Winter Challenge Too Short For Canny Ballad

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Canny Ballad will be included in the 2015 Winter Challenge field that will be released tomorrow, but trainer John Thompson believes that the Listed event will be too short for the tough gelding.

Canny Ballad (outside) will contest the 2015 Winter Challenge at Rosehill Gardens this weekend. Photo by: Steve Hart

Canny Ballad (outside) will contest the 2015 Winter Challenge at Rosehill Gardens this weekend. Photo by: Steve Hart

Canny Ballad returned to the races in the Listed Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 18, but he was settled at the tail of the field in the early stages of the race and was never able to get into the contest.

Thompson told Racing Ahead that he expects the same thing to happen when Canny Ballad contests the Listed Winter Challenge (1500m) this weekend, but he believes that the Dream Ballad gelding is in for a big preparation when he gets out to an appropriate trip in races like the Listed Wyong Cup (2100m).

“I would wait for him for the start after,” Thompson said.

“He needs to get over a bit of ground and his aim is the Wyong Cup, which he ran second in last year.

“1500 metres on Saturday will just be too short for him, but once he gets up to 1800 the start after and the Wyong Cup the start after that he will come right into his own.”

Dragon Flyer is the other horses that Thompson has included in the nominations for the Rosehill Gardens meeting this Saturday and the rising six-year-old is set to take his place in the field for the Benchmark 75 Handicap.

The Pendragon gelding has not recorded a race win since he took out the Wedding Event Specialists Handicap (1400m) at Goulburn in May last year while he was still under the care of Guy Walter, but he has performed well in the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on June 10, the Pro-Ride Handicap (1400m) at Warwick Farm on July 1 and the Hungry Jacks Handicap (1350m) at Rosehill Gardens on July 18 and Thompson believes that he is ready to return to winning form this weekend.

“Dragon Flyer is at the top of his game and he has his foot on the till,” Thompson said.

“He is not far off a win and on Saturday he will be down in the weights again with a better chance on a drying track.”

Canny Ballad is set to take on the likes of Disclaimer, Eigelstien, Great Esteem, Liberty’s Choice, Rugged Cross, Spurtonic, Wouldnt It Be Nice and You’ll Never in the Winter Challenge this weekend.

About The Author

Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.


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