Cartel one to watch in Easter Sprint Cup
CARTEL has a great draw and would do well with a change of tactics in Monday's 1100-metre Easter Sprint Cup after trying to match strides with SIMPLY THE BEST and TALENTED TONY K in a suicide mission two Wednesdays ago.
Well touted at odds of 5-2, going 1000 metres round, CARTEL was actually the leader for the first furlong before being relegated at the half-mile marker by speedballs SIMPLY THE BEST and TALENTED TONY K. Whatever plan was hatched by CARTEL's connections, champion apprentice Anthony Thomas seemed intent to go after SIMPLY THE BEST and TALENTED TONY K, horses who can carry grade one runners to the furlong pole on their best day.
After leading then chasing splits of 22.3, 33.3 and 45.4 to the last half-furlong, CARTEL, as expected, weakened along the rail, giving way to DRAGLINE, who relegated him to third, eventually finishing fourth in a bang-up for the minors, behind SIMPLY THE BEST, who won by four and a quarter lengths.
Thomas has been retained by trainer Paul Charlton, clearly demonstrating he had ridden to instructions, but contrary to how CARTEL had won a hat-trick of races at the back end of last season, especially two in December.
Monday's race has one major speed, TALENTED TONY K, returning with 57.0 kilos, but going a half-furlong longer, which leaves Dane Nelson with two options, try to make all or preserve the speedster at the expense of being crowded early in the event.
Though there is no matching speed for TALENTED TONY K, having to come around from his wide draw, post-position 12, with topweight, automatically puts him on the lead at a longer distance against younger and lighter rivals such as TWILIGHT DREAMS, SARAH LEE and POLLY B.
CARTEL, drawn at post-position one, need not get into the fracas, having shown that he is capable of accelerating rapidly in the last half of his races, which will be perfect against the rail, taking aim at rivals who are likely to run wide in a speed duel.
It is highly likely that the speed will collapse, leaving the likes of CARTEL to get first run, if ridden smartly, and LOTTERY TICKET, who will be closing at the end.
At the handicaps, CARTEL really looks good, returning only four pounds heavier whereas DRAGLINE has picked up nine pounds after both sat almost level last time out.