By Ray Hickson
Off the track, jockey Tye Angland is adamant Trapeze Artist is showing he’s on target for next month’s Everest but at Randwick on Saturday he’d like to see the four-year-old vindicate his position at the top of the market.
The Group 2 $500,000 Santos Coffee Premiere Stakes (1200m) serves as a crucial benchmark as it sees half the field for the $13m TAB Everest face off just two weeks before their grand final.
After riding Trapeze Artist on Tuesday Angland said he has improved since his first-up third in the Theo Marks Stakes (1300m), on an unsuitable heavy track, earlier this month but the bar is higher this time around.
“His first-up run was good enough to indicate to me he’s come back well,’’ he said.
“I think he’s best third-up so he has a bit of improvement to come. Redzel has been there and done it and continues to do it whereas we are coming in as a four-year-old off a very big three-year-old prep.
“Does he improve or does he idle where he was? He doesn’t have to improve much really because he beat Redzel at his best, we’ve just got to see it on race day now.’’
Despite carrying 61kg on a heavy track first-up, Trapeze Artist still ran the equal fastest last 600m of the Theo Marks in 35.36 (Punters Intel) plus the fastest 600m-400m of 11.72 and 400m-200m of 11.54 before his condition gave out under the weight.
With In Her Time, who won last year’s Premiere, Shoals, Invincible Star and Santa Ana Lane also using the race as their final Everest hitout the market will be in for a significant shake up.
Trapeze Artist and Redzel share top spot at $2.90 with TAB in the Premiere but in Everest betting Trapeze Artist is $5 ahead of Redzel $6 following the defending champ’s setback that forced him to miss The Shorts.
Last time they met Trapeze Artist swept past Redzel to take out the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes over the same course back in April.
The Gerald Ryan-trained sprinter then claimed the TJ-All Aged Stakes double to make it three Group 1 wins for the season.
Trapeze Artist completed his Premiere Stakes build up with a 600m jump out at Rosehill on Tuesday, without his blinkers, and received a glowing report from the jockey.
“He beat the other horse out then had two lengths put on him in mid gallop and I asked him to do a bit late, he caught up and went past pretty quick,’’ Angland said.
“This race is going to give everyone a bit of an indication of where each horse is at and how they are lining up against each other.
“I think the race should be a smoothly run race with enough speed for everyone to find their spot and the best horse wins.’’
Ryan echoed the comments of Angland regarding how much Trapeze Artist has come on since his first-up run and says the draw will give him the chance to play to his strengths.
“He’s better with cover, following something where he can build up into it,’’ Ryan said.
“He’s tightened up nicely. I‘ve always stated he’s hard to get fit but he’s come on really well and whatever he does he is still going to improve on.’’