Racing: Splurge ready to tackle Aussies

By Mike Dillon

NZ sprinter can defy golden rule in Brisbane sprint after winning impressively at home at his last start.
Splurge, winner of seven of his 11 starts, tackles Australia's sprinters for the first time at Doomben today. Photo / Trish Dunell
Splurge, winner of seven of his 11 starts, tackles Australia's sprinters for the first time at Doomben today. Photo / Trish Dunell

Unquestionably, our horses are matching up to the Australians as never before.

But there is one golden rule - don't take a sprinter to Australia, they have the world's best.

In a modest way Splurge will attempt to put a dent in that adage in this afternoon's A$125,000 ($134,700) Brisbane Racing Club Sprint over 1350m.

And don't take our word he will give it a good shake, even the Australian TAB has him as the $4.60 favourite to achieve his goal.

Splurge has for a while given the impression he has what it takes to make it into the headlines, winning seven of his 11 starts, but none of those as impressively as his last-start victory at Te Rapa.

Under 59.5kg topweight he came from last, ran the 1200m on an officially slow track in 1.11.33 and eased back to nearly three-quarter pace in the closing stages.

It was the effort of a horse ready for Australian company.

To be fair, this is a mid-range Australian sprint line-up and Splurge, with Opie Bosson aboard, will be tough to beat with luck in running on the tight Doomben circuit.

It rained all night on Thursday and the likelihood of a slow track will not be a disadvantage.

Today's Brisbane feature, the A$650,000 Doomben Cup, looks another perfect opportunity for the imported It's Somewhat.

Godolphin, without a permanent jockey to replace James McDonald, is flying James Doyle, one of their English retained riders, back to Australia for just two engagements during the Brisbane winter carnival and this is one of them.

Since winning the group 3 Craven Plate in October with McDonald aboard, It's Somewhat has been unbeaten in three races this preparation, the group 2 Ajax Stakes, A$3m Doncaster and last start the A$350,000 Hollindale Cup.

His record shows he clearly does not mind the wet conditions.

For a Doncaster winner he is extremely well placed on essentially level weights with this opposition.

The O'Sullivan/Scott trained Sound Proposition makes his Australian debut in this race, but looks badly placed on the same 59kg allotted the Doncaster winner.

The first race at Te Rapa today is a beaut, throwing up at least half a dozen promising types that are going to make the grade.

One of the most impressive maiden winners lately has been Blue Shadow (No10, R1).

She fairly bolted past the leaders in the home straight to win at Matamata last start and from a handy barrier should get the run of the race.

Stephen Marsh holds a strong hand with Collay (No11) and Amastar (No7), the latter winning her only two starts.

She has a bad barrier to contend with and luck will play a big part in her finishing position.

Collay overcame a bad early check and was forced to cover extra ground to win when resuming at Taupo. She does not lack fight and that might be important in the closing stages.

Perry Mason (No1, R2) and Ours (No4) should fight out the major prize in the maiden hurdle race.

Perry Mason looks as though he learned a lot from his first hurdling campaign and was not beaten that far when topped off by Nothing Trivial on this track last start.

Ours is now prepared by Kevin Myers and as such deserves plenty of respect.

Sea King (No1, R3) has been a great performer at Te Rapa, even if his record looks bigger over the bigger steeple fences than over hurdles.

Even with 70kg topweight he will take stopping in the Waikato Hurdles. He is well used to carrying big weights.

Ngatira Gold (No6) should be improved by his recent racing and with a much lighter weight needs plenty of attention.

Battle Time (No5, R4) is difficult to follow. He ran a beaut first up on this track then started giving ground a fair way out in the Easter Stakes at Ellerslie at his only start since. It may just pay to forget the Ellerslie run because a peak effort here would just about see him get home.

Mighty Solomon (No3), El Pescado (No2) and Seventh Up (No1) are at the top of the handicap and all have the ability to win. Seventh Up has a devastating finish, but whether he is able to produce it under 60kg in this footing remains to be seen.

Profile (No13), with just 54kg, could spice up multiples.

The Big Opal (No3, R6) gives Myers a great chance in the Waikato Steeplechase. His record of four wins and a second from six steeplechase starts is stylish.

That win by Ekarosa (No5, R8) last start was no fluke. She has had a lot go wrong in her career, but has plenty of ability and could go close again.

Toorak Tower (No11, R10) could be value in the last. He is a big bloke and has probably taken time to become solid.

This is a fresh start and racing in that state should suit him.

- NZ Herald

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