Hallowed Crown and Scratch Me Lucky might be first-up in Saturday's Run To The Rose at Rosehill but have proven wet-track form from the sodden Championships meeting in the autumn to recommend them.
Paul Perry was conservative when appraising the chances of Scratch Me Lucky, which was runner-up in April's the Sires' Produce Stakes, as he starts an ambitious spring campaign.
"We go there knowing he handles it, which is an advantage on some of the others in the race," Perry said.
"He is not 100 per cent wound up for this race, if he was I would be very confident. He has had enough work to run a race. He has had a couple of trials and won his last one at Newcastle on the heavy, but it is as much about getting ready for the seven [furlongs or 1400 metres] of the [Golden] Rose as anything else on Saturday."
Meanwhile, the unbeaten Hallowed Crown, which won the Kindergarten Stakes on the same day as the Sires', has pleased co-trainer James Cummings after his two trials going into the 1200m group 3 for three-year-olds.
"He has done enough and can handle the heavy going, but it is a very tough race," Cummings said. "History says it takes a very good horse to come out and win it first-up. He is giving away a bit of match fitness to some very smart horses and that could prove crucial because it is going to be run in very testing conditions.
"The form he has from the autumn is the right form because he beat Washington Heights at his last start, but we are like everyone else, guessing a bit because of the heavy track."
Unbeaten J.J. Atkins winner Almalad is topweight under the set conditions and penalties, and also top pick in betting for The Run To The Rose, which is the last chance for a couple of high-profile three-year-olds to lift themselves into the Golden Rose.
Godolphin has two runners but trainer John O'Shea says Sarajevo, which has to win to assure himself a spot in the Golden Rose, was the best chance for the blue army because he has had a run, whereas Kumaon is first-up. Godolphin's Ghibellines was scratched on Thursday.
Chris Waller has a trio accepted, including Law and Sniper Fire, but is concerned about the wet with Atkins runner-up Brazen Beau, which has similar form references to last year's Golden Rose winner Zoustar.
"He didn't handle a slow track at his second start and finished out of a place," Waller said. "And even in his trial last Saturday, Hugh Bowman said 'only fair', so if he's showing those signs in a trial, it's normally exaggerated in a race."
It might be left to Scratch Me Lucky to provide a surprise. He had nine runs as a juvenile and although his only win came in a restricted race at Canterbury on a slow track, he has won more than $300,000 in stakes and had group 3 and group 1 seconds on heavy surfaces at Rosehill and Randwick.
Perry also has Modoc in the The Run To The Rose, but admits he is not in the same class as his stablemate Scratch Me Lucky, which holds an entry for the Epsom as well as the the Golden Rose, Spring Champion Stakes, Caulfield Guineas and Cox Plate.
"We think Scratch Me [Lucky] is a nice horse that will get over a mile and further, so we have put him in everything," Perry said. "The Epsom is a race that he might get into with no weight and could be worth a crack. We will know more after Saturday, and then we can build from there, but it always this race then the Rose to start with. I think everyone is in the same boat because of the weather, which has made it tough to get them ready this early in the spring."
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/horseracing/sydneys-big-wet-leaves-leaves-punters-a-puzzle-for-golden-rose-dress-rehearsal-20140828-109db7.html#ixzz3BjLUSxGq