A good racing surface at the Gold Coast on Saturday will boost the chances of multiple Group 1 winner Preferment in the Group 2 $358,000 Attwood Marshall A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
Sydney’s wet Autumn weather severally hampered Preferment’s Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign and trainer Chris Waller was forced to restrict the five year old’s preparation to two runs.
Preferment finished a first up sixth over an unsuitable 1400m behind stablemate Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 The Star Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 13 and then wasn’t comfortable on a heavy track when tenth of ten to Winx again in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 25.
With Waller in the United States to see the running of the Group 1 US$2m Kentucky Derby (10 furlongs) at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, stable representative Charlie Duckworth has reported that Preferment was getting back to his best on the tracks and a much better performance can be expected back on top of the ground with the Gold Coast tack rated a Good 4 on Friday afternoon.
“It is good to see him back at the races on a better surface where he is obviously much better than his soft form and that is why we haven’t seen for such a long time,” Duckworth said.
“He is really enjoying his work and finishing off his work. I think he could be right up back to his best, but this (distance) is obviously a little bit short of his best.”
“He is a four time Group 1 winner. If he is up to his best they all has something to fight hard to beat.”
Preferment has been out of the winner’s stall since winning back to back Group 1 races during the 2016 Autumn Carnival with victories in the $1m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington and in the $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.
Preferment has drawn the rails with Hugh Bowman to ride and the Waller stable will also have Group 1 All Aged Stakes fourth placegetter McCreery going around in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes with leading Queensland jockey Jeff Lloyd to give him every chance from barrier five.
“He is a great little horse, tries his heart out,” Duckworth said.
“Got a good barrier in barrier five. Jeff Lloyd is leading the premiership up in Queensland by quite some way and he should be able to get a lovely run and fight out the finish.”
In early betting for the A.D. Hollindale Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au McCreery is the $5.50 second favourite behind Doncaster Mile winner It’s Somewhat who sits at the top of the market order at $2.80 while Preferment is marked at $10.