By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham says he has no reason to fear a wet track when unbeaten filly Aim For Perfection steps up to city grade at Canterbury on Wednesday.
The three-year-old has been impressive in winning both her starts at Newcastle, preceded by five barrier trial wins, so Newnham sees the TAB Rewards Handicap (1250m) as a natural progression.
“She’s trialled on soft ground and trialled well. It’s the right next step for her,’’ he said.
“She’s won all her trials and her two races so it tells you she’s pretty good in competition.
“Now she’s fully fit, I had her in work a long time before she trialled, I wouldn’t be worried about running her on a wet track.’’
Aim For Perfection’s pedigree suggestions she’s a good chance to swim, her dam Above Perfection only had five starts but won easily on a soft 7 and was Group placed on a soft track.
This filly has taken some time to make it to the track, she was all set to race in early summer but bled after winning a barrier trial in November so Newnham had to start again.
He said he’s seen Aim For Perfection take the necessary steps in her two wins to date and feels with Robbie Dolan’s 2kg claim she’ll have every chance.
“She’s a good filly, she ran very good time the other day and just raced really well,’’ he said.
“First-up she still looked a bit new and you could see the improvement from that into her second run. She just jumped well and put herself in a spot and quickened away in what looks an above average Class 1.’’
Aim For Perfection ran her last 600m in 34.02 (Punter's Intelligence), which was the third fastest in that Class 1 but she controlled the race outside the lead and posted the best last 200m (11.61) so was never going to be beaten.
Newnham said he’d be disappointed if Aim For Perfection, the $2.60 TAB favourite, isn’t in the finish on Wednesday as he believes she can develop into a stakes class horse.
“At her next preparation I think she would get to possibly Listed grade, that’s a fair assessment of what she’s shown us,’’ he said.
“She’s had a late start to her career so she is still open to improvement. I expect she will train on well.’’
Aim For Perfection wins at Newcastle on June 8
Stablemate Exceed The Stars kicks off the Canterbury card for Newham at his first run since being gelded and it’s fair to say he’s underperformed in three starts.
The youngster started favourite in the Breeders’ Plate on debut, finishing sixth behind Dubious, and was again in the market in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes in February before he earned his gelding operation with a mixed performance at Hawkesbury.
Exceed The Stars has contested two trials leading into the ANZ Bloodstock News Plate (1100m), settling back and running on into fourth in the latest.
“In his last run he went to buck out of the gates and looked reluctant to gallop then his last furlong was really good. That shows you he was racing in patches,’’ he said.
“Now he’s back as a gelding he’s concentrating a bit better than he was before. From a good gate he won’t be far away and he’s going well enough to be in the finish.’’