Fayrouz to cash in on form
Gary Subratie's stubborn UNCLE VINNIE should be the controlling speed in Saturday's 10-furlong route race for the Kenneth Mattis Memorial, but has an eight-pound swing against him, matched up with Anthony Nunes' FAYROUZ, who ran somewhat out of character when he finished a half-length ahead of her, both beaten by out-of-class DYSFUNCTIONAL on July 10.
The top three trainers, Nunes, Wayne DaCosta, and Subratie, each have two runners in the eight-horse field. However, DaCosta's pair, RADICAL and nine-year-old ROYAL VIBES, are bereft of form and simply can't be considered.
Though Subratie might believe he has a tag team, speedy UNCLE VINNIE and late-running ANNA LISA, the latter's ability to pounce in the stretch run is limited to the reality that she couldn't pass her own stablemate after he had chased I AM DI ONE all day at nine furlongs and 25 yards in June.
That leaves UNCLE VINNIE having to do his own laundry at 10 furlongs with Nunes' pair breathing down his neck. It will be a tough task for him to escape, especially FAYROUZ, who had allowed him six pounds and is now in receipt of two.
Their July 10 match-up was definitely favourable to UNCLE VINNIE, who was running his seventh race in two months, whereas FAYROUZ had returned from a four-month lay-up three months earlier with hardly a serious run under her girth, twice a suspected filler for fields in which her stablemates were fancied runners, and was still second fiddle on the day at odds of 8-1, compared with DONTAE, who was the 9-5 favourite.
DONTAE's short odds were directly linked to his previous run, coming off an eight-month lay-up, second by two and a quarter lengths behind stablemate I AM DI ONE at nine furlongs and 25 yards, closing to finish a neck ahead of third-placed UNCLE VINNIE.
However, in the July 10 rematch, DONTAE was squeezed for space five furlongs out and, being the one-pacer he is, fell back to eighth at the half-mile while UNCLE VINNIE and FAYROUZ went at it on the lead. The tactic, it appeared, was for FAYROUZ to press and DONTAE to close, considering his good run behind I AM DI ONE a month earlier.
Though he maintained his margin behind the leaders up to the furlong pole, DONTAE weakened back into ninth, losing seven lengths thereafter, bringing into question his chances against UNCLE VINNIE and FAYROUZ, who both ran strong to the wire but were outclassed by DYSFUNCTIONAL.
FAYROUZ, last year's Oaks winner who returned to beat St Leger champion, MARQUESAS in the Fontainbleu Trophy, came from behind on both occasions, suggesting that she had no business disputing the lead with UNCLE VINNIE on last. Reverting to her normal running style at 10 furlongs, having worked reasonably well, should land her in the winners' enclosure.