Landlocked for liquidity in the last
Wednesday, 8 September 2010: The strongly built son of Zabeel won fresh up over 1200m, which in itself is always a good sign for the stock of this sire, on this very course in a narrow but impressive manner.
Despite an awkward start the four-year-old was still able to unleash from off the pace and record 1:09.85 for the 1200m, so he likes them to run along and therefore relax in the running then simply sail on by.
Landlocked looks a much more mature horse now and it was only his seventh start too, when scoring fresh up, which makes for even better form analysis once you look a little closer.
The gelding has now won two of his seven starts and his first win came in a Benchmark 70 over 1800m, so you know he will handle this grade and run the trip today with ease.
He has raced one other time at Canterbury too and finished a good fourth in a Benchmark 73 over 1550m behind Mirrasalo, which at her last start before being spelled demolished a field in the G3 Tatts Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm and the off pacer mare looks to have a good future.
Landlocked has also in a brief career tackled Group racing twice and was not disgraced behind Shoot Out in the G1 AJC Derby (2400m) and likewise the G3 Packer Plate (2000m) behind Dariana.
Shoot Out and Dariana already are or will be two of the biggest male and female forces this spring at WFA and under handicap conditions in the Cups.
I realize the 4.5kg weight climb today is steep but the extra 350m does help lessen that impact and I expect Landlocked to be a middle distance-staying type by the end of this campaign.
The opinion held of this horse has been substantial as a younger horse and there is no reason why he cannot be a Cups horse with some more racing ringcraft.
Akbar Mahal comes from the very in form stable of Chris Waller and was a very expensive yearling, with Jim Cassidy to ride this now four-year-old from the ace barrier.
He ran a short priced favourite at Gosford over 1200m fresh up and finished a very close third, after being hampered early then blocked for a run until halfway up the home straight.
The lightly tried four-year-old is also rising 350m here like Landlocked except is dropping 1.5kg and that is quite crucial.
He has also run at Canterbury once before, when finishing fourth in a Benchmark 68 over 1550m on slow footing, and notably was second up that day.
Every horse that ran in this race has won at least once more since, so Akbar Mahal can complete that form record here.
The ratings do infer that Akbar Mahal is the closest threat to Landlocked in the last event at Canterbury today.
Waller has another runner in the race too in I Rule The World, which like Akbar Mahal is by the sire Elusive Quality and a four-year-old gelding.
I Rule The World is also well drawn today and lightly tried but promising at this point, so Waller has plenty of premiership ammunition to fire on all fronts.
The fresh up win by I Rule The World at Kensington over 1300m saw him swamp his opposition on the slower footing for Glyn Schofield, a rider very much having a good run at the moment.
I see the key for I Rule The World being he showed the ability and dash to take up an on pace position, when having his first three runs in Melbourne for the Michael Moroney stable.
He led throughout in his maiden win over 1400m, so I have factored in Schofield will make full use of gate three today and that in turn should assist the stablemate Akbar Mahal from the ace.
The final race today is a good betting contest because there are so many chances separated by not that much in ability terms and that makes for increased interest.
Dancing Doll appreciated the better footing last start and blew away her opposition right here over the 1550m under 53kg from a good gate.
The mare goes up 2.5kg today and has drawn wide this time but she is so effective unleashing from off the pace that it should not matter.
Rod Quinn has been her regular rider for a while, so knows her best, and he just missed winning aboard her in a maiden last season here at Canterbury over 1550m.
If they go a bit hard up front and leave themselves vulnerable the last 100m then watch for this mare from the in form Guy Walter stable to two-step over the top of them at good odds.
Kaunda from a soft draw and with Hugh Bowman electing to ride has to be in the mix again, after this five-year-old gelding has raced so well this time in.
He won fresh up three starts back and has since finished second to Khemosabi and then last start likewise behind the impressive and still unbeaten Pureness from the Gai Waterhouse stable.
Bowman has won before on Kaunda and it should be strong enough now to cope at the 1550m and handle Canterbury, if his presence this campaign is anything to go by.
Eight Thorns won third up from a spell last campaign over 1800m in a Benchmark 64 under 55.5kg, so I do not envisage him having any problems up half a kilo and to Benchmark 70 company today.
He has had five starts since and finished fourth three times including once behind the talented Once Were Wild.
I also see no problems with him handling Canterbury, as two starts here have returned a third and a fifth, with the placing coming behind Scottish Border in a what has turned out to be a super form guide race since.
Scottish Border has won twice since, while the fourth finisher Worldwide has this campaign raced five times for three wins (in a row) and two placings and the fifth finisher Shawnee Girl has recently won three in a row and missed the four-in-a-row last start by a nose.
The fifth that Eight Thorns finished in his only other Canterbury outing came behind Rock Classic, a G1 winner of the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington and then a nose second following in the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m).
Good betting race to end the day and Landlocked can defy a big weight rise to win, while the main threats look to come from the Waller stablemates and in particular Akbar Mahal.
I see potential value in Dancing Doll but also Eight Thorns.
Enjoy the race.