Trainer Simon Foster will be hoping that Derby Day at Ascot can provide the same excitement that he experienced last year when Prentice caused a boil over in the W.A. Sires’ Produce Stakes.
Prentice went into the race last year as the rank outsider but won the $200,000 Group 3 race by a head over Dancing Express.
This year he has the rank outsider again with Clara’s Rule, a filly by Universal Ruler having her second career start.
“I’d be pretty happy to do a Prentice again” Foster said.
“We’ve thrown her into the deep end, but it’s only because we have an opinion of her.”
“She’ll jump as a $101 chance, but we think she is more a $21 chance, especially if she gets some luck out of the gate”.
Clara’s Rule finished fourth on debut at Pinjarra, three-lengths behind the winner Express Snooper, but Foster is confident that she’s improved from that outing.
“The blinkers go on, she’s worked well on the track and from a forward position with some cover, I’m confident we can play a part in this race”.
As Clara’s Rule tries to replicate the efforts of Prentice, the three-year-old gelding will be hoping that he can pull out another miracle for Foster when he competes in the Schweppes-W.A.T.C Derby over 2400 metres.
Prentice is almost the unknown factor in the race with a different lead up compared to most of the other runners.
“He’s been hard to place because we didn’t want him to carry the 60kg too often” Foster said.
“We’ve tried to get the kilometres into him so that he’s ready for the 2400 metres, but whether he runs it out strongly is still unknown to us”.
The last time Prentice raced against his own age, he notched up a victory at Belmont Park over the 1650 metres on a soft 5 track.
“It’s hard to gauge his form from last start because they walked in front, but we know he’s competitive when he races against his own age”.
Six-year-old gelding Reset’s Mate will also step out for Foster when he competes in the inaugural Western Australia Cup over 3200 metres.
The gelding by Reset put in respectable performances in the AHA Cup, Bunbury Cup and Pinjarra Cup, but Foster believes this is the race where he will be most competitive.
“It might sound bizarre, but the previous races have just been lead up races for this event”.
“He has shown us every race that he wants further and he finally gets that opportunity on Saturday”.
Foster was confident that the way the race may unfold would aid Reset’s Mate who’s in the best condition of his career.
“You’d expect that Kirov Boy or Ningaloo Blitz will try and steal this race from the rest of us, which is exactly what we want. We need a strong tempo and some more rain and then I believe we can win this”.
As has been well documented, this is the final weekend that Foster will train for breeder-owners Dan and Julie Love.
“We’ve had some amazing memories together and I’d love to finish on a high with a victory for them on Saturday” Foster said.
Foster will remain in Bunbury where he has trained since moving across from the Gold Coast in 2012.
Races at Ascot Racecourse on Schweppes WATC Derby Day commence at 12.27pm with an eight-race card and plenty of entertainment, highlighted by the Black & White Party on the deck.