Bathurst preview: Giselle Anne looks to continue run of success after long-awaited break through

Not many form students would’ve thought two years ago that Giselle Anne would have to wait until early 2021 to win a race.

The daughter of Snitzel almost won the Group 3 Widden Stakes in February 2019, but it took another 18 starts to break her maiden at Bathurst and she’s trying to go back-to-back at the track on Monday.

Co-trainer Lee Curtis summed it up well.

“It’s been very frustrating,” he said.

“Some of these two-year-old’s come along and show you a bit but then they don’t come up the next preparation.”

Blake Spriggs has been handed the ride on Giselle Anne.Source:News Corp Australia

On Monday she runs in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (1300m) and her win last time wasn’t a fluke.

She did it as a $2.10 chance after running well without winning in a series of much higher graded races and she was one of the best maiden horses in the state.

Curtis is naturally confident she can win another country race.

“I think she’s in a sweet spot, that’s for sure,” he said.

“When she went to Wyong the start before, she just got beaten and she’s just gone to a new level this preparation.

“She’s always shown a lot of ability but she just seems to be in a better head space.

“She did it well last start and we’re hoping she can go back and win again then work her way back to town via a provincial race. I feel like she can do that.”

Giselle Anne’s success has come down to her reinventing herself as a racehorse.

She’s more complete now and from a wide gate on Monday, Blake Spriggs will be able to take a sit on her.

“She started off as a two-year-old filly that just wanted to jump and go but she’s relaxing now and she can sit in behind them now and relax,” Curtis said.

“Putting Rachel King on her (at Wyong) and in the trials a couple of times really helped her in that respect.

“Her work has been super and she’s learned to relax.

“Blake Spriggs said she’d have no problems at all with 1300m. He said she got a bit lost in front and she enjoyed going to the front more than being in front.”

Earlier in the day Curtis is debuting Byron in a Maiden Plate (1108m).

He’s a three-year-old gelding by Dawn Approach and the stable has taken plenty of time with him.

His past two trials have been against some top horses like Jenga and Vowmaster.

He’s got barrier 12 and will be ridden quiet.

“We’ll let him drift back and I’m sure he’ll hit the line quite well. We think he’s got a future so it would be good to see him show up in that race,” Curtis said.

“He’s a neat horse who does everything right. He’s had a few trials but have never had him tuned right up.

“We put the winkers on him since that trial and worked him in them. He was sharper, which is what we were looking for.

“We think he’s looking for a bit more ground but he did work quite sharp the other day so I think he can run a race.”

Joe Cleary’s father Frank won the 1992 Black Opal with Clan O’Sullivan.Source:Supplied

King Gutho eyes Gold Coast riches

Joe Cleary will forgo the opportunity to secure his family’s third Black Opal Stakes winner next month and will instead head to the Gold Cold on a quest for the lion’s share of a half million purse.

Cleary’s gelding King Gutho wouldn’t look out of place in Canberra’s annual two-year-old feature, which has twice gone the way of his father Frank.

Cleary (senior) won the Black Opal in 1992 with Clan O’Sullivan, who was runner up to Burst in the Golden Slipper soon after.

In 1999, Cleary’s Danehill colt Catbird became the only two-year-old so far to win the Black Opal/Golden Slipper double.

The Black Opal carries a total prize pool of $250,000 and is scheduled for March 7.

The QTIS Jewel is run seven days later and is worth twice as much and an offer too good to refuse to Cleary.

King Gutho won’t have as far to travel on Monday when aims for his second consecutive win when he lines-up in the Jerrabomberra Class 1 Plate (1000m) at his home track.

“We will get through Monday and try and put our foot in the water for the Black Opal, but I am probably leaning towards the Aquis Jewel race on March 13 at the Gold Coast,’’ Cleary says.

“It is a $500,000 QTIS only horses and he is eligible for that. There is not a hell of a lot of horses jumping up out of the ground and putting their hand up for that race.

“And I can just imagine the Black Opal being quite a strong race this year, so I reckon I’ll get through (today) and probably head towards the Gold Coast.’’

Cleary is well known for his eye for a bargain and at just $50,000, King Gutho is shaping up as another ‘cheap horse’.

King Gutho is a son of former Queensland speed machine Better Than Ready, who was once the owner of the 1200m course record at Royal Randwick.

“I have had a lot of luck with the breed,’’ Cleary said.

“Obviously Girls Are Ready was our first one, we only paid $30,000 for her and she has done a fantastic job for us.

“I think I have got five of them now, I bought another Better Than Ready (at the Gold Coast) the other day.

“They are just foolproof,’’ says Cleary.

“They put their hand up and they get the job done. They’re not world beaters but they pay their way.

Originally published asBathurst preview: Giselle Anne in real ‘sweet spot’

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