Knight Wager Hoping For Better Fortune.

 Jul 1 2016

Knight Wager should find conditions to his liking in race seven on the card, the Open Benchmark 83 over 1400 metres. 

The Michael John Clemments-trained five year-old should be at peak fitness after three runs this time in and looks ready to win off a strong effort in open company over this distance last time.

He ran into some handy horses in that event and did a good job to finish within 2.5 lengths of the winner Good News given he had little luck through the majority of the race.

Eased back to the tail of the 10-horse field early, Knight Wager found himself in a difficult position last on the rail behind a wall of horses approaching the turn.

Attempting to ease wide in the straight, he was again held up between runners and wasn’t able to find clear running until midway up the straight when the contenders had already made their moves.

When into the clear Knight Wager wound up strongly and never shirked his task, hitting the line well to run fifth.

The drop to a benchmark 83 is a significant one and the last time he was in a similarly-graded race he was a two-length third when resuming over this distance in a benchmark 89.

Knight Wager has one of the highest seasonal Timeform ratings in this field and his last-start figure was close to the best in this line-up.

Group 2-placed previously, Knight Wager is a two-time winner at the distance with Australian jockey Vlad Duric riding him for the first time.

The big query of the race is smart three-year-old Nova Strike, who has plenty of class on his side but steps away from his beloved all weather surface.

Nova Strike was a strong winner last time over 1600 metres but that was on the synthetic where most of his best results have been, winning five and never missing a place in eight runs on that surface.

His turf statistics are more of a concern as he has managed only two placings from six attempts but one of those was when second at Group 2 level three runs back and at his next start was fifth in a  Group 1 on the turf so benchmark company is his best chance to win one on the grass.

Jockey Manoel Nunes knows him well having ridden him eight times for three wins and as a winner over the mile last start Nova Strike is sure to be strong at the business end.

Flak Jacket has been a model of consistency and no-one would deny him a win after placing at all four runs this campaign.

Flak Jacket has only won four races in 28 outings but he has placed another 11 times with three of those victories coming on the turf.

He is yet to win at 1400 metres but has placed at two of four attempts including when beaten less than a length into second two runs back.

That was in a benchmark 97 so he looks suited by the 83 rating of this race and John Powell takes the ride for the first time.

Rafaellothundered back into winning form when dropping from Group 1 company for a 1200 metre victory last start.

Outclassed at his previous run in the Singapore Guineas, Rafaello has a good overall record but has yet to win beyond 1200 metres and has been unplaced at his two tries at this distance.

El Milagro could also be a contender coming into this race third up, having won that way once before and has placed at Group 1 level at his best.

He was an improver when placed over 1200 metres last start and having placed at six of 10 runs at this distance he could well achieve a top three finish.

Good luck and good punting.


Gary Crispe

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