another Godolphin colt in Dynamited.

Avdulla said Plague Stone naturally has improvement in him from the 900m trial on November 3 but from a race sense point of view appears very professional.

“He couldn't have been much more impressive in his first trial,’’ he said.

“He did most things right, he jumped, he travelled outside the speed. The leader took him off the track a bit and he handled himself okay.

“I asked him for an effort, it wasn't like I sat there idling, and he quickened nicely and ran through the line.’’

So far this season Avdulla has ridden more winners for the Cummings stable than any other trainer, with 16 wins from 43 rides.

TAB’s Gerard Middleton said punters only have eyes for Plague Stone, including a $15,000 bet at $1.85, with very little interest for any other runner.

“Just more than 80 per cent of the money in the market is for the Lonhro colt with punters seduced by his impressive trial win at Canterbury earlier this month,’’ Middleton said.

“The only other significant bet in the race has been for the Chris Waller-trained Orcein with one customer having $1000 at the juicy odds of $31.”

Check out the fields, form and replays for Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

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