Topweight could favour Further And Beyond
FURTHER AND BEYOND showed all the tell-tale signs of being a bit ring-rusty in the April 8 Prince Consort Stakes, lasting home by a short head from BILLY WHIZZ, who he allowed nine pounds, reporting off a three-month break for the seven-furlong event.
Take nothing away from BILLY WHIZZ. The Northern Giant-Khadiliah gelding was second-best behind FURTHER AND BEYOND at six furlongs, as maiden two-year-olds, last October and was bumped at the start when they should have renewed rivalry in December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, leaving him with no chance against his experienced rival, who had gone on to land the Pick 3 Super Challenge at seven furlongs in November.
Going on an extended lay-up after the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes, FURTHER AND BEYOND entered the Prince Consort with two accompanied gallops, upside stablemate CURLIN'S AFFAIR, who had recently beaten maidens at six furlongs, hardly anything to write home about.
In contrast, BILLY WHIZZ had been busy in actual races, chasing home imported stablemate, LURE OF LUCY, at seven furlongs and started as the 6-5 favourite to land the six-furlong Sir Howard Stakes, but finished third behind CALCULUS and REGNANT, caught flat-footed in an opening quarter of 22.4.
Therefore, it shouldn't have surprised that BILLY WHIZZ, in slower Prince Consort Stakes opening splits, 24.0, was able to have a go at FURTHER AND BEYOND, who was forced to set his own pace with topweight, which took toll when Dane Nelson increased the fractions to 46.3 and 1:11.2 entering the final furlong a length and a half clear.
BILLY WHIZZ is still getting a significant amount of weight from FURTHER AND BEYOND, even more, 11lb this time around but champion trainer Anthony Nunes has tightened the screws on the two-year-old champion and 2000 Guineas favourite.
Nunes ditched CURLIN'S AFFAIR as FURTHER AND BEYOND's workout partner, summoning tough four-year-old, LET HIM FLY, from off the bench for his last two gallops. A determined galloper, LET HIM FLY partnered FURTHER AND BEYOND for two workouts from the mile chute, the three-year-old winning both spins, particularly impressive last Sunday in 1:14.4 for six furlongs, the same morning BILLY WHIZZ posted 1:15.4 on the round course.
Concede considerable weight
Facing off in Saturday's Kingston at seven and a half, FURTHER AND BEYOND, who was reportedly not too keen on his feed ahead of the Prince Consort, is being asked to concede considerable weight all around. However, the presence of quick REGNANT might be to his advantage, relieving Nelson of having to use his mount's speed too early in the event.
REGNANT appeared sharp out the mile chute last Sunday morning, clocking 1:30.3 for seven furlongs, signalling that he is ready to test rivals again after being caught at the wire by CALCULUS in the Sir Howard on only his second outing.
Having returned to blow away imported AWESOME LIZ at six and a half, the Midnight Hawk-Mama Blossom gelding will be hot on the lead, though his connections have chosen to go four pounds overweight for the services of Shane Ellis, making him possibly the second-heaviest in the event.
REGNANT's overweight will only serve to aid closers such as FURTHER AND BEYOND, BILLY WHIZZ, CALCULUS and the horse who could be the fly in the ointment, MINIATURE MAN, a strong winner at a mile on April 17, beating AWESOME LIZ in 1:41.2.
MINIATURE MAN (Northern Giant-Runaway Gal), reporting at 117lb with crafty Dick Cardenas astride, had blown away a visor-less FURTHER AND BEYOND at four furlongs straight as a two-year-old last October. Stretched out and ridden off the pace last time out, MINIATURE MAN showed a different side to him, indicating he could be improving as a closer.
However, FURTHER AND BEYOND's class cannot be questioned. Should he report in Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes form, he should last the distance with topweight. Nelson will have to time his run perfectly to get the job done.