By Ray Hickson
Trainer Ron Quinton has no doubt he’s taking a couple of very talented young horses to Rosehill on Saturday but says he’ll be relying on lady luck to help both Ljungberg and Sun Patch in their first-up assignments.
As far as winter ammunition goes they are two very handy bullets to fire – Ljungberg proved competitive with some very smart three-year-olds earlier in the season while Sun Patch produced a huge burst to win on debut before being tried against the Group 1 two-year-olds.
Ljungberg resumes in the My Mate Mulvey’s Sprint (1200m) having not raced since a couple of placings behind Group performer Vegadaze in late summer.
“He had a pretty good prep, he won a couple and was unlucky one day as a short priced favourite, and the form turned out really good,’’ Quinton said.
“He’s trialled quite nicely, he’s probably drawn a tad awkward. It’s always hard from that 1200m at Rosehill but he’s done everything right.
“With a bit of luck he can run a great race.’’
Quinton has given Ljungberg two trials and while he’s clearly shown above average talent he said there aren’t any grand plans at this stage of his preparation.
The same applies to Sun Patch and as both are BOBs eligible horses there’s plenty of money to be won in their own backyard.
“We’ll just take it each step at a time, he’s in good order and if he has average luck in the run he’ll run well,’’ he said.
“I couldn’t say he’s better or worse but we’re pretty happy with him here.
“I’ve got no doubt about him getting 1400m but he is an I Am Invincible out of a fast mare.’’
Sun Patch has had a similar preparation to his first campaign with just the one trial ahead of the Southern Cross Turf Handicap (1100m).
He was thrown into the Group 2 Skyline Stakes at his second start, won by Golden Slipper runner-up and Sires’ Produce winner Microphone, and while he didn’t measure up he didn’t fail either and Quinton expects him to be a more furnished horse this time around.
But he tempers the expectation somewhat by saying the current ‘off-season’ batch of two-year-olds are very strong so he’s also going to need the breaks from a tricky barrier.
“We thought it was a bit too soon but we had to give him the opportunity,’’ Quinton said.
Sun Patch runs third in a Hawkesbury trial on May 20
“Had he won well we probably would have run in the Slipper. But the form around the Skyline is very good and he had a nice break after that.
“He was probably a bit behind the other two-year-olds and when they paraded you could always see they were ahead of him in maturity.
“He didn’t have a long spell but he’s done well and I’m happy with him in the stable. If he runs a great race I’ll be delighted.’’
Sun Patch is an $8.50 chance with TAB while Ljungberg is second favourite at $5 for his assignment and both Quinton horses will be piloted by Sam Clipperton.