By Greg Prichard
Here's nothing but quotes from the trainer of every runner in the $1.3m The Kosciuszko (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
1. HANDLE THE TRUTH (Keith Dryden): "I'm a great believer of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', so I've followed the plan of last year when he won the race - two barrier trials, one run and into The Kosciuszko. His last-start run was a great pointer to him doing well in the big race - just like it was last year. He'll be competitive. Best wishes to all runners because to win this race is a great boost, but we'd love to win it again."
2. LORD VON COSTA (Donna Scott): "He's eight years old, but he's only lightly raced and has run in some very good races during his time and has form around some good horses, including Santa Ana Lane. He's really laidback and he travels so well, which is obviously important in a week like this. We've been planning this since January and if he can get the right run in The Kosciuszko he'll be in the race up to his ears."
3. REDOUBLE (Mitchell Beer): "He galloped in-between races at Albury last Saturday and was so impressive. If he can't run well in The Kosciuszko then I don't know what you need for him to finish in the money in a race like that. He's going super. He's jumping out of his skin, so the race can't come quickly enough for him. The best of his form over his last five-to-10 runs is good enough to win this race. I'm rapt with him."
4. INTUITION (Kurt Goldman): "I couldn't be happier with him going in. He was very impressive when third to Gytrash in his last trial. We all know how good Gytrash is and the form out of that trial has been very strong as well. The horses that finished second, fourth and fifth have all since won first-up. He gave me everything I was looking for from him that day. He's as good as I can get him and I honestly think he can win."
5. FRONT PAGE (Scratched).
6. MAN OF PEACE (Matthew Dale): "He's already gone on to bigger and better things than I could have ever imagined and now he's a legitimate chance in The Kosciuszko. He's a warhorse who loves rolling along at a genuine tempo out in front and he actually enjoys it when horses try to take him on. He's a unique old horse that's making a habit of winning - and winning at Randwick. He's got a great record there."
7. IRISH SONGS (Kurt Goldman): "Outside of Cav's horse (the Brett Cavanough-trained It's Me), I see Irish Songs as the biggest competitor to my other horse, Intuition, simply because I know what he's capable of. The run in The Shorts brought him on enormous. He needed that run and he's improved two or three lengths since it. I reckon he's going to look the winner at some stage in the straight."
8. LIGULATE (Cody Morgan): "It's been a long-range plan to get him to The Kosciuszko and he'll be as good as I can have him on the day. Unlucky in the final of the Country Championships in the autumn and then came out and won the Tamworth Cup before we put him away. He came back and had two trials and then a 1200-metre race, which was always the plan, and then another trial which has fitted him nicely."
9. TWO BIG FARI (Todd Howlett): "He's very well. I'm really pleased with how he's come on since his last trial. He's ready to go. He's probably changed his attitude a bit, because he knows it's getting close to a race. It's a very good field and it's going to be a hard test for him like it will be for a lot of others, but I'm very confident he'll run a big race. I think he'll progress to be even better than a race like this."
10. AL MAH HAHA (Tash Burleigh): "Al's got what it takes to run a really good race. He's a ready-made racehorse who's proven himself in the Country Championhsips and been really consistent when he has run in the city. His first win was in the city, at Canterbury. There are some nice horses in this race, but Al has beaten a few of them before. If he can get the run he needs, I reckon he'll finish off with a bang."
11. FENDER (Brett Cavanough): "He can't be going any better. His work in the week going into the race has been great, starting with his gallop last Saturday morning. He worked over 1000 metres and it was a good, solid gallop. He needs work like that because in The Kosciuszko he'll be up near the front swinging at 'em, that's his racing style. Four wins from five starts, on the way up - deserves his place in a race like this."
12. ANETHOLE (Cody Morgan): "I'd never worked Anethole and Ligulate together, but I put them in the same trial at Muswellbrook on October 5 and Ligulate only just beat him. Andrew Gibbons rode Ligulate and he came back in and said he was shocked at how well Anethole went. The Kosciuszko was a bIt of an after-thought for him, because we didn't know he'd get picked, but I'm very comfortable with him being there."
13. ICE IN VANCOUVER (Cody Morgan): "He's only lightly raced, had just the two starts for two wins, but I was really impressed by his second win at Scone. He then trialled really well over 1000 metres at Scone on September 30. His condition gave out over the last 100 metres, but I'd given him five days in the paddock after his last win and that was his first gallop since, so it was to be expected. He's ready for The Kosciuszko."
14. IT'S ME (Brett Cavanough): "I mentioned to a couple of blokes here last Saturday morning, when she worked a solid half-mile, that she's nearly replicating what she's been doing on race days in her work now. And she wouldn't have blown a candle out. All the good judges, all the jocks you run into, you ask them what can win the 'Kozzie' and they all want to be on her, so that normally tells you what your chances are."
18. PRAIRIE FIRE (Danny Williams): "I feel for Geoff Duryea with Front Page out, but another horse comes in and I'm thrilled that it's ours because he's had the perfect preparation for this race. I was hoping to get in all along and even though it looked like our chance was gone we continued to prepare him for it just in case. James McDonald riding, good barrier (eight), he loves Randwick - we're really looking forward to it."