By Ray Hickson
Trainer Nathan Doyle describes emerging galloper Royal Banquet as “a very confident horse” and is somewhat bullish about the four-year-old’s winning run continuing at Rosehill on Saturday.
And there’s every chance Royal Banquet’s campaign will progress beyond the Everest Carnival On Sale Now Handicap (1500m) as Doyle isn’t concerned about winning his way out of contention to be a Provincial Championships horse in the autumn.
Royal Banquet has won four of his five starts, all three for Doyle, and, ominously, has only come on from his five length romp at Warwick Farm on July 29.
“He keeps improving every time you step him out at trackwork or in a run,’’ Doyle said.
“He’s taken improvement from Warwick Farm again, believe it or not, but he probably needed to improve from Warwick Farm to get the job done again.
“All he can do is win and let’s be honest in his three wins this preparation he’s never been really tested or had something come at him. Until that day comes you don’t really know.’’
It’ll be an interesting test for Royal Banquet, who ran slightly faster time than Threeood to win over the Warwick Farm 1400m and a race best 37.11 last 600m (Punter's Intelligence) on a heavy 10, against horses coming out of higher benchmark races.
Doyle said there was so much to like about that win given he carried 59.5kg and had to chase Eden Vale who opened up four lengths before the turn yet reeled him in so easily.
“We were wary of him hitting the front too soon but we were left there,’’ he said.
“There was that tearaway leader and he had to take the rest of the field up to them, he did that and nothing went with him.
“For him to run away at the post and have a good look there tells me he still has a lot left in the tank.
“You don’t get tired horses looking around with their ears pricked. If he had a bunny he might have been a bit more impressive but all you can do is win.
“I don’t think he beat much but we will know where we are at after Saturday.’’
Tom Sherry’s 3kg claim will bring Royal Banquet in with 54.5kg and Doyle selected the higher benchmark race because he believes the likely speed map will suit his horse.
Royal Banquet was a clear $2.60 favourite with TAB on Thursday afternoon to post his fifth career win.
Royal Banquet wins at Warwick Farm on July 29
The Provincial Championships are for horses Class 5 and below and Doyle, who is based at Newcastle, believes Royal Banquet is “above that standard” and isn’t inclined to want to put the brakes on the horse’s momentum just to target that series which doesn't kick off until March.
“They are good initiatives the Provincial Championships races but when a horse is in form you keep going with them because you don’t know when they might lose it,’’ he said.
“He hasn’t been tested yet so his level is really unknown and I think he will be more effective with blinkers on.
“They are up my sleeve and I’m waiting until that day I need them before I put them on. He’s a very confident horse at the moment which is good to see.
“The improvement he has taken from Warwick Farm is the scary part so if he brings it to race day they will definitely know he is there.”