Sally pins her hopes on seven

TRAINER: Sally McKay
TRAINER: Sally McKay

Trainer Sally McKay will saddle seven runners for the Christmas meeting at Ascot Park on Saturday.

Her two starters for the Vinyl Bar 3-Year-Old Handicap, No Mean Feat and Bigglesworth, are promising gallopers with contrasting temperaments.

''Bigglesworth is a real talent but a smart-alec, likes to be difficult,'' McKay said yesterday.

The One Cool Cat gelding ran fourth in a 2-year-old race at Riverton on April 7 at his only start. He hindered his chances by lugging in.

''If he can get a bit of cover and can come off them (leaders) on the home turn, he'll be hard to beat.''

No Mean Feat was found to have a sore back after finishing fourth at Cromwell on December 2. She has received two treatments from a chiropractor.

''We haven't done a lot with her since Cromwell . . . She is a talented horse,'' McKay said.

Just Frank and Knightonthetown step out in the opening event on Saturday, the Speights and More FM Handicap.

Both raced well in their latest starts to warrant support for the rating 65 benchmark 2450m.

Just Frank has improved this season and his training is ''first class'', according to the Invercargill trainer. Knightonthetown will be suited to the staying distance following his pleasing fifth at Cromwell.

''He found the line well after missing the start (at Cromwell).''

McKay hopes Theruler can regain form on his favourite track. He lines up in the Sheet Metalcraft Handicap with an Ascot Park record of three wins and a second from five starts.

Theruler led and faded to seventh in an eight-horse field at Winton on Monday. He hung out in that race and will wear a cheek burr on Saturday to, hopefully, correct the problem.

''He was a little fat and probably needed the run (at Winton). I think he'll improve.''

Irish Wit and Gallivant are others competing for McKay on Saturday.

Returning from a six-month break, Irish Wit takes on a reasonably strong field in the Invercargill Licensing Trust Handicap. However, he has won fresh up previously.

Gallivant will be racing out of his class when contesting the Coupland's Bakeries Crystals.

''It's a big step up, but he deserves a go,'' McKay said.

The Southland Times