Reilly's runner aims for race-winning hat-trick
RACING: SHE'S carrying an extra 2.5kg in the saddlebags, but exciting five-year-old mare Princess Elle is lining up to make it a hat-trick of wins for Grafton trainer Jason Reilly at his home track today.
Since Reilly took on the mare from Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn earlier this year, she has shown all of her ability in her first two starts for her new mentor.
She was impressive over the 1006m, beating home the field by more than two lengths, and she backed that effort up nicely after pushing out to the 1106m last start.
Today the five-year-old by multiple Group 1 winner Toorak Toff is back in at 1015m with Gold Coast hoop Matthew Bennet in the saddle for The Daily Examiner Benchmark 58 Handicap (1015m).
Although she's carrying an extra 2.5kg, which could prove tough to overcome, the distance is close to her sweet spot.
"She's won over 1200m and failed at the greater distances, so I think 1100m to 1200m is her pet distance,” Reilly said.
"She has been a bit of surprise packet and has just continued to improve. She did surprise me a bit when she won first-up. I was initially just going to barrier trial her that week, but when that meeting received full TAB prizemoney after the Lismore meeting was abandoned (on August 28) I thought she may as well run in the Grafton race.
Reilly said he expects the mare to be primed to return to the winner's circle once again.
"Her trackwork prior to her past two wins was only average, but on her gallop last week, I'd say she's going into the race the best she's been since I've had her.
"And she's drawn the inside gate and with the rail out that will help her.
He said apparent lapses in form earlier in her career were due to circumstances out her control
"I think she ran into a few wet tracks after that and she went up in distances,” he said.
"There's been no hiccups this preparation. She's a very straightforward mare and easy to deal with.”
Reilly's race tactics of settling in behind the leaders, then bursting to the lead close to home, should pay dividends, but he will have one keen eye wacthing out for topweight She's Choosie (Greg Kilner).
"I certainly respect (rival) She's Choosie, and my mare has gone up in weight (to 60.5kg) and has to step up a notch again, but I'm confident she can.”