Swiss Ace lines up for Oakleigh Plate
A crucial workout on the Caulfield course proper will determine whether Queensland sprinter Swiss Ace lines up in the Oakleigh Plate.
Trainer Mick Mair will make a final decision on Saturday’s 1100m Group One feature after Swiss Ace gallops on Tuesday.
Swiss Ace is stabled at Caulfield but Mair has concerns about starting the four-year-old on the tight turning track.
“It looks like he’ll run at this stage but I won’t make up my mind until he works at Caulfield on Tuesday,” Mair said.
Swiss Ace has pleased Mair since he resumed with a solid seventh, only 2-1/2 lengths behind Perth’s Scenic Blast in the Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on January 31.
“He seems to handle Caulfield in his work but I’ll go down and watch him gallop before deciding if he’ll start in the Oakleigh Plate,” Mair said.
Swiss Ace will be ridden in his track hitout by Caloundra jockey Ken Pope who rode the entire in the Lightning Stakes.
“Ken will travel down and ride him in his work and I’ll be guided by what he says regarding the Oakleigh Plate,” Mair said.
“I thought his Lightning run was very good and he’s improved a lot since then.
“He’s in Melbourne so why not have a go at Caulfield.”
Swiss Ace’s main autumn mission is the Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 7 where he will clash with another Queenslander Burdekin Blues.
“He’ll come home after the Newmarket and his performance will decide whether he goes back to Sydney to run in the Doncaster Handicap,” Mair said.
Swiss Ace is yet to race beyond 1400 metres but Mair is unconcerned about him running 1600 metres in the Group One Doncaster at Randwick in April.
Swiss Ace emerged from restricted ranks last year to become a major force during the Brisbane winter carnival but failed when 15th to Mr Baritone in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June.
Burdekin Blues arrived in Melbourne last week for his Newmarket Handicap assignment following his devastating weight-for-age win in the Group Two Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill last Saturday.
Trainer Barry Baldwin has ruled out the Oakleigh Plate for the four-year-old.
“I’m very happy with him but he won’t run in the Oakleigh Plate,” Baldwin said.
“It would be too much to ask him to run the reverse way in the Oakleigh Plate after only being in Melbourne around nine days.
“I think it will be better to forsake Caulfield for the straight six at Flemington.
“This way I can give him a look at Flemington by giving him a barrier trial there and then still have plenty of time before the Newmarket.”
Larry Cassidy will partner Burdekin Blues in the Newmarket Handicap if the sprinter receives enough weight.
By Glenn Davis