By Ray Hickson
There’s plenty of reasons for trainer John Thompson to be excited about the fast approaching autumn carnival and even he’s a little taken aback by the quality among his numbers.
While inquiring about the prospects of the lightly raced More Prophets, who chases a hat-trick at Randwick on Saturday, talk turned to the status of the likes of Dreamforce, Mamaragan, Purple Sector, Sweet Deal and Fituese heading into 2021.
“For a small stable we have some nice carnival chances which is pleasing, it starts to get a bit exciting’’ Thompson said.
Group 1 winner Dreamforce returned to Thompson’s Randwick stable on Wednesday, Purple Sector and exciting three-year-old Mamaragan are in the system, Sweet Deal is back to work on Monday but we won’t be seeing the talented spriner Fituese for a couple of months.
“Dreamforce looks fantastic. He’s had a couple of weeks pre-training already and looks great,’’ he said.
“Fituese had to have a chip taken out of a knee. She’s another six weeks away.”
Sweet Deal was a Group 3 winner back in August but her highlight came last month when she claimed the $1m The TAB Hunter at Newcastle, while Purple Sector enjoyed a resurgence as a gelding winning a stakes race before finishing unplaced in the $1m The Gong.
But what about Mamaragan, the Group 1 Golden Slipper and Sires’ Produce placegetter who didn’t really live up to expectation with four unplaced runs after a pleasing first-up third in the San Domenico.
Thompson said the spring was a learning curve and believes the colt is simply a sprinter and will be treated as such in the autumn.
“I personally always thought he was a speed horse,’’ he said.
“The feedback from the jockeys was saying he is a 1400m to a mile horse, I never thought that he was and it turns out he’s not. He needs to be trained as a sprinter and ridden accordingly.
“He’s a speed horse, has a high cruising speed and we’ll get back to that. If he doesn’t come up we can always go down the gelding path.
“He was in a couple of races that were run at ridiculous speed and had a few excuses but next prep he needs to stand up.”
More Prophets has a way to go before she’s considered one of Thompson’s elite group but he’s just as excited about her future after a dazzling first-up win over 1100m at Warwick Farm almost a month ago.
The four-year-old has only had five starts and bumped into the likes of Frosty Rocks and Stolen Jade when trying to win a maiden before opening her account at Kensington in June then that impressive fresh performance.
“I was pretty confident when we went to Kembla and we were beaten by Clarry’s horse (Stolen Jade) who has gone on and done very well,’’ Thompson said.
“I was shocked we were beaten that day but she won her next start and came back and seems to have gone to a higher level.
“She took a couple of races to get going, she was a gangly filly at the time but she’s stronger now and I’m looking forward to seeing what she can go this prep.”
Hugh Bowman again rides More Prophets in the Schweppes Handicap (1400m), where in a wide market she was $6.50 favourite with TAB on Thursday, and Thompson said the extra ground will be a big plus.
More Prophets wins at Warwick Farm on November 25
“She’s a lovely mare and she won well first-up at a distance that was too short for her but she was too good,’’ he said.
“Stepping up in distance will only enhance her chances, she’s drawn better, same jockey, home track, I’m looking forward to it.”
Without putting the cart before the horse, Thompson is quietly confident More Prophets will get her chance at stakes level in the future but, typical of the trainer, it won’t be rushed.
“Obviously being a filly we want to get some black type one day, whether it is this prep or down the track it depends on her,’’ he said.
“At the moment she couldn’t be doing any better than what she’s doing. She’s one of those horses that has the scope to keep improving, she has the looks and a bit of good blood in her pedigree to say she can take it to the next level.”