By Ray Hickson
Trainer Jason Coyle says splitting his two in-form fillies Spiritual Pursuit and River Bird at Rosehill on Saturday is all about maximising their strengths and earning potential.
The pair of three-year-olds could have clashed in the ATC Foundation Handicap (1100m) but Coyle felt River Bird, chasing a hat-trick, was better placed in the Australian Turf Club Handicap (1200m) later in the day.
Both are likely to be given their chance at stakes level next season but Coyle isn’t in any rush.
“We’ll see how they perform and how they recover and whether they go and have a short break or a long break and skip the spring,’’ he said.
“At the moment they have been well placed and are coming through the grades. They have to take another step to start thinking about carnivals but if they go out and win it gives you that option.’’
Coyle was a bit nervous about Spiritual Pursuit ahead of her last start at Randwick three weeks ago, given she was coming back to 1000m, but it’s full steam ahead for Saturday’s assignment.
He’s elected to claim with Samantha Clenton’s 2kg coming off her 59kg impost.
“It’s always hard when you’re jumping on a horse that’s going well but Sam is riding really well at the moment and a couple of kilos might be the difference over that last furlong,’’ he said.
“I think she will appreciate the 1100m, it’s more suitable for her.
“She has a nice high cruising speed, she was able to take a sit off them last start. It was a good ride by Kathy (O’Hara) on a track she handles, and she’ll get the edge off the track again which she will appreciate.’’
Spiritual Pursuit continued to firm as favourite after River Bird’s scratching and was $2.10 on Thursday to take her record to four wins from nine starts.
River Bird is being asked to step up a couple of grades after beating all comers in a Benchmark 78 two weeks ago and holds sway at $4.60 with TAB.
Coyle said the attraction over the fillies and mares event was to ensure she stays down in the weights having carried 51kg and 52kg to her past two wins.
“I think she seems to appreciate the 1200m and her last couple of wins have been down in the weights and it’d be a shock to the system to put her up near the top,’’ he said.
“That’s been the recipe for her last couple of successes.’’
River Bird wins at Rosehill on June 29
Meanwhile, Coyle says the enigmatic Nicochet ($6) is entitled to another chance in the TAB Handicap (1500m) after the gelding was his own worst enemy when unplaced as favourite at Rosehill last start.
He’d posted successive second placings behind Kapajack in his two other runs this preparation.
“It’s the first time this prep he travelled a bit too strong in the run,’’ Coyle said.
“Once he relaxes he’ll really hit the line but the other day he was right up into the bridle and keener than you want to see him and that held him back.
“He’s earned good prizemoney in his career without winning a lot of races so it’d be nice to see him pick up a couple which he deserves.’’