Crucial Appeal gets his trip
A ZIPPY field of seven speedsters, including Lotto Sprint upsetter, TALENTED TONY K, presents an interesting puzzle in Wednesday's open allowance at a sprinter's paradise of five furlongs straight.
Though an open allowance, the field reads almost like a who's who of grade one sprinters with CRUCIAL STAR, UPPA TUNE, TALENTED TONY K and POKER STAR, plus out-of-form POTCHEEN on the comeback trail - his second start in a year.
TALENTED TONY K had the handicaps in his favour and crippled a crack field in the May 27 Lotto Sprint, beating POKER STAR into fifth place while running 10lb lighter than his rival, who went off as the 3-5 favourite at 1100 metres.
Reporting 16lb heavier on Wednesday, TALENTED TONY K has been bumped up to 126lb, whereas POKER STAR is down two pounds, an 18lb weight swing in the scale.
Though the scale has swung against TALENTED TONY K for that grade one win, he is still not too heavy to take out out-of-sorts POKER STAR, considering the distance and the former sprint champion's form since returning from an eight-month lay-up.
Up to a year ago, POKER STAR facing this bunch would have been a foregone conclusion. Even though he ran an improved race in the Lotto Sprint, he didn't find much off the bridle and finished fifth.
Another speedster who has been battling his way back to form is UPPA TUNE, who was fortunate enough to outsprint a slow field at seven-and-a-half furlongs mid-April, his third start for the year. However, back among hot steppers, the United States-bred eight-year-old won't have things his way as he did when sauntering on the bridle against ANOTHER FURY and IAN LINKS down the backstretch.
The horse with the speed, pedigree and form at the distance is Dwight Chen's CRUCIAL APPEAL. The seven-year-old chestnut gelding had swerved into POKER STAR at the start on May 10 yet still finished third behind ANOTHER BULLET and CHACE THE GREAT at 1100 metres.
A true five-straight specialist, CRUCIAL APPEAL is race fit and can match any of his rivals for speed. He won in 56.4, returning off a four-month lay-up in March, carrying 126lb, and can certainly repeat with 123.