Dexelation to dash home in Manihi Classic, Lombardo looms large

Dexelation wins at Cranbourne
Dexelation ridden by Craig Williams wins the Apache Cat Classic at Cranbourne Racecourse on November 13, 2021. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

An abundance of pace – on paper – gives Dexelation a chance to feature in Saturday’s Listed Manihi Classic (1100m) at Morphettville, according to the classy sprinter’s in-form trainers.

Rated six handicap points ahead of nearest rival and favourite Lombardo, Dexelation will lump top weight of 59.5kg first up since mid-November, but although trainers Richard & Chantelle Jolly concede the seven-year-old will take plenty of benefit from this weekend’s run, he could surprise, given the likely race shape.

“On paper there seems to be a lot of speed, so he’ll probably be getting back from midfield and running home late,” Chantelle said.

“He’s definitely not fully wound up. He’s a big, gross horse and usually takes a couple of runs, but he always runs really well fresh, so we’ve kept him on the fresher side for this.”

Dexelation won all three starts last preparation, culminating in a narrow victory over noted wet-tracker Sir Kalahad in the $150,000 Apache Cat Classic (1000m) on a Heavy 10 at Cranbourne.

Chantelle described the preparation as “phenomenal”, with the stable now eyeing off some sizeable targets in the months ahead.

“We kept him at the 1000m and he seemed to relish that,” she said.

“To be honest, his plans aren’t set in concrete. Obviously our carnival is heating up, but we’ll just wait to see how he runs this weekend and what races come up at the right time.

“There’s going to be plenty of races for him come carnival time, even The Goodwood, but we’ll just wait and see how he goes.

“We could always go back to Melbourne with him.”

Dexelation has had some early backing in the Manihi, and is currently around $7 with online bookmakers.

Victorian visitor Lombardo ($2.70), from the Mick Price-Michael Kent Jr barn, made a huge impression at his sole Adelaide start, scoring a brilliant 5.5-length win over Extra Time over 1200m at Morphettville last September.

This year’s Manihi Classic boasts plenty of depth, but as noted by the Jolly crew, also plenty of pace, in the form of Trip, Spanish Heirloom, Perfect Route and the favourite.

Talented McEvoy runner Rock the Ring is the second pick in the market ($3.50) and could get a perfect run behind the speed, with leading SA jockey Barend Vorster engaged.

While Chantelle and her father will be happy with merely a solid showing from Dexalation, they have higher hopes for two-year-old stablemate Alpha Flight in race two (1100m), after a strong last-start win on the Parks track at cramped odds on March 12.

“He’s actually trained on well since his last-start victory,” Chantelle said.

“He’s drawn a good gate and we elected to claim off him, just to get him in a bit better.

“I think he’s capable of winning again.”

Alpha Flight is a $3.40 favourite to post his second win from three starts.

Chantelle said the stable’s other runner this weekend, Somewatt Fabulous, was also a strong winning hope in race five, backing up after an excellent run at the Parks last weekend.

“She ran a much-improved race last start,” Chantelle said.

“She’s drawn a bit awkward, but it’s encouraging that she ran a better race.

“If she can get a nice run, she should be hitting the line strongly as well.”

The father-daughter stable has been on fire recently, posting six Saturday metropolitan victories over the past two Saturdays to lead the trainers’ premiership by eight wins.

Chantelle said impressive last-start two-year-old winner Aitch Two Oh would step out in Saturday week’s Listed Dequetteville Stakes at Morphettville.

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