PRACTICED TO RESUME PERFECTLY AT ECHUCA
Practiced resumes at Echuca today after an autumn preparation which culminated with a second in the VRC St Leger (2800m) won by the Peter Moody-trained Vatuvei.
Vatuvei has since performed with merit during the Queensland Winter Carnival and now Practiced gets his chance to begin franking the St Leger form.
The Lloyd Williams-owned galloper kicks off over a mile today as was the case last preparation where he won a Class 1 at Terang.
While that performance only rated 77, the Encosta De Lago four-year-old by the end of that campaign had improved nearly 30 pounds based on his St Leger effort.
Nobody is expecting Practiced to run up to that figure here although it highlights how the gelding can perform well below his best on resuming today and still get the job done fresh.
Practiced is clearly the class runner here and leading jockey Craig Williams venturing to Echuca for just one ride on the day only enhances what the first up expectations are of the gelding.
On best figures, Practiced rates 18 pounds superior to anything else in the field.
Helping to potentially hedge the gap are factors such as the four-year-olds first up fitness and also the mile on offer here at Echuca being short of his preferred distance.
Regardless, Practiced still appears hard to topple. Not many in the field look capable of even posing a challenge however there are a few who still possess each way claims and can pounce if Lloyd’s charge is off his game.
Work The Line spearheads that attack. There’s no form like winning form and the Colin Little-trained gelding goes into this event chasing a hat-trick of wins.
The Bel Esprit gelding has improved with every run this campaign and last start made all to salute at Bendigo in a Ratings 62 over this distance.
If Work The Line tries something similar and pinches a break on straightening he could take some running down.
Although not as drastic as a drop to this from Stakes grade like Practiced, The Chevron finds himself in predominantly easier company here after performing well in a $30,000 Ratings 72 at Bendigo 18 days ago.
The John Sadler-trained gelding hit the line with plenty of gusto when finishing second over 1400m last start and should have taken plenty of improvement from the run.
Third up rising in distance, The Chevron could also make things tough for Practiced.
The very well bred Waahej has come back in good order this campaign and warrants thought for at least the place third run back from a spell stepping up to the mile.
Lloyd Williams has at this stage nominated Practiced for the Caulfield Cup with a nomination for the Melbourne Cup sure to follow in the coming weeks. While these targets are still far away in the scheme of things, the stakes placed stayer should take a step in the right direction at Echuca today.