Peter Williams is happy to roll the dice with two talented five-year-old mares on Saturday’s Karaka Million night at Ellerslie, despite impediments facing the pair.
The Byerley Park trainer will saddle Caprikosa in the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) and Symphonic in the Group 3 Windsor Park Stud City Of Auckland Cup (2400m), both mares set to race in the colours of Barneswood Farm’s Sarah Green and Ger Beemsterboer.
Drawing barrier 14 with Caprikosa was a blow to Williams and his co-trainer and wife Dawn, but the couple have pledged to press on with their charge, who ran fifth in the same race last year.
“We’re running, but we’re really going to be up against it from that gate. We don’t know what to expect because at some stage of the race, she’s going to have to do some work,” Williams said.
The likelihood is that Caprikosa will tuck back at the start and Mark Du Plessis will ride for luck, according to Williams, who can’t fault the Alamosa mare’s condition leading into the set-weights and penalties fillies and mares feature.
“Her work has been super,” he said.
“The rail is back in the true position which helps and the track on Boxing Day didn’t suit her. She just wasn’t that comfortable on it.”
Caprikosa has won five of her 16 starts and looked up to stakes company, but TAB bookmakers don’t expect that to happen this weekend, pricing her as a $31 outsider in a market headed by the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman pair of Lizzie L’Amour ($4) and Coldplay ($4.20).
Caprikosa’s stablemate Symphonic is rated a better chance at $14 in the City Of Auckland Cup and Williams believes there is plenty of upside with the O’Reilly mare despite her failing in the Karaka Cup (2200m) at Ellerslie last start.
“She was a bit disappointing, but then Mark felt she might have been a run short,” Williams said.
“She went up to win, but then just battled the last bit. She’s worked well since and she’s definitely improved and that’s why we’ve decided to run her again.
“I might have been a bit soft on her, but she’s tightened up and she’s not the worst horse in the race. If she can settle over 2400m, she should see it out okay.”