TIME FOR ALBUKHTURI TO STEP UP IN GUINEAS

18
Jun

He’s promised a lot, but so far has under delivered.

For Albukhturi, the time has come to make a stand and turn potential into performance in the Listed WAROA-Belmont Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.

Michael Gangemi, who trains in partnership with his brother Chris, is optimistic the Iffraaj gelding can make an impact, despite his market status and form.

The former Melbourne horse has one win from eight starts and attracted the attention of the Gangemi’s when runner-up to Glenfiddich in the Mornington Sires (1500m) last year.

Glenfiddich progressed to win the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley and ran placings in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

Albukhturi transferred west from the Hayes and Dabernig set up and got off to an encouraging start when runner up to Belmont Guineas rival, I’m Eugene (1200m) at Belmont in May.

But he has since fallen away and lost a fair share of admirers after finishing unplaced at his next two starts over 1300 and 1400m respectively.

The TAB has Albukhturi as the $71 rank outsider in latest betting. Raconteur Stakes runner up Billy Ain’t Silly is the $2.30 favourite.

Tri For Us and Sheza Chalmer are on the next line at $4.20.

Despite being deserted by punters, Gangemi believes his faith in Albukhturi won’t be misplaced on Saturday.

“He’s been disappointing since he has been here, but I think the 1600m will make a huge difference to him,” Gangemi told The Races WA.

“Like any of the horses we bring across we know they have the ability and it’s just a matter of trying to unlock the key to them.

“We’ve been trying different things and on Saturday he will have the winkers on.

“We know what he is capable of and if he produces a similar run to when he ran second at Mornington he will be in it.

“I think the price he’s at is way overs and I haven’t lost faith that he can bounce back.

“He needs to step up, but at his best he can win it

“At the end of the day I wouldn’t swap him for any other runner.”

Brad Parnham sticks with Albukhturi. They combine from barrier seven.

Parnham is looking for his second Belmont Guineas after he won on Variation (2017).

Chris Gangemi can also claim a second win in the race and the first in combination with Michael after he prepared The Underworld (2011).

Earlier the Gangemi team will unveil two-year-old Thomas Magnum in the Crown Perth Plate (1000m).

The Per Incanto gelding looked sharp when eased down to win a 1000m trial by two lengths.

“He’s still growing and is an athlete,” Gangemi said.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.

“His trial was good and he’s a serious animal.”

Thomas Magnum has drawn barrier eight for Mitch Pateman.

He’s the $4.20 second favourite behind Bopping Blue ($2.70).

Reflectivity gets to make his Perth debut in the Amelia Park Handicap (1200m) after six wins from 31 starts for the Hawkes camp in Sydney.

The six-year-old warmed for his first run since last December when second to Bourbon Beau in a 1000m Belmont trial.

From barrier two he will be in the hands of Shaun McGruddy and is rated a $17 chance.

“He wasn’t knocked around in the trial,” Gangemi said.

“From the gates, he should be right behind them.

“If we can get him back happy and healthy he can give it a good shake.”

Julio Santarelli