Unheralded mare Suavito will return to the scene of her greatest successes when she kick-starts her spring campaign in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (Race 7) on Saturday.
A multiple Group 1 winner, Nigel Blackiston’s charge boasts a superb record at Caulfield, finishing in the placings on all eight of her starts at this track and lodging upset wins in both the 2015 Futurity and CF Orr earlier this year over the same 1400m journey.
With Luke Currie replaced in the saddle by Michael Walker, Suavito has drawn comfortably in barrier seven and our traders are expecting her to perform strongly after a couple of lead-in trials.
Hinting that his star galloper will probably be kept to shorter distances this time around after she didn’t quite run out a strong 2000m in the Australian Cup, Blackiston admitted that her most recent trial was slightly underwhelming but suggested she would be ready to go come Saturday.
In her favour is the fact that four of the past five winners of this event have been first-up from a spell, with the likes of Mourinho and Puissance de Lune able to show their wares fresh.
The current market-elect, Mahuta (pictured above), should have derived plenty of benefit from his third-place finish in the Bletchingly here a fortnight ago and has won all four of his previous starts over seven furlongs.
He too, has drawn to advantage in five but while we have respect for the training abilities of Darren Weir, we’re not entirely convinced about the horse this preparation and are happy to accommodate punters wanting to back him.
Likewise, Lord of the Sky powered to an overdue triumph in the Bletchingly but he was able to get a fairly soft time of it in front on that occasion.
With a bit of extra early speed in this field, he’ll probably have to work harder to cross on Saturday having drawn out in 11.
Robbie Laing was typically ebullient about his prospects but it’s worth noting that the horse tired noticeably late on at his only other try over a 1400m trip in the Chester Manifold Stakes early last year and that’s enough to convince us to oppose him.
A late scratching from the Bletchingly, this race also marks the debut under the Gelagotis banner for popular galloper The Cleaner (pictured above), who raced with great success down in his native Tasmania for affable trainer Mick Burles.
While the inside gate and the booking of Damien Oliver are big ticks in favour of Danny O’Brien’s Miss Rose de Lago, who will surely look to press forward and challenge Lord of the Sky for the lead, Oliver’s decision to partner her in preference to Suavito a clear pointer as to his perception of their respective chances.
Of the others, Ciaron Maher has a talented couple of mares resuming in Jameka and Set Square, with the former every chance to be back here in October for the Caulfield Cup.
Expect both horses to make up ground late on but Maher has cautioned that a few of these will be a bit too quick for his girls over the shorter trip.
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