Distance right for Athabascan in the Tancred Stakes

A return to his pet distance is expected to help Athabascan bring his A-game to Rosehill where he will take on William Haggas’ latest Sydney autumn carnival star, Post Impressionist, in the Group One Tancred Stakes.

Athabascan has won two black-type races in Australia, both of them over 2400 metres, including the Colin Stephen Quality over Saturday’s circuit.

While yet to salute at weight-for-age level, he was solid behind Think It Over first-up in the Verry Elleegant Stakes (1600m) before dropping back to handicap conditions when midfield in the Sky High Stakes (2000m) won by Lindermann.

Trainer John O’Shea expects the horse to strip much fitter and says along with rising to his right journey on Saturday, Athabascan will also be ridden more conservatively from his outside gate in 11.

“He’s drawn tricky but it’s a mile-and-a-half and he is a mile-and-a-half horse,” O’Shea said.

“I think we’ve been riding him a bit too forward. We will give him a chance on Saturday, and he is more than competitive at that level.

“He’s going well and that was evidenced by where the market had him (last start) when he was a 7-2 chance.”

Athabascan has had four starts over 2400m for two wins and a third, and provided he is competitive in the Tancred Stakes, O’Shea is keen to stretch him out further.

Next month’s Sydney Cup (3200m) is firmly on the radar with lightweight jockey Tyler Schiller, who will partner him at Rosehill, also booked to ride him in the staying feature.

In a reminder of how deeply imported horses now dominate Australia’s staying ranks, eight of the nine horses striving to upset Post Impressionist are themselves former Europeans, including Athabascan.

Three-year-old Tom Kitten is the only Australian-born horse in the race.

Annabel Neasham will saddle up a pair of internationally-bred runners in Caulfield Cup fourth placegetter Bois D’Argent and last-start Victoria Gold Cup winner Gear Up.

A Group 1 winner in France, Gear Up lost form in the spring but has turned in two bold runs in Melbourne to start his campaign, while Bois D’Argent launched his autumn with a fighting second to Serpentine in the Randwick City Cup.

While both are at double-figure odds, Neasham won’t be surprised to see them feature in the finish.

“There’s a couple of horses there who will be tough to beat, but (Bois D’Argent), he’s a ‘smoky’ chance,” Neasham said.

“He is racing well, and Gear Up, he’s going well too.”

Neasham has scratched Little Mix from the Tancred in preference for the Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) and expects her to give that race a shake after flashing home for fourth to Osmose in the Epona Stakes (1900m) last weekend.

“Little Mix is a smoky as well in the Neville Sellwood. She was big the other day off a bad gate,” she said.

The mare has had early backing with Australian betting apps, firming from $9.50 into $6.50 to be on the fourth line of betting behind $3.40 favourite Zeyrek.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

Leave a Reply

Bookmaker Why Bet Sign Up Full Review
Bet Now at ladbrokes Back Yourself with Ladbrokes! Join Review
Bet Now at neds Back a Winner with Neds! Join Review
Bet Now at palmerbet Sign up to Unibet and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at tab Sign up to TAB and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at playup Sign up to PlayUp and start betting in minutes! Join Review