Longshot not there to make up numbers

NZ horse trainer Shane Crawford

Bel Ragazzo might be long in the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) market, but trainer Shane Crawford believes he’s a genuine hope.

The chestnut, who got in off the ballot following Scott Base’s defection from Saturday’s classic, is currently a $61 shot.

“He’s a live chance, he could be the best stayer there but he does need a good track,” Crawford said.

“He might then go down to Trentham for the St Leger. The big, roomy track over 2500m will suit him and as long as he’s stepping up we can look at the South Australian Derby.

“If the rain comes (at Ellerslie) and he doesn’t run then the St Leger would be off and we’d look at the Manawatu Classic instead.”

A son of Helmet, Bel Ragazzo placed in two of his first three runs before he stepped up to a middle distance at Poverty Bay where he beat the older horses over 2000m.

By contrast, Crawford has no weather worries on Saturday for his Listed Mufhasa Fasttrack Stakes (1300m) contender Fancy More. “Any rain will help her chances,” he said.

“It might be a bit soon for her, but she has come through her last run really well. She’s very bright.”

The Tavistock filly was a debut winner at Avondale where she went out at odds of better than 60-1.

“She’s always showed us plenty and I wasn’t surprised with the win,” Crawford said.

“She’d had a few trials to make sure she was spot on and I didn’t think she deserved to be at that price.”