By Ray Hickson
Trainer Kristen Buchanan saw an air of arrogance in the recent trial win of unraced filly Eyewitness and is hoping that translates to a winning debut on her home track at Wyong on Wednesday.
However, as excited as Buchanan is about the three-year-old she is still ‘very leggy and lightly framed with a lot of maturing to do’ and if she does win the Book Your Christmas Party At WRC Handicap (1000m) the only way will be up.
Eyewitness won an 800m trial at Gosford on November 4 and on the back of that she’s the $2.70 favourite with TAB.
“I have a big opinion of her, I think she has a lot of natural ability,’’ Buchanan said.
“To my eye she is still very immature, she’s done it so easily in her trials that she hasn’t been put under pressure.
“So that’s a question mark for me going into a 1000m race, there’s naturally going to be more pressure than in the trials she has had. I think she will be a very nice filly, I’m just wary of that aspect of it.”
Golden Eagle winning jockey Koby Jennings partnered Eyewitness in the Gosford trial and will ride the filly 0.5kg over her 55.5kg. That’s something that doesn’t bother Buchanan one bit.
She said it’s more important that someone familiar with the horse is on board for her debut to help transition from trials to race day.
“Sometimes they trial so easily, are out in front, haven’t been bumped around or stuck in between horses. So I’m a bit cautious about that,’’ she said.
“With Koby I didn’t even hesitate. The way he is riding at the moment I’d happily carry an extra kilo.
“She has good gate speed and she naturally finds her feet quickly. I thought her last trial was quite arrogant but they didn’t run record times. I’m being conservative, I think she is a good chance.”
Eyewitness, a flashy chestnut with a white blaze, was bred by part-owners Tony Aceti and Kevin Aitken and the filly is owned by them and a group of close friends.
Buchanan has taken her time with the filly, she trialled a couple of times in the winter, and would dearly love to give the syndicate a winning debut but is adamant that she’ll also be a lot better for the experience.
“She needed a bit more time and to be honest she probably does need more time,’’ she said.
“I’m hoping to win then tip her out, not for long but just give her a breather. When you see her on Wednesday she has a whole lot of leg and the body is still catching up.”
A couple of gear changes and a return to her pet grade could see Margie Bee return to her best in the Book Now Wyong Magic Millions Handicap (1200m) while Buchanan expects to see a transformation in Upper East Side who resumes in the MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale Handicap (1000m).
Eyewitness wins a trial at Gosford on November 4
Margie Bee, $8 with TAB, was an impressive winner at Wyong back on September 22 but in three starts since then has beaten just one horse home.
“She’s a genuine Benchmark 65 horse, when she wins her benchmark goes up and she has to carry weight,’’ Buchanan said.
“She looks sensational but she does burn the candle. I’ve done a gear change with a Norton bit and ear muffs. If we can just ease her up a notch she will have a bit left at the finish.”
Upper East Side ($23) has posted five wins from 18 starts and all have been at 1000m and while Buchanan says that trip is suitable first-up she is confident the four-year-old can be effective over further.
“He’s been a 1000m horse because he’s been limited mentally but physically he should get further,’’ she said.
“I feel like he has grown up and he will be getting to 1200m, 1300m and maybe 1400m this time around. I’d love to see him win, the speed on would help him not doing anything wrong.”