ALTHOUGH he is pleased with his stable representatives, talented trainer Michael Stanley admits he will need a touch of luck at Ballarat on Saturday night.
Stanley will contest three Breeders’ Crown semi-finals, with each runner given reasonable chances of progressing to the Finals at Melton eight days later.
“They are all handy fillies and good enough to make the Finals, but will need a bit of luck,” Stanley declared. “Soho Tokyo has drawn the better of them, but she’s also in the strongest semi.
“The other two haven’t fared as well in the draw, but in saying that, they’re not out of it either.”
Successful in her heat at the same venue a fortnight ago, Soho Tokyo will begin from barrier four, with the daughter of Bettors Delight listed as an $18 shot in the second three-year-old fillies’ qualifier.
Boom New Zealand raider The Orange Agent is the raging $1.70 favourite from gate five. The daughter of American Ideal boasts 14 wins and two seconds from 20 starts.
“She won her heat quite comfortably and has trained on well since,” Stanley said. “She been going along well lately and is back to her best.
“If she can get into a nice trail she will be right in the finish.
“Like I said, it is definitely the harder of the semis. The Orange Agent looks to be pretty special and is the one to beat.”
A last-start repechage winner, Soho Berlin will have to overcome the outside of the back line in the first semi.
Another New Zealand visitor – Our Classical Art – is the early favourite from barrier three, defending champion Katy Barrier drawn seven.
“That semi is a lot more even, with most of them in with a chance under the right conditions,” Stanley said. “She lacks a little bit of high speed, but can keep going at a solid tempo, so her best chance is for a genuine pace throughout.”
Rounding out Stanley’s crew is handy two-year-old Soho Madeleine, which has drawn the inside of the back row in the second semi.
Star local Heavens Trend will begin from the pole, with unbeaten New Zealander Our Dream About Me to come out of 10.
“That’s another tough semi,” Stanley said. “Hopefully from the inside of the back we can get a nice trail along.”
- PAUL COURTS