By Ray Hickson
Trainer Joe Pride isn’t too fussed about having to miss last week’s Scone Cup with talented galloper Archedemus and is looking forward to seeing what his recent recruit can do on a wet track at Randwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old headlines a quintet from the Pride stable and the Warwick Farm trainer said of the others to expect a change of tactics from speedy mare Kylease, Passage Of Time may need the run but his new owners should have a fruitful preparation, he’s excited about young stayer Stockman and warned not to undersell Threeood if she sneaks into the final race.
But, first, to Archedemus who made his debut for Pride with a game fourth in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Cup (1500m) a month ago.
It’s been four weeks since that resumption, where he led and was beaten less than a length by Amangiri, and Pride believes it could be a blessing in disguise that he missed the Scone Cup due to the lack of a suitable rider, run on a good track, for the Octagonal Handicap (1400m), where he’s $3.50 favourite with TAB, on a wet track.
“It wasn’t that big a deal in the end. We had a firm track up there and I think he is better in the wet,’’ he said.
“There’s always other races, it’s not like missing a Golden Slipper with a two-year-old.
“I like my horses with a bit of recent racing but when you consider he was 1500m first-up after a long time 1400m second-up on a wet track is probably about right.
“I think he will improve a bit with the run but he’s a very nice horse and he loves a wet track.’’
When under the care of Gwenda Markwell, Archedemus won seven of his first nine starts including a Provincial Championships qualifier and last year’s Hawkesbury Cup and four of those wins came on rain affected tracks.
Pride said he’s excited to have a horse of Archedemus’ talent in the stable and is sure he’ll acquit himself well.
“He’s a high quality horse and I feel like he’s going really well,’’ he said.
“I’m interested to see what he can do on Saturday but I think if the first-up run is any indication we are on track with him.’’
Jason Collett is again on board Archedmus and the jockey will also be tasked with transforming the racing pattern of Kylease when she lines up in the Exceedance @ Vinery Handicap (1000m).
Kylease has settled in front in 10 of her 11 starts but Pride said that’s going to change after he tested out an off-pace pattern in a trial 10 days after she was run over on returning.
“They went way too quick and the horses with her on the speed also compounded,’’ he said.
"She was pretty meek the last bit but she has done that first-up in the past. I was disappointed for sure and that’s why we went back to the trials and thought it was time to try to ride her off the pace.
“She did that well in her trial, whether or not she is going to be able to replicate that race day we will get a pretty good idea on Saturday.’’
Pride said he expects Collett to settle Kylease, $11 with TAB, around midfield in the 1000m dash.
Hardy galloper Passage Of Time returns for new owners in the At Sea Handicap (1100m) with 60kg on his back though Pride said a wet track evens the playing field a little for him.
The gelding had a mixed preparation in the summer, winning one of five all on good tracks, but is yet to win below 1200m.
Archedemus runs fourth at Rosehill on April 25
“We’ll give him the best run in transit from a sticky gate and his ability to handle a wet track will have him somewhere near them,’’ Pride said.
“He’s up at the right time of year, he’s a good horse on wet tracks and will get his opportunity this prep.’’
There’s a sense of enthusiasm from the trainer about lightly raced three-year-old Stockman at his city debut in the Sporting Chance Cancer Foundation Handicap (2000m).
Stockman, $14 with TAB, ticked the wet track box with an impressive win over a mile at Wyong just over a week ago.
“He’s a really nice horse and I think he will measure up,’’ Pride said.
“He has a great staying pedigree and two of his three runs this time in have been excellent, he’s powered through the line in both.
“I like the thought of him going to 2000m and the wet track isn’t any concern.’’