Morton’s Twin City Assault

20
Feb

Dan Morton will be absent from Ascot on Saturday but the in-form trainer still expects his stable to exert a major influence.

One Off The Wood appears to have strong winning claims in the opening event and Orright in race five cannot be discounted.

Morton will be at Flemington putting the final touches to Watermans Bay in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m).

The son of Eternity Range is up against a small but hot field that includes Deep Field and Lankan Rupee.

Morton recognises the enormity of the task but says it provides Watermans Bay with a perfect hit out.

“He will acquit himself well but for me it’s a trial down the straight to fit him out for the Newmarket in three weeks’ time,” said Morton.

“He appears to be back in form since joining my team and I thought it warranted in bringing him across.

“I’m under no illusion against the big guns but he travelled well and I’m really happy with how he is going.

“The way he races he is going to be watching most of them but hopefully he can work into the race late.”

One Off The Wood, to be ridden by William Pike, is the $2.50 TAB favourite in the Westminster National Equipment Finance Plate (1000m).

The War Chant filly scrambled to a narrow maiden victory over Shady Gray (1000m) when leading all the way at Ascot in January.

She attempted the same run on the same track a fortnight later but faded to third behind Saxophonist, beaten 1 ¼ lengths.

“I stretched her out over 1200m and it might have been a bridge too far,” said Morton.

“She hasn’t lost form and back to the 1000m she will be there a long way.”

Morton is excited about the future of lightly raced three-year Orright who resumes to take on the Westminster National Business Finance Handicap (1400m).

The Oratorio gelding broke his maiden status at his second start in November before a top showing at Listed company in the Aquanita Stakes (1800m).

Powering home from the tail of the field Orright ran race fastest final 600m when sixth and 2 ¼ lengths astern of Palace Intruder.

“He has only had a few runs but is an exciting horse,” said Morton.

“He is still very green but when the penny drops he is going to be a nice horse.

“I’m hoping that’s not too far around the corner.”

Orright, rated a $6 chance, has drawn the widest gate in the field of 14.

RWWA: Julio Santarelli