Mark Newnham, the stable foreman for Gai Waterhouse, believes that Romantic Touch will be helped by a return to firm ground when he contests the 2014 Randwick Guineas in Sydney this afternoon.
Romantic Touch returned to a semblance of his best form with a third place finish in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 15, but faded in the final stages of the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at the same venue on March 1 to finish sixth.
Newnham told Racing Ahead that Romantic Touch failed to handle the slow Rosehill Gardens track in the Hobartville Stakes and is confident that the son of Northern Meteor can produce an improved performance on a dead track in the Randwick Guineas.
“A firmer track is going to suit him a lot better,” Newnham said.
“His first-up run was quiet good and the other day he probably just went a bit keen with the blinkers back on and the going probably didn’t suit him.”
Romantic Touch was gelded after making his racing debut in the Warwick Farm Plate in December of 2012 and the move paid off significantly for connections; with the juvenile taking out races at Warwick Farm and Canterbury in dominant fashion.
The Gooree Pastoral Company-owned galloper made his Group 1 racing debut in the J.J. Atkins (1600m) during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and scored a narrow win over a hot field, which included Zoustar, Paximadia and Vilanova.
Romantic Touch was unable to replicate that form during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and was sent to the spelling paddock prematurely after finishing eighth in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 7 and tenth in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 29.
Newnham believes that Romantic Touch is yet to return to the form that he showed as a juvenile, but is confident that he is a winning chance in the Randwick Guineas if he can return to his best.
“Last time at a mile he won the Group in Queensland beating, Zoustar, and he has the right form lines if he can return to that,” Newnham said.
Romantic Touch is currently available at 2014 Randwick Guineas odds of $26 and will be partnered by leading Brisbane jockey Damian Browne in the Group 1 event.