Annavisto in ‘sensational order’ ahead of Caulfield pressure test

Trainer Michael Kent Jr expects classy Annavisto to absorb anything thrown at her in what looms as a deep and tactically intriguing three-year-old handicap at Caulfield.

Annavisto led and won the Listed Bendigo Guineas in emphatic style last start, but Kent Jr said an inside draw on Saturday gave the untapped filly options.

The scratching of South Parade, a noted on-pace galloper, takes some of the pressure off but Air Defence and Palace Whisper should still ensure a solid tempo, which could potentially unsettle Annavisto.

Backmarker and second favourite Mozzie Monster, who closed off sharply last start to run second behind Annavisto, would be the beneficiary of the hot speed.

“I just see her sitting just behind the speed, getting the right run, with tempo on it should help her to relax and drop the bridle,” Kent Jr, who trains in partnership with Mick Price, said.

“It has been the main thing this preparation, just getting her to relax and you saw last start, when she relaxes well she can be quite effective the last 400m.

“The barrier really helps, if we had drawn eight or nine we'd be worried where she might end up, from barrier two you can come out with soft hands and not give her a dig.

“Equally, if no one wants to take it up, she can lead as well.”

Annavisto takes on Mozzie Monster again. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Annavisto has done nothing but impress since her brilliant Bendigo win and returns to the races with a view to head to Adelaide next for the Listed HC Nitschke Stakes (1400m) on April 24.

“She’s in sensational order,” Kent Jr said.

“It was a soft win for her and I couldn‘t be happier with how she’s bounced through it.

“Last preparation she was a bit immature, whereas this time around she holds condition so well, she‘s licking the feed bin, coping with racing and works so much better, she’s in rare form.

“The program was tricky for us after that (Bendigo) win, there wasn't another suitable stakes race for her … hence why we’re running her back in a handicap to tie her over.”

Stablemate Cumberbatch, who upstaged Annavisto two starts back, has also trained on since a luckless performance in the Mornington Guineas.

The stable has three runners in Adelaide on Saturday, including Ironedge ($26) and Valanetti ($31) in the Listed Port Adelaide Guineas at Morphettville.

“They are both massively over the odds in my opinion,” Kent Jr said.

“Valanetti is a smart filly … she was fourth last time behind Ecumenical, not beaten far and you could argue she was nearly the run of the race.

“Ecumenical is $4 and she’s $31, I think she’s really trained on the right way.”

Originally published asKent Jr backs Anna to handle pressure test

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