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Wide gate no worries for Little's 2012 Myer Classic contender
30th Oct 2012
Racenet - Brad Waters - Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Caulfield horseman Colin Little would be one of the few trainers smiling if his runner drew a wide gate on a rain-affected surface at Saturday’s Derby day meeting at Flemington.
Little will run talented mare Soft Sand in the Group I Myer Classic (1600m) with the four-year-old in the minority as a horse whose winning chance would increase if she drew in the outer half of the field in the $500,000 event.
Soft Sand has won four of her 11 starts with only one of her successes, a win over older mares at Caulfield in her three-year-old season, coming from an inside gate. The daughter of Dansili has won twice from barrier 10 and once from nine as she has been able to find room to produce her withering sprint.
However, Little said rain falling on the Flemington track would boost Soft Sand’s hopes of notching her maiden Group 1 victory in the Myer Classic.
"We need rain more than a wide draw,” Little said.
Soft Sand has had no luck in her three runs this time in with the lightly-raced galloper finding trouble from inside barriers at all her spring runs, including the last-start fifth to Streama in the Group II Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
Little said Soft Sand has relished her program as she has put on weight after every run in a contrast to the stable’s 2007 Cox Plate winner El Segundo, with whom the trainer battled to keep condition on.
"She’s thriving, she’s actually heavier than last week,” Little said. "She puts on weight every week.
"I was flat out keeping weight on El Segundo. He could lighten off pretty dramatically but this filly is just putting on weight with every run.”
Little will consider adding ear muffs to Soft Sand’s gear for the Myer Classic after she worked in them on Tuesday morning, hoping the possible gear change could improve her performance enough to overcome unfavourable weight terms at Flemington.
"She hasn’t achieved anywhere near what we thought she could do or what we hoped so this will be her last dance before the autumn,” Little said.
"She meets the winner 2kg worse because that was set weights and penalties but this is weight-for-age and she probably meets a lot of them worse.
"But we have a lot of faith in her ability.”
Top jockey Craig Williams will ride Soft Sand again in the Myer Classic. The dual Caulfield Cup-winning rider has partnered Soft Sand at her three spring runs.