Leading trainer Jim Taylor has cautioned supporters not to dismiss The Tenby Friar in Saturday’s Digger’s Cup (1800m) at Ascot, despite a last-start failure.
The Tenby Friar, at his second run back from a spell, was placed eighth of 13 and 4 ¾ lengths from Albany galloper King Point who led from barrier-to-post.
It was a rare miss from the consistent Blackfriars gelding who has two wins and 10 placings from 16 career starts.
“From the barrier he was forced back and they pulled to a walk in front,” said Taylor.
“He was one of the few horses making up ground and ran the fastest final 600m.
“It was an impossible task from where he was and I thought in the circumstances it wasn’t a bad run.”
The Tenby Friar and the Justin Warwick-trained Gum Nut Guru are on the second line of Player betting at $5.00.
The $2.70 favourite is Bunbury galloper Maschino who scored in an 1800m contest two weeks back, his first win this preparation.
The son of Encosta De Lago was unplaced in the Cyril Flower Stakes, the Bunbury Stakes and the Pinjarra Classic.
Taylor believes Maschino has yet to reach the high standards he set when last in work.
“Maschino is a long way from the horse we saw last winter and might be a Belmont horse,” Taylor said.
“But at times a win can turn good horses around and if he does that they won’t go near him.
“If not The Tenby Friar is some chance of beating him.”
Crispiano is the current $4.80 Player favourite for his return in the Stampalia Contractors Handicap (1400m).
The Ihtiram gelding hasn’t been seen since last November and ran third in a recent Belmont Park trial.
Cristiano, formerly with the Fred Kersley camp, has an abundance of natural ability but still has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Taylor believes supporters will see the best of Cristiano this time in.
“I had to murder him with work when I got him and I haven’t had to do that this time,” said Taylor.
“I’ve been able to train him like a normal race horse.
“As long as he does the right things and goes in the barriers you will see the true Cristiano.”