No masking confidence of Guineas contenders as vintage showdown looms
“He showed last time over the seven furlongs [1400m] he could put himself a lot closer and had that turn of foot.
“He has drawn well again and should be in the gun spot again. I know my horse can do it.”
Tommy Berry kidded to Masked Crusader as he disposed of benchmark company at Randwick, knowing the challenge that lay ahead in the Guineas.
“Regardless of the competition last time you don’t put a field away like that without being very good and he had shown a fair deal of class in Melbourne as well,” Berry said.
“It was nice that I was able to give him an easy time last week because I knew he could be backing up this weekend.
“It is a new challenge on Saturday. He is taking on some nice horses and has to run 1400m, and relax well enough to get the trip.
“There is a lot more him that we haven’t seen yet and I’m excited to peel back another page on Saturday.”
The boom on Masked Crusader has him the one punters want to support but Glen Boss, who rides filly Rocha Clock, is more worried about Dawn Passage.
“It is a ripper race and I’m just happy to be on a filly that was visually impressive last time and the clock matched what you saw,” Boss said.
“Dawn Passage is the horse that has been there, and really crushed his rivals in a similar race last time, so he is the horse to beat in my mind.
“But we don’t know how good Masked Crusader could be.
“It is a great race and I’m confident that my filly will keep them honest.”
What makes the race even more interesting is that Masked Crusader should be up front with Dawn Passage tracking him and Rocha Clock at the back of the field.
Bandersnatch cannot be discounted as he will ensure a good speed, which will give every horse its chance.
Berry has a question about the 1400m with Masked Crusader, which won by three lengths last week, just because he has not been there before.
“They don’t run any further than they can. He feels like he will get the seven [1400m] but I have been tricked plenty of times before,” he said. “Horses like Libertini and Chautauqua shaped as horses that would get this trip and were sprinters.
“The thing about him is he surprised me how quick he went when I asked last weekend, and I knew I had put them away quite quickly and quite easily.
“If he wins and beats these horses, he stamps himself as a top-liner.”
Hyeronimus has no doubt Dawn Passage is up there with the better three-year-olds. His only defeat on good surfaces were in the Run To The Rose and Golden Rose where he was a couple of lengths from Bivouac, Yes Yes Yes and Exceedance.
“I think if my horse had run last week, the talk would be about him not Masked Crusader. He is obviously a very talented horse [Masked Crusader] and I have great respect for him and Rocha Clock,” Hyeronimus said.
“But my bloke has raced at this level his entire career.”
Hyeronimus had his first sit on Dawn Passage in the Hawkesbury Guineas and like Berry got a shock at the quality of his charge, who had 2¾ lengths to spare last start.
“He wasn’t able to get into the spot I wanted last start and was stuck three-wide. He took me into the race from the 600m and the last furlong he pulled away from them,” Hyeronimus said.
“It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald