THERE is arguably no more interesting acceptor than Shuri for Saturday’s Wyong meeting – but trainer Kris Lees is holding off confirming a start.
The leading Newcastle trainer is tossing up whether to run the impressive Taree debut winner in the Gosford Masonic Centre Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) for her first provincial appearance, or stay in the country for a Benchmark 58 Handicap over the same distance at Scone on Monday.
Andrew Gibbons has been booked for Wyong if Shuri goes there, and his apprentice son Dylan goes aboard if she runs at Scone.
Shuri has 56kg (1kg over the limit) at Wyong, but 60kg staying in a country race if Scone gets the nod.
The beautifully-bred four-year-old mare, a daughter of Japanese stallion Satono Aladdin and New Zealand mare Phoenix Tycoon, didn’t begin racing until October 20 when she outclassed her rivals in a 1400m Maiden by four and a half lengths.
“She beat nothing that day but did it well all the same,” Lees said from Melbourne this afternoon.
“I would expect she can hold her form whichever race she runs in.
“We haven’t made a decision yet where she will go.”
Dylan Gibbons went to Taree to partner Shuri on debut, but has Rosehill Gardens bookings on Saturday, including Regal Lion in the $2m Five Diamonds (1800m).
Lees has two Wyong acceptors, and irrespective of what decision he makes with Shuri, will definitely start Bellascent (Andrew Gibbons) in the Freemasons On The Central Coast Provincial Maiden Handicap (1600m).
He regards the three-year-old filly as a place chance after a nice debut fifth in a Newcastle Provincial Maiden (1300m) against her own age on October 17.
Whilst Lees is uncertain about a target for Shuri, Wyong trainer Damien Lane has confirmed Red Cobra will dodge a 1600m Maiden Handicap at Scone to line up at home in the same race as Bellascent.
Lane’s talented apprentice Anna Roper will claim 3kg, bringing Red Cobra in with 2.5kg under the limit at 53.5kg.
The Sebring four-year-old deserves a change of luck after finishing second (Wyong 1350m), Newcastle 1600m and Grafton 1720m) at his last three starts.
“Red Cobra is racing well and looks to be the best of my chances,” Lane said.
“The only negative might be that he is a get back horse, and thus isn’t necessarily best suited at Wyong.
“But we’re staying at home with him on Saturday, and hopefully we can get a breakthrough.”
Stablemate Zedari (Rentokil Initial Super Maiden Plate, 1300m) won’t run as he is heading to Kempsey for the Cup meeting tomorrow, and Lane says it’s 50-50 whether another of his Wyong acceptors contests the same race or also goes to Kempsey.
Trainers Blake Ryan and Richard Collett have made decisions about their respective dual acceptors Critical Time and Struff.
Critical Time (Christian Reith) will start in the Wideline Windows & Doors Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m) rather than the Wyong Leagues Group – The Roos Foundation Midway Class 1 Handicap (1200m), and Ryan has opted to run him minus visors.
Struff (Andrew Calder) contets the race Critical Time has been withdrawn from, and bypasses the Peter Mac’s Service Centre Class 1 Handicap (1350m).
A lightly-raced daughter of Winning Rupert, Struff hasn’t missed a placing in five starts to date.
She finally shed her maiden status at her last run, in a 1300m Maiden at Hawkesbury on October 19.
. The rail is in the TRUE position, and racing gets underway at 1.20pm.
SELECTIONS: RACE 1 – 1.20pm: GOSFORD MASONIC CENTRE BENCHMARK 64 HCP, 1600m: 1 SHURI, 2 Oakfield Twilight, 3 Vegas Outlaw, 4 Statesville.
RACE 2 – 1.55pm: GARY TURNER MEMORIAL – ABBEY TIMBER 3YO MAIDEN HCP, 1000m: 1 PRIMA BELLA, 2 Winning Run, 3 Angel Of Spring, 4 Slush Fund.
RACE 3 – 2.35pm: WYONG LEAGUES CLUB GROUP – THE ROOS FOUNDATION MINDWAY CLASS 1 HCP, 1200m: 1 DECEIVE, 2 Struff, 3 Parisian Rose, 4 Estephania.
RACE 4 – 3.15pm: PETER MAC’S SERVICE CENTRE CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1350m: 1 EAU DE VIE, 2 Imran, 3 Always In, 4 Happy Saturday.
RACE 5 – 3.55pm: FREEMASONS ON THE CENTRAL COAST MAIDEN HCP, 1600m: 1 RED COBRA, 2 Seasons Of Mist, 3 Bellascent, 4 Razella.
RACE 6 – 4.35pm: RENTOKIL INITIAL SUPER MAIDEN PLATE, 1300m: 1 JAEX, 2 Aix En Provence, 3 Prairie Legend, 4 Major Look.
RACE 7 – 5.06pm: WIDELINE WINDOWS & DOORS BENCHMARK 64 HCP, 1100m: 1 IRON HAT, 2 One Destiny, 3 One Kind, 4 Pad Thai.