Oakhurst Flyer has earned a reputation as a fighter and she will have to bring those qualities to the Konica Minolta Print Solutions Handicap (1500m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Trainer Justin Warwick says weight will be the biggest stumbling block for the Key Business mare who holds a consistent record of three wins and eight placings from 12 starts.
Oakhurst Flyer, freshened after a 35 day break, will have to lump a career-high 58.5kg with the claim of Lucy Warwick and start from the widest barrier in the field of 10.
She also confronts Very Special from the inform Grant Williams’ stable who is knocking on the door after being placed in each of her three starts this preparation.
Very Special, who will combine with William Pike from gate eight, holds $2.50 favouritism with the TAB after being claimed by He Or She at Ascot (1400m) on November 15.
The margin was a nose with a further 1 ¼ lengths to fourth placegetter Real Charm who will be reaching peak fitness at her fourth run in.
The Adam Durrant-trained mare is the second elect at $4 with Oakhurst Flyer on the third line at $4.80.
“She has a heart made of cast iron but it’s not the ideal race because she has to carry that type of weight for the first time in her life,” said Warwick on TAB Radio.
Warwick happily admits This Cat Rocks has performed above expectations and is concerned the four-year-old faces a similar weight and barrier conundrum to Oakhurst Flyer.
This Cat Rocks carries 57kg for Warwick’s jockey daughter, a 4.5kg rise on his last-start win when he held out Raising Dubai by a short neck.
The Fastnet Rock gelding, who is in peak form with two wins and three placings from his past five starts, will start from the widest gate in barrier 11.
“I didn’t have a good opinion of him but he has been a surprise,” said Warwick.
“He will hopefully lead and give them something to chase.
“He is a strong horse who keeps going.”
This Cat Rocks is second favourite behind Pants On Friar who posted a scintillating four length win over 1800m a fortnight ago.
The Blackfriars mare, who has placed but yet to win beyond 1800m, is at $2.40. This Cat Rocks is quoted a $5.50 chance.
Warwick’s handy middle distance galloper Dubai Escapade renews acquaintances with Young Lionel and Ask Me Nicely in the Tony Carter Memorial Trophy (2200m).
Little separated the trio on November 1 but Young Lionel stole the honours, holding out the fast-finishing Ask Me Nicely and Dubai Escapade respectively.
“I think he is close to breaking through and I have him in a nice space,” said Warwick.
“He probably doesn’t win as often as he should but that’s what you get with back markers.”
Young Lionel is the $4 favourite with punters. Ask Me Nicely and Dubai Escapade share the second line at $5.
Warwick is eager for Chilly Reception to make his first appearance for the stable after a false start at Bunbury on Sunday.
The six-year-old takes on promising four-year-old He Or She in the Konica Minolta Giving Shape To Ideas Handicap (1500m).
“He was going to race in Bunbury but had sore feet and I had to pull him out,” said Warwick.
“I thought he was going to be very competitive in the race.
“Saturday is stronger but I like him and he has arrived in great order.
“I’m sure he is going to win a couple of races in the coming months.”
Warwick will round out the Ascot meeting with another stable newcomer Uncle George and Ultimate Success in the Vale Joseph O’Dea Snr Handicap (1800m).
“Uncle George will be flying home but a big ask after a year out,” said Warwick.
“Ultimate Success will probably find it hard from the draw against this kind of position.”
Ultimate Success will start from barrier 16.
Uncle George hasn’t raced since a ninth placing to Pop Culture in the ATA Handicap (2200m) in 2013.