Laing’s pair represent Newmarket value
ROBBIE Laing looks at the Newmarket Handicap field and gives himself a pat on the back as he said he's responsible for a fifth of the field.
"There's the two I'm training Lord Of The Sky and Missrock and then there's my old horse So Si Bon. I bred Lord Of The Sky and purchased the other two, so I must be doing something right," Laing said.
Laing provides compelling arguments for both his $21 chance Missrock and $41 roughie Lord Of The Sky.
"Missrock was beaten only 1.4 lengths in the Lightning Stakes and she drops from 56.5kg to 52kg. That's good form for the Newmarket," he said.
"It's also three weeks between runs which suits her. She's drawn nicely and last spring she also finished second in the Salinger to Rich Charm."
"I think we could have won that race as it was a strange race. We were on the outside and finished up on the inside while the winner Rich Charm swapped positions with us and came home on the faster part of the track."
Laing has turned to Tasmanian jockey Craig Newitt, who can set a Newmarket record for most wins in the historic event if Missrock can win on Saturday.
He's been successful on Miss Andretti in 2007, Shamexpress in 2013 and The Quarterback in 2015.
At the moment, Newitt is equal on three wins with legendary jockeys Harold Badger, Athol Mulley, Damien Oliver and Harry White.
"Craig also rode my Australian Cup winner Roman Arch in 2006."
Laing is also pushing up for Lord Of The Sky, who finished fourth in 2015 behind Brazen Beau, Chautauqua and Terravista.
Laing said a jockey manager rang him and told him on times Lord Of The Sky should be right in the finish.
"He's a left-field blowout chance. He won the Standish on New Year's Day running 1min08.98sec for the 1200m carrying 59kg and he'll only carry 52.kg," he said.
"There's not a lot of speed. He should lead and with his lightweight they'll have to catch him."
Laing said since the Standish Handicap win Lord Of The Sky had been galloped on in the Orr Stakes where he ran a great race.
"Then in the Futurity, he didn't lead on a day which favoured front runners, which surprised us as he's a frontrunner and when the pace slackened he pulled hard."
Meanwhile, trainer David Hayes is upbeat about the prospects of Redkirk Warrior.
This time last year even though Redkirk Warrior was a $31 chance, Hayes was brimming with confidence about his chances in the Newmarket Handicap and he duly delivered.
On Saturday Redkirk Warrior is one of five horses Hayes has in the Newmarket Handicap and he again has an air of confidence but it's spread among his team.
He's split his quintet into two difference categories in assessing their prospects.
"Redkirk Warrior, Catchy and Thronum are all in form and are great chances. I know their capabilities," Hayes said.
"The other pair So Si Bon and Fastnet Tempest are having their first starts for me. I'm still learning about them but I wouldn't run them in a race like the Newmarket unless I thought they could win."
Redkirk Warrior at $7 is the shortest priced of the Hayes/Hayes/Dabernig's team with Catchy and Thronum at $11, So Si Bon at $21 and Fastnet Tempest at $34.
Hayes said Redkirk Warrior loved the straight and he was good enough to make it consecutive Newmarket Handicap wins.
"It's hard to go past him. I think placing blinkers on him as we did last start when he won the Lightning Stakes has made him into an even better horse."
Hayes suggested that Catchy was being underestimated as a Newmarket chance.
"Her last run in the Oakleigh Plate was terrific. She missed the start and was held up and came home in the slower section of the track but she still finished off strongly. She's in well on the handicaps," he said.
Hayes also said Catchy's failure in the Coolmore Stakes last spring over 1200m at Flemington should be forgotten as she got flattened in that race.
Hayes said Thronum had incredible form for a horse with only 52.5kg in the Newmarket.
"He's won at Group 2 weight-for-age and then got beaten a quarter of a length at Group 1 level."
Thronum defeated So Si Bon and Fastnet Tempest narrowly in a recent Flemington 800m jump-out.
"Fastnet Tempest will win plenty of races and he's well in on the weights. So Si Bon is also going well."
Hayes is also upbeat about his pair of gallopers in the Australian Cup, Harlem and Ventura Storm.
Hayes said Harlem was off colour when he failed in the Peter Young Stakes and he expected him to find his best form.
"He's back to his best which is good enough to be in the finish as he showed with his first-up second to Gailo Chop."
Hayes has placed blinkers on Ventura Storm and said he expected him to run well.
"He's run second to Winx and he relegated Humidor to third in that race so that's a good formline."