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The ‘uncle’ of retired 11-year-old stayer Destiny’s Kiss will run at Royal Randwick on Saturday – yes, the ‘uncle’ of the grand old warhorse.
And he’s only a three-year-old.
Stockman is the horse and his mother Crimson is the ‘grandmother’ of Destiny’s Kiss who had 102 starts and won 19 races including 14 on rain-affected ground.
Stockman won first-up over 1300m at Wyong and two runs later was again at his best when he finished fast over a mile to win at the same track.
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“He was really impressive the other day on a wet track,” trainer Joe Pride said.
“I think he’ll go on any surface but he’s pretty closely related to Destiny’s Kiss which is a plus when you get on wet tracks. He’s out of a really old mare who is the second dam of Destiny’s Kiss so his nephew is a lot younger than him.”
Stockman has only had six starts for two wins and two seconds but his trainer has seen enough to suggest he can have a long career specialising at trips over 2000m at the very least.
“He’s a really emerging horse and that win the other day was like a Destiny’s Kiss-type of win,” Pride said. “You thought, ‘no he won’t get there’ then all of a suddenly he powered through the line over the last furlong (200m).
“He’s got great cardio and I’m tipping that’s what he’s got in common with his nephew — and being by Tavistock out of a Zabeel mare he’s bred to do it.”
Archedemus is the horse Pride feels is his best winning chance on the card in the Octagonal Handicap (1400m). He’s won seven from 15 and, when he was trained by Gwenda Markwell, he was racing in events like the Tramway Stakes, Bill Ritchie and Epsom Handicap.
“He’s my best hope,” Pride said. “He’s jogging on the spot and he’s won better races that this. He’s a serious racehorse on his day and he’s a character and I believe we’ve got him going well.”
Archedemus ran a brave fourth behind Amangiri first-up in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1500m) last month, beaten by less than a length.
“I’ve got no regrets about not taking him up for the Scone Cup last week because we’ve now got a wet track which is a big advantage for him,” Pride said.
“The 1400m, a month between runs, doesn’t hold any fears for me and he’s been terrific at home so I’m expecting a big run for him.”
Passage Of Time runs in the main race on the card, the At Sea Handicap (1100m), and Pride has taken the blinkers off him again. He’s won twice and ran second on a further two occasions first-up and his two trials have him nice and forward for Saturday’s assignment.
“He’s stranded at the top of the weights which is always a worry on wet tracks but he handles them and is in good order,” Pride said. “I don’t like dragging him back in the field so he’ll take a position where he can keep up and I’m hoping that’s tracking out a bit wide on the better ground. He should race well first-up and is well placed at this time of the year up to 1400m sprints and is effective on the wet ground.”
Kylease was first-up on May 2 and sent out a well-supported $6 chance over 1100m and faded poorly to run seventh. She was forced to trial since and goes into Saturday’s Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m) with a different approach.
“She did go way too quickly last start,” Pride said. “She was running 10-second furlongs and all the leaders compounded but she was still disappointing. She’s been back to the trials and was ridden quiet and that seemed to work well for us.
“It’ never something we’ve tried on race day but we’ll be trying in on Saturday because she’s not finishing her races of well enough at the moment.”
Pride believes the completely new racing style will not only work but will enable her to reach her full potential which is a black-type win. She’s rated an $11 hope behind the $4 favourite Enfleurage and comes out of gate nine with great off the speed rider Jason Collett on board.
“She’s only had 11 starts so she’s not too old to be reinvented and she’s going to need that if she’s going to go to the next level which hi always thought she would,” Pride said.
“Jason managed to get her back fairly easily in the trial so she’s an interesting runner and she loves the wet track. The ones I’ve got in on Saturday are all adept on the wet ground.”
Operation proves a blessing
Gary Moore’s prized colt Petronius is a different horse this preparation thanks to an operation that’s enabled him to breathe properly and he’s set to peak at Royal Randwick.
The three-year-old has done well to be as consistent as he has been with just one result that was worse than second from seven starts.
“And that was the last start he had before the tie-back surgery and this time around he’s come back being a model of consistency again,” Moore said. “He’s not making any noise so the surgery has been a great success.”
Now that his airway isn’t partially blocked when racing, he’s ready to go to another level and looks well placed in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1500m).
He’s run second and first this time in at the midweeks and now’s the time to bring him to a Saturday race third-up and Kerrin McEvoy is on him again.
“The horse is well and he probably wasn’t 100 per cent fit first-up even though he was only beaten a neck then he bounced back last start,” Moore said. “This horse is game and he can sustain. I’ve always thought a lot of him from day one.”
Moore is confident the horse will handle a heavy track and his attractive on-speed racing pattern should ensure he’s in this race for a long way.
“When Kerrin got off him at Warwick Farm when he ran second to Satin Socks (two runs back) he said ‘Gary, I do think this horse will be better with some cut in the ground’,” Moore said. “He’s handled soft tracks before and won on them so I think we’ll be OK in that area.
“I don’t think there’s a lot of speed in the race so he’ll probably go along and make it.”