Rain dents confidence in Mabeel camp

Mabeel, who will have to cope with a heavy track to bounce back to top form on Saturday.

Mabeel, who will have to cope with a heavy track to bounce back to top form on Saturday.

Looming heavy track conditions for Tauranga on Saturday have dented Cambridge trainer Trent Busuttin’s confidence with emerging galloper Mabeel.

Busuttin and his partner Natalie Young have Mabeel entered for the Gr. 2 Windsor Park Stud Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) and with a good track they would have headed to Tauranga with high expectations of a win.

Though Busuttin is leaning towards pressing ahead with a start despite wetter conditions than he would have preferred, he said he would leave that decision to owner Deborah Ho.

“Going into the race earlier this week, we were thinking the only thing that could beat him was a wet track,” said Busuttin.

“We are absolutely thrilled with him and with him down to carry just 52kg, we were pretty confident about his chances. Up until the weather forecast came out, we were thinking we would be going to Tauranga for a win.”

While the track conditions have tempered Busuttin’s confidence, he knows the quality of racehorse he has on his hands, having supervised his progress from an impetuous lower grade sprinter to a more professional older galloper capable of mixing it at the top levels.

A winner of two of his five starts going into this season, the Savabeel five-year-old racked up wins in two of his next three starts, leading to Group Three success in the Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham.

That led to a gallant fourth placing to Kawi, Stolen Dance and Sports Illustrated in the Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham before he was freshened ahead of this month’s Gr. 3 Darley Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie, where he flashed home for a luckless sixth.

“He’s always had untapped ability,” said Busuttin. “He’s always shown us he was a far above-average galloper and run serious sectionals, both in training and on the racetrack. But he’s never been easy because everything he does, he just wants to do at 100 miles per hour.

“But this season he’s matured and grown up nicely to a point now where he can relax in his races and that should see him develop into the sort of horse over more ground that he’s bred to be.

“He was a good thing beaten last time [in the Darley Plate]. He missed the start by three lengths and the sectionals he ran home in were unbelievable. Another 20 or 30 metres and he would have won the race.”

Mabeel closed off the Darley Plate with 800 metres in 44.58, the last 600m in 33.32, 400m in 22.34 and a closing 200m of 11.32.

Track conditions were rated as a heavy 10 at Tauranga on Thursday and rain was falling at the track.

TAB bookmakers had Mabeel as a $2.20 favourite for the race, ahead of Julinsky Prince at $3.60 and Enough at $7.

– NZ Racing Desk