Entriviere’s wide draw not the worst outcome - Walker
Mark Walker is unconcerned about Entriviere's wide barrier draw for Saturday's Gr.1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
The Matamata trainer will be trackside for the weight-for-age sprint that has seen Gr.1 Railway Stakes (1200m) winner Entriviere draw barrier 17.
The five-year-old mare scorched home for third in the Gr.1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) a fortnight ago, closing in the quickest last 400m and 200m sectionals after getting a long way back.
"She just couldn't go with them at all early in that rough ground but once finally Opie (Bosson, jockey) hooked her out on to a little bit of unused ground, she just took off," Walker said.
"She's put on five kilos from her last race to Tuesday morning when we weighed her which is a good sign because she wasn't eating before. That race has really brought her on and her blood picture was really good so we just felt it was a good time to back her up.
"We weren't originally going to run but the weather has just been atrocious and it's hard getting suitable galloping tracks. We just thought if we run this week, we won't have to gallop her much on the wet tracks.
"We took her up to Eagle Farm and she's had just that one bit of work since her last race. She's never backed up within two weeks before but she's nearly a six-year-old so we have to put the acid on her at some stage."
Stable jockey Opie Bosson sticks with Entriviere and his first task will be making the most of the wide gate, though Walker has a positive view of the barrier draw.
"I don't really see it as a huge negative,” he said. “If the ballots come out, she'll jump from 12 out of 16 so even if she's three wide with cover midfield, that's still ok. I don't think it's as big a negative as what people are saying.
"She'll run well. The Godolophin three-year-old colt Paulele is the one to beat again, I'd say."
Entriviere remains in the contention for the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm but Walker isn't keen on that option after she was allotted 55.5kg for the carnival feature.
"When the weights came out, it's swayed us against that,” he said. “There's only been three horses in 40 years carry that sort of weight - and she's a mare. It would be doubtful."
Walker will also saddle Soprano Supreme at Eagle Farm on Saturday, the last-start Gold Coast Cup (2400m) runner-up set to tackle the Gr.3 Premier's Cup (2400m) from the minimum weight of 54kg.
"It's a shame with those three really high-rated horses (Spirit Ridge, King Leogrance and Steel Prince) that it's compressed the weights and meant she's on the same weight as horses rated 12 points higher than her," Walker said.
"But she's going well and she'll run well. It's been a bit of a learning exercise with her going over there. She had a look around Eagle Farm on Tuesday so she's more familiar with the track.
"She'll run Saturday and we'll see what we're doing after that. She's a light-framed mare - she only weighs in at 430 kilos - but she's a natural stayer and a natural athlete."
Walker will also tackle stakes company back home too, with his sole New Zealand runner Rare Company making his debut in the Listed Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe on Saturday, a race which hasn't attracted a single race winner.
"We took him out of a maiden race at Avondale on Wednesday worth $12,000 and put him in what's still a maiden race but worth $70,000. We just thought we'd roll the dice,” he said.
"He's going to be a much better three-year-old. There are a couple that have placed form and while his trial form has been ok without being sensational, he's bred to run a trip and over 1400m we're hoping his stamina clicks in.
"He'll probably get back a little but he should be hitting the line all right. We worked him on Wednesday and his work was better than it was the previous Friday so the extra gallop might just help him."