By Ray Hickson
There’ll be no conceding Saturday’s Golden Rose to the Queenslander Rothfire from the John Thompson camp.
Mamaragan started the spring as one of the most promising three-year-olds in training and Thompson said nothing has changed after two runs back in unsuitably run races.
So ahead of the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) there’s an air of quiet confidence that Thompson is expecting to see Mamaragan’s best.
“The big key is up to 1400m. He has a beautiful cruising speed and in his first two runs back we haven’t seen it because he’s been off the bridle chasing,’’ Thompson said.
“He ran home well first-up when he was fresh but with the freshness out of him second-up he couldn’t muster a sprint.
“I’m sure he’ll be able to travel and I think we should see a different horse.”
The Golden Slipper and Sires’ Produce placegetter resumed with a pleasing third behind Anders in the San Domenico Stakes (1100m), hitting the line from the back, but was never a factor in the Run To The Rose (1200m) won by Rothfire.
Thompson described how those races were run as ‘nearly farcical’ and isn’t expecting Mamaragan to be out of his comfort zone this time around, especially with the advantage of barrier one.
“When a horse as fast as Rothfire can’t keep up with a leader you know he’s going quick. And credit to Anders, in the San Domenico, he kept going,’’ Thompson said.
“You only had to watch the races to see it didn’t suit my horse. He’s racing like a miler so the 1400m is going to suit.
“He’s jumped well in both runs back, first-up we elected to come back then the other day he jumped well and got a bit of a squeeze from either side and it put him on the back foot.
“When they are running 10.5 seconds you can’t be on the back foot. The plan is to come out positive and get him travelling, that’s the key. But up to 1400m you’d think just naturally he will be able to be closer.”
Jockey Nash Rawiller galloped Mamaragan, $14 with TAB, on Tuesday morning and Thompson said the reports were very positive, the horse is looking great and now it’s over to them.
Thompson has forecast a change of tactics for talented mare Sweet Deal in the Group 2 $400,000 Kia Golden Pendant (1400m) after working overtime to lead the Sheraco Stakes two weeks ago.
The six-year-old drew the outside second-up and while she faded late to be beaten just over two lengths the run did her no harm and Thompson wants to be a shade more conservative this time around.
“She’s just a tough mare, never left an oat, on the Monday you’d swear blind she hadn’t had a run,’’ he said.
“We know that’s not the way to ride her and on Saturday we will be taking a sit that’s for sure.”
Mamaragan's last start in the Run To The Rose on September 12
The Randwick trainer saddles up Sagrado in the Group 3 $200,000 Precise Air Gloaming Stakes (1800m) while the newly gelded Purple Sector resumes in the Quayclean Handicap (1400m).
Thompson said while it’s a little unusual to geld a horse after they are four it was necessary with Purple Sector and the now five-year-old is ready to be a racehorse.
Gelding an older horse is something Thompson’s old boss Bart Cummings did with success but he’s keeping expectations low for a first-up run at a trip short of his best.
“It wasn’t working as a colt, we’ve done it before at that age,’’ he said.
“I’m not putting any pressure on him, he’s probably a mile-2000m horse. His trials have been a bit plain but he never trials any good so you can’t get a guide on that.”