Pope confident about return of the Jedi

19
May

Leading Pinjarra horseman Brett Pope will saddle-up five runners at today’s Pinjarra Park meeting, all of whom will be having their first starts back from a spell.

After a crippling stable virus derailed the campaigns of several of his charges during the spring and summer, the Peel trainer is looking forward to starting fresh with four progressive three-year-olds who will be launching their winter assaults today.

One runner Pope is particularly excited to see the return of is My Admiration gelding Jedi Mind ($4.60), who he says was one of the hardest hit by the virus when last in work.

“He was one probably on the worst scale of them,” Pope said.

“I tried to patch him up and freshen him up and give him another start when I think he ran about third or fourth, but he just wasn’t himself so we tipped him out and gave him a good break.

“He’s come back good, his trial the other day I thought was very good.

“He’ll win a few races this campaign.”

Stablemate and fellow three-year-old Kill The Lights ($5), by War Chant, showed promise when finishing second at each of his two race starts last preparation.

The gelding finished fifth of nine in a recent 950m trial at Lark Hill but Pope says he wasn’t out to break any records.

“It was okay,” he said.

“He kept working to the line, he sat out wide and he wasn’t there to do a lot.

“He was there because ours don’t see grass much, it’s just to give them a look at the grass before they go to the races.

“They don’t have to do too much, but I thought his was a sound trial.”

Star Witness three-year-old Star Subject ($9) will also make her race return today and, whilst Pope says the filly is still green and in need of experience, he feels she has a bright future.

“I quite like this filly, her only downside is she’s very raw,” Pope said.

“When you push the button her legs go everywhere, she still just doesn’t know how to really let down yet.

“I think she’s a filly with a bit of upside and she might be going for the Belmont Oaks or something during the winter.

“She’ll get over a trip, she’s just got to learn to flatten out.

“If she does that, she’s going to be a pretty smart little filly.

“I’d just be weary of just whether she can pick them up in time today.”

After contesting the Listed Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m), Group 3 W.A Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) and Listed WA Breeders’ Classic (1400m) within her past six race outings, Blow Me Out ($5) appears well-placed resuming in Class Three company at Pinjarra today.

Despite having her first start for 87 days without the benefit of a trial, Pope’s expecting a forward showing from the daughter of Alfred Nobel.

“She’s had a couple of good gallops and I’m looking forward to it,” Pope said.

“She’s drawn wide but it doesn’t affect her much, she’ll get back and if she’s held up late she’ll have a very good finish on her.

“She’s got a very good turn-of-foot, we probably haven’t seen the best of her like a couple of our horses when we had that bad run.

“It interrupted their campaigns.

“We haven’t seen them flow through the grades like we should’ve or hoping, but hopefully this time in she can get the job done today and we can aim for a city race after that.

“I just want to aim low with her first and see where we’re at and work our way up from there.”

Pope’s final runner of the day, Alby’s Pride ($41) — an Alfred Nobel four-year-old — will have his first start for the new stable in the final event of the eight-race program as he warms up for a north-west campaign.

“We actually picked him up for our holiday horse when we go up later to Carnarvon or Port Hedland for our holiday,” he said.

“We normally take a couple up there and he’s our holiday horse so hopefully he pays for our trip later on.”

Asked which of his quintet of runners have the best winning chance, Pope labels Jedi Mind the pick of the bunch.

“I’ll go with him, he’s a smart horse on the way up,” Pope said.