Begg bullish about Classic chances
Grahame Begg has refused to concede Saturday’s $250,000 Inglis Classic to boom filly Chance Bye.
The Randwick trainer will start Ilovethiscity in the 1200 metre race at Rosehill and has been happy with the colt’s progress since his second on debut earlier this month.
The Michael Tubman-trained Chance Bye is expected to start favourite in the Classic after her barnstorming win in the Inglis Nursery (1000m) in December.
"She’s a nice filly but if you listen to the bloke that trains it nobody else should bother turning up because it’s in the bag," Begg said.
"A wide alley might bring her back to the pack and she’s got to run the 1200 metres too."
Ilovethiscity was third past the post on debut at Randwick on January 9 but promoted to second after a successful protest by apprentice Brenton Avdulla against Third Man’s rider Nathan Berry.
The race was awarded to Zutara with Third Man relegated to third after drifting out nearly six horses over the closing stages and causing interference to Ilovethiscity and Zutara.
Avdulla had to put his whip away near the 100 metres after being tightened for room, forcing him to ride hands and heels for the remainder of the race.
Nash Rawiller takes over aboard Ilovethiscity on Saturday.
Begg said the colt’s greenness showed in the closing stages but overall he was pleased with the way Ilovethiscity coped with racing.
"I don’t think the horse quite knew what to do," Begg said.
"The big worry was that it was such a hot day for his first run but he handled everything pretty well in the end."
Ilovethiscity has not been given any hard gallops since his debut but Begg says the colt has been topped up with plenty of pace work.
"The run will certainly bring him on for this race too and there’s been nothing in his work to suggest he’s gone backwards, he’s done very well," Begg said.
"His first run came just five days after his first trial and that’s something we normally wouldn’t do.
"He was supposed to trial on the Tuesday after Christmas but they were called off because of rain."
There are 14 nominations for the Inglis Classic including two of Ilovethiscity’s rivals from his debut run.
The Rick Worthington-trained Third Man is among the nominations together with Spot The Rock from the Tim Martin stable.
Spot The Rock was a close fourth in the bunched finish at Randwick.
By Russell Jackson