Ready to strike

20 February 2021

ACE Menangle trainer David Thorn knew it would be almost impossible to dodge the might of Victoria’s most powerful stable when he nominated his current stable star Anntonia for tonight’s heats of the NSW Oaks.

Trainer Emma Stewart hits Menangle with an amazing five genuine Oaks chances in the three 2400m heats among tonight’s feature events.
Stewart has Tough Tilly ($1.50 favourite) as well as Rogue Wave in Race 3, the first heat.
She also has Joanna ($1.80 favourite) and Platinum Sparkle in the second heat.
Yet Thorn has Anntonia ($2.25) ready to strike in the third heat and has the right draw in gate five to hold off Stewart’s lone runner, Beach Music, which should see her qualify for next weekend’s $200,000 NSW Oaks Final.
“We’re possibly in the weaker of the three heats and we’ve drawn pretty well,” said Thorn.
“Anntonia went well in her first-up win at Penrith.
“I know the opposition wasn’t that strong, but she did the job well.
“Her time was good and Jack [Trainor] didn’t need to pull the plugs so its onwards and upwards for us now.”
Thorn explained that Anntonia had never really shown enormous gate speed, but he felt that would come as his filly matured.
“I’ll leave it up to Jack to find a handy position and see how she feels out of the gate tonight,” he said.
“She has been a bit unlucky not to win a big race yet, but the longer trips should suit her as she’s not only very fast but also quite strong as well.
“She’ll be as hard to beat as any of them.”
Meanwhile West Australian pair Greg and Skye Bond believe they have the right pacer to go one better than their previous attempt at winning the Group 1 when they tackle tonight’s $200,000 Chariots Of Fire with Minstrel.
Making the long trip across the Nullarbor with Ima Rocket Star for the 2010 edition, the Bonds finished second as Villagem emerged triumphant for Victorian horsewoman Lisa Miles.
Heading back to Club Menangle tonight, the Bonds saw their quality four-year-old Minstrel earn his position in the elite field by causing an upset in the Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park.
Despite an awkward draw in gate nine (into seven after scratchings), the pair have booked local reinsman Rob Morris to try and pull off a feature-race upset at Menangle.