By Ray Hickson
Trainer Paul Perry will be chasing group 1 glory on day one of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday and he might well head to Sydney with the tail up if either Saquon or Call Me Mo can get the job done at Wyong on Thursday.
The Newcastle trainer saddles up Sky Lab, the second favourite in Saturday’s Australian Derby (2400m), and also has one of the favourites for Saturday week’s $500,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships Final in Pandano.
Saquon is a lightly raced three-year-old and he arrives at Wyong fresh since a gallant second behind Oaks aspirant Land Ahoy in a 1600m class 1 on his home track at the end of February.
It was a run full of merit as the gelding was forced to do plenty of work in the middle stages as he and another runner opened up a break before he fought off the challenge only to be reeled in by a promising stayer.
While he doesn’t have the benefit of a claim, Tim Clark takes over the ride in the Jim Beam Handicap (1350m) and Saquon should find himself rolling forward into the lead.
From there it’s a matter of how well Clark can rate him and, if he gets any mid-race breathers, he’ll be a hard horse to catch coming around the bend.
Perry is represented by Call Me Mo in the Great Northern Handicap (1350m) and, unlike with Saquon, the trainer will be hoping for a solid tempo up front to allow the gelding to unleash a late burst after settling back in the second half from an outside barrier.
He’ll be coming back in class after a gallant fifth behind Polytrack Provincial Championships Final favourite Great News in a 1200m qualifier at Gosford four weeks ago.
On that occasion, he settled near the tail of the field and charged into fifth place only four lengths behind the winner, who held a couple of lengths margin at the finish and has since confirmed the form with a narrow defeat at Rosehill last weekend.