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Tulloch A Fork In The Road For Primitivo

By Ray Hickson

Trainer John Thompson has no doubt Primitivo has the talent to win races and after knocking back interest from Hong Kong he’s hoping to get off the mark at Rosehill on Saturday.

It’s never easy for a maiden to win a race like the Group 2 $200,000 Tricolours Racing Tulloch Stakes (2000m) but Primitivo is no ordinary maiden with a couple of stakes placings already to his name in his four starts.

Thompson is putting Primitivo on trial for a start in the $2m Australian Derby (2400m) on April 7 so the Tulloch shapes as a D-Day.

“It all hinges on Saturday, it depends on how he goes,’’ Thompson said.

“If we think he’s looking like a stayer we’ll go the Derby, if not the Frank Packer Plate and possibly the Queensland Derby.

Primitivo finishes strongly to run second in the Canberra Guineas on March 11

“We knocked back half a dozen offers to go to Hong Kong. He’s got to win one eventually, he has the ability.’’

Primitivo has been set a bit of a task by Thompson in jumping from his eye-catching second in the Canberra Guineas (1400m) to the 2000m of the Tulloch.

He said there’s no doubt the three-year-old is looking for the extra distance and with the Derby only another week away this was the best option.

“We had to make a jump and the options were 1500m at Rosehill or 2000m so we went the 2000m,’’ he said.

“Once the freshness was out of him (at Canberra) he couldn’t keep up. He gets back and hits the line and they don’t win as many as horses that run on the pace.

“He has obvious ability and we’ll know what we’ve got after Saturday.’’

The gelding is a $51 chance with TAB in the Derby and is $10 in the Tulloch market.

Stablemate Nieta caught everyone’s eye with her slick last 600m of 32.81, from Punters Intel, when she resumed at Rosehill on March 17.

Thompson said she found herself too far back in that race, the Maurice McCarten, and will instruct jockey Corey Brown to have her closer in the Group 3 $150,000 E-Group Security Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m).

“She just got too far back basically, she just needs to be not that far back. Midfield is perfect. It was impossible for her to get up and win,’’ Thompson said.

Nieta tackles the Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday. (Pic: Steve Hart)

“She strips a bit fitter and Corey will be told to ride her a little bit more positive. Hopefully she can get the job done.’’

Nieta has only attempted 1200m on two occasions and is yet to place but was the $4.80 favourite with TAB on Thursday.

John Thompson’s comments on a few other runners:

Vega One (G3 The Schweppervescence): “He’s a horse that keeps being run off his legs in the shorter races. The riders have got off and said he wants 1400m to a mile and he gets 1400m on Saturday.

“Hopefully he can be a bit closer and go close.’’

Invincible Knight, Special Missile (Sydney’s West App Handicap):

“Special Missile will be up the front, Invincible Knight will be out the back. Both horses are going really well and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them fight it out.

“Special Missile just went a bit too quick up front (first-up at Newcastle) and got tired late, it was still a good run and he’s dropping back a grade. He’ll go forward and make his own luck.

“Invincible Knight was in a leader dominated race (first-up), he’s going well. There’s nothing between them, they just race differently.’’

All the fields, form and replays for Saturday's meeting at Rosehill Gardens

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