From early on, I've had a pretty decent opinion of Unlikely Story and I certainly don't think we've seen him reach his ceiling yet. Saturday represents a good opportunity for the striking chestnut to take another step towards reaching the heights that he should.
This is essentially his second full preparation and you can see him starting to put it together. His two wins were encouraging, before, off a bad draw, he simply got too far back in a race dominated by mainly those near the speed. He couldn't pick up as quickly as he needed to under the 59 kilos, but his effort was still full of merit.
This really does look a perfect race for him. He meets a few that he's been taking on of late better off at the weights, draws to take a closer position in running, and Brad Stewart, arguably Queensland's most in form jockey, sticks with him again. He's not the type of horse that will let you down from what I've seen and he can round out the day on a winning note.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
This is a lovely filly from the John Sargent stable, who did everything right in her lone trial and looks a real professional type that can make a splash as a two-year-old.
She is wonderfully bred, hailing from one of the great female families in the stud book, her fourth dam the legendary Franfreluche. My Fire Phoenix led that trial up under her own conviction, railed beautifully, and when given a very slight shake, she accelerated and came back underneath the jockey to win, easing down late. I think the two behind her there have got ability as well and it may prove to be a strong trial.
There's a few others here with talent, I'll concede that, but my gut feel is that this filly might be a genuine stakes performer as a juvenile and if that's the case she should be hard to beat here on debut.
He has been well backed and is certainly short enough now, but it really is difficult to see Mastering getting beat at Caulfield on Saturday, all things being equal.
After showing signs of promise at three, he was massive first up at four smashing a field of four rivals at Kilmore, before he was very good as favourite up the straight at Flemington. Unfortunately Usain Bowler was on another planet that day.
He now comes back to his home circuit, around a bend, draws well and stays relatively down in the weights. He's got more upside than anything else here and I'd be surprised if he doesn't make it win number four.
OVER THE ODDS
He's a pretty easy horse to assess Natch. He knows one way to race and that's to get out in front and dictate and he gives plenty when asked to late in his races. But, like most horses who need to lead in order to show their best, sometimes you can't control what the others do. Naturally if he has to work early or gets taken on in the run, he can be vulnerable late.
First up he was brave and was only nabbed in the last 100m when his fitness may have given out the last bit. Second up the 1400m may have just been a bridge too far and after working a little early he was no match for the swoopers, giving ground in the final stages.
This should be a different story. Third up now he'll be ready for the seven furlongs, a distance he is proven at when race fit. From the good gate, I can see him getting to lead and dictating a race that doesn't seem to have a heap of others that will take him on in that early speed battle.
The odds are getting close to double figures for the son of Thorn Park and that's extremely appealing. I can't see anything but him being in the finish of this.
Leg 1 - 1,4,5,7,9
Leg 2 - 1,9
Leg 3 - 3,4,5,6,11
Leg 4 - 4,7,8,9,11,13
($100 = 33.33%)
Leg 1 - 3,5,9
Leg 2 - 1,4,5,7,9
Leg 3 - 1,2,3,9
Leg 4 - 4
($100 = 166.67%)