Grand Koonta set for big race, Latest Racing News - The New Paper

Grand Koonta set for big race

James Peters-trained grey pleases in trial for his preparation in EW Barker Trophy

It's all systems go in Grand Koonta's bid in the $400,000 Group 2 EW Barker Trophy over 1,400m on Nov 8.

Jockey Alysha Collett's hopes of her unbeaten record on the James Peters-trained grey are kept alive with a pleasing barrier trial at Kranji yesterday morning. Grand Koonta's latest two wins were with Collett astride.

Although Grand Koonta finished only third behind Pennywise and Heliosphere yesterday, it was evident that he was kept under wraps by Collett all the way. He could have possibly won had Collett released the brakes.

"He travelled really well even though he doesn't like the Polytrack. I was happy with the run. Can't complain," said Collett.

"As he'll be going from 1,200m to 1,400m in the EW Barker, I gave him a bit of a squeeze close to the line.

"He's been a beauty since I got on him, obviously, thanks to the low weight. He will carry no weight again in the EW Barker. And, if he gets a nice tempo, he will be very competitive again."

Peters also looked pleased with the China Horse Club-owned gelding's trial.

"He's pulled up well since his last win. Things have gone smoothly for him, we've always spaced his runs," said Peters.

"It'll be six weeks between runs to the Barker. As he's going up to 1,400m for the first time, he needed a solid trial this morning and I was very happy with that hit-out."