Poly is Makkem Lad's worry
Trainer Logan feels her eight-time winner is much fitter but his turn of foot better on turf
Honest as the day is long, there are still some concerns for Makkem Lad, the top weight in today’s $85,000 Class 2 race over the Polytrack 1,100m (4.30pm).
The six-year-old is fighting fit, as shown in his narrow second to Nowyousee in his barrier test on Tuesday morning.
But trainer Donna Logan feels that her charge is a better horse on the turf than on the alternate track.
This is despite the fact that Makkem Lad has won three times on the Poly. His five other successes were on the turf.
“I don’t like him on Polytrack as much as on turf, even if he won on it early in his career,” said Logan.
“I feel his turn of foot is reduced on the Poly. He can’t kick off the turn as well as he does on turf.
“I’ve avoided Poly for him for a long time. But, as there weren’t a lot of racing opportunities for him, that has forced my hand, and we’ve decided to give him a run on the Poly this Saturday.
“If not for that, I’d be a lot more confident as he has drawn well in one – and he’s a lot fitter this time.”
The New Zealander, who has saddled four winners this season, felt that Makkem Lad was “too fat” in his last start on Jan 15, when he finished an unlucky fourth behind Kharisma over 1,200m on turf. He was only 31/2 lengths adrift.
“Then he missed the start, and overraced when he kicked up on the inside. He missed the kick because the young man who works him and knows him the best wasn’t the one holding him in the gates that day.
“It wasn’t his regular barrier attendant, and he had a new person on hand. I’m not sure what it is, but that was why he reared.
“The usual attendant was in the gates at his test (on Tuesday), and there was no problem at all. He ran a nice trial.
“So, there are three reasons he got beat first-up: he missed the start, he overraced and he was not 100 per cent ready.”
Logan believes Makkem Lad should have more things going his way second-up today, but the Poly worry is still weighing in on her.
She has again nominated her 3kg-claiming apprentice jockey Yusoff Fadzli on Makkem Lad to bring the handicapped weight down to 56kg.
Yusoff has won twice on the bay Australian-bred gelding. He was also the pilot in Tuesday’s trial. He knows the horse well.
Makkem Lad has a top chance. It is now just a question of how well he can adapt to the Poly against some nice sprinters like Celavi and last-start runner-up Lim’s Dream.
Logan saddles two other runners in the same race –Zac Kasa and Entertainer, both among the big team of horses to move to her yard from fellow Kiwi Mark Walker, who has returned to New Zealand.
The duo have already raced under Logan’s name. But both did not quite run up to expectations in their respective races.
Zac Kasa was trapped deep punching the breeze and ran seventh in the same contest captured by Kharisma.
Entertainer looked to be in the zone in a Class 3 1,100m dash, but failed to produce when it mattered. He finished seventh, over six lengths off the winner Be Bee.
Makkem Lad will be Logan’s No. 1 hope. But she is not encouraging punters to give the other two a wide berth either.
Of the two, Entertainer’s recent formline reads better with six wins – all over 1,100m – scooped up last year for the Fortuna NZ Racing Stable.
On the other hand, it has been a long time between drinks for the seven-year-old Zac Kasa. It has been three years since the last of his four wins in a Class 1 event over 1,200m.
“Zac Kasa is 100 per cent sound and is such a lovely horse to work with,” said Logan.
“But as he’s quite an old horse now, I’ve been trying to change his work quite a bit. Just try new things to spice things up, mix things up for him and change his outlook.
“It’s like for us, we go on holidays just to freshen up, and we come back recharged.
“Entertainer is a nice horse, and I think he needed the run first-up. With a first run under his belt, I expect him to improve this Saturday.”
Mohd Zaki will ride Zac Kasa and A’Isisuhairi Kasim gets his maiden ride aboard Entertainer.