Scapolo on trial at Awapuni for Stradbroke

TIM BARTON
Last updated 05:00 17/05/2014

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Scapolo will be on trial for the A$1.36 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) in Brisbane when he tackles the Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) at Awapuni today.

Scapolo was a $2.60 favourite for the Awapuni feature yesterday and a good run would confirm a Stradbroke attempt on June 7.

The Whanganui galloper would fly to Brisbane on June 1 and have just one start in Queensland. "He would have one hit and then come home," trainer Kevin Myers said yesterday.

"The Stradbroke is a race that might suit him. They will go hard and he might be able to get a trail. He settled well at Riccarton [last start], even though he was outside the leader."

However, Scapolo needs to race up to expectations today to justify a start in Queensland's richest race.

"He will make the decision for us," Myers said. "He's got to win or go really good tomorrow. Otherwise we will put him aside and get him ready for Melbourne in the spring and look at the Caulfield Cup."

Scapolo has had nine wins and seven minor placings from 18 starts but his trainer is confident the best is still to come.

"Once he gets over ground, you are going to see a better horse. We have been waiting for him to mature but he's starting to look a lot better now."

Scapolo has only once raced past 1600m, when beaten half a head in a listed 1800m race at the 2012 Melbourne spring carnival.

The four-year-old has had a tendency to over-race but has become more settled with age and experience. He has been given a thorough but typically unorthodox education by Myers, with starts at Flemington, Caulfield, Riccarton and Te Rapa mixed in with appearances at Murtoa, Cranbourne, Ballarat, Blenheim and Greymouth.

He has has won six of his seven starts on heavy tracks but ran 1600m in 1:34.62 when winning the Group II Coupland's Mile at Riccarton last November.

"He goes on all tracks but is probably best on easy ground," Myers said. "It's been mainly his class that has carried him through on heavy tracks."

Scapolo easily won the Great Easter Stakes (1400m) on a heavy track at Riccarton at his last start and will strike a wet track again today.

He will be ridden by regular jockey David Walker, who has had four wins from six rides on the Bachelor Duke gelding.

Scapolo might be tested today, with 59kg. He will be giving at least 3kg and up to 6kg to his rivals and the likes of the proven group performer Postmans Daughter come in well at the weights.

Postmans Daughter, who has not raced for seven weeks, races well when fresh and today's listed handicap represents a drop in class.

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Seven of her last eight starts have been in either Group I or Group II company and four of those were at weight-for-age. I Am Sam was a $7.50 second favourite yesterday, with Innovation and Julinsky Prince at $8.50 and Postmans Daughter at $9.50. The remainder were at $14 and more.

- The Dominion Post

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