By Ray Hickson
Two tactically brilliant rides is all trainer John Thompson is asking of leading hoop Nash Rawiller as his classy gallopers Mamaragan and Sweet Deal face very different tests at Rosehill on Saturday.
On one hand the colt Mamaragan has six elite three-year-olds to topple while the mare Sweet Deal must overcome the extreme outside alley, as well as some very smart peers, and Thompson is happy to hand the reins to Rawiller to work his way out of the respective mazes.
Mamaragan faces off against all three two-year-old Group 1 winners – Farnan, King’s Legacy and Rothfire – in the Group 2 $200,000 De Bortoli Wines Run To The Rose (1200m) and it’s a race where the won’t be a lot of margin for error.
“Nash knows the horse very well and we’ll come out positive and he will work it out from there,’’ Thompson said.
“I think Farnan will push forward, Rothfire will push forward, Peltzer always jumps fast and puts himself there and I’d say we’ll be the fourth horse.
“It’s an exciting race, this year the three-year-old colts look all above average. There’s four or five different form lines coming together and it’ll be interesting to see which one stands up.”
Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed Mamaragan ran the fastest last 600m of 33.30 as he worked into third behind Anders in the San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at his first run this spring.
Thompson said the run was as good as he could have hoped for given he drew the outside and wasn’t prepared to risk a tough first-up run. As it turned out it was the right move.
“We were tucked in behind a hot speed rather than sitting out wide working too hard and he worked to the line nicely,’’ he said.
“He’s definitely come on, no doubt about it, that’s just the way I train.
“Because he was ridden and raced like he did first-up he pulled up super and he’s done nothing but thrive between runs.”
It’s a little surprising that a horse of Mamaragan’s obvious ability, and race record, is on the fifth line of betting at $8 with TAB in a seven horse field but such is the depth.
The race will give a lot of insight into where things stand heading into the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) in two weeks and that’s when Thompson is adamant his colt will come into his own.
“The 1400m will definitely be in favour of us over a few of the speed horses but looking at this field you could run fourth and still run well,’’ he said.
“I’m confident my horse is going well and that my horse has the right form line. I’m super keen to see how he measures up.’’
When Rawiller is legged on board Sweet Deal in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Sheraco Stakes (1200m) he’ll have a blank canvas to work with and a ‘do your best’ wish from Thompson from the outside alley in a capacity field of mares.
Sweet Deal wins at Randwick on August 22
The six-year-old was brave winning the Group 3 Toy Show (1100m) first-up from a spell under 59kg three weeks ago, a race Thompson never had in the plans for her return, and drops to 56kg.
“I’ll leave it up to Nash, she’s drawn wide and run well before,’’ Thompson said.
“She’ll come out positively and Nash will have to work it out. She has the gate speed to go right forward or tuck in. It depends on what the others do inside us as to where she ends up.”
Thompson said the Sheraco was the original first-up run for Sweet Deal, $9 with TAB, but she came to hand so quickly he elected to start her of early, and with happy results.
“She came in a little early to give us time up out sleeve in case something happened,’’ he said.
“The race didn’t suit us the way the weights were and she was ridden well by James (McDonald) to get the job done.
“She was giving the second and third horse six kilos so the weight turnaround is in our favour.”