Keith Dryden can cap off a spectacularly successful 2020 with a win in the Christmas Cup at Moruya, with TAB Highway winner Scarleo ready to deliver some cheer for his loyal fans.
Dryden doesn’t keep count of his own winners, but others do, with statistics showing the master trainer having saddled-up close to 60 winners since the beginning of the year.
Scarleo has done his bit to enhance Dryden’s tally with a Rosehill win, and importantly, from Sunday’s perspective, he is ‘one for one’ at Moruya.
The son of Helmet has been his usual consistent self since his Highway win in September, finishing with a medal at his last two appearances, racing above his true grade both times.
“He is racing right out of his class, because he is only a Class 2 horse and I am starting him open company races, so he is always going to find it hard,’’ Dryden said. “I think he can race on the pace and he is a fairly fit horse, so he will be strong at the end of it (the 1300m).’’
Trainer Keith Dryden hopes to cap off a good year with a win in the Christmas Cup at Moruya. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Scarleo will be ridden in Sunday’s feature by Blaike McDougall, who, when riding for ‘Kosciuszko Keith’, boasts an incredible 23.6 per cent winning strike-rate.
That figure could edge up again, given McDougall is also on Dryden’s crack mare Eltham Palace in the co-feature Christmas Flying (1010m).
The great grand-daughter of the Ingham’s Silver Shadow winner Seika has raced a dozen times for three wins and seven seconds.
She, like Scarleo, is also a Moruya winner and with McDougall riding that day.
“She has gone pretty good and has been a consistent horse,’’ Dryden said. “We found an ulcer on her epiglottis (at the end of her last preparation), so we gave her a bit of time off and I cured that, and she has been working along fine.
“She is up in open company as well, but she will race well.’’
Another of the Dryden/McDougall runners at Moruya on Sunday is the well-related Waikato Stud-bred gelding Loafing.
The near black-coloured four-year-old is a replica of his sire, Savabeel, and is set to resume in the Maureen Kinross Memorial Class 2 Handicap (1300m).
“He is going all right,’’ Dryden said. “He is actually owned by my partner — I bought him online from Chris Waller.
“The 1300m is as short as he would want, he will be working home at the end of it, but I would be thinking he would want a bit more ground. He is a good type of horse and is a full brother to the horse that raced in the Villiers the other day — Savacool.’’
Loafing has himself won three races from his seven starts and broke his maiden status for Dryden and Jay Ford at Moruya.
McDougall’s fourth and only other ride for Dryden is aboard Emma’s Gift in the Maddison Wright Champion Picnic Jockey Class 1 Handicap (1010m). Emma’s Gift arrives in great form, having won first-up in Canberra last month, with McDougall doing the honours.
Blaike McDougall has a great strike rate when riding for Keith Dryden. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Meantime, Moruya-bound filly Role Play has only won one race in her four starts, but has already paid for herself, and her meals and accommodation, for at least another preparation.
Trainer Kerry Parker can take credit for one the best buys at the 2019 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, paying just $10,000 for the daughter of Silver Slipper winner Headwater.
After an inauspicious opening to her career at Nowra, Role Play has been on an upward trajectory, culminating in a last to first win in a Moruta maiden at her most recent appearance on August 12.
On Sunday she returns to the scene of her barnstorming win, when she resumes in the Maureen Kinross Memorial Class 2 Handicap over 1300m.
“It was a good win down there and she is only a light little filly, so I was happy to put her in a paddock after that, because she had paid for her own spell, that always helps,’’ Parker said.
“That was the idea, if she could get the job done down there, she could go out for a holiday. She has come back a lot bigger and stronger, so I am hoping we can continue on.’’
Role Play was tuned up for a Sunday afternoon return to racing with a soft trial at Kembla on December 9. Although she finished last, over eight-lengths from the winner, the time for the 800m was a blistering 46.60 seconds.
“She is just going to need a soft run in the race,’’ Parker said. “I think she will run a mile eventually. She has got a good little turn of foot, which obviously worked last prep. I suppose we can continue along like that and see if she can still bring that turn of foot to the table.
Role Play will be partnered by Winona Costin — the winning rider of the TAB Highway — who has been on Parker’s filly for all bar one of her four starts.
Role Play is a well-related filly being out of an Octagonal daughter of Real Treasure, who won the Listed WATC Sheila Gywnne Stakes in Perth.
Winona Costin will ride Role Play for Kerry Parker. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
SHAYNE O’CASS’S TOP PICKS
Race 1, No.11: JAC THE GREAT
Finished runner-up at all three runs this campaign and in noticeably strong maidens. Gets her big chance here.
Race 4, No.11: SIR EAGLE
Handy horse who was very brave winning here first-up last campaign. Looked good when doing his best work in a recent Kembla trial.
Race 3, No.9: SO SAY YOU
Progressive mare by So You Think who placed third in a very, very deep maiden at Nowra last start. Peaks here.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
BLAIKE MCDOUGALL has the pick of the rides wherever he goes these days, and what a fabulous book he has at Moruya!
Race 4: 11, 12
Race 5: 1, 3, 4, 6, 14
Race 6: 11
Race 7: 4, 10
INSIDE MAIL — MORUYA
Jac The Great has finished second at three of her four starts, noting that all of them (the seconds that is) have been during this campaign. And while the beaten margins have been anywhere between a length and three lengths, they were pretty strong maidens. Barrier three and Jeff Penza — tick, tick. Think Rush was doing good things late at his last two in fact and sets up well here at home albeit with a wide draw. Aunty is trained by Anthony Cummings and needs to be able to do something in this grade.
BET: JAC THE GREAT win, exacta 11 to beat 6.
Skaifee was $31 into $26 when he won at Queanbeyan. That was a huge improvement on his first two runs but we can only speculate that he has come back a different horse after the spell. He may have only won narrowly but he was super impressive. Former Snowden Racing-trained gelding California August is now a Moruya resident with Natalie Jarvis, who does a fabulous job with ‘tried horses’ that join her stable. Big weight and the wide draw are the two negatives. Last-start winner Emma’s Gift has a winning draw.
BET: SKAIFEE each-way.
So Say You is a handy mare by So You Think; her grand-dam is a stakes-winner by Zabeel so she has a nice pedigree. She is a lightly-raced four-year-old with two placings from her six starts, including a third to Loving Cilla and Jac The Great in a better than average maiden at Nowra. Annual was fourth in the same race but a fair way off So Say You. Should be thereabouts again with even luck. Huge watch on Sweet Cheval. This former Mike Moroney gelding is with Matthew Dale now and has Blaike McDougall riding.
BET: SO SAY YOU win.
Sir Eagle is a half brother to Queensland Derby winner Eagle Way who went to Hong Kong and won several million dollars. As for Sir Eagle, he’s not going to be winning Group races at Sha Tin but he is a pretty handy type just the same. He excels here at Moruya; in fact he won here first-up last prep. Role Play was spelled after she charged home down the outside rail to win her maiden here in August. Has talent. Loafing is another Moruya winner. Clearly better over a mile but he is fresh and handy.
BET: SIR EAGLE win, exacta 11 to beat 12.
Robert and Luke Price have some winning chances at Moruya, including Noble Belle. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Noble Belle is another of the Robert and Luke Price-trained chances on the big Christmas Cup day card. This particular mare was good enough without being startling when she ran fifth at Nowra first-up. She gives the distinct impression that she will appreciate the rise to 1425m. Quiano Queen got a Blaike McDougall gem to win on the Riverside track last start. She is a tempo/luck reliant mare which accounts for why she is 41 starts/4 wins. Romeo Vella bolted in when he won last and has the perfect gate and B. McDougall!
BET: NOBLE BELLE win, box trifecta 1, 3, 4, 6, 14.
Eltham Palace has a tidy C.V of 12 starts, three wins and seven placings. The Keith Dryden-trained mare has raced at this track and distance for a win and a second. She likes to race in the first three so you would think she gets there here by virtue of barrier three and that man again — McDougall. Revitup Rednut can often play an ‘ambush role’, jumping up out of nowhere to win at odds. Consider this — he has won five from nine here and is unbeaten in two t/d runs. Hard Core sat back and swept home over the top to win at the Sapphire Coast last time.
BET: ELTHAM PALACE win.
Scarleo is a Highway winner and a terribly gallant horse. Here’s an interesting little stat — Blaike McDougall and Keith Dryden have a 23.6 per cent winning strike-rate when they combine, which is pretty huge! Ruthless Agent is ‘one for one’ at Moruya and has frequently run well in stronger races. Rockarosa is ex-Chris Waller, now Dryden. Has a degree of class and quality. Nieces and Nephews was really good winning at Mudgee.
BET: SCARLEO win.
Originally published asMoruya tips: Scarleo can deliver Christmas joy
Source: Read Full Article