By Ray Hickson
Trainer Jason Coyle has a small word of warning for those who want to over-emphasise the first-up record of his honest mare Kawaikini.
While he feels the Spring Racing Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday is a nice race to kick off in he points out her unbeaten fresh record comes from three wins at Nowra.
“She’s been very well placed first-up in the past,’’ Coyle said.
Kawaikini's latest trial at Warwick Farm on October 19
“It’s a big difference resuming in country grade compared to straight to Saturday metropolitan grade.
“But she probably earned her stripes last preparation, she ran against some pretty handy horses and ran very well.’’
Kawaikini opened $11 with TAB and attracted some support into $7.50 on Friday morning behind Godolphin galloper Coruscate ($2.40).
Coyle said the five-year-old, who won at Randwick back in January, is coming off a longer break than usual as he wasn’t happy with her when she returned to the stable mid-year.
But he’s been more than happy with her preparation after that extended spell which has included two trials, at Rosehill and on the Warwick Farm synthetic track.
“With the longer time since her last run you’d expect there’s a bit of improvement in her,’’ he said.
“With that trial under her belt, and she pulled up great from it, I think she is forward enough to run well.
“She’s still at that benchmark where we can bring her in and choose suitable races. That presents in her race record, hopefully she can win a couple of Saturday races and we can make plans for other things.’’
Stablemate Valentino Rossa is a week or so from ticking over a year since his last win and will put the Port Macquarie Cup form to the test in the La Boheme Pinot Noir Rose Handicap (1800m).
The gelding split Exoteric and Social Element in the 2000m Port Macquarie Cup and that pair ran one-two at Randwick last week.
“He’s consistent, he probably does need everything to go his way, a couple of things didn’t pan out for him at Port Macquarie but he ran well,’’ Coyle said.
If Valentino Rossa, a $15 chance with TAB, does need an edge it could come through Coyle utilising the horse’s true weight and carrying just 52kg.
The true weight allowance is an option a trainer can take if a horse’s benchmark rating is lower than those on the limit weight in open handicaps or benchmark races.
“If you have a rider that can ride it you might as well utilise it,’’ he said.
“It might be the difference between getting his nose across the line first and running second.
“If every horse in the stable could be consistent as him I’d be more than happy but it’d be nice to get a win on the board for the connections.’’