Newnham Sees Bright Future For King Frankel
Trainer Mark Newnham can see plenty of upside to lightly raced import King Frankel and can also envisage a scenario where he continues his rise through the grades at Rosehill on Saturday.
With only one defeat in three starts for Newnham, and you could argue he had excuses racing in the inferior ground second-up at Randwick, King Frankel can be firmly put in the ‘promising stayer’ category if he’s successful in the Chandon Handicap (2400m).
“Generally in their second racing prep they improve quite a bit so he’s doing it on his first racing prep which is encouraging,’’ Newnham said.
“He’s quite a progressive stayer and he’s been on heavy ground and dry ground and performed equally well which is a good asset to have.”
King Frankel atoned for his Randwick defeat with an all the way win over 2140m at Warwick Farm on October 19.
For a $1.70 favourite it didn’t look pretty as he held off Bacio Del Mist but Newnham said the win was part of a learning curve for the gelding and he’s expecting a more economical run on Saturday.
With Tyler Schiller’s claim he drops 2kg on that win and he was $2.80 favourite with TAB on Thursday.
“We went out knowing that he would most likely be the leader because it was a race that lacked pace,’’ he said.
“He got a bit unbalanced on the corner and it took him a while to get his action together when Tyler pushed the button but he didn’t look like losing the race.
“He got a bit lost the other day out in front so I think Saturday’s race, with main Stage and Skymax in it, probably sets up a bit better for him.
“At first glance I’d say he will get a nice trail behind those two which would be ideal. He’s kept improving since he started this prep.”
As Newnham said, imports tend to blossom in their second local prep so he’s wary of going too far into this campaign.
If he was to win impressively King Frankel could back up in next Saturday’s $300,000 NZB Insurance The Beauford (2300m) at Newcastle.
“He’s going to need a little break shortly but we’ll worry about that after Saturday,’’ he said.
Willinga Rufio finds a scenario that could see him back into the winner’s stall in the Quayclean Handicap (1800m) after Newnham said he had excuses for his last start fourth behind Mahagoni at Randwick two weeks ago.
Since his first-up win the gelding’s had his ups and downs and Newnham believes with the likelihood of a firmish track he’ll have his chance to bounce back.
“I thought he was good, he ran into a very strong headwind and that took away from his finish,’’ he said.
“He went out at fairly solid sectionals but that’s him, that’s been his asset in the past and he’s still learning how to harness that.
“Tyler rides him work every day and his work this week has been more settled than it has been the whole prep. That’s a good sign.”
A decision on whether Expat takes her place in the Group 2 $500,000 Precise Air Hot Danish Stakes (1400m) will come down to the track rating on race morning as Newnham is loathe to start to mare on a firm track.
He concedes she is struggling for her best form at the moment, though she was only beaten 2-3/4 lengths in the $2m The Invitation (1400m) last start.
“She needs to find form again, her best form is at Rosehill and she raced the same day as Willinga Rufio and probably wasn’t suited by the headwind,” he said.
“If we get a bit of rain it would take the sting out and be enough for her to run.”