Trainer Kieran McDonagh hopes market support for Lord Lonsdale in the Westspeed Platinum Autumn Final (1200m) at Ascot is well placed.
Lord Lonsdale opened $14 with Tabtouch for the $100,000 event, but has now tightened to $9 and is one of three runners in single figure odds.
Adam Durrant’s in form gelding, Snipillicious and Premium Choice, second-up for Tony Triscari, currently hold market lead at $3.20.
Lord Lonsdale went without a win last campaign, but showed positive signs on his return over 1100m three weeks ago when a flashing second.
The son of Maschino was run off his feet early, but ran home powerfully from the back of the field to finish a short-neck second to Pink ‘N’ Gray.
“I was surprised because I thought it might have been too short for him,” McDonagh told The Races WA.
“He had been off the scene for a couple of months, but came home like a train and I think going from 1100m to 1200m will suit.
“He can be a lazy horse at home to work, but is flying at the moment.
“I think I went too hard on him last campaign and trained him wrong.
“He’s not a tough horse and the three weeks between runs will be a plus.”
Lord Lonsdale will go up against 12 other rivals on Saturday and has drawn barrier 11. Jockey Joe Azzopardi sticks with the five-year-old gelding.
McDonagh hopes his decision to scratch Mojo Rhythm from Ascot Wednesday will pay dividends in the Crown Perth Handicap (1600m).
A son of Playing God, the three-year-old steps up to a mile after two cracking runs at Pinjarra over 1300m and 1400m respectively.
He won first up from a short break when running on hard from the rear and last-start produced a similar run when a close third to Kazoku.
McDonagh believes Mojo Rhythm will relish going over further ground.
“I think he is a stayer in the making and is looking for more ground,” McDonagh said.
“He comes in after his races with such a low heart rate.
“I don’t think Saturday’s race is much harder than what he has met recently.
“He is still learning, but keeps on improving.
“He hasn’t competed against anything special, but should go close.”
Mojo Rhythm is currently rated a $6.50 chance and sits behind Kaymay $3.40 and Blow Me Out $4.20
He’s drawn the outside gate in barrier nine with Joe Azzopardi retaining the mount.
At Albany on Sunday, McDonagh is having another crack at the Furphy Road To Jericho Cup WA Qualifier (3100m) with Final Chill.
The Maschino five-year-old is looking to improve on his fifth to Saxon Saxoff 12-months ago when beaten just under two lengths.
Final Chill won a hat trick of races before last year’s race, but has not been sighted since and is unplaced in four runs this campaign.
Despite moderate form, McDonagh still maintains faith in the gelding.
“I don’t think he can be underestimated,” McDonagh said.
“Things haven’t gone right this prep and this race looks harder than last year, but he can stay.
“He’ll have no problems running the trip while others have doubts.”