According to Darley Australia’s managing director Henry Plumptre, Knoydart needs to step up a level if he is to replicate previous stable stars in the Group 1 $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Under the guidance of trainer Peter Snowden, Darley collected the Doomben 10,000 winning trophy in 2011 with Beaded and last year with Epaulette.
Plumptre has cast a shadow over Knoydart’s chances in the weight for age feature sprint of the Brisbane Winter Carnival and even though he knows the More Than Ready four year old has plenty of ability he doesn’t rate him in the same class as Beaded and Epualette.
“I don’t think Knoydart’s as good as them,” Plumptre told The Courier-Mail.
“Beaded ran enough placings in Group 1’s behind some serious horses to suggest she was a top filly and Epaulette on his day, when he wanted to, could be anything.
“I don’t think we’ve ever thought Knoydart was in that class. But he has stepped up. His biggest issue early on was with soundness. He had a few niggling issues and he wasn’t letting go a lot of the time.
“Pete (Snowden) got him going in the autumn and when he ran a really good race in the Newmarket we thought he could be a chance in a race like the 10,000.
“On his day he’s capable but I don’t think we would have him at the same level as Beaded or Epaulette.”
Knoydart looked like he was on his way to realise his potential after being gelding and won over 1250m at Canterbury at his first run back after having the operation.
He then put two more wins together at Listed level in the $100,000 Canterbury Classic (1100m) at Canterbury on January 24 and the $120,000 IVECO Melbourne Truck Centre Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington on February 12.
Snowden then stepped Knoydart up to Group 1 company and the rejuvenated sprinter dashed home to run third to Lankan Rupee in the $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 22 and repeated that effort for another third to Lankan Rupee in the $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8.
Then at his last start for Snowden before John O’Shea took over as Darley’s number one trainer, Knoydart was beaten by Hot Snitzel when second as favourite in the Group 3 $150,000 Ticketek Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 26.
O’Shea decided to miss the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben two weeks ago and the gelding has only arrived in Brisbane this week.
Knoydart is marked as a $10 chance for the Doomben 10,000 with Ladbrokes.com.au with local hero Buffering holding onto favouritism at $4.20 just ahead of Rebel Dane at $4.40 and Spirit Of Boom at $4.80.
BTC Cup winner Famous Seamus is quoted at $8 with Temple Of Boom at $12, Driefontein, Hot Snitzel and Peron at $21 and Conservatorium and Scream Machine at $26.
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