King's Plate perfect for Orpheus


February 27, 2018
ORPHEUS (Shane Ellis).

Back-to-form ORPHEUS gets an ideal distance to stalk and beat rivals on his return to open allowance in Wednesday's feature, the 1,500-metre King's Plate, facing recent winner ANOTHER BULLET as well as PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, tumbling from grade one after a near seven-month lay-up.

Anthony Nunes' ORPHEUS has settled in nicely since his return from a 13-month lay-up at the back end of last season. A month ago, he carried 57.0 kilos and clocked 1:24.0 for seven furlongs, the fastest time at the distance since CHOO CHOO BLUE won the Gold Cup last October in 1:23.4 with 51.0 kilos.

After that run, Nunes said it was the first since ORPHEUS' return from injury that he had really put the 2016 Derby awardee through the wringer at exercise.

Though he continues to treat the five-year-old gingerly at exercise, ORPHEUS has been getting fitter with every run and should call on his back class to get the better of ANOTHER BULLET and eight-year-old PERFECT NEIGHBOUR, who has worked well but returns with topweight 57.0 kilos off a long lay-up.

Speed will be well represented in the event with SHINING LIGHT, ZEPHYR and LITTLE BIG HORN, setting up what should be a stalker's race to win.

ANOTHER BULLET has the handicaps in his favour, a possible 12lb weight swing, out of his last meeting with ORPHEUS when both were beaten by MONEY MAGNET at 1,200 metres on December 16. That afternoon, ANOTHER BULLET carried 122lb to ORPHEUS' 119lb and finished two lengths behind his rival after racing as a team to the last quarter-furlong, chasing MONEY MAGNET.

Whereas Patrick Lynch has called on Anthony Thomas to slip two kilos off ANOTHER BULLET to run at 50.0, after his strong overnight allowance winner in the 1300-metre Ash Wednesday Trophy, Nunes has decided to stick with Shane Ellis, who will go overweight, carrying a declared 53.5 kilos, possibly 54.0.

However, ANOTHER BULLET is venturing about a furlong outside of his best distance in an event with speed, which should hold for at least six furlongs, keeping him busy enough for ORPHEUS to capitalise on his superior closing strength.

The speedsters who matter, ZEPHYR and SHINING LIGHT, are sitting too close in the weights to ANOTHER BULLET and ORPHEUS, nullifying their chances of stealing a march at 1,500 metres, whereas LITTLE BIG HORN won't stay the distance.

Nunes' other runner in the event, SOY EL SENOR, packs a good turn of foot and just about gets the ideal distance. However, he will have to run a race similar to ORPHEUS, from off the pace, which leaves him with the task of trying to outfinish his classier stablemate.

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