By Ray Hickson
A heavy track will be no concern for consistent stayer Fanciful Toff at Randwick on Saturday but there’s much less certainty when it comes to his well fancied stablemate Dr Drill.
That’s the assessment from Annabel Neasham, Sydney assistant trainer to Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, as she takes the two short-priced favourites to the races.
Fanciful Toff has been there and done that – an impressive winner on a heavy 8 over 2400m at Randwick on June 8 – but Dr Drill has never seen anything worse than a soft 5.
“We know Fanciful Toff can handle a wet track but with Dr Drill it’s a bit of a concern,’’ Neasham said.
“Dr Drill is a classy horse and even if he doesn’t handle it hopefully he is still good enough to win.’’
The set up for Fanciful Toff is a little different in the Randwick Mayors Cup (2400m) than it was last start as in-form apprentice Jenny Duggan has to negotiate a wide alley.
It’s something Neasham is well aware of and she said the gelding is very adaptable.
“It’s definitely not as easy, he had a very cushy run last time on the rail and everything fanned off,’’ she said.
“But the way in which he won was dominant. If he can repeat that, even if he doesn’t have quite as favourable run, he should be good enough.
“With the claim he’s only carrying half a kilo more than last time. We’re as happy with him going into this as we were last start.’’
It’s interesting to note that Fanciful Toff, a $2.40 favourite with TAB, is a half-brother to Lady Esprit who won a Listed race at 1000m and contested the 2018 The Galaxy.
Dr Drill is definitely bred to stay, he's already a winner at 2414m at Newmarket in the UK, and Neasham is happy to side with his breeding to suggest he’ll get through a heavy track in the JHB Syndications Handicap (1800m).
“That is a query but it’s not a complete concern,’’ she said.
“We want to find out, if he does (handle it) then he’ll be a very versatile horse. If you go on pedigree he’s by Dansili and they go okay in the wet.
“He won over a mile and a half overseas so he is probably running sharper than we expected.’’
Fanciful Toff wins at Randwick on June 8
As far as tactics go for the $2.20 TAB favourite, Neasham said Kathy O’Hara will be handed an open book and given the knowledge that he doesn’t have to lead at all costs.
The four-year-old was an all the way winner over 1800m at Flemington a month ago and was saved from a race in Melbourne last week to tackle this race.
“We’ll be sitting handy, there’s a bit of speed from the outside and if they want to take us on and go quick we will let them go,’’ Neasham said.
“We’re not afraid to lead either if it happens that way and Kathy is very good at rating them.’’
Meanwhile, Neasham said another import in Mister Belvedere (re-named Lord Belvedere) – who was an eye-catching fourth behind So You Win at Rosehill back on June 15 – has returned to Melbourne and will contest a 2000m
race there later this month.