Perth trainer Simon Miller advises punters not too ignore First Among Equals as an each way hope in the Group 1 Goodwood Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
Miller believes First Among Equals has slipped under the radar with the bulk of pre-race attention on WA-owned gallopers, Black Heart Bart, Vega Magic and Malaguerra.
Black Heart Bart, trained by Darren Weir, is the $3.40 favourite to become just the second horse in over a century to win Adelaide’s major sprint on two occasions.
Vega Magic, racing first-up for the Hayes and Dabernig combination, is on the second line of betting at $6.50, ahead of Secret Agenda ($7) and Malaguerra ($8).
Miller says First Among Equals is up to challenge against a crack line-up after a top performance behind Takedown in last November’s Group One Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.
The Exceed And Excel gelding flashed home from the back half of the field to run one length fourth, finishing one spot ahead of Malaguerra with Vega Magic running seventh.
Miller says, First Among Equals, to be ridden by Victorian hoop, Luke Nolen, is in top shape for his Group 1 assault after winning the Northam Stakes first-up earlier this month.
“He has form around Vega Magic and Malaguerra and they are short,” Miller said On Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.
“It looks a nice race for him and he is worth an each way bet for sure.
“He will be in the three wide lane somewhere and you know he will be smashing the line.
“Everything is perfect with him and his work on Tuesday was very good.”
First Among Equals has drawn barrier 16. Miller said his pattern of racing will overcome a wide draw.
“If I had a horse who would predominantly race forward I would have been shattered by the draw, Miller said.
“There are three or four on his outside that are natural go forward horses so the tempo will be right on.”
First Among Equals can kick off a massive day for Miller with his gun filly, Caipirinha, holding favour with punters in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m) back home at Ascot.
The daughter of Nicconi, unbeaten in two starts this campaign, can join Wildside (1982) as the only fillies to win Perth’s premier winter sprint.
“She is going really good and winning form is good form,” Miller said.
“She is taking on older horses for the first time but has an X factor about her.
“This looks a really nice race for her and she is exciting.
“She has the skates to speed across and will assume the forward roll.
“I think she is in with a definite chance.”
Caipirinha ($4.80) holds narrow favouritism over Rock Magic ($5.00), Great Shot ($5.50) and Battle Hero ($5.50).
RWWA: Julio Santarelli