Trainer Kristen Buchanan is banking on the Kembla Grange track to give her two runners, Dual Escape and Pretentious Man, an edge on Saturday. They’ll both love a big track and Dual Escape is coming off a nice win at Muswellbrook over 1280m ahead of tomorrow's very competitive Benchmark 70 Handicap (1300m).
The Dubleo four-year-old has won twice at the trip and will enjoy her first time out at Kembla Grange with Serg Lisnyy to ride her out of barrier 14.
“I think she’s a very nice mare on the way up but it’s a fairly strong race,” Buchanan said.
“She’s just got to get galloping room and the blinkers last start helped her a lot. She’s learned to settle in a pack, but needs to get out and get room.”
There’s three other last start winners in the race including Legistation, Dawn Raid and Bangkok who shoots for four-straight wins for Allan Denham.
Buchanan said while Dual Escape will have to be at her best to win, but her record (11-4:0:0) says when she fires she’s normally the first past the post.
“I think she’s up to it,” Buchanan said. “All the ability is there. She just needs the right run in transit to finish off and I think Kembla will be a nice track for that reason which is why we’re sending her there.”
Pretentious Man is Buchanan’s other runner and he takes on a Class 1 Handicap (1200m) after breaking his maiden at start three at Muswellbrook. Buchanan has always held the Denman three-year-old in high regard, even before his first start.
“He’s a lovely horse,” she said. “I gave him his first start in town which I rarely do with my youngsters, but I had an opinion of him. He did a lot wrong that day and at his next start but at Muswellbrook he got away with it. He’s a bit slow away from the barriers so, again, I‘m thinking Kembla gives us a little bit more leeway because he’ll have time to make up ground in the long straight.”
So which one is her best winning chance?
“On talent alone, they’re both up to it,” she said. “I’d say Dual Escape is my best. I think she’s racing in really good form while the other horse is still a baby. She looks a million dollars and when you’ve got fillies in good form you get confidence.”