Day At The Track

Miss Sangrial ready to fire

10:08 PM 08 Feb 2018 NZDT
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Miss Sangrial, harness racing
Miss Sangrial
Jodie Hallows Photo

Experiments with gear have enabled smart harness racing filly Miss Sangrial to recapture her sparkling gate speed, leaving her trainer Michael Brennan confident that she will be a major player in the $50,000 Daintys Daughter Classic at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

“We consider that Miss Sangrial is one of the best fillies in the State, and from barrier six the daughter of Art Major is going to have to show that she is as good as we think she is,” said Brennan.

Miss Sangrial, to be driven by Michael Grantham, has had a somewhat unusual lead-up to the Group 2 classic for three-year-old fillies, contesting a heat and final of a C0-C4-class event for fillies and mares in Albany late last month.

She began speedily from barrier three, set the pace and won both a heat and the final to improve her record to ten wins, seven placings and stakes of $103,406 from 21 starts.

“At this early stage, I’d imagine we’ll go forward at the start,” Brennan said. “How hard we’ll go forward will depend on what happens underneath her and also from the outside. The good thing with my filly is that she seems to have found her gate speed again. At her latest two runs in Albany she was really good off the arm. We tried a few things and they seemed to have worked.”

“While it would be nice to be able to lead on Friday night, she doesn’t need to lead to win. She’s got a great sit-sprint capacity. However, she’s up against some very good fillies, including Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach.”

Lady De La Renta and Cott Beach warmed up for this week’s assignment with strong last-start victories. Lady De La Renta, trained by Annie Belton, raced without cover before winning from colts Bechers Brook and Speed Man at Gloucester Park last Friday night and Cott Beach, trained by Kristy Elson, overcame a bad start to dash to an early lead and win effortlessly at Pinjarra on Monday afternoon.

Cott Beach was placed outside the draw after galloping at the start of a race the 2185m event at Pinjarra. “Hopefully (galloping) was just a one-off thing,” said reinsman Nathan Turvey. “I’d say that there is every chance that she’ll be coming out (in a bid for the lead) on Friday,”

Cott Beach won by just under five lengths on Monday when she impressed in speeding over the final quarters in 28.8sec. and 27.6sec. She has already amassed $180,932 in prizemoney from her ten wins and five placings from 17 starts.

Turvey has high hopes that she will win the Daintys Daughter Classic to make amends for his runner Chevrons Champion’s second placing, beaten a head by Dodolicious in the classic two years ago.

Chris Voak is upbeat about the prospects of Lady De La Renta (barrier five) after driving her for the first time when she was successful last Friday night after racing in the breeze.

“It wasn’t the plan to sit in the breeze, but with the pedestrian early speed, we just landed there,” Voak said. “However, it didn’t seem to worry her and her final three quarters were solid. Obviously, we had a bit of luck when the favourite Speed Man galloped. But I wouldn’t have missed the first three. If we had drawn to lead this week, I think Lady De La Renta would be nearly unbeatable.”

Boyanup trainer Justin Prentice is hoping for a change of luck after having trained the runner-up three times in the Daintys Daughter Classic. His seconds have been with Racketeers Girl (2011), The Parade (2014) and Quite A Delight (2015).

Prentice will be represented by Beaudiene Beach Babe (Tom Buchanan) and Our Major Mama (Chris Lewis). Beaudiene Beach Babe will start from the No. 3 barrier on the front line, with Our Major Mama out wide at No. 8.

“They’re both working super and Beaudiene Beach Babe is the better prospect because of the better barrier,” Prentice said before leaving for New Zealand on Wednesday to attend yearling sales in Auckland next Monday and Christchurch two days later.

“We’re going to do everything we can to try to punch through (and take the lead) with Beaudiene Beach Babe. If Our Major Mama had got a (favourable) draw, she would have been a big chance as well. But I’m not saying that she can’t win. She’ll need luck from that barrier, but she is working well enough to be a definite place chance and even a winning chance.”

Leading trainer Gary Hall Snr, who has won the classic with Majorly Foxy Styx (2014) and Nuala (2015), considers his runner Slick Artist as just a rough place chance. Slick Artist, who will start from barrier two on the back line, set the pace and held on to win by a half-head from Lady De La Renta at Gloucester Park last Saturday week.

That followed Slick Artist’s close second to Infinite Symbol at Northam four nights earlier. Infinite Symbol, to be handled by Wayne Reid for Wanneroo trainer Julie O’Neill, has drawn the prized No. 1 barrier. She is a speedy beginner and strong frontrunner and Reid is expected to make a bold bid to set the pace.

Ken Casellas

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