Ask Me Nicely can reverse the order against his nemesis Tower of Lonhro in the Budget Business Club Handicap over 2000m at Belmont on Saturday.
The pair last clashed in the 1800m Diggers Cup and Tower Lonhro won with Ask Me Nicely finishing well, from last, to finish third, only one stride, and a flared nostril, off claiming second (from Dabang), a length and a half off the winner. The winner had 59kg and the grey 57.5kg, on that occasion
Before that the two gallopers clashed in the Grandstand Cup (1500m), over a distance always going to suit Adam Durrant’s gelding over the Fred Kersley trained galloper.
Tower of Lonhro won that race too beating Ask Me Nicely (second) by half a length, carrying 57kg to his grey rival’s 55kg.
However the weights and distance now start to favour the grey son of Ustinov.
Certainly the extra 200m of this Saturday’s race, over the Diggers Cup, will help Ask Me Nicely, the winner of the inaugural Western Australian Cup (3200m) last month. In that race Ask Me Nicely beat another former nemesis, Kirov Boy, into fifth place. In two other clashes with Kirov Boy the grey had been beaten into second, including the Pinjarra Cup.
In addition Durrant realising his charge was given 61.5 kg for the Budget Business Club Handicap has sought to mitigate it somewhat by replacing form jockey Peter Hall with the capable apprentice Joe Azzopardi.
Tower of Lonhro will now carry 60kg, after his apprentice rider’s 1.5kg weight claim, while Ask Me Nicely with Shaun O’Donnell aboard carries 58kg.
As shown above, Tower of Lonhro has beaten Ask Me Nicely carrying 2kg more than the grey, but that was over the 1500m distance of the Grandstand Cup not over 2000m.
This may well be a case of Ask Me Nicely ‘weighting’ for the right opportunity and distance to reverse the order with Tower of Lonhro, as he did earlier with Kirov Boy.
by John Elsegood